Jon Steingard, lead singer of the Christian rock band Hawk Nelson, regretfully announced on Instagram last week that he no longer believes in God.
“I’ve been terrified to post this for a while – but it feels like it’s time for me to be honest,” Steingard said in the caption prefacing his lengthy Instagram post. “I hope this is not the end of the conversation, but the beginning. I hope this is encouraging to people who might feel the same but are as afraid to speak as I am. I want to be open. I want to be transparent with you all – and also open to having my heart changed in the future. I am not looking for a debate at all – just a chance to share my story in the hopes some good can come from it. I love you all.”
According to Steingard, he always had an inherent problem with Evangelical Christian culture, even as a child growing up in a pastor’s home, which then blossomed into a problem with the Bible itself as he grew into adulthood.
“I remember being uncomfortable with certain things,” he said in his youth. “Praying in public always felt like some kind of weird performance art. Emotional cries such as ‘Holy Spirit come fill this place’ always felt clunky and awkward leaving my lips. A youth conference I attended encouraged every team to sign a pledge that they would ‘date Jesus’ for a year. It felt manipulative and unsettling to me. I didn’t sign it.”
Despite those concerns in his youth, he still ended up pursuing music and genuinely found some peace with the band Hawk Nelson. However, as time grew on, Steingard increasingly had trouble with the concept of evil.
“If God is all loving, and all powerful, why is there evil in the world? Can you not do anything about it? Does he choose not to? Is the evil in the world a result of his desire to give us free will? OK then what about famine and disease and floods and all the suffering that isn’t caused by humans in our free will? If God is loving, why does he send people to hell?” were all questions that plagued him.
Steingard then attacked what he felt were contradictions between the Old and New Testaments.
“Why does God seem so pissed off in most of the old testament, and then all of a sudden he’s a loving father in the New Testament? Why does he say not to kill, but then instruct Israel to turn around and kill men women and children to take the promised land? Why does God let Job suffer horrible things just to win a bet with Satan? What does he tell Abraham to kill his son and then basically say ‘just kidding! That was a test.’ If God can do anything, can’t you forgive without someone dying? I mean, my parents taught me to forgive people – nobody dies in that scenario,” he wrote.
View this post on Instagram
I’ve been terrified to post this for a while – but it feels like it’s time for me to be honest. I hope this is not the end of the conversation, but the beginning. I hope this is encouraging to people who might feel the same but are as afraid to speak as I am. I want to be open. I want to be transparent with you all – and also open to having my heart changed in the future. I am not looking for a debate at all – just a chance to share my story in the hopes some good can come from it. I love you all.
As reported by Fox News, various Christian singers, from Jeremy Camp to Mike Donehey, reached out to Steingard in loving support.
“Love you bro. Always will,” said Jeremy Camp.
“Man I love that you shared this. You know I’m always around to talk about our belief in God or lack thereof. Love you and always will,” said Mike Donehey.
“To echo so many others here, I have nothing but love in my heart for your old friend,” said Matt Hammitt.
The Daily Wire, headed by bestselling author and popular podcast host Ben Shapiro, is a leading provider of conservative news, cutting through the mainstream media’s rhetoric to provide readers the most important, relevant, and engaging stories of the day. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.