Bono: The Beliefnet Interview

Continued from page 4

It's true. I often wonder if religion is the enemy of God. It's almost like religion is what happens when the Spirit has left the building.

God's Spirit moves through us and the world at a pace that can never be constricted by any one religious paradigm. I love that. You know, it says somewhere in the scriptures that the Spirit moves like a wind--no one knows where it's come from or where it's going. The Spirit is described in the Holy Scriptures as much more anarchic than any established religion credits.

For all that, U2 has often been seen as a Christian rock band.

We really f--ked that up, though. We really f--ked up our corner of the Christian market. I think carrying moral baggage is very dangerous for an artist. If you have a duty, it's to be true and not cover up the cracks. I love hymns and gospel music, but the idea of turning your music into a tool for evangelism is missing the point.

Music is the language of the spirit

anyway

. Its first function is praise to creation--praise to the beauty of the woman lying next to you, or the woman you would

like

to lie next to you. It is a natural effusive energy that you shouldn't put to work. When those people get up at the Grammys and say, "I thank God," I always imagine God going, "Oh, don't--please don't thank me for that one. Please, oh, that's an awful one! Don't thank me for that--that's a piece of [crap]!"

The most powerful idea that's entered the world in the last few thousand years--the idea of grace--is the reason I would like to be a Christian.

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God has some really weird kids.

Though, as I said to [U2 guitarist] The Edge one day, I sometimes feel more like a fan, rather than actually in the band. I can't live up to it. But the reason I would like to is the idea of grace. It's really powerful.

You've also been drawn to the spiritual struggles of rockers like Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Marvin Gaye.

I was never tormented in the way those early rock and rollers were between gospel and the blues. I always saw them as parts of each other. I like the anger of the blues--I think being angry with God is at least a dialogue. You know, [Robert Johnson's] "Hell Hound on My Trail"--the blues is full of that. And [it runs] right through to Marilyn Manson.

These are big questions. If there is a God, it's serious. And if there isn't a God, it's even more serious. Or is it the other way around? I don't know, but these are the things that, as an artist, are going to cross your mind--as well as "Ode to My New Jaguar." [laughter] The right to be an ass I will hold on to very tightly. I just have to be allowed that.

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