When he was young, Brian Johnson sang in a church choir. But in an interview with Pop Eater – an AOL blog – the 63-year-old AC/DC lead singer, whose band has sold 200 million albums worldwide, said religion wasn’t his motivating factor.
“I did, me darling, and do you know why I did that?” Johnson said when the interviewer pointed out that people might be surprised to hear he sang in a church choir. “Was it religion? No, it was two shillings and sixpence a week!”
Johnson has a new book out called Rockers and Rollers: A Full-Throttle Memoir in which he touches on his thoughts about God. The topic of religion and his thoughts about God came up again during his Pop Eater interview.
“Well I don’t believe in religion, let’s put it that way,” Johnson said. “I believe all religions are bad. I think they’re a waste of time. Jesus was a clever man. He wasn’t the son of God. We all know that he was a very clever, wonderful man and he said, ‘Church is in here meaning you are your own church.’”
Christian leaders were quick to respond to such claims.
“Viewing Jesus this way is not an option,” said Drew Dixon, who serves as the pastor to families of New Covenant Baptist Church in Albertville, Ala., in addition to writing for ChristAndPopCulture.com. “C. S. Lewis said you must view Jesus as liar, lunatic or Lord. There aren’t any other options. You can’t say Jesus was a clever man but not the Son of God because Jesus claimed to be the Son of God.”
Allen Palmeri, author of The Cyberspace Letters, a novel that touches on the influences of culture, also commented, “The highway to hell is paved both with good intentions and with bad philosophy like this.” Palmeri is also associate editor of The Pathway, a Baptist news journal based in Jefferson City, Mo.
“Jesus is the way and the truth and the life,” Palmeri added. “He is the Alpha, which correlates with the Bible book of Genesis, and the Omega, which lines up with the Bible book of Revelation. He’s also the Author of Brian Johnson’s musical talent. When one day he comes to the end of his showmanship on earth, he will have to face the fact that Jesus is the door to God the Father, who is there.”
Palmeri said he hopes Johnson deals with that fact sooner.
One Christian mother, named Shona, wondered about the ramifications of Johnson’s comments.
“I think Johnson’s lack of understanding and characterization of Jesus and the fact that ‘you are your own church’ plays to his crowd,” said Shona, the mother of two college-age sons. “However, for the young and impressionable who like AC/DC, it could affect their view of Christianity.”
Johnson continued with his thoughts about the afterlife.
“If you’re a good man you become contented, if you’re a good person your dying breath is one of contentment that lasts for eternity and if you’re a bad man and you’ve lived a bad life, you’ve done some wicked and evil things just for the heck of it, well that will hit you on your last breath of life, that’s hell.”
Dixon pointed out a problem with Johnson’s statement that he says is pervasive in our culture.
“He’s created a theology of comfort – a theology that suits him and the life he wants to lead,” Dixon said, adding how clear Scripture is about the reality of hell being a place of torment. “But you can’t do that.”