You can find the story here and I’ll sum it up for you.
The front man for As I Lay Dying, a Christian rock band I never heard of until I read that very article, has been convicted for conspiring to kill his wife.
Now sentenced to six years in prison, Tim Lambesis has admitted that somewhere during their career he and his band mates lost their faith.
The two who remained kind of stopped talking about it, and then I’m pretty sure they dropped it, too. We talked about whether to keep taking money from the “Christian market”. We had this bizarrely “noble” thing, like, “Well, we’re not passing along any bad ideas. We’re just singing about real life stuff. Those kids need to hear about real life, because they live in a bubble.
Not an entirely bad rationale. He went on to say that several Christian bands he toured with had also switched to atheism. This is all hearsay, so I’m not willing to just take his word for it, but I do find it likely.
I can’t exactly say I blame these guys for putting on a façade. Having lost the faith they built their careers on they were put in a difficult situation.
These guys accomplished the dream of every kid who hangs out in their parents’ garage strummin’ on the guitar: They made it as musicians. They’re selling records, playing live shows, touring across the country- life is pretty sweet.
Then one day one of them realizes he doesn’t believe in god anymore. I imagine the discussion with his bandmates with something like this:
“Writing some lyrics for the next album?”
“Yeah, man, this is going to have whole stadiums full of people on their knees praising the lord!”
“Yeah… about that… Kinda hit me today that I don’t believe in god anymore.”
“…. You mean you did when we started?”
Lambesis said that not coming out about being atheist was “cowardly,” but I don’t know if I’d take it that far.
A Christian band that reveals they’re no longer Christian is dead. Their entire market goes up in smoke. No one who listens to Christian rock is going to listen to a bunch of heretics, and no one that listens to real music will have heard of this newly atheistic band.
Unless the band has a superstar PR guy, they’re doomed. Even continuing on as a generic band, no one is going to buy their old Christian records (if the old label is even still willing to manufacture them) and they’re entering a realm with a lot more competition. Coming out means sacrificing financial wellbeing. That’s one thing if they’re just doing it to themselves, but if they have families counting on them there’s a heavy consequence for making that choice.
And in case anyone is confused, I’m speaking in general of Christian rockers who have realized they’re atheist. I’m not defending the character of the guy who was trying to kill his wife.
My solution to this problem? Don’t start a band with a philosophy. You have no idea how long you’re going to believe what you believe, and unless you’re capable of having your fan base follow your personal growth you’re going to find yourself flatly shouting hollow words your no longer believe in.
And to any Christian rockers who are currently acting as closeted atheists (Cause I know they’re TOTALLY reading this), start saving up and just come out so you can stop living the lie. You’re hurting yourself and betraying the people who admire you.
That article is full of comments referencing that South Park where Cartman starts a Christian rock band because he believes it’s the fastest way to reach a million record sales: “Writing Christian music is super easy. You just take other songs and replace words with ‘Jesus.’”
I’ll go ahead and jump on that bandwagon.