Former Hawk Nelson frontman Jon Steingard, who earlier this year said he no longer believes in God, said he's not an atheist and currently aligns himself more with agnosticism.
In a recent interview on Christian artist Mathew West’s podcast, he explained he never could anticipate receiving so much news coverage after announcing in May that he no longer believes in God.
“I was not entirely prepared for that. It's been really cool because it's enabled me to connect with so many people, mostly through Instagram, that are in the same boat as me,” Steingard said.
“The boat for me is that I really thought that I would post that and that I'd be like 'sweet, great, I'm done with God. And I can just live my life free of this stuff now.' But what I discovered was, as soon as I did that, I did have freedom, I felt like this whole new level of like 'I'm not constrained by Christianity. I'm not constrained by being a Christian musician. No one has any expectations like this on me anymore. So now I can believe whatever I want.' I felt so free, but then very quickly, I was like 'OK, so what do you believe?'" he continued.
Steingard described the past few months as a crash course in trying to figure out what he actually believes. He is, however, sure that he wants to be part of something “bigger than” himself.
Steingard, a pastor’s kid, said he does feel bad because his mother believes she hears from God and his initial confession of there not being a God then makes her statement invalid.
"I even have a hard time saying I don't believe in God because I'm sort of like 'oh, maybe,’” he admitted.
West asked if the musician was agnostic.
"The place that I'm at right now, when I look at the entirety of what [I] believe, if you say that you're a Christian, the core beliefs, I have a hard time saying, 'Yeah, I unequivocally believe in that.' But when you look at a more atheistic point of view, like naturalism is basically the idea that matter is all there is, what we see and touch like that's it. And I find that view dissatisfying,” Steingard continued.
The Canadian native confessed that he was in an “awkward place” concerning his beliefs.
"A lot of the things that you would need to believe in order to say that you're a Christian, I have a hard time believing. But then I also don't feel satisfied with just a completely atheistic perspective. I guess I'm a little difficult,” he said. “Agnostic is probably the closest term to where I'm at right now.
"I've never had more conversations about God than I'm having right now. I've never read the Bible more than I am right now ... There's so much I didn't know.”
Perhaps what was most surprising to listeners and West alike, was that Steingard revealed he still has a very active daily prayer life.
“I still pray. When I pray now, it sounds something like 'God, I don't know if you're there. If you're not there, then what I'm doing right now isn't harming anything. But if you are there, then, if you can hear what I'm doing right now and talking to you, can you show up in my life?’” Steingard candidly disclosed.
The singer first made the shocking announcement on Instagram in May. He said his loss of faith in God “didn’t happen overnight.”
“This is not a post I ever thought that I would write, but now I feel like I really need to,” Steingard wrote. “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 husband and father listed some questions he has been struggling with: "Why does he (God) 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)?"
Steingard ultimately came to his own conclusion that the Bible can't be trusted because he felt in the end it is "human, flawed and imperfect.” He also admitted that he and his wife didn't enjoy going to church, reading the Bible, praying or worshiping.
Since then, nevertheless, the “Drops in The Ocean” singer shared with West that he finds himself wanting to live in a way that would reflect that there is a higher power leading mankind to do good.
“Why do I say I don’t believe in God and yet I find myself compelled to act in so many ways that seem to indicate that I do?” he said.
While still on his quest of discovery, the artist said he is still in his deconstruction faze. He admitted that the Jesus of the Bible is worth emulating and he is longing to have something tangible to hold onto with God, rather than it just be the faith of the "family business." He named Jesus’ interaction with the disciple Thomas, known popularly as “doubting Thomas,” as what he most relates to now.
The discussion with West, also a pastor’s son who went on to have great success in Christian music, concluded with Steingard saying he is doesn’t believe God will reject him because he is “genuinely searching.”