How to dismantle an idolized Bono

December 20, 2005

I just received this from the Relative Magazine Newsletter. This is hard to even place on my blog as I love U2. Sometimes I am sure it is hard to remember that U2 is not a “Christian” band. Some members in U2 maybe or at least identify with Christianity or may even be Christians. Some in that band are not Christian at all. I will say that they are Christian influenced, and political.
Bono is a man. And among men he may be great. Yet, he is still a man and we must remember that though he may accomplishish many things, he cannot save us nor redeem us. Only Jesus can do that.
The reason I am reprinting this article is because too often we Emergents are accused of universalism, which is not true to what I have found. I think from the outside some confuse tolerance, listening and respect for others beliefs with universalism…
I do think that the Jews are our brothers, yet have denied Jesus as their messiah. Saying sound like I am against them, yet it is not so. I believe God has never left them out of His plan of redemption. His heart has always been for Israel.
I will say this though. Islam is not traceable to Ishmael as many seem to teach. For Ishmael is BLESSED of God. Ishmael is under the Abrahmic blessings. (Genesis 17) If one studies out the origins of Islam, there is no connection. Islam goes back to the nomadic tribes of the Black Stone (Mecca) and if one looks closely at scripture it is clear that Islam is associated with the worship of Baal and Dagon. These were the God’s of the Philistines. I contend that Islam’s Allah is not equated with the God of the OT. In fact he is the opposite.
The God of the OT/NT is ever revealing Himself. He desires to be known, and He desires relationship with His creation. Our God desires goodness to prevail. While the God of Islam claims to be unknowable and can on one hand do evil and the other do good. There is no reason as to his arbitrary actions. He only desires submission. He is the god of the sword.
Even looking superficially at the Bible and the Koran one can see the difference as to the God Who is Love, and the god who desires to please himself and could care less for those who follow him. The Koran has no reference to love anyone other than the god of Islam.
So, Bono can be one of the persons of the Year, yet if he is teaching that the God we serve as Christians is the same as Islam… he needs to study more.
Now, that being said, I agree in spirit with Bono. I agree that if these three religions claim to be religions of love, then we should get along in love. Though this article was sent via email connected with Relevant Magizine, I have added the link to Tara Leigh Cobble’s site directly.


How to dismantle an Idolized Bono.
by Tara Leigh Cobble
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.
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 is an independent folk/rock artist who has spent the past five years playing at churches and colleges around the country. She lives in Nashville, but spends most of her time behind the wheel of her Toyota Camry.



  1. yes brother, i always enjoy reading ur entries…………….

    thank you for blogging!

    Jesus reigns,

  2. yes brother, i always enjoy reading ur entries…………….

    thank you for blogging!

    Jesus reigns,

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