Christian Band’s Guitarist Fired for Losing His Faith

A Christian rock band, Haste the Day, has kicked out one of its guitarists, Jason Barnes.

Why?

Jason now says he’s an atheist.

In a statement, the band writes:

Hey Everyone,

This is going to come as a shock to many of you. After much prayer and thought given to the matter, we asked Jason Barnes to step down from his involvement with Haste the Day. For a while Jason has been searching and searching for real meaning in his existence. After several months of reading literature and talking with friends, Jason had determined that he felt there was no God and certainly no Jesus. We as a band do not have problem with those that do not believe in Jesus, nor do we cast judgement on those that do not believe in Jesus. We just want to love on people like Jesus would and hopefully share a little bit about what he’s done and doing in our lives. We would call ourselves a Christian band and for that reason, we felt we couldn’t have someone in the band who didn’t agree with the band’s foundational drive.. Jason’s new found disbelief in what the rest of us have committed our lives to began to cause disunity within the band and as a result, we prayed and talked about it and felt like God was saying it wasn’t time for Haste the Day to come to an end. Thusly, We asked Jason to leave.

We love Jason and it pains us all to not be on the road with one of our closest friends. It has also been a miserable experience for Jason to not be a part of something that he has been a part of for so long. We are all working on mending the tear in our relationship with Jason and are hoping to be able to continue to call him friend. We will not be replacing Jason with a new guitar player. Our friend, Dave Krysl, will be our full time touring guitar player. The 4 of us (Stephen, Devin, Brennan, Michael) all wrote our new album which will be called “Dreamer.”

We appreciate all the thoughts and prayers you can send toward us and Jason. Thanks for listening and as always, we will see you on the road!

We don’t get to hear Jason’s point of view so I don’t know what he thought about being asked to step down.

Though a Christian band with an atheist member presumably won’t sell as many albums so I’m not sure I’d place a lot of blame on the band for doing what they felt they had to do.

The question I have is what prompted Jason’s abandoning of the faith. The band says he read some books and talked to friends… I’m really curious which books they were! And what made him want to read those in the first place?

Jason, come visit us and answer those questions!

We’ll take you in and make you feel welcome!

Plus, this website could use an in-house guitarist.

(via The Gauntlet)

  • Pseudonym

    It’s not like rock bands haven’t broken up for dumber reasons than this.

    But certainly, I’d like to hear from Jason. Should be a very interesting discussion.

  • http://bamoon.com BrianM

    D’you you really think that having an atheist member would prevent them from selling more records? Are the folks who buy Xtian rock albums likely to take that into account before plunking down their money?

  • Darryl

    Whoa, bummer dude–kicked outta the band. On the other hand, I would think an atheist might feel a bit uncomfortable going on the road for Jesus when he doesn’t believe in him.

    And, by the way, Hemant, some of the rest of us are guitarists too: myspace.com/deedubbmusic

  • Price

    “Christian Rock” is a ridiculous concept in the first place. Rock and Roll, at its heart, is about rebellion. Christianity (and religion in general) is about submission and obedience. Christians don’t rock. Also, when I was younger (back in the day of Hair Metal), anytime I picked up a Christian Rock album, it would usually have a sticker on it that read “If you like (insert secular band here), then you’ll love (insert christian band here)”. If I like Queensryche, I’m going to listen to Queensryche. Why would I listen to a poor imitation of the artist I want to hear just because they pen religious lyrics. Pathetic. There are also “Christian Death Metal” bands… WTF!

  • http://ghostsofminnesota.blogspot.com Ghost of Minnesota

    I see no problem here. It was likely a mutually beneficial parting of ways.

    Bravo for the guitarist, though. To be that deep and that high-profile in the Christian world, and then openly turn away from it, is pretty awesome. Remember the name Jason Barnes. He’ll likely have some interesting stories for the atheist community at some point.

  • Melissa

    Huh…I’ve always liked this band, never was I aware that they were religious. Honestly, if anyone listens to them, they sound more like screamo then rock, they’re too hard to be just plain old rock. *shrugs* I’m glad Jason is out of the picture, maybe he’ll start an atheist rock band??

  • http://www.blueglowy.com Mike B

    There is in fact a whole group of atheist musicians he can hang out with over on Atheist Nexus now :P

  • Darryl

    Christians don’t rock.

    Price, I take your meaning. I have ridiculed Christian Rock ever since I played it way back when. Yes, it usually sucks, probably more than other rock, but some of it is good (for example, U2 is not one of my favorite bands, but some people like them).
    I think it would be great if there emerged a Christian Rock band that was raucous and rebellious toward the major hypocrisy of religion on the one hand, and the major self-centeredness, shallowness, destructiveness, and materialism of Western culture on the other. A band like that would have no problem finding material and a bottomless well of righteous anger from which to draw. I don’t know, maybe there is such a band out there.

  • Jason

    Quick, where’s that FSTDT post where somebody says that Christian guitarists are better than atheist guitarists?

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  • Pseudonym

    Price:

    Rock and Roll, at its heart, is about rebellion.

    I don’t know if you’re young, naive or both, but this is factually incorrect. It’s a myth that bands tell themselves. Some of them even believe it. But it’s not true. Rock and roll is very much mainstream, and has been for a long time now.

    I’m in my mid-30s, and my parents grew up listening to rock and roll! Honestly, how rebellious can it be?

    If you’re not cynical, then rock and roll has always been about the music.

    If you are cynical, then rock and roll has always been business.

    Christianity (and religion in general) is about submission and obedience.

    Also factually incorrect, but irrelevant.

    There are also “Christian Death Metal” bands… WTF!

    OK, I don’t get that one either. Not that I’ve heard any of it, but perhaps it’s got something to do with the fact that a lot of religious righters seem to be part of a bizarre death cult that glorifies guns, capital punishment and war. It kinda fits.

  • Christophe Thill

    … I’d like to hear this guy’s version of Losing my Religion.

  • http://www.otmatheist.com hoverFrog

    We are all working on mending the tear in our relationship with Jason and are hoping to be able to continue to call him friend.

    So, not only does he get kicked out of the band but they aren’t his friends anymore. What’s that about?

    Also what does this phrase mean?

    We just want to love on people like Jesus would

  • andrew

    WELCOME WELCOME JASON!

  • geru

    I guess having a little diversity and tolerance in the band would have been totally against the general xenophobic atmosphere of Christianity? That could be a theme for their next album, If you’re not like us, you’re not welcome around here.

    And I’ll bet that their record company wasn’t too happy either to find out that a member of the band had suddenly grown a backbone and some common sense. That sort of development can’t be good for business.

    It would be interesting to hear more about the process, having an atheistic ‘wakening’ while touring with a Christian band sounds like a situation which could be pretty stressful and frustrating. Or scary as hell, depending on how suddenly the awakening happened.

  • Ron in Houston

    I do hope that someone out there can get Jason’s story.

  • David D

    We just want to love on people like Jesus would

    The problem that I have with this statement being used to somehow justify ending a friendship and parting ways with said friend over a difference of religious belief is that Jesus certainly would not have parted ways with a friend over religion. Jesus attempted to teach people to abandon the established religion of his day, which benefited those in power (the Pharisees and Saducees, who used Judaism to retain their own political power, all in the name of keeping the law). The law would have said to disavow (and to stone!) a friend who lost his faith, but Jesus would have most likely taken the extra time to really know a friend’s struggle and to love him through his disbelief.

    I guess a “Christian” band would distance themselves from an atheist friend, but a truly Christian band would have taken a different road. The difference between the two ways–between a person who labels himself as “Christian” as an identity that sets rules for him to live by, vs. a person who tries to embody the teachings of Jesus–is a source of hypocrisy for Christians and of anger for everyone else.

  • Siamang

    This is a TOTALLY great idea for a new reality show.

    Also what does this phrase mean?

    We just want to love on people like Jesus would

    It’s a turn of phrase of someone trying hard to talk like a rocker. It’s the same kind of overly image-aware person who uses the word “thusly” with a self-amused smirk.

    He’s strutting around the stage in this statement where he’s kicking someone out of the band, in a way that seems like he’s still trying to pretend that the band is all light and fun… but also still about loving on people, thusly.

  • Darryl

    Siamang, you way over-thought that one. Adding the word “on” can mean opposite things: it can either intensify the verb “love,” or oppositely it can neutralize it if one is uncomfortable or bored with saying he wants to “love people.” It is a regional expression also (e.g., to “eat on” rather than to “eat.”).

  • Dread Polack

    Sounds like their friendship might still be intact- I feel like it was appropriate enough to ask him to leave. Like most here, I’d love to hear his story.

    It might be an interesting gimmick to have an atheist guitarist in the group They make themselves sound tolerant and edgy enough to pull it off, but maybe it’s all talk on their part.

    And rock may have been about rebellion at one point, but now it’s just another genre. Even the flavor of “punk” rock you only hear on pop stations by teenage Abercrombie & Fitch models with orange hair, or “emo” music is mainstream. Additionally, I don’t think being christian precludes being rebellious, and I’m sure there are rebellious christian rock bands out there- I’m just not looking for them :)

  • Siamang

    or oppositely it can neutralize it if one is uncomfortable or bored with saying he wants to “love people.”

    .. or if one wants to look all cool and slacker and noncommittal and “whut…ever” about loving people.

    IE, rocker.

    Read it this way

    “We just want to love people like Jesus would”

    See? Not laid-back and cooler-than-thou and slacker and post-hip-self-ironic-y enough.

    Now try this: “We just want to love on people”… Totally better.

    Now explain the use of “thusly”.

  • Darryl

    Siamang, could be I’m just not in touch with slacker speak. I am getting older.

  • Siamang

    I think it’s just that I’m getting older and am past the point where I’m impressed by people trying to look cool.

    I’ve found out that they people I think are cool are usually people who don’t fit the “I’m being cool” mold.

    BTW, what does this mean:

    We will not be replacing Jason with a new guitar player. Our friend, Dave Krysl, will be our full time touring guitar player.

    Does it mean, “we won’t be replacing Jason with a new guitar player, Dave Krysl will be our new guitar player, but we won’t let him play on albums, so he’s just part of the touring band and therefore while being a replacement for Jason on-stage, he won’t actually be a replacement for Jason.”?

    That’s how I read it.

    And I’m totally looking forward to Jason starting up his own A-Rock band. Who says we can’t have our own cheesy fake hair-bands singing atheist-approved tunes like “Sympathy for the Non-existent Devil” and “Highway to Theocracy”.

    Oh DANG!

    Hemant! I just invented your next contest!

    It should be “Come up with your own Atheist-Rock band-name and a list of some of their song-titles!”

    Oh, and can I get a wristband for coming UP with a contest? You know, since I never ever can seem to win the actual contests.

    :-(

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    I’m always surprised when there’s a topic about atheism and music (particularly rock) because Bad Religion almost never gets mentioned. What’s with that? Greg Graffin’s an atheist, and Brett Gurewitz is a deist, and Jay Bentley even says he has “spiritual beliefs.” So it’s kind of a twofer (threefer?); you get differing perspectives, all in the same band.

    Bad Religion proved it’s possible to survive as a band with a cohesive image, yet different perspectives on that image. Hell, The Process of Belief (2002) and The Empire Strikes First (2004) are two of my all-time favorite albums by anyone, period. So I don’t see what the big deal is.

    If you want a quick taste of Bad Religion, here’s a link to my favorite song by them:

    http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Bad+Religion+sorrow&search_type=

  • Siamang

    No, I wanted a cheezy hair band looking to capitalize on a demographic marketplace. Not an actual musical band you would listen to even if you weren’t in their market-demo.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03859405216390259275 Rose

    I understand, too, why they felt he wasn’t a part of their drive. How can you be expected to play “I love you, Jesus” songs when you really only think he’s an ok guy (if at all).

    They did what they felt was best and I’m sure the guitarist (if he’s any good) will find a better place in the music biz because of it.

  • http://merkdorp.blogspot.com J. J. Ramsey

    Bad Religion proved it’s possible to survive as a band with a cohesive image, yet different perspectives on that image. Hell, The Process of Belief (2002) and The Empire Strikes First (2004) are two of my all-time favorite albums by anyone, period. So I don’t see what the big deal is.

    Music that is marketed specifically as “Christian” is, to put it bluntly, ideologically centered. Some of it is meant to outright promote Christianity. Much of it is meant to reinforce the beliefs of the faithful, and even at its vaguest, it is at least the kind of music that is “safe” for Christian, in that it isn’t supposed to provide temptations for Christians to stray into sin or disbelief. In one way or another, it is meant to reinforce a particular ideology.

    From what little I know of Bad Religion, it doesn’t seem to be ideologically centered in that way, and I doubt that its members would feel right being that way.

  • llewelly

    We just want to love on people like Jesus would

    Hector Avalos, in his book Fighting Words explains that the New Testament messages of love and kindness toward others did not mean all others – but only others of one’s own group. This young man has left the Christian faith – and is therefor no longer a member of their group.

  • TG

    What a shame! Everybody knows that there’s just no market for non-Christian rock out there. That poor Jason guy’s gonna starve to death. :’-(

  • Darryl

    Hector Avalos, in his book Fighting Words explains that the New Testament messages of love and kindness toward others did not mean all others – but only others of one’s own group.

    Hector is full of crap; read Jesus instead. Lordy, Christians have enough for atheists to pick on without inventing stuff.

  • Pseudonym

    J.J. Ramsey:

    Music that is marketed specifically as “Christian” is, to put it bluntly, ideologically centered.

    I find it instructive to compare that with, say, U2, George Harrison or Bob Marley. In the case of those artists, while the religion is/was never very far from the surface (and in some cases quite explicit), it is/was never marketed as specifically religious music.

    It seems to me that that the “Christian music” tag is bad for the band, because it needlessly restricts what they can do.

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    Music that is marketed specifically as “Christian” is, to put it bluntly, ideologically centered. Some of it is meant to outright promote Christianity. Much of it is meant to reinforce the beliefs of the faithful, and even at its vaguest, it is at least the kind of music that is “safe” for Christian, in that it isn’t supposed to provide temptations for Christians to stray into sin or disbelief. In one way or another, it is meant to reinforce a particular ideology.

    From what little I know of Bad Religion, it doesn’t seem to be ideologically centered in that way, and I doubt that its members would feel right being that way.

    Oh, I wasn’t calling them a Christian Rock band (by any means!!! XD). No, they’re quite the opposite (to make this point, I need only cite a lyric from “Do What You Want:” I don’t know if the millions will survive/but I’ll believe in God when one and one are five). What I meant was, their music is generally steered towards an anti-mass-religion ideology, and yet the band members have distinctly different spiritual beliefs.

    Which brings me back to my point; if the music is really good, then it doesn’t matter if everyone agrees on every aspect of the theme. If the music is really good, then that means the theme is accurate and powerful enough to make people put aside their differences (which is why I love Bad Religion so much; I’ve met a lot of really intelligent people, both Christian and Atheist, through mutual interest in Bad Religion).

  • http://merkdorp.blogspot.com J. J. Ramsey

    Tim D.:

    Oh, I wasn’t calling them a Christian Rock band (by any means!!! XD). No, they’re quite the opposite

    I’m well aware that they are not a Christian band. What I’m saying is that it is misleading to think of them as the opposite of a Christian band in the sense that their purpose is the same as that of a Christian band except that the ideology is different.

  • False Prophet

    BrianM said, [July 20, 2008 at 10:55 pm]

    D’you you really think that having an atheist member would prevent them from selling more records? Are the folks who buy Xtian rock albums likely to take that into account before plunking down their money?

    The majority of people who buy Christian contemporary music (CCM) buy it because the performers are Christian (or, the “right kind” of Christian). In most cases, it’s not because they like the music, because as Price noted, most of it is watered-down clones of better mainstream acts. There are good, talented CCM acts but most of them are spoiled by preachiness. This is something evangelicals rarely seem to get–hitting unconvinced people over the head with Scripture doesn’t accomplish anything.

    Otherwise, professional musicians don’t necessarily have to agree with the ideological stances of the music they’re playing, anymore than an actor playing Hitler needs to be a Nazi. Music is its own language. System of a Down was a very political band, but most of that was Serj Tankian (singer). Although the band, as Armenian-Americans, supported recognition of the Armenian genocide, I was always under the impression that the anti-globalization/anti-Bush stances were mostly Serj, with the rest of the band largely politically indifferent.

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    I’m well aware that they are not a Christian band. What I’m saying is that it is misleading to think of them as the opposite of a Christian band in the sense that their purpose is the same as that of a Christian band except that the ideology is different.

    Ah, I see. My bad 0_0

    Yeah, they are definitely not as simple as “CCR” bands, in that respect.

  • Ben

    We as a band do not have problem with those that do not believe in Jesus, nor do we cast judgement on those that do not believe in Jesus.

    AHAHA…ahaha…aha…ha…whew. What bible do you guys read from again?

  • Aaron

    Re: Christian bands that rock. POD has some good songs. I am pretty sure they are a religious band.

  • AnalogousGumdropDecoder

    Is anybody here aware of David Bazan (a.k.a. Pedro The Lion)’s very public de-conversion?  Because he’s the type of songwriter who writes about whatever issues are on his mind, his songs veered from having a lot of religious content to having a lot of atheistic content.  Lost him a LOT of fans.  However he was one of the rare Christian artists who was sharp enough not to paint himself into that narrow CCM box, and talented enough to have a lot of non-Christian followers.  I don’t know an awful lot about his music but I like what I’ve heard.  


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