Christian Rock Singer Stops Believing after Reading Richard Dawkins’ Book

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By Nathan Glover

After reading biologist Richard Dawkins’ book, The God Delusion, Shannon Low decided that he must shed his belief “like a cocoon,” reports the Christian Post. Low is the long-time front man for the Missouri-based band, The Order of Elijah.

Low’s path to religion is not an unusual one. He spent his 20s living a life of sex, drugs and rock and roll. This ended when he joined the Ignite church in Joplin, Missouri and became friendly with the pastor there. He subsequently played guitar for the church and lead its youth group.

Shortly thereafter, The Order of Elijah came together, and Low felt like he was following a strong calling: a ministry in support of Jesus.

But he fell back into drinking after he and his wife divorced, just a year after his daughter was born. Once he returned to the church after this absence, Low began to think about the Old Testament, especially atrocities supported by the church such as sacrificing a virgin child for the sake of winning a battle, or maiming children who insulted prophets like Elisha.

But Low didn’t give up on Christianity just yet. He assumed Jesus would see the injustice that he did, and work to clear it up. But he found out that Jesus often quoted the Old Testament, and condoned the actions of the church during that time.

Confused by the apparent contradictions, and tired of negative reactions from Christian friends as he wondered about his faith, Low picked up Dawkins’ book.

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24 COMMENTS

  1. Metalcore’s compression (limiting audio frequency below and above levels of distortion/clipping) for their instruments of a recent tune was nice. I’m not sure what the term on the street would call it, but the grumbling vocals never really pulled me into a metal tune because I prefer a more melodic and harmonic lyric on top of the raw energy of metal, assuming the lyrics are conveying an artistic vision. However, Slayer used frayed, grumbling, and screaming vocals to artistically write an album to illustrate and capture the Nazi Angle of Death, and their album did it. A melodic and pleasant lyrical line would have been very ironic to convey the horror, nightmare, and terror of the Nazi Josef Mengele. A horror movie should be scary, not about ice cream, friends, and birthday presents, and a metal tune about Josef Mengele should be horrific and nightmarish, and it is.

    My life comprises a number of different years of perception, from that of a child, to a teen, to an adult. While I prioritize teamwork over expressing my personal opinion on religion, as the Unitarian Church doesn’t proselytize, you have to find it regardless of belief, be it spiritual or atheist, if a person inquires I will eventually respond by pointing out a three point triangle (spiritual, agnostic, and atheist) and I am somewhere in it. All I am concerned about is that the local laws support my interest for a green burial to recycle my body’s organic compounds back into the ecosystem naturally, and hopefully to inspire other people to follow . . . to reduce the use (waste) of land (cemeteries) that could otherwise be a play ground, or park, or school, or farm, or zoo, if not a forest.

    There was a day I believed in Santa Claus as a child, and my imagination flourished without limit. The cookies, where did they go? The presents and gifts, where did they come from? As a young teenager, I knew that Santa Claus wasn’t real but my imagination wasn’t ready to let go, and I wanted to believe in the reindeer and bearded fellow, but I knew who ate the cookies, and I knew who wrapped the presents. As an adult I am okay with the job of eating the cookies and someday wrapping presents if I am fortunate enough to have kids.

    I heard, but haven’t been able to find, a report by NPR that highlights a very unique archaeology find that reveals St. Thomas Aquinas left rare documents about a dude with a wife, kids, parents, who talked about hippie stuff (Hades being a dump on the outskirts of town that needed recycling) that hundreds of years later would be cast aside with censorship, by the likes of the Pope St. Augustine, who had his own triangle that prioritized a cooperate institutional interest.

    My memory faults, but around 480 B.C. a prominent philosopher contemplated that society could be improved if civilians had a single pure God to aspire to in faith, to emulate, that the Greek Pantheon caused folks to go astray due to the complex issues of the various Gods (English translation). The find may have been dug up in one of the various islands south of Greece, where Venus de Milo was found after one of the many Christian Purges. Well, after 2000 years, I can say that a single pure God invented to improve life for everyone hasn’t worked. Some folks say that banging one’s head against a wall to bring about a positive change is insanity, and other folks will say that metal fans are insane for their head banging.

    Metal Video:

  2. Jeremy, May 27, #1: My memory faults, but around 480 B.C. a prominent philosopher contemplated that society could be improved if civilians had a single pure God to aspire to in faith, to emulate, that the Greek Pantheon caused folks to go astray due to the complex issues of the various Gods (English translation).

    Nice post Jeremy. The bloke you’re looking for is Xenophanes (570 – 475 BC). The thing about Aquinas is interesting, if you find out any more please post it.

  3. Stafford, how’s the DNA book? It’s nice that Watson made comments about Rosalind Franklin, considering her work.

    eejit (#3), Thanks for the note about Xenophanes (570 – 475 BC).

    I should confess that my comment about Aquinas may be imprecise because it’s an old memory, somewhere from around 2008 or 2011. I think the archaeological find was somewhere in Greece, but I’m not sure if my mind is fusing another memory related to Venus de Milo, or if the show compared the find to the statue as an example of where/why it was found. A host of a late afternoon National Public Radio show interviewed a lady who was translating some rare documents that were recently dug up and purported to be from St. Thomas, himself. Her narration of the content was striking in nature considering what it described. She revealed that the documents were controversial and very rare. I am not too sure, but I think the scholar was from Columbia University. The Hades/recycling comment may be another memory from another show discussing the same era and place, or from the same show, but, regardless, I like it. The show highlighted ideas as to why St. Augustine and his church would reinvent and rewrite the philosophy of the document describing Jesus, if authentic, to put the institution in its position of authority, reasoning that it was a social institution in an established civilization trying to exist against competitive pressures internally and externally (nationally). Wish I had better clues to share. If at a later time I can drum up a new lead I will let you know. I would think knowledgeable scholars would know more about such an important find, related to St. Thomas?

  4. Jeremy @ # 5.

    DNA is very enjoyable thanks; Watson’s a good expositor of science, and I like his occasional witty side swipes at certain dotty practises and mind sets.

  5. Jeremy #1: St. Thomas Aquinas left rare documents….. that hundreds of years later would be cast aside with censorship, by the likes of the Pope St. Augustine

    Jeremy #5: The show highlighted ideas as to why St. Augustine and his church would reinvent and rewrite the philosophy of the document describing Jesus…

    St Augustine of Hippo, regarded as one of the great doctors of the church, died in AD 430 and Aquinas, another of the great doctors, was not born until 1225, so Augustine could not have had much of a role in censoring or re-jigging Aquinas’ work. The other two great doctors were Pope Gregory the Great and St Jerome.

    I have been unable to find any record of a Pope Augustine, but Gregory the Great sent a Benedictine abbot later known as St Augustine of Canterbury (d 604), to convert the Angles and Saxons to Christianity. Gregory sent the mission after seeing some beautiful blond children for sale in the slave market in Rome. He asked where they were from, and was told that they were Angles from Britannia. He quipped, “Non Anglii sed Angelii,” which proves that the Catholic church hasn’t much changed its attitudes to children in 1,411 years.

    As you say Jeremy you are confused about the story of Aquinas’ lost work, but it would be interesting to find out.

  6. Stafford @ #6,
    It’s been 8 or so years since I’ve read the book. I don’t recall if Watson discussed much about epigenetics, but if your interested in learning more about DNA I would suggest checking out the subject. A quick over view, histones clump together to create structure (for DNA) that opens and closes a chromosome, sort of like a slinky. Slinky sections that are closed can’t express genes, and sections that are open can express genes.
    http://www.whatisepigenetics.com/histone-modifications/
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epigenetics

    eejit @ #7
    I appreciate the corrections to my post. Details of the Church’s past are not my strength, but I enjoy learning abut the past whenever I get a chance. Aside names, the radio show to which I refer seemed to address that something special was found from someone who lived a very long time ago. The radio host brought up the obvious conflict between philosophies practiced by the church and the early narrative. Chat ensued about the destruction of libraries in Europe and why the discovery of the document was so important.

    I’m going to spend some time to peruse the NPR records, to see if I can find the show to clear out the dust in my memory. This project may take a while.

  7. Here is a bug note to the technical moderators of the web forums. Lately when I type a comment and activate the radio button “Post Comment” my text disappears and with it the edit window, ten minute timer, and delete option. Over time the comments have always been posted.

  8. Jeremy #9
    May 27, 2016 at 3:17 pm

    Over time the comments have always been posted.

    If posts contain links, the spam filter puts them to one side for moderator approval.

  9. Hi Jeremy

    It’s not a bug. Posts containing multiple links are usually put aside by the spam detection system, pending moderator approval. No need to resubmit them – they’ll be approved as soon as one of us is online.

    The mods

  10. eejit,

    Strike everything I said relating to St. Thomas, dates, college, etc. The one thing I got right was that the host (Terry Gross) of the radio show (Fresh Air) interviewed a woman, Elaine Pagels, about her book Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas. (Retrieved 5/27/16 from Link: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=3250046)

    I’m wondering if I should lampoon my potpourri of mangled memories, or maybe use the situation to make my own story about the past, similar to John, Luke, etc. My Gospel would be about the Earth. We all know the question for the truth. It’s not about being round or flat, but a question about how flat, thin like a pancake or is it flat like a very thick several miles flat?

    I wonder to what degree the early Jesus scholars (Mathew, Luke, John, etc.) could have, like myself, mixed up memories over time when trying to recollect their past, only to propagate new invented information forward? Regarding my earlier post, my mind mixed up memories from three different decades, a high school essay about the Inquisition, various tv programs highlighting digs in Greece, studying art history for a degree and coming across info about ancient artifacts, other news . . . .

    When I heard the NPR show in 2005, I was in a car driving to work while studying for my bio degree, and worrying more about making money to pay rent as well as passing my science courses.

    Here is some other stuff I found at NPR. ‘Gospel Of Jesus’s Wife’ Papyrus Not A Forgery, Harvard Says: (Retrieved 5/27/16 from http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2014/04/10/301432378/gospel-of-jesus-wife-papyrus-not-a-forgery-harvard-says)

  11. Jeremy #15 I wonder to what degree the early Jesus scholars (Mathew, Luke, John, etc.) could have, like myself, mixed up memories over time when trying to recollect their past, only to propagate new invented information forward?

    You’re right on the ball there Jeremy! The process in the literary trade is known as conflation– the merging of stories. Your potpurri merging of various stories is a brilliant example of the process.

    In his seminal paper Derrida analyses the story of Jacob’s struggle with the angel in Genesis 32:22-32. The fight starts at a ford over a river and ends in the desert. It is not plain in the biblical account how Jacob manages to cross the river with a bloody great angel trying to stop him. Nor is it clear how they then end up brawling in the desert. What becomes plain in Derrida’s exegesis is that there are two stories present, one an ordeal myth from the earliest times of story-telling, the other a later story of spiritual aloneness with God. Both in a way deal with Jacobs’s struggle with himself, but they have distinctly different takes on the matter.

    Most of the stories in the Bible can be analysed in this way, and many have been, based on real research. Moses’ flight from Egypt, the parting of the waters, the destruction of Pharaoh’s army and the Plagues of Egypt have all been explained, to my mind convincingly, as results of the eruption of Thera, between 1640-1540bc. The escape of Moses need not in any way have been related to eruption, but the dramatic stories of the consequences of the eruption became linked with it through the processes of oral historical tradition, and presumably tinkering by religious authorities.

    Many of the stories about Jesus have historical predecessors, and many of the myths relating to the creation of the Universe were fairly common currency all over the East. I always say that denying that the Bible has any true or semi-true content is nonsense, most of it is probably derived from facts and real events, but the content has been through four or five thousand years of conflation, modification, translation, revision and indeed censorship, the greater part of it being generated in the oral tradition.

  12. Stafford Gordon #13: butcher’s

    For Jeremy’s enlightenment; Cockney rhyming slang – butcher’s hook – look. Stafford’s a sound writer, he even put in the apostrophe!

  13. eejit @ # 18.

    I think you’re almost certainly right about the contents of the Bible.

    It’s often crossed my mind that much of it could have started out as metaphors and or parables, which were never intended to be taken literally?

    But as the revisions progressed, wishful thinking engendered a certain degree of tweaking; after all, it’s important to keep your tribe ahead of the game!

    For example, I think I’m right in saying that it’s been established that the Exodus never occurred; in any case there isn’t any Archaeological evidence of it having happened.

    And in any case, it’s now known that our memories are notoriously fallible; something which might not have been known then.

    And is there anything in the human experience more subjective than religious belief?

    Anyway, it’s all far too flimsy for yours truly.

    I don’t really know why I bother to go on about!

  14. Stafford Gordon #20: I don’t really know why I bother to go on about!

    I suppose that it’s whatever rocks your boat. I just love anything historical; the stories, the buildings, the artefacts, the characters, the religions. Saints, philosophers, villains, the wise, the powerful, the curious. As long as it’s more than thirty years ago – the longer ago the better.

    It’s like a safe zone, nothing can change it and it’s no threat to today. Apologists for history say that it shines a light on the present, but I’d rather live in the past, unless, of course, I actually had to!

  15. His big advantage was he avoided brainwashing as an infant. He was able to ponder the matter rationally without terror of being roasted alive.

  16. Christianity has a very good pitch when you think about it.
    It does not matter if you are a drug addict alcoholic or convict, if your family has disowned you, society and the law has punished you and locked you up, Jesus still loves you.
    My friend was an alcoholic, was in the AA and most of the people there were born again Christians.
    He spoke to me about jesus and the group shortly before he started drinking again and died not long after that.
    Are these unqualified predators allowed to walk round hospitals, prisons, rehab units picking up lost souls like Mr Low? Do they get points for how many unfortunates they can pick up in week?
    I hope Mr Low now promotes the “real care” that has actually saved him this time.

  17. His deconversion process is indeed similar to lots of others: examining a single detail which feels out of place with one’s beliefs or downright contradicts one’s ideals, ask questions, investigate and talk yourself effectively out of belief by way of reasoning.

    And most often the common trait is seeking this out on your own. A person that believes something as strongly as most believe in religious dogma aren’t likely to be forced out of it, as that most often only reinforces the ideas most religions have. A curious and critical mind can kill faith faster than any anything.

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