“What’s that? All religions come from the same place?” Prince (1958 – 2016), musician, pop legend, philosopher of religion???
Wisdom can come from anywhere. Such as it is with music legend Prince, who died yesterday. Prince was very deservedly hailed as a musical genius and cultural icon. I remember Diamonds and Pearls and the Love Symbol Album dropping when I was but a lad and being amazed. He was also incredibly sexually explicit in many respects. Religiously, he was a Jehovah’s witness – a heterodox sect far outside the mainstream of Christian Faith. So on those two points I wouldn’t encourage anyone to follow him. But even someone who may be wrong about so much may have incredible insight.
In an interview give a few years ago , he was challenged on the contradiction between his sexually charged career and his strange but seemingly sincere religious life. Joel Miller at the time picked up on an interesting moment in the interview and it’s worth reflecting again upon it. Prince pushes back on the interviewer and asks:
“First of all, do you see a difference in religions?”
The interviewer gives a typically post-modern response: I say no, suggesting all religions are based on the same idea and then corrupted by their human leaders. This is such a common sentiment that it is almost boring to hear. It may be considered disrespectful or even less “spiritual” to acknowledge difference. “It’s all the same” is the refrain of the spiritual-not-religious mindset. Even though some may sincerely believe in it, I wonder how many have actually thought it through
Prince is apparently unhappy with the answer. Before he dodges the entire issue and changes the conversation, he lays down a simple statement:
“If one religion believes Christ is the king, and another doesn’t, then there’s a difference in religions.”
Maybe Prince was just trying to deflect the pressure she was placing on his incongruous life. And certainly the Christ described by his JW beliefs is not the accurate New Testament Jesus. But there’s a great nugget of truth in his words. If one religion says something is A and the next says it is Not A, then they can’t both be right. They can both be wrong. Or one of them can be right and the other wrong.
So, yesterday the world lost one of its greatest guitarists and music legends. And, even though he may have been confused on any number of other issues, someone who could think clearly on at least one point.
(HT: Joel J. Miller)