Too Lazy for Atheism? Try Religion

Punk Poet Henry Rollins has had his run-ins with religious haters. He writes in the L.A. Weekly that “religious people” have emailed to berate him for being a tattooed “freak” and offered to pray for his soul. Hypocrisy quickly reveals itself and, as he neatly puts it: “There is nothing like being told to go fuck yourself by the same person who was, only days before, praying on your behalf.”

He doesn’t make the delicate distinction between “religious people” and, say, “conservative Christians.” (The term “religious” is shorthand for “fanatic” in broad swathes of the culture so that makes sense.) But then he casually reappropriates it in a “yeah, I’m religious” kind of way. And he doesn’t bother with “spiritual but not religious,” which might be a matter of style–Rollins does not do cliché. Or he is not afraid to get into it, to claim the whole “religion” thing for art, for justice.

“Basically, I believe that someone believes something,” he says.

Can I get an amen?


  •' Jim Reed says:

    “Basically, I believe that someone believes something,”

    That does sound poetic. But does it mean anything?

  •' Jim Reed says:

    We’re not really an “amen” congregation.

  •' Aravis Tarkheena says:

    The man fronted one of the greatest Punk bands of all time. I give him wide latitude.

  •' tanyam says:

    3 drunk guys once threatened me bodily harm because of the lgbt friendly bumper sticker on my car, because “G-d is disgusted with you.” Do I have to assume they were motivated by religious conviction, or, more likely, reaching for some gravitas for their drunken homophobic rant.
    Chris Kyle carried a new testament and said he was all about G-d, country and family. That doesn’t mean he read it — or really cared much about religion except in that southern “its all the same thing” cultural way. Do I have to believe that every person who claims they are “praying” really is?

  •' cranefly says:

    Which is more work, inventing a God to believe in, or inventing infinite Gods to not believe in?

    “Do I have beliefs? You bet! I will leave this now and be back in several hours to testify!”

  •' DKeane123 says:

    When God has your back, almost anything is justifiable – regardless of actual motivation…

  •' DKeane123 says:

    The task of inventing an infinite number of Gods to then turn around and have to refute sounds like the perfect punishment for an atheist in hell/purgatory.

  •' DKeane123 says:

    Not really.

  •' Jim Reed says:

    For purposes of real life here on RD maybe we should just stick to a discussion on the nature of the Trinity.

  •' Alan says:

    Theists and con artists invent gods, not atheists

  • If the character Emilio Estevez played in Repo Man (Otto, the lunkhead teen punk) had somehow found himself blown up like a bag with smug self-regard and pseudo-intellectual pretense, he would end up being Henry Rollins.

  •' SDK says:

    It doesn’t bother me if people pray for me, but I don’t want them to pray to an angry god who condemns people to eternal torment simply because they believe differently. I don’t believe in that god and I don’t really want any prayers going to it on my behalf. Maybe I should make up little cards or something to hand out in order to clarify my preferences.

  •' tanyam says:

    I’ve just made my peace with not being able to control everybody else.

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