Hawk Nelson lead singer Jon Steingard says he no longer believes in God.
What are the details?
Steingard offered a lengthy Instagram post last week telling his fans and followers that his present lack of faith has been in the works for several years — and that making such a confession is unnerving for him: "I have been terrified to be honest about this publicly for quite some time."
"After growing up in a Christian home, being a pastor's kid, playing and singing in a Christian band, and having the word 'Christian' in front of most of the things in my life — I am now finding that I no longer believe in God," the singer of the veteran band wrote.
Steingard also said that in conversations with trusted friends about his doubts, he's been shocked to learn that almost every close friend his age who grew up in the church shared his doubts — but in reading his post, his doubts are not uncommon.
Among his questions: Why is there evil in the world and a hell if God is all powerful and all loving? Also, "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?" And, "Why does Jesus have to die for our sins (more killing again)?"
Soon, Steingard said, he began to doubt the reliability of the Bible and then came to the conclusion that it is"human, flawed and imperfect" and can't be trusted.
In the end, he wrote that he's open to God existing and would "prefer it if he was" — but that he suspects that if God exists, he's much different than he grew up believing. Steingard added that he's been getting a lot of support from friends and family.
"I hope this is not the end of the conversation, but the beginning," he also wrote. "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."
How did fellow musicians react?
The day after Steingard's post, fellow Hawk Nelson member Daniel Biro posted on the band's Instagram page some words of encouragement: "Forever grateful for these brothers of mine. We've been through some highs and lows together and we share a very special bond that can't be broken. There are many seasons to a band, as Hawk Nelson has experienced. But one thing that isn't seasonal is our support for one another on or off the road touring. God has a unique path for each of us and it's important that we stay honest with one another. Looking forward to seeing how each of us continue to G R O W."
Other well-known Christian artists followed suit with messages to Steingard, according to the Christian Post:
- "Love you bro. Always will." — Jeremy Camp
- "To echo so many others here, I have nothing but love in my heart for your old friend." — Matt Hammitt, former lead singer of Sanctus Real
- "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." — Mike Donehey, Tenth Avenue North
- "Love you Jon. I miss being around your joyful presence. The next time I'm in San Diego I'm hunting you down and hugging you and bro-ing out. I'm here for you and love you." — Jeff Owen, Tenth Avenue North
- "We love you and hope you will continue seeking. Life can hit us hard sometimes. Just know we are always available for you bro!" — Seventh Day Slumber
A Canadian group, Hawk Nelson formed in 2002, started out as pop-punk, then later gravitated toward pop-rock, and released eight albums along the way. Their latest, "Miracles," includes the song "Parachute":
Hawk Nelson - Parachute (Official Music Video) youtu.be
Steingard's announcement that he no longer believes in God comes less than a year after "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" author Joshua Harris said he was leaving his Christian faith and that he and his wife of 21 years are divorcing.
FaithWire added that in February YouTube celebrities Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal — who "grew up in Christian homes and spent years working for a parachurch ministry before pursuing entertainment careers" — "came out" as agnostics and said their views on the LGBTQ movement aren't in line with Christianity.