Bono and AntiChrist Allegations...

An article in a recent e-newsletter from Relevant Magazine discusses disillusionment with Bono of U2... and a sense of something more sinister, underlying.

Now granted, the writer, Tara Leigh Cobble clarified, "I don't think Bono is THE antichrist..." but even making such a clarification alludes to some indictment.

At a recent U2 Concert, Cobble discussed her turmoil in hearing Bono point to the Cross, the Star of David and the Crescent Moon on his bandana and repeat: “Jesus, Jew, Mohammed-all true. Jesus, Jew, Mohammed-all true.”

I can resonate with a little "discomfort" at the words "all-true," but I was more unnerved by a Christian being "devastated," as she put, at the thought that other religions might have something in common with Christianity. We may not believe in Mohammed, but we certainly worship Allah (despite the differentiation K-Love and Focus on the Family try to make - historically, He is the same God, and if you want to say the God of the Jews and the God of Islam and Christianity are all different, then so is the God of Catholics, the God of Baptists and the God of Pentecostals).

The author goes on to state that Bono is a great man, if still over-idolized. I can agree with this as well. I think our idolatry of Bono is often out of guilt - we see someone who does SO MUCH and think, "wow, I'm a real asshole." Then we go OVERBOARD on patting Bono on the back. The reality is, he works hard, but he's not hurting or suffering (beyond emotionally) for the work he does. He's lauded every day for it. A wonderful man, but there is balance needed. Bono isn't going to die on a cross like Jesus.

Jesus said we would know His disciples by their fruits, and regardless of Bono's personal theology (it's silly we Christians ever tried to claim him as "our own little evangelical icon") his life bears fruits of love and generosity - taking care of the poor, the sick, the widows and orphans. How many fundamentalist Americans are doing that? ...Ouch... myself included.

Please sound off on your thoughts! The full article is posted below:

Editors Note: Bono was recently named one of Time magazine's "Persons of the Year" for his humanitarian work and international efforts.

I’m pretty sure I won’t get much opposition if I say that U2 is the greatest rock band of all time. When I scored two great seats to one of the shows at Madison Square Garden last month, I thought my life had reached its pinnacle. It was a euphoric experience.

During the first few songs, I stood, along with the rest of the stadium, as we pumped our fists into the air and sang along with every word. The energy in the air was emotionally overwhelming. And if you’ve never been to a U2 show, let me tell you that it was everything you’d ever expect it to be. But it was also much, much more.

About five songs into their set, Bono stopped the show and strapped on a headband with writing on it. I stared up at the JumboTron to see that the handwritten lettering said: COEXIST. Coexisting sounds like a great idea. I fully support the peaceful philanthropy that Bono has encouraged, and this seemed like another way that he was trying to spread the message. GOD: Clear and Full - As I looked around the room at these people my age, it was not hard to feel connected and unified with them. Except, it started to feel like more than a political message. The “C” in “coexist” was the Islamic crescent moon, the “X” was the Star of David, and the “T” was the cross of Christ.

Bono pointed at the symbols on his headband-first to the cross, then to the star, then to the crescent moon-and he began to repeat: “Jesus, Jew, Mohammed-all true. Jesus, Jew, Mohammed-all true.”

He repeated the words like a mantra, and some people even began to repeat it with him. I suddenly wanted to crawl out of my skin. Was Bono, my supposed brother in Christ, preaching some kind of universalism? In just a few seconds, I went from agreeing with him about Christlike “coexistence” to being creeped out by the ungodly, untrue thing he was saying. What’s going on here? What if he believes that all ways are the same, and he just thinks of Christianity as his particular way? Aren’t universalism and true Christianity mutually exclusive?

I’ve heard the urban legends of amazing things Bono has said about his faith, I’ve read the books, and I’ve peered deep into everything he’s said hoping to find something that makes his beliefs clear. For years, I’ve adored him and clung to the notion that he is believer, too. After all, he identifies himself with Christianity, doesn’t he?

When he stated that lie so boldly, it devastated me. It was, without question, the most disturbing experience of my life; I felt like I’d been covered in bile. As I looked around, I saw all the people standing and chanting with him-it was disgusting and beautiful all at once. Unity can be so enticing. It made me think of the one world religion and how that will probably look benign and beautiful from the outside, too. I even started to wonder if universalism just might be poised to be that religion.

All these things were running through my head. After the show, I ran into a friend who had been sitting in the back row. “What did you think of that headband thing?” I asked. “Well, I couldn’t hear what he was saying because it was bouncing off the wall behind me, and I couldn’t read the headband, because I wasn’t near a JumboTron. But honestly, I felt like I was witnessing an antichrist.” I stood frozen as she spoke. I’d had the same feeling.

Let me be clear: I’m not saying that Bono is the Antichrist. Perhaps he’s just guilty of being overzealous about his politics. But I hope that if he is a believer, the Holy Spirit will convict him that equating Christianity with other religions is false prophecy. 2 Timothy 3 tells us to avoid people who have a form of godliness but deny the true power of God. And I believe that the most deceptive thing of all is to identify yourself with the truth and preach a lie. For a long time after the show, I couldn’t talk about it. And I still don’t know what to think because I don’t know Bono’s heart. All I know is what he said from that stage and how it shook my footing. God used that to show me something ugly in myself that needed to be fixed. It felt like He was saying, “If you’re looking to Bono, you’re looking to the wrong place.”

The reality is that Bono held too high a place in my heart. And I don’t think I’m alone there. I’ve wrongly held him up as the heroic ideal-the cool representative for Christianity; he may have been my “Christian idol,” but he was my idol nonetheless. And that’s not OK. Yes, it should bother me to think that Bono might not be a believer; but it should not bother me any more than if a random guy on the street does not believe. I pray for Bono more lately, and I pray for the hearts of the millions of people who he impacts on a daily basis. He is, without question, the most influential person in the world, and he has an unparalleled opportunity to speak the truth to the lost world. This year alone, he was nominated to be the president of the World Bank, and he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. And by the time the Vertigo Tour ends in April, it will have grossed twice as much as any political campaign anywhere, ever.

If Bono has a saving faith in the one true God, I can only hope that he would speak the Truth without ambiguity. I pray that the name of Jesus would grace his lips, without being equated with Judaism or Islam or any other religion. And I’m praying that God will help me to put things in the right place in my heart.

Tara Leigh Cobble


darker than silence said...

I really don't know what to think... Perhaps in his desire for unity (a very real need) he got a little carried away... But I don't think he was promoting universal religion, I think he was just crying out that we can all get along, we don't have to hate each other and bomb each other and spill each others' blood... Maybe he WAS promoting a universal religion, I don't know. I really don't know what to think, but I respect him for all he's done. Nevertheless, he's an amazing man.

J.Peter said...

Hey, Pete, the younger. Your post is provocative, once more. Provoke us all some more!
I can understand the misgivings that Cobble would have about Bono chanting "Jesus, Jew and Mohammed--all true." I can't imagine that such a notion would sit very well with Orthodox Jews or Muslims of most any persuasion. Monotheism is exclusive, even exclusive of other monotheistic religions to some degree, for all of the 3 main monotheistic religions are based on, or claim to be based on, revelation, not just universally beneficient feelings towards one another. I can't imagine that Jesus Himself would think it was spiritually safe to allow Mohammed to be "equal" to Himself in authority, or in essence One with Him and the Father. Mohammed himself never claimed the Unity with the Father like Jesus did. So how can they be "all true?"

I think Bono probably did mean something more conciliatory towards all people of faith, not necessarily saying they all are true in doctrine, but that they all are giving attention, glory and adoration to the One True God. As a Wesleyan, orthodox, evangelical, I myself would add that that adoration (particularily that of Islam) may not always envision God correctly, and may falsely portray God's nature to some degree. Nonetheless, I would say that my own beliefs are undoubtedly false or misconceiving to some degree. I have long maintained that I believe in absolute truth, yet I also believe that I don't know it myself--at least fully or in any absolute sense. I believe that Absolute Truth exists dynamically, eternally and redemptively out there and in here, but I can understand and embrace only a part of it. It overwhelms me, as It should, as He should. I am finite. I hold out the possibility that the Muslims may have some thing, some inkling of God's Providence or Mercy or Inexorability that I lack. Perhaps in that sense "all are true".
May God protect you and your family.

PETE, the elder.

By the way, my dear daughter, Rebekah, says "hi" and sends her blessings and salutations of Christian charity and solidarity. (I elaborated a bit on that one. She'd probably just say, "bless you", and congratulations on your marriage.)

Harlequin said...

Orthodox Islam regards Jesus as a notable and worthy prophet, and Mystical Islam, Christianity and Judeasim have been saying it all along. It tends to be legalists who NEED Christianity to be unique.

2Pete said...

Pete the Elder,
I think in essence I would agree with your assertions. I know there are parts of me that recoil somewhat at the ideas of Universalism. On the other hand, there are parts of me that stir and are overjoyed by such gracious possiblities (I suppose C.S. Lewis provides a good example of how such openness could not be grace, but that's another string of thought...)

It's a hard line to walk, but I believe in a Prince of Peace who sits with sinners, pagans and Gentiles. I think this is the figure Bono envisions, too.

Harlequin said...

I've never liked Lewis. Too much the legalist/exclusivist

HCJoel said...

Important points of context were left out of the article on Relevant. First, which I think someone posted on that site, Bono's statement came before the song, 'Love And Peace Or Else', in which he calls upon all of 'Abraham's sons'. It is from Abraham's sons that Judaism (and later, Jesus) and Islam arose. THAT is the connection I believe Bono wanted to make - we're from a shared heritage as humans, let alone our religious or spiritual histories.

As for Christians worshipping Allah, I completely disagree with you. Given what I have read on the origins of Islam as well as Islamic theology, it's very clear that Allah and Jehovah are different and distinct. A much broader discussion than can occur here, I know. Much love.

Harlequin said...

I've never really trusted Lewis. There is something of the night about him.

2Pete said...

Interesting, I have mixed feelings about Lewis as well. On one hand, he says some very bold things which go against many accepted notions in mainstream Christianity.

On the other hand, Dorothy Sayers (the unofficial female Inkling) had very sharp criticism about him. She felt he was not true to himself, that he often wrote sheerly for money, and that he had a dangerous tendency to write on subjects with which he had no experience, expertise or sold frame of reference.

Still, there are parts of him I cannot help but admire. As with most men.

2Pete said...

Bottle Breaker my old Blog Friend (Joel),
Thanks for your clarification on Bono's words. Another of my friends who attended a U2 concert said the same thing about the Abraham connection.

As for Allah, I understand what you're saying, and I very well may be wrong. I just think that HISTORICALLY, it is the same God who revealed Himself to Abraham and Isaac. This God promised to bless and watch over Ishmael, and I think He continues to.

I think the Islamic perception of God is skewed, but we aren't the ones who shape God. I read or heard somewhere that God is gracious enough that He places Himself "in the way" of our thoughts and prayers, so that they come to Him. Our prayers would never reach Him if they arrived where we sent them in our limited ideas of who He is.

Harlequin said...

A sentiment redolent in the oldest religious tract on the planet, the Bhagvagad Gita (Ch 4 Verse 11).

In whatever way they resort (try to contact,worship)
To Me do I thus reward them.
It is My path which ev’rywhere
All men follow, O Arjuna.

Interesting point about the Sanskrit language, even though it was used in day to day life, the literal translation of every word echoed inherent divinity. For example the literal translation of the word for tree in Sanskrit is 'God in the form of a Tree'. Every sentence meant they considered God.

Thad Hawk said...

Very good article, I believe I and along with alot of my friends give Bono alittle much peddle stool time but it does bother me some on the islam and jews being all true as there are major differences as well as agreements. I wouldn't really want to ally myself with the Christian faith if I was Bono as being Christian and calling oneself a Christian are very different views.

Harlequin said...

Having spent too many years with my head in comparitive religions, the commonalities tend to be universal truths (not killing, love everyone as yourself, do no harm) and the difference wholly sectarian (who has the best imaginary friend, what you can and can't eat, are tassels in or not, what you can and cannot do with whom)

The differences are, in essense, there to make the faithful feel good about themselves and act as a unit. We view the light of God through the coloured lenses of our egos, and the ego just plays up the importance of the difference when really, on a cosmic scale, it is trivia...

I have to confess, the stuff I consider adiaphora is an excellent excuse to villify, and be condescending to others. One of the reasons I dislike missionaries... the way to hell is paved with good intention.

Stephen Anderson said...

"We may not believe in Mohammed, but we certainly worship Allah..."
If you have ever bothered to read the Koran, you would Know that Allah repeatedly declares that "God has no Son." If it is true that "Christians" worship Allah, let me declare here and now that I am not a Christian. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Allah is not God and Mohammed was a prophet of Satan. Either you stand with Chrisy or against Him. The 1st epistlke of John makes it clear that it is the antichrist that denies the Father and the Son. So make you choice and stop crying, 'peace, peace' where there can be no peace.

2Pete said...

Stephen, you are approaching this outside of a historical context, which makes it very difficult to argue with you, so I'll avoid it entirely. I understand why suggesting Allah and Yahweh may be at least references to the same God could be offensive, but know that my heart is not heretically-bent.

To ask a Christian to "stop crying peace" is like asking Jesus to START declaring war. Your devotion to Jesus seems overpowered by a desire to draw lines in the sand. I can't fault you there either, because it's the tendency of most Christians I know.

However, to pull up "Antichrist" allegations... well, I still think that the Jews are God's chosen and beloved people, and they do not acknowledge the Son. Do we call them Antichrists?

This is probably, more than anything else, an argument over semantics. I admit I rarely take appropriate time to clarify every one of my statements. Nonetheless, I stand by what I said, AS a spirit-filled Believer, and will continue crying "Peace, Peace, Peace" as I cry "Maranatha, Lord Come!"

I pray for both, and that my life will outpour the reality of hope that intertwines these two beautiful ideas.

P.S. Who is this "Chrisy" you speak of? Kidding! Blessings,

Jennifer said...

I have been madly, passionatly in love (lust) with Bono since I was 13 and like my contemporaries, thought everything he said, sang, thought and did was beautiful and perfect. But now Im a crusty old woman (sort of) and Ive learned that Bono is just a fallable human being just like the rest of us. I still love the guy,though he lost me after "Achtung Baby", but his job is to entertain and if he can use his status to make the world better, that too. But its unfair to expect him to act as a spiritual leader beyond sharing what he thinks and believes as a private person seeking God. Anything else is a responsability beyond the scope of his job.

Theresa1 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Theresa1 said...

The IDOLATRY of Bono by many so-called "Christians" is evident and hideous. There is all kinds of rationalization going on as to why his anti-christ statements should be swallowed, and the man exalted - for teaching and reinforcing COUNTERFEIT "Christianity" and FALSE religion to the masses. But many FALSE "Christians" are GLAD to have a sexy icon to identify their desired easy-going forms of scripture-disregarding "worship" with (i.e., "U2 Eucharist" services, etc.).

Rather than putting pure worship of God and spiritual interests/ his "kingdom" FIRST; many are now listening to and spreading Satan's LIE that "THE CREATION" (via "SOCIAL JUSTICE" efforts) is what should TAKE PRIORITY. That IS what Bono has taught.

That is HIGHLY CONVENIENT for those who are not REALLY interested in upholding and OBEYING GOD'S own commands and principles - ALL of them, including those regarding homosexuality, fornication, spiritism, etc. - to begin with. (Romans 1:18-32)

Now, THANKS TO BONO, for one, THEY HAVE A HERO - who has, essentially, by his massive public addresses, etc., given crowds "permission", "in the name of God", TO DISREGARD any and all of God's commands and principles they so please - JUST SO LONG AS THEY JOIN IN EFFORTS TO HELP THE POOR.

Also to these crowds, he HAS DENIED the UNIQUE GODSHIP of Jehovah/ Yahweh (Psalms 83:18) and the UNIQUE POSITION OF HIS "only begotten SON" as His first born of all creation, his "masterworker beside him" who helped God CREATE everything else in the universe; who who ALONE is mankind's RANSOMER, one Mediator to God, and Highest King.

In attempt to gain-gather the most people possible for the "social justice" efforts of the "One Campaign", etc. - all of the above scriptural truth was VIOLATED, suppressed, and MISREPRESENTED. People's spirituality has now thus been manipulated, extorted, abused, and misled - by Bono, and also many other FALSE religious leaders.

Hoop-de-doodle! Isn't it just FANtastic? No morality, etc. needed, and people can STILL feel good about practicing "TRUE RELIGION" so long as they help the poor!!! (That according to the jist of Bono's very recent NAACP Image Award acceptance speech.)

With that, will more condoms be sold at U2 concerts, like they were during the "Pop Mart" tour - you know, the horned-Devil "MacPhisto" days? Did anyone GET AIDS from one of these perhaps slipping off - or just for following U2 musical and other suggestions towards immorality in general? (P.S: C.S. Lewis TWISTED the word of God, and so some actual Satanism with its "rotten fruit" resulted in conjunction with the character of "MacPhisto" - whom Bono defended his "act" of with that Lewis quote. God NEVER SAID "Mock the Devil and he will flee from you" (as Lewis wrote)!!! IN CONTRAST, Jehovah's WORDS SAY, "OPPOSE THE DEVIL and he will flee from you." [James 4:7] Quite a difference!! FALSE "Christians" however, were quick to RATIONALIZE this from their HERO, AND STILL DO - just like they also do with the things Bono has said that are even diametrically opposed to the scriptural truth about God, his Son, and his stated will.

So it is as God said it would be before Armageddon: Many would have a form of godly devotion, but prove FALSE to its power. (2Timothy 3:5) They would seek out spiritual "teachers" to "tickle their ears" with what they want to hear, with what would suit their desires - rather than actual truth from God that would likely discipline some of those desires. (2Timothy 4:3-4) As part of a false form of worship, many would be "admiring personalities for the sake of [their own] benefit." (Jude 16)

"Children, wake up!"

And if you love Bono so much, why don't you drop him a line, saying, "Hey, man, You'd better QUIT this anti-scriptural false teaching; because it is misleading people to their spiritual death soon at Armageddon; and if you don't stop it, God is going to kill you." (Ezekiel 3:17-21)

Worship Jehovah/ Yahweh, not Bono: Show appreciation for and OBEY Him and his Son rather than Bono (or any other human), in the cases of conflict between God's words and man's.

Anonymous said...

here's your anti-christ:

have a nice day,

- perry

Anonymous said...

Hi, not familiar with the website but found this page when looking up the "coexist" incident.

Reading some of the comments some people hear perhaps take this whole thing a little bit seriously, that's not a criticism, I can fully understand the ground you stand on. I agree with steve anderson, you cannot claim the two gods are the same if you believe in a gospel of love and redemption, Islam does of course historically take on the same view of god that the Jews and Christians did, however a changing of priority within God's character can lead to a new god altogether.

God tells us he is a judge and a warrior but more important is that he is a father, when you swap them around it is a very different god. Also Islam does not accept Jesus as the son of God or the Trinity which are more than slightly important

Coexistance does not involve universalism, coexistance involves accepting that you are very different and even though you are certain of the gospel of Jesus and your salvation seeing others as lost first and wrong second

Final note: Bono is not the antichrist, this takes things way to far and is very judgemental


2Pete said...

Good insights. Thanks Baggyeyes!

Anonymous said...

This article is a lie and Tara Leigh Cobble is a liar... period!

I've seen U2 in concert five times now. I own a DVD copy of the tour mentioned in this article. Bono DOES NOT say that all religions mentioned are "true" religions... AT ALL!!! He never uttered anything close to that. Tara Leigh Cobble needs to learn how to listen through her judgmental nature. I felt as if I were covered in bile reading her hate-filled crap disguized as "Christian thought." Perversion!

What Bono actually said was that members of the Christian, Jewish and Islamic faith were "all sons of Abraham." That is Biblically sound and true. We are all in fact descendants of Abraham and Sarah. He was preaching RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE, something Tara Leigh Cobble and Relevant Magazine would know nothing about.

Bono has spread Christ's teachings through his music and his philosophy of helping those who cannot help themselves. I wonder how many starving Africans Tara Leigh Cobble and her rag-mag have helped lately?

Go sit in judgment of yourselves, people... your goodness looks like dirty rags to Him, and to stand there and try to pinpoint the anti-christ in a rock star who has only worked to do good in his world makes us look stupid, hateful and it's not bringing ANYONE into the Kingdom!

Peter said...

Anonymous, I agree with you on Bono, and on Relevant Magazine, but you're sounding a little harsh there in your judgment of judgmentalism. I only say that because I'm often guilty of it myself, and I need to be reminded. Thanks for the visit.

Irritable said...

I'm not sure Theresa1 and I occupy the same universe.

Peter said...

Irritable, ditto.

Pasha said...

Theresa 1 is a Jehovah's witness on a rampage against Bono. She has her own blog specifically set up to slander the man. She never once quotes anything that he actually says.

Ignore her, she is the one with the bile and hate.

Thanks for this blog Pete and the discussion it has brought. It's very healthy for some to bring Bono down a notch or two and for others to elevate him a notch or two. (I.e don't make an idol of him, but accept all of the interviews where he is clearly a brother in Christ.)

Peter J Walker said...

Pasha, thanks for the background on Theresa1! It's amazing, this post is 5 years old now, but it remains one of the most popular in search engines ;)

I agree with you - I think you're saying take his actual words for what they are (Bono's) and take his celebrity godhood with a grain of salt. If so, good call on both ;)

Peter J Walker said...

And no offense at all to Jehovah's Witnesses, in general. I have had close friends who were JW - fundamentalists and extremists can emerge within any religious persuasion!

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