Saturday, 12 June 2010

Bono on Jesus

Bono is the lead singer of the Irish rock band U2. He was born in Dublin as the son of a Catholic father and Protestant mother. U2 was one of the most successful bands in the 1980s and 1990s with hits like "Mysterious Ways," "Where The Streets Have No Name," and "Beautiful Day." There are few people in the music industry like Bono who have done so much for the poor and hungry in places like Africa. He was involved in Bob Geldof's Band Aid and Live Aid projects in the 1980s, and later helped Geldof organize Live 8 project in 2005. He has successfully enlisted the help of powerful leaders in a variety of spheres including government, philanthropic organizations, religious institutions, popular media, the business world, as well as spearheading new organizational networks himself, for global humanitarian relief. Another cause he has firmly believed in is racial equality. He wrote a song called “Silver and Gold” for Steve Van Zandt’s Artists Against Apartheid, and participated in Van Zandt’s anti-apartheid single "Sun City". Bono and his band-mate, The Edge, attended the Festival Against Racism in Hamburg, Germany, in 1993. He has received three nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize, and was deservedly awarded an honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II in 2006.

Once in an interview with French music journalist and novelist Michka Assayas, Bono was asked what he thought about Jesus. Many people, non-Christians as well as non-religious, believe Jesus was a great teacher and reformer but they are reluctant to call him the Son of God. This is what Bono had to say:

Assayas: Christ has his rank among the world’s great thinkers. But Son of God, isn’t that far-fetched?

Bono: No, it's not far-fetched to me. Look, the secular response to the Christ story always goes like this: he was a great prophet, obviously a very interesting guy, had a lot to say along the lines of other great prophets, be they Elijah, Muhammad, Buddha, or Confucius. But actually Christ doesn't allow you that. He doesn't let you off that hook. Christ says: No. I'm not saying I'm a teacher, don't call me teacher. I'm not saying I'm a prophet. I'm saying: "I'm the Messiah." I'm saying: "I am God incarnate." And people say: No, no, please, just be a prophet. A prophet, we can take. You're a bit eccentric. We've had John the Baptist eating locusts and wild honey, we can handle that. But don't mention the "M" word! Because, you know, we're gonna have to crucify you. And he goes: No, no. I know you're expecting me to come back with an army, and set you free from these creeps, but actually I am the Messiah. At this point, everyone starts staring at their shoes, and says: Oh, my God, he's gonna keep saying this. So what you're left with is: either Christ was who He said He was—the Messiah—or a complete nutcase. I mean, we're talking nutcase on the level of Charles Manson. This man was like some of the people we've been talking about earlier. This man was strapping himself to a bomb, and had "King of the Jews" on his head, and, as they were putting him up on the Cross, was going: OK, martyrdom, here we go. Bring on the pain! I can take it. I'm not joking here. The idea that the entire course of civilization for over half of the globe could have its fate changed and turned upside-down by a nutcase, for me, that's far-fetched …

What Bono is saying here is that Jesus was either mad, like self-proclaimed messiahs like Charles Manson and David Koresh, or he was who he said he was. Given that a mad man wouldn’t have had such an impact or inspired as many followers as Jesus has done, we have good reasons to accept Jesus’ claims and centre our lives on him. The ultimate proof of his identity is, of course,the Resurrection for which there were many witnesses at the time. When we centre our lives on Jesus we become less self-centred and more self-giving. In an industry which is well known for its eccentric and narcissistic characters, Bono deserves credit for standing up for fine humanitarian causes.


Ana Day said...

Great post. I agree that he deserves credit for his humanitarian work. Have you read this?

JI said...

Hi Ana,

I admire Bono for the singer and person that he is. How many rock singers today would talk about Jesus the way he did?

That's an interesting letter from MariĆ©me Jamme. Perhaps in the future it would be beneficial to work with expatriate Africans. You can’t blame Bono and Geldof for trying to help.


Amrita said...

God bless Bono, pray his stand will make people think about who Jesus is.

I like U2