The co-founder of one of the most popular bands in Christian music history has revealed that he is now an atheist.
George Perdikis, one of the founding members of the Newsboys, a wildly successful rock band, penned a piece on the Friendly Atheist blog last week titled, "I Co-Founded One of the Most Popular Christian Rock Bands Ever… and I’m Now An Atheist."
But admitting to nontheistic inclinations isn't the only thing that Perdikis, who helped launch the band in Queensland, Australia, back in 1985, wrote that has captured some attention in recent days. He also took aim at the Newsboys' recent involvement in "God's Not Dead," a movie named after one of the band's popular songs, seemingly accusing the group of not being as pure as its image portrays.
"Recently, the Newsboys were featured in the movie God’s Not Dead. The movie demonstrated the pervasive attitude of Christians," he wrote. "They demonized everyone while giving a pass to their own particular brand of Christianity, making themselves look like fluffy white angels with perfect, synchronized lives."
But Perdikis, who said he knows what has gone on and what continues to unfold despite having left the Newsboys more than two decades ago, accused its members of not being genuine.
"The Newsboys aren’t as holy as they profess," he wrote.
Perdikis detailed his journey after exiting the band in 1990 as well, which included marrying, having two kids — and leaving faith behind.
"As I carved out a life for myself away from the church, I began my own voyage of inquiry into what I believed. My perceptions started to transform when I became interested in cosmology in 1992," he wrote. "I soon found myself fascinated by the works of Carl Sagan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Lawrence Krauss, Brian Cox, and Richard Dawkins. I learned so much and was blown away by all the amazing scientific discoveries and facts."
After his marriage ended in 2003, Perdikis said that he began examining "human psychology" and subsequently renounced Christianity in 2007, officially declaring that he no longer believed in God.
Perdikis also shared his upbringing, which included a brief stint at a Christian high school, where he met Peter Furler, who would later join him in forming the band.
"The choice to become a 'Christian Rock Band' was heavily influenced by Peter’s parents, Bill and Rosalie Furler," he wrote. "As fundamentalist Christians, the only acceptable form of music was the kind that worshipped God. Bill and Rosalie were like second parents to me and, for that reason, I never questioned their advice."
That said, he admitted to never really being comfortable with "the strict rules imposed by Christianity," writing that he merely wanted to play rock music and was turned off by the religious standards that he felt were imposed upon him. In the end, he left the band after co-writing the first two albums, he said.
Some, like Christian commentator Dr. Michael Brown, have reacted to the revelation by calling for Christians to "pray for … restoration" for Perdikis, with the band's co-manager, David Wagner, declining to comment on the blog post, telling the Huffington Post that Perdikis is "a former member who we haven't had any interaction or heard from in more than 20 years."
Despite remaining wildly popular, none of the original members of Newsboys are still part of the group, with the last remaining original member exiting in 2009.
As for Perdikis, he's been gone so long his name isn't even mentioned in a Billboard.com band biography, as the Huffington Post reported.
Read his blog post in its entirety here.
(H/T: Friendly Atheist)