There are numerous books available on U2, and ubiquitous front man Bono is never at a loss for words; but In Conversation with Bono is unique, in that it offers him talking at length on a wide variety of subjects. It is culled from a series of conversations with journalist Michka Assayas, who first wrote on the band in 1980, and has been friends with the singer ever since. Bono discusses matters of faith in a clear, succinct way.
IT’S a mind-blowing concept that the God who created the Universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people; but the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma . . .
It’s clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the Universe. I’m absolutely sure of it. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that ‘As you reap, so will you sow’ stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I’ve done a lot of stupid stuff . . . I’d be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. I’d be in deep s–t. It doesn’t excuse my mistakes, but I’m holding out for Grace. I’m holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don’t have to depend on my own religiosity . . .
I love the idea of the Sacrificial Lamb. I love the idea that God says: “Look, you cretins, there are certain results to the way we are, to selfishness, and there’s mortality as part of your very sinful nature, and, let’s face it, you’re not living a very good life, are you?” There are consequences to actions.
The point of the death of Christ is that Christ took on the sins of the world, so that what we put out did not come back to us, and that our sinful nature does not reap the obvious death. That’s the point. It should keep us humbled . . . It’s not our own good works that get us through the gates of Heaven . . .
My understanding of the scriptures has been made simple by the person of Christ. Christ teaches that God is love . . . Love here describes itself as a child born in straw poverty, the most vulnerable situation of all, without honor. I don’t let my religious world get too complicated. I just kind of go: Well, I think I know what God is. God is love, and as much as I respond in allowing myself to be transformed by that love and acting in that love, that’s my religion. Where things get complicated for me, is when I try to live this love. Now that’s not so easy . . .
It’s not farfetched [to claim Jesus is God] . . . Christ . . . doesn’t let you off the hook. Christ says: “No, I’m not saying I’m a teacher, don’t call me teacher. I’m not saying I’m a prophet, I’m saying: ‘I’m the Messiah.’ I’m saying: ‘I am God incarnate.’” . . . Either Christ was who he said he was – the Messiah – or a complete nutcase. I mean, we’re talking nutcase on the level of Charles Manson . . . The idea that the entire course of civilization for over half the globe could have its faith changed and turned upside-down by a nutcase – for me, that’s farfetched.
© John Cody 2005