Former Christian Music Singer John Steingard: I No Longer Believe in God


It was the twentieth of May of this year. John Stein. Guard best known as the lead singer of the Christian band. Hawk. Nelson made a post on instagram. He said this is not a post I ever thought. I. Would. Right. But now I feel like I really need to. I've agonized over whether to say this publicly and if so, how to do it? But I now feel that it's less important how I do it and more important that I do it so here goes. After growing up in a Christian home and being pastor's kid playing and singing and 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. John. Stein. Guards post went viral and became part of a global conversation inside and outside of the contemporary. Christian. Music. Community. That I. say that fairly my friend. Yeah. Yeah. You came out they necessarily. I noticed you wording that carefully I like I didn't say eighth easiest. 'cause I don't know where you are. If somebody says, are you an atheist John? How do you respond to that? Right? Well, I mean at first I was like well, I don't. I don't know that I would call myself an atheist because I think at the at the beginning my understanding of the word atheist meant that someone who believed there was definitively God and I've learned since then you know correct me if this is not correct but. That my understanding now is that the word atheist. Who Lacks a belief in God? an and that is I guess a pool that I'm. At, the very least dipping my toe than. People. You. Know. We're all eager I mean. I'll admit to that first inclination to think, Oh, I. So want him to be in my camp, right? Sure. tribalist where like. Look now we've got somebody who can talk about the. The whole experience of the faith and Christian music. But he's now an atheist and I had that just sort of microseconds excitement before I paused and took some of my own advice and decided not to get hung up on the label. I'm more interested in your journey. Let's talk about hawk. Nelson a lot of people in my audience or just now being introduced to the band I. Sort of did some homework. You tell me how I do on this church, Canadian Christian Band Rock, and pop funk I understand that was sort of. Mitigated a little bit as you took over as lead singer, eight years ago is formed back in two thousand. Eight studio albums pretty impressive resume songs. including. Bring out was featured in a two thousand, five film called yours mine, and ours with Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo. The band I think had a cameo in that film. Right? You Guys Ron. How we actually got to be on set and in the movie voted favorite new artist, my CCA magazine in their reader's choice awards February two, thousand six. You've got some video time on vh one that same year you played, I love the names of these big Christian festivals like creation. Fast you know or when you guys did plenty of those winter jam host live concerts picked up a grammy nomination back in two thousand, eight, the original lead singer and Co founder Jason. Done left the band and twenty twelve replaced by. You John Stein? Garden. And I want to know about you, I, mean I was looking at your discography and you guys were like sold out all in pro Jesus Christian message had an L. type stuff, I? mean. About the band. Yeah. So I think we all grew up. In Christian and Christian environment in Christian culture in sort of towards the late nineties like right around the year two thousand. There was this where we're from in Ontario Canada. There was this. There was this whole vibrant community of like young musicians and people in bands, and so that was like a really normal part of our our culture and it was sort of very tied in with youth groups and churches and stuff like that And initially when we when we started taking the band separately seriously, I was the guitar player just for your audience for clarity. I was the guitar player before I was the singer. So when I became the singer in two, thousand twelve. Does not when I joined the band. I joined the band two, thousand four. but But yeah, early on very like pop punk, a sort of a music and. There was this thing going on in Christian culture at the time. where? Christians wanted sort of Christian versions of popular bands because there was this sort of like movement of like, don't listen to secular listen to Christian music. If you like blink one, eighty two, instead of listening to them, listen to Hawk Nelson like that kind of thing, and so I think early on in our career, we were a little bit more vaguely positive. and. We're just sort of a Christian alternative to bands like blink one, eighty, two or good Charlotte. Radio, we used to call him God or girlfriend song. If you guys did that you talk very guilty, definitely, very guilty of that because crossover I don't know that was a big term when you guys were playing. Christian broadcaster, the the Holy Grail was. Man of you could get this Christian Song on pop and rock radio like. Stream radio and it catches fire. You guys have those sorts of designs on the secular quote Unquote Secular, music? Industry. I mean honestly I think at the beginning, we are philosophy was very intentionally like We want to make music for anyone for for anyone anywhere like that was sort of our approach we. I. Don't think we ever thought like, oh. Let's trying go mainstream or let's try and go Christian like it was sort of like. We just want. We just wanted to play for. You know anyone who who cared. The record time certainly at some point to where the record companies like. Are. They trying to package you or so are initially, we were on this label called tooth and nail out of Seattle and and their their approach to that stuff is pretty hands off like. They were always known for being a a label that would sign bands that had Christians in it, but wasn't like overtly Christian that was sort of their their their their sweet spot and they. They were really like not pushing us to be one or the other

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