My Former Religion

Posted on August 7, 2007

In my testimony I have explained that much of the music that I used to listen to was like a religion to me. I also explained that the music had such a strong hold on me that I still could not give it up even after I came to realize that it had never gotten me anywhere. In part of this article, I would like to explain why this music had such a strong hold on me, and why it never got me anywhere, and how I was set free from its religion-like bondage.

I understand that many of the people who are drawn toward this type of music are very hurting people, and that is at least one of the reasons that many people (including myself at one time) are drawn to it in the first place. I also want to make it clear that I do not view rock stars or those who listen to them as being any worse than anyone else, because, according to the Bible itself, our hearts are all the same (i.e., “deceitful above all things and desperately wicked [and therefore] who can know it?” - Jeremiah 17:9).

But that is why we need God in the first place, which is why the Bible also says, “I the Lord search the heart, I test the mind, even to give everyone according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings” (Jeremiah 17:10). So, I am hoping that those who read this article will allow the Lord to search their hearts rather than trying to examine themselves by their own standards (Read my article titled The Basis Of Just Examination to better understand what I mean by that).

From what I have observed, some rock stars (including Jon Davis from Korn and Fred Durst from Limp Bizkit) seem to sincerely believe that they are having a positive influence on their fans because of the fact that they are writing songs that people can relate to. The question is, what are they sincere about? Is it God’s wisdom or man’s wisdom? I hope that the answer to that question will be made clear through this article.

Back when I was a fan of Korn, I came across a website which had quotes from their lead singer (Jon Davis) explaining the meanings to some of his songs. Regarding a Korn song titled “Children Of The Korn”, he made the following statement on that site....

“I talked about all these parents....hating me for what I do, saying I'm corrupting their children, but in turn these parents need to step outside of themselves and really listen to what I'm talking about. Then I think they can understand that they were kids before. They're just really quick to judge me. All the Children of The Korn are all our Korn fans. All those kids going through that [curse word removed] and feeling what I feel."

If there are any parents out there who have shown hatred towards Jon Davis or any other rock stars, I cannot help but grieve over this, because it is certainly not going to make things any better. I am not trying to justify the music that he is writing, but I am suggesting that he and other rock stars need to be shown the love of Christ more than anything. I was once under the same bondage that many of them are under, but I would not have been delivered if it had not been for the love of Christ.

Who Are The Real Legalists?

When people bring up issues like the ones that I am going to bring up in this article, they are often regarded as being legalistic…but sadly, those who view them that way are the ones who are under legalism themselves, because they are the ones who are going by the unbiblical rules. Where in the Bible does it say that we are not to share the truth with those who are in bondage??? Some may think that question is not relevant, but perhaps it will make more sense as you read what I am about to explain throughout the rest of this article....

Since much of the music that I used to listen to was like a religion to me, I needed to be delivered from it, just like anyone who is held in bondage by a false religion needs to be delivered. So I really don’t see this music as being any different than a false religion. I believe that the bondage that it holds people in needs to be pointed out, just like the bondage of a false religion needs to be pointed out. I don’t see what would be legalistic about that.

Since I was once held in bondage by this music, it is hardly legalism to point out that simple fact. To regard someone as legalistic for explaining that they no longer desire to live the lifestyle that they once lived only shows a very bad prejudice, as well as an ignorance of what legalism really is. Tragically, the word “legalistic” seems to have become a word that many will throw around whenever someone tells them something that they don’t want to hear, or something that goes against our human carnal nature. Can you think of any other reason why people are accused of being legalistic simply for explaining that God has set them free from the lifestyle that they once lived??? I certainly can’t.

Lest anyone is still convinced that this article is a legalist rant, let me assure you that people will not go to hell for listening to any of the music that I am going to address in this article. If anyone goes to hell, it will be because they have rejected Christ. However, much of the music that I used to listen to certainly did encourage me to reject Christ, and that is the real issue here! Also, if anyone is enticed by the following music that I am going to address here, then I think that they should sincerely examine whether they have already been deceived. I don’t intend to cram my views down anyone’s throat, but I will allow people to come to their own conclusions from the evidence that I am about to present here....

Is There a Difference Between The World And The Professing Church?

Over the years, I have been both shocked and grieved to come across professing Christians who listen to some of the very bands whose music both me and my 22 year old brother have both been delivered from. Such bands include Korn, Nine Inch Nails, The Smashing Pumpkins and Tool.

Some of the most popular songs by The Smashing Pumpkins include lyrics like “God is empty, just like me” and “I still believe that I cannot be saved”. One song by Nine Inch Nails titled Terrible Lie (which was covered by both Tool and Marilyn Manson) includes the following lyrics:

“Hey God, why are you doing this to me?....I'm all alone in a world you must despise - I believed your promises, your promises and lies.”

Other songs by Nine Inch Nails (like their song titled Heresy) are obviously anti-Christian. Shockingly, I have even come across professing Christians who not only listen to, but even defend Marilyn Manson. As the writer of that article that I just linked to explained, Marilyn Manson is “up to his ears in Satanism”.

One professing Christian that I came across even stated that he does “not know if Marilyn Manson is really evil, or if he just pretends to be evil”. Does this statement really make any biblical sense? Evidently, this individual that I just quoted must not understand that we all have an evil nature (See Genesis 8:21, Romans 3:10, Romans 3:23, and Jeremiah 17:9-10), and that evil nature is why we need a new nature (See 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 and Ephesians 2:1-10). Can you imagine the apostle Paul or Jesus pretending to be evil? If someone is truly righteous, then they certainly have no reason to pretend to be evil. That very idea does not even make any sense. It is cases like this that make me think that there are many professing Christians today who need to sincerely examine whether they have ever really understood the Christianity of the Bible.

On one of the MTV music awards shows (Which I happened to watch before I was born again), just before Marilyn Manson performed his song titled “The Beautiful People”, he made the following statement while ranting about what he called “the fascism of Christianity:”

“I see you all out there trying your hardest not to be ugly… trying your hardest not to fit in…trying your hardest to earn your way into heaven. Well let me ask you: do you want to be in a place that’s filled with a bunch of a_ _ holes?”

Please note that no one earns their way to heaven – that is Marilyn Manson’s tragic misconception of what Christianity is, probably because he was raised in a “Christian” family that teaches salvation through good works. To see why that teaching is not biblical, you can read my article titled The Gift Of God.

In Spin Magazine, Marilyn Manson also stated, “Hopefully I’ll be remembered as the person who brought an end to Christianity” (Spin Magazine, August 1996, Page 34). Regarding his 1996 album titled Antichrist Superstar, Marilyn Manson stated, “I think every time people listen to this album maybe God will be destroyed in their head…” (huH, October 1996, page 37). Manson has also been recorded on stage at a concert ripping pages out of a Bible while performing live. All of this info that I have shared about Marilyn Manson and more info about him has been documented in the 10 hour version of They Sold Their Souls For Rock N Roll.

Friendship With The World Is Enmity With God

Considering the worldly state of many professing Christians today, I think it is reasonable to conclude that many of them are at enmity with God, although they may not even be aware of it. Since “friendship with the world is enmity with God” (James 4:4) and “the carnal mind is enmity against God” (Romans 8:7-8), I think it is reasonable to conclude that professing Christians who are at friendship with the world system (as the ones that I have described above) are carnal. In response to that statement, some may say something like “Judge Not Lest You Be Judged”, but I think that what I said is made very clear through the verses that I just quoted, and it is something that people need to hear.

The apostle John was inspired by God to write, “Do not love the world [i.e., the world system] or the things in the world. [Pay extra close attention to this next part] If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).

Considering all that I have shared here, I think it is reasonable to conclude that there are professing Christians who are in great need of examining themselves, to see if they are truly in the faith (See 2 Corinthians 13:5). In other words, they need to examine if they have ever truly been born again (See John 3:3). It is also reasonable to conclude this when we consider that Jesus Himself asked, “When the Son of Man cometh, shall He [really] find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). When we consider the gross apostasy today, it should be evident that the implied answer to Jesus’ question is “no”. But I still intend to reach the “few” (See Matthew 7:13-14 and Luke 13:23-24) who will listen.

Bondage And Deliverance

As I explained in my testimony, I felt that I could strongly identify with the feelings which were expressed in much of the music that I once listened to. During my teen years, my favorite song was a song by Nine Inch Nails titled Burn. I became obsessed with this song mainly because I felt that much of the lyrics (especially at the beginning of the song) described my feelings so well.

At the beginning of the song, the lyrics are, “this world rejects me – this world threw me away – this world never gave me a chance – this world gonna have to pay”. At one point in the song, the singer then yells the words, “I’m gonna burn this whole world down!”

This is exactly how I felt at the time. After being “rejected”, I basically felt that it was my right to lash out at the world. This same trait (which is found in so much of the music that I once listened to) is also encouraged by psychology through its teaching that man is basically good, and that his behavior problems are determined by circumstances external to him (childhood abuse, etc.), rather than the Bible’s teaching that evil comes from within the heart of man (See Mark 7:21-23). The Bible even goes as far as to say that “the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth (Genesis 8:21)

Naturally, we don’t like to take responsibility, because that would go against our pride. We would much rather blame our “bad reactions” (i.e., what the Bible calls sin!) on others or our circumstances. As for myself, I did not even realize how depraved I had become until the word of God revealed the ugliness in my heart.

The hardships that we face in life, and the cruel ways that people treat us may cause problems, and I am not going to deny that....but I don’t believe that it is an excuse for sin. Sadly, through the psychologizing of our society, it has been increasingly accepted as an excuse. And such psychologizing is certainly reflected in much of the music that I once listened to.

I have been through years of psychological counseling to no avail....but it was the “wonderful Counselor” of Isaiah 9:6 which has finally given me a peace that no professional counselor of this world and no rock star has ever been able to give me. That makes sense when I consider that this wonderful Counselor said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you (John 14:27).

A while back I was doing some research on a Nine Inch Nails album titled With Teeth, which came out in 2005. I read a review about the album on bestbuy.com. The reviewer of the album stated that the songs on the album tell tails of "love gone wrong, deception and loneliness". Then, regarding the lead singer of Nine Inch Nails (Trent Reznor), the reviewer went on to say, “Trent Reznor is more tormented than ever, and his fans would not have it any other way”.

Does anyone ever notice that this is usually the case with those who are involved in this type of music? They usually never find the ultimate fulfillment that they are searching for, and more often than not, they often become more and more tormented over the years until they are completely destroyed. I would think that more people would wonder why, but most people don’t even seem to really think about it. Perhaps they may not want to think about it. But the ultimate fulfillment is only found in Christ, who is “wisdom from God” (1 Corinthians 1:30), and not in “the wisdom of this world [which] is foolishness with God” (1 Corinthians 3:19).

I was drawn toward much of this music because I could identify with the feelings that were expressed in much of it. But our feelings do not determine what is true – God does. This is why the Bible says, “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered” (Proverbs 28:26). We should never trust in our own heart, because we can easily be wrong. But God is never wrong, and it is therefore Him alone that we need to trust with all our heart, without leaning on our own understanding (See Proverbs 3:5-7).

Jon Davis (the lead singer of Korn) has stated that he views his music as a way of venting, and that is also how I viewed it when I used to listen to it. I viewed it as a release from my negative feelings, just as many other Korn fans do. But, as I explained in my testimony, it never really got me anywhere. I was just becoming more cold hearted and quicker to anger over the years. I am not suggesting that it is wrong for us to ever get angry about anything, but Ecclesiastes 7:9 tells us not to hasten in our spirit to be angry (Read my article titled Be Angry And Do Not Sin for more info).

The Bible does not say this for nothing: We are also told that “He who is slow to wrath has great understanding, but he who is impulsive exalts folly (Proverbs 14:29). That makes sense when we consider that the Lord Himself, who does indeed have great understanding, is also slow to anger and is longsuffering toward us (See Nahum 1:3 and 2 Peter 3:9). Such an understanding comes only through His spirit!

Much of Korn’s songs include depressing lyrics like, “I’m ready to blow my head off - I hurt so bad inside – I wish you could see the world through my eyes”.

So what is wrong with this? Is it not a release for hurting people who can relate to such lyrics? Although there is nothing wrong with “godly sorrow [which] produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted…[the problem is that] the sorrow of the world produces [spiritual] death” (2 Corinthians 7:10).

I would say that the sorrow expressed in the Korn lyrics quoted above are an example of worldly sorrow (i.e., self pity), and not godly sorrow. If others saw the world through Jon’s eyes (as he wished in the song quoted above), then they would be ready to blow their heads off too! So this could not possibly be what the Bible refers to as godly sorrow. That is one of my main concerns about the fact that even professing Christians see no problem with this type of music.

After going to a Voice of the Martyrs conference back in 2005, and hearing about what persecuted Christians are enduring in other countries (which has only strengthened their faith), it makes any of the pity parties that I have ever had seem absurd, and I think it also makes much of the “Christianity” in the west look absurd. For example, many professing Christians in the west are being encouraged to pity themselves, simply because their pride has been hurt, while Christians in other countries are being severely persecuted for their faith! Some Christians in other countries have even wondered why much of the “Christianity” in the west is so popular since Paul’s statement that “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12), has been proven to be true for them.

I am not saying that we should try to get people to persecute us, but if we truly have a desire to live godly lives, then the world will not think very highly of us, just as they have not thought very highly about Jesus Himself (See John 15:18-21).

Furthermore, it would have been unthinkable for the apostle Paul to engage in self-pity when he made the following statement in the midst of persecution and martyrdom:

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).

This is why we are told in Scripture to set our mind on things above, and not on things of the earth (See Colossians 3:2). When our focus is on the eternal rather than the temporal, our affliction will then be working for us rather than against us, exactly as 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 declares. In this case, we will not just be mere conquerors, but if our affliction is working for us then we will be “more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37)! So I am not trying to preach defeat here, but I am trying to preach the only true way to true victory, which is Christ Himself (See John 14:6)!

A few years ago when I was listening to an audio sermon by A.W. Tozer, he mentioned that he has “never seen a picture of a rock n roller with a happy face”. He went on to say, “it’s like their all in some kind of a cold trance” (and this sermon was preached in the early 60’s).

That last statement by Tozer (“it’s like their all in some kind of a cold trance”) is what really got my attention, because when I look back on my own life, it really seems that I was literally hypnotized! In fact, much of the music that I used to listen to (especially by Nine Inch Nails) has a very hypnotic sound. My mom used to point that out to me back when I listened to that stuff, but I would either blow her off, or else I would say, “well that’s the whole point of any kind of music”. However, I did not even truly notice how hypnotic this music really is until I came out of it.

During my school years, I would listen to much of this music on the bus when I was on my way to school, and some people would actually notice me falling into a hypnotic trance as I was listening to it! Other people seemed to notice me falling into trances even more than I noticed it. One kid on my school bus even waved his hand over my face one time as he noticed me zoning out while listing to the music. Personally, I believe that the hypnotic effect of this music was one of the reasons that it had such a strong hold on me, aside from the fact that the music simply appealed to my deceitful heart and sinful nature (See Jeremiah 17:9-10).

Hypnosis is a very powerful occult technique, and I believe that I had experienced it personally, although I was not even aware of it much of the time. For more info on that subject, I recommend a book called Hypnosis: Medical, Scientific or Occultic, by Martin and Dedrie Bobgan – also available as a free e-book. You can read more about hypnosis in music in chapter 11 of that book.

Although this music once held me under a religion-like bondage, and I had an obsession with it which was deeper than I can even describe, Jesus has set me free from it. So this is not a matter legalism – the fact of the matter is that God has changed my desire so that I simply no longer want to listen to it. If God has truly saved us, then we will eventually want to sing a new song. In that case, we will no longer want to sing about worldly sorrow, which produces spiritual death (2 Corinthians 7:10).

It is not a matter of legalistic rules which are difficult to obey, but this is true freedom! How I long for people to understand that! How I long for others to truly understand that God’s “commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3)! Once we have been “crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20), He then opens our eyes to the fact that His commandments are not burdensome, and that His yoke is indeed easy, and His burden is light (See Matthew 11:28-30). But if we insist on rejecting Him, then what else can we expect but to fall deeper and deeper into heavy burden and despair?

It is my hope that this article will encourage some professing Christians to examine whether they know the Jesus of the Bible, or if they are simply following “another Jesus” (2 Corinthians 11:4). But I have also written this article because I want parents to be aware of the content in the music that their kids are into, and the effects that it has.

Many parents imagine that their kids will outgrow this type of music, but that is not likely to happen if they are held in bondage by it like I was. As I have already explained, much of this music was like a religion to me, and people certainly don’t outgrow religion. In fact, I have come across people in their 30’s who still listen to it. Jon Davis from Korn, Fred Durst from Limp Bizkit, and Marilyn Manson are all in their 30’s now! And Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails is now in his 40’s!

So I want parents to understand that whether or not people listen to it is not always a matter of age, but it is often a matter of bondage. I believe that I would have listened to that music for the rest of my life if Jesus had not delivered me from it. And please remember that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).

More Info

For some info about the satanic influence behind much of the music in our day, please check out the following video documentaries....

Rock N Roll Sorcerers of the New Age Revolution, by Pastor Joe Schimmel
You can click here to watch this one on You Tube. This is one of the most powerful and eye opening video exposes that I have ever seen! Parental guidance is suggested.

They Sold Their Souls For Rock N Roll (10 hour version), by Pastor Joe Schimmel
Some of this is truly heartbreaking, and hard to watch. I found myself weeping during certain parts of it. This documentary is not perfect, but it is an eye opener for the most part, and I recommend it for that reason. Parental guidance is suggested.



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