De Australische zanger en schrijver Nick Cave is een tijdje geleden een site begonnen waar fans allerlei vragen aan hem kunnen stellen. Hij beantwoorde pas een aantal van deze vragen over zijn geloof in God en was hierbij erg persoonlijk en eerlijk. Na mijn korte introductie vind je zijn antwoorden die ik zeer de moeite waard vind.
Vele nummers uit de omvangrijke catalogus van Nick Cave bevatten Bijbelse verwijzingen en/of citaten of vertellen rechtstreeks van zijn worstelingen met God. Een bijzonder voorbeeld is zijn laatste album Skeleton Tree die hij schreef naar aanleiding van de dood van zijn zoon Arthur die op 15 juli 2015 van een klif viel. Het album is een verslag van de impact op zijn leven, werk en geloof in God.
“I’m not religious, and I’m not a Christian, but I do reserve the right to believe in the possibility of a god. It’s kind of defending the indefensible, though; I’m critical of what religions are becoming, the more destructive they’re becoming. But I think as an artist, particularly, it’s a necessary part of what I do, that there is some divine element going on within my songs.” (LA Time, John Payne, 29/11/2010).
“I believe in God in spite of religion, not because of it.”(BBC Radio 6, Jarvis Cocker, 12/09/2010).
Antwoorden afkomstig van de The Red Hand Files (december 2018).
Dear Ali, Maggie, João and Peter and the many people who have asked similar God related questions.
I’ve been circling around the idea of God for decades. It’s been a slow creep around the periphery of His Majesty, pen in hand, trying to write God alive. Sometimes, I think, I have almost succeeded. The more I become willing to open my mind to the unknown, my imagination to the impossible and my heart to the notion of the divine, the more God becomes apparent. I think we get what we are willing to believe, and that our experience of the world extends exactly to the limits of our interest and credence. I am interested in the idea of possibility and uncertainty. Possibility, by its very nature, extends beyond provable facts, and uncertainty propels us forward. I try to meet the world with an open and curious mind, insisting on nothing other than the freedom to look beyond what we think we know.
I think we get what we are willing to believe.
Does God exist? I don’t have any evidence either way, but I am not sure that is the right question. For me, the question is what it means to believe. The thing is, against all my better judgement, I find it impossible not to believe, or at the very least not to be engaged in the inquiry of such a thing, which in a way is the same thing. My life is dominated by the notion of God, whether it is His presence or His absence. I am a believer – in both God’s presence and His absence. I am a believer in the inquiry itself, more so than the result of that inquiry. As an extension of this belief, my songs are questions, rarely answers.
In the end, with all respect, I haven’t the stomach for atheism and its insistence on what we know. It feels like a dead end to me, unhelpful and bad for the business of writing. I share many of the problems that atheists have toward religion – the dogma, the extremism, the hypocrisy, the concept of revelation with its many attendant horrors – I am just at variance with the often self-satisfied certainty that accompanies the idea that God does not exist. It is simply not in my nature. I have, for better or for worse, a predisposition toward perverse and contradictory thinking. Perhaps this is something of a curse, but the idea of uncertainty, of not knowing, is the creative engine that drives everything I do. I may well be living a delusion, I don’t know, but it is a serviceable one that greatly improves my life, both creatively and otherwise.
So, do I believe in God? Well, I act like I do, for my own greater good. Does God exist? Maybe, I don’t know. Right now, God is a work in progress.