If popular Christian rapper Lecrae Moore could deliver one message to atheists, he says it would consist of a simple question: "If there's no purpose, if there's no creator and ... no rhyme or reason to the life that we're living, then why are we not acting consistent with that thought?
Moore — whose stage name is simply Lecrae — said that atheist activists like Richard Dawkins would likely say that they have created their own purpose, but the rapper believes that this response isn't sufficient, as it doesn't get at the heart of what drives nonbelievers to act as though they are purposeful.
[sharequote align="center"] "It was a win for the culture..."[/sharequote]
Purpose, Lecrae believes, comes from God — an ideal he explained in detail during a recent interview in TheBlaze's New York City newsroom.
Despite disagreeing with nonbelievers, the rapper said he doesn't look down on them, and he decried the "us versus them" mentality that sometimes takes form when it comes to addressing theological issues.
"I think that for some reason we position ourselves as enemies. It's kind of 'us versus them,'" he said. "No, if anything it's 'us for them.'"
Watch TheBlaze's extensive sit-down interview with Lecrae that covers his life, career and views on the Christian faith:
"Without a chart topping single on the radio, without having to sacrifice my morality or faith — this is still a reality, and I think that's a message for a lot of people," he said of scoring a number one album. "It was a win for the culture, it was a win for a lot of parents raising children who want something on the radio that they can champion [and play in their home]."
Lecrae's path to success has been interesting to watch, especially considering that rap isn't a common genre in Christian circles. And in the secular music world, faith-based rap and hip hop is somewhat foreign.
[sharequote align="center"]"Christians, historically, love to give answers instead of creating great questions."[/sharequote]
So, in many ways, Lecrae has defied the odds in paving new and uncharted ground and proving that there's a major market out there for his music. At the center of his work is a concerted effort to rectify what he believes Christian art has gotten wrong for so long.
"Christians, historically, love to give answers instead of creating great questions," Lecrae told TheBlaze. "My generation — we grew up afraid of quicksand, because the culture told us [through imagery and stories that] quicksand was going to get us."
The rapper's point was that it's often more memorable and effective to create art that tells great stories and raises questions rather than delivering definitive answers. And that's something he's always trying to do in his own work.
Despite all of his recent success, Lecrae remains humble and reflective, telling TheBlaze that he continually works to maintain his humility.
Lecrae in "Believe Me" (Believe Me Movie)
"You don't wake up humble, you don't wake up disciplined, you don't wake up gracious. This is a pursuit and you fight for a right frame of mind everyday," he said. "For me, practically, it's having people in my life who can constantly remind me of the realities we exist in."
Lecrae also addressed his upbringing and the path he took from atheism to Christianity, noting that, as a young man, his values were "twisted."
"A value for me was, 'Man, that guy on the corner looks like a gangster. I want to be like that,'" he said of his early years. "For you to tell me that he's wrong and that's not okay — it didn't make sense to my brain."
[sharequote align="center"]"You don't wake up humble, you don't wake up disciplined, you don't wake up gracious."[/sharequote]
While his grandmother was a Christian, Lecrae said he simply wasn't interested in the faith during his early years. But after realizing that he was essentially an atheist, the rapper said he got nervous and started questioning his purpose.
"Christianity was my last option. I'm like, I'm not checking into that," he said, noting that he viewed it as "old school" and something reserved for people like his grandmother. "I had no real sense of morality. It was all self-preservation."
[sharequote align="center"]"Christianity was my last option. I'm like, I'm not checking into that."[/sharequote]
It wasn't until he turned 19 that Lecrae said his life profoundly changed. A college student at the time, he said that a friend invited him to a Bible study, and since he was all about new experiences — be they drugs or a new club to try — he decided to take him up on it.
In the end, the rapper said that he was unexpectedly blown away.
"I would revisit [that meeting] and after a couple years the message really impacted me and transformed me," Lecrae said.
While he eventually embraced Christianity, it took about two years before he really felt as though he was on solid footing when it came to his drug and alcohol use and his comprehension of the faith.
And today, he's in awe of all that's unfolded since.
"I would never have imagined this," he said of his Christian rap career.
[sharequote align="center"]"My central message is: I'm weak. I admit I need a savior. I'm not a Christian because I'm strong."[/sharequote]
Lecrae is now hoping to inspire others to think through their lives and to consider where God wants them. Without lining up one's vision with the Lord's plan for their lives, he warns that perspectives can become easily warped.
"My central message is: I'm weak and I admit I need a savior. I'm not a Christian because I'm strong … I'm a Christian because I'm weak and I can admit I need a savior," he said. "I'm flawed, I'm imperfect. I don't have it all together. Not an excuse to do stupid stuff, but I can point you to a place where you can find hope and redemption — and it's not me."