I am currently sitting in class at the horrible MCC (I am only going here because its cheap.) waiting for my teacher who did not account for snow. She is normally 10 to 15 minutes late and as I was driving I thought to myself, “Hmmm, I wonder if our teacher will be even later today.” I walk into the class and look to see a message stating that our teacher will not be here until 10:30. Now, in normal, real colleges this would mean that class was canceled, but not at MCC. No, we get to sit here for the next half hour and wait for her to get here. It doesn’t help that I was planning on leaving early to get to the second half of our home inspection for our new house. I am trying not to be frustrated. So, instead of sitting here, doing nothing, I decided that I would write about something that intrigued me the other day.
The other night I was driving back home after dropping off my friend Kyle at his house. I had grabbed a bunch of CD’s i hadn’t listened to in a few years to listen to during the drive, one of which was Nine Inch Nails’ The Downward Spiral. Now, if you know Nine Inch Nails, you know that they have a tendency to be raw, angry, and vulgar. I have not listened to this album in quite a long time, but I remembered that there was one song that had a particularly negative view on God. This song, quaintly titled “Heresy” used to bother me quite a bit. I normally would just skip over it and move on. But, because I had forgot the lyrics and hadn’t listened to the album in a while I decided to ignore my “inner youth group student” and listen to the song. As I listened to it I started to find really deep meaning behind it. It was no longer just an anti-Christianity song, but rather a deeper look at society and the role that religion plays in it. I saw a critique that I agreed with on many levels. Now, I am by no means christianizing Nine Inch Nails. I do not intend to warp the meaning of this song in order to fit Jesus into it somehow. I hate it when people do that. However, I do believe that there is a lot of meaning we can draw from this song. Here are the Lyrics:
He sewed his eyes shut because he is afraid to see
He tries to tell me what I put inside of me
He’s got the answers to ease my curiosity
He dreamed a God up and called it Christianity
God is dead and no one cares
If there is a hell I’ll see you there
He flexed his muscles to keep his flock of sheep in line
He made a virus that would kill off all the swine
His perfect kingdom of killing, suffering and pain
Demands devotion atrocities done in his name
God is dead and no one cares
If there is a hell I’ll see you there
Now, I will admit it is a rather harsh song. But I find that my interpretations of this song hold some meaning.
NOTE: If you do not believe that music should be interpreted because it is art, read no further. I DO NOT WANT SPAMMING FROM PEOPLE WHO ARE LIKE ” NO THAT’S NOT WHAT IT IS ABOUT.” I understand that he wrote it about his feelings with the AID’S epidemic, I just personally heard the lyrics and was moved.
The point in the song that really made me think about things was the chorus. It was not the “God is dead” part, but the no-one cares part. I saw it as a wake up. God is dead is a classic Nietzsche quote. I have always heard it said that it refers to the outdated ways of the Church and the removal of God from society, that the God that the church offers is no longer culturally relevant or needed by our world. In this way, God is dead. Now, we seem to see this in motion in our society. The church in America has not grown in a long time. Churches get bigger and hold baptisms, but in large church growth comes from people swapping churches instead of new people finding love in the church. The reason for this: I don’t feel that we, as a whole, offer it. Not to say that church should be an avenue of consumerized love, but rather that on a large scale, we have done a pretty good job of disgracing the image of God’s church. In this, I find that in many ways God is dead. We are destroying people’s images of God by not being his body. People read that God is love and then His body goes on a killing rampage in His name. You can read that God’s heart breaks for the sick and oppressed yet you see His body hording money into super-palace churches and condemning AIDS victims. We are destroying the image of God to our culture, to the people around us and making God look like a hypocrite and because of our actions God is dying in America.
But here comes the kicker. Not only is God dying, but no one cares. We keep doing exactly what we have been doing. You would think that something like God’s death in our society would compel us to change. You would think that the lack of new people walking into churches would inspire change. Yet we keep doing the same thing. Now, I am not here to advocate catering to culture, but I am going to say that we should cater to God’s will and I don’t believe turning away single moms and crack addicts is the way. See, the deep meaning in the song comes from the fact that we don’t care. We have created a borg like attitude that says “assimilate or go away” and it’s just not right and because we are not doing anything about it, it is killing God. We spend our time “flexing our muscles to keep the sheep in line” that we don’t realize that the sheep our dying. That we don’t realize that we too are sheep.
Then comes the last line: If there is a hell, i will see you there. I think a major part of this line is in reference to the hypocrisy of the holier than thou attitude. That we condemn some for their sin, yet allow others within the church keep up with it. There is a hypocrisy that in all reality, Trent has nailed down. I mean, if Westboro Baptist Church is right, then they are going to hell too. But, I found an even deeper meaning in this. That our lack of compassion for God’s true will and our lack of humility to realize that change is essential is dragging us down. We have become no better than the pharisees, sitting in their courts, praising their ways. Jesus never got angry at those who were in darkness. Why on earth would you expect someone in darkness to look like light? He got angry, and very angry at that, at the religious leaders. The “holy” ones. The ones who passed by the broken and hungry and left-out because they were too busy. It is our job, our purpose, our charge to be the body of Christ. To reach out to the broken and give them healing. To love the marginalized and realize that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and if we do not, then there maybe Trent is right in saying he might see you there.