Shannon Low, the lead singer of Missouri-based Christian metalcore band The Order of Elijah, has posted a lengthy Facebook missive about his crisis of faith, one that led him from proselytizing for Jesus via the godly vessel of shredding and into the creaky, treelike arms of atheism—and all because he read a Richard Dawkins book.
Low, who has sung about his faith in such numbers as “Bringing Down Hell” and “From the Dawn” (above), writes about how, in his lower moments, he questioned his beliefs, which led him to look outside the Bible and sermons for answers:
So this led to research about the history of the bible. I never knew that the earliest gospel wasn’t written until half a century after Christ supposedly died, or that Paul never read any gospels, or that there isn’t even any evidence from that time that Jesus existed. Now that doesn’t mean he never did, I mean we don’t have writings from Socrates but still know he existed. Although the eye witness accounts were long gone by the time the gospels were written, not to mention many of the miracles are similar to other gods from before his time. I look at how people of Christian faith today intermingle their beliefs with “Karma”, which is a Hindu belief, and can’t help to wonder how many beliefs were intermingled in the iron age. I picked up a book called The God Delusion which talks about how all of this chaotic puzzle adds up, it answered so many questions that my Christian friends would literally get furious for me to even address.
The God Delusion is, of course, Richard Dawson’s work, and a primary text that atheists bring up whilst arguing about their own beliefs. You might call it... a bible for atheism.
Low also writes about trying to square his relatively progressive social beliefs with the incongruous actions of many in religious communities, such as “Christians publicly calling my other friends ‘abominations’ for being gay” and “abortion clinics being bombed,” which are indeed two of the very best reasons to question institutional religious authority, if not outright reject it.
So reject it is what Low did:
After one of the most difficult decisions in my adult years, I had no choice but to accept that I had shed my faith like a cocoon. It was scary yet liberating, it confusing yet simple, I felt at peace yet completely shaken, I pretty much had to reprogram my way of thinking about the world.
The Order of Elijah is currently on tour, which will no doubt be yet another trying time for him; his Facebook comments seem to be varying between atheists commending him on his conversion and Christians pitying him for his conversion.
Here is The Order’s video for “God’s Unwanted Children,” a song whose lyrics... perhaps presaged this decision.
Good luck to this man.