Leading Christian songwriter says he’s happier without religion

Leading Christian songwriter says he’s happier without religion August 13, 2019
Image via YouTube

AUSTRALIA’S Hillsong, a charismatic Christian megachurch which began life in Australia, is reeling from the shock of losing a prominent worship leader, the singer/songwriter, Marty Samson, above.

His ditching of Christianity comes in the wake of former pastor Joshua Harris’s announcement last month that he’d kicked his faith into the long grass. Harris was last heard of when he joined a Gay Pride Parade in Vancouver.

Sampson wrote in a since-deleted Instagram post that:

I’m genuinely losing my faith .. .and it doesn’t bother me … like, what bothers me now is nothing … I am so happy now, so at peace with the world … it’s crazy.

It also appears he’s cleared his Instagram account of all posts.

Sampson added:

How many preachers fall? Many. No one talks about it. How many miracles happen. Not many. No one talks about it. Why is the Bible full of contradictions? No one talks about it. How can God be love yet send 4 billion people to a place, all coz they don’t believe? No one talks about it. Christians can be the most [judgmental] people on the planet — they can also be some of the most beautiful and loving people…but it’s not for me. I am not in anymore.

Sampson also wrote that he wants:

Genuine truth. Not the ‘I just believe it’ kind of truth. Science keeps piercing the truth of every religion. Lots of things help people change their lives, not just one version of God … Unfollow if you want, I’ve never been about living my life for others.

He concluded his post by saying:

Love and forgive absolutely. Be kind absolutely. Be generous and do good to others absolutely. Some things are good no matter what you believe. Let the rain fall, the sun will come up tomorrow.

Image via YouTube

David Robertson, above, a former minister of St Peter’s Free Church in Dundee and Associate Director of Solas, the Centre for Public Christianity, today wrote an open letter to Samson, in which he said:

I am so sorry to read your Instagram post about how you are ‘losing your faith’.  I suspect you know this already but be prepared for the reaction. There will be those who laud your ‘courage and openness’ and others who lament your ‘backsliding and apostasy’. 

Forgive me for writing this but your post sparked so many emotions and questions …

Firstly there is a deep sorrow that someone who once sang ‘for endless days we will sing your praise’ has now decided to walk away from Jesus. You no longer see ‘his wounds, his hands, his feet, my Saviour on that cursed tree. (‘O Praise the Name’). As someone who loves and follows Jesus and knows what life without him is like, I cannot help but feel a deep sorrow for you, and also for those whom you have served with.

He added that:

I’m afraid that your public renunciation of your faith will do harm to them [Hillsong members], and to the wider body of Christ. I can already feel the schadenfreude of those who dislike Hillsong – ‘see we told you that they were shallow and not “real” Christians”. They conveniently forget that Christians from every tribe have fallen and left the faith. The joy of atheists who hate the God they don’t believe will also fill the web. 

Robertson expressed puzzlement over what kind of faith Samson actually had.

Your post said that ‘no one’ talks about how many preachers fall, how many miracles happen, why the Bible is full of contradictions, how can a God of love send people to hell. You seem to have been living in some kind of sheltered cocoon. In the Christian world I inhabit people never stop talking about these things! Was your faith or your church background really so superficial and shallow that these questions were never discussed? Little wonder that your faith collapsed like a house of sand, if it was built on such flimsy foundations and was never tested! …

Let’s take your claim that the Bible is ‘full of contradictions’. That’s the kind of statement I often hear from those who have never read the Bible, but as a Christian songwriter that cannot be your situation. When did you become aware of these apparent contradictions? I have been reading and studying the Bible for the past 40 years and I have yet to come across any substantive or real contradiction. It would be helpful if you could share some of these contradictions that you claim the Bible is full of.

Robertson claimed that some of Samson ‘s other statements:

Are stunning … You say, ‘Science keeps piercing the truth of every religion’. I’m not sure where you picked up that old modernist myth but it is one that has been thoroughly debunked in the 21st Century. I suggest you read John Lennox’s God’s Undertaker that is helpfully subtitled ‘Has Science buried God?

Robertson signs off with the inevitable “I’ll pray for you” which gives me the excuse to use this brilliant video, sent to me at the weekend by long-time Freethinker reader Angela.

Update: Samson now says that while he hasn’t “renounced” his Christianity, it’s nevertheless on “incredibly shaky ground.”

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  • kaydenpat

    Samson was a rock star among Hillsong songwriters and singers. This is a huge blow to that church and other Evangelicals. They can lash out at him and claim that he never was a “real Christian” but given his prominence, I doubt such claims will fly,

  • kaydenpat

    Samson was a rock star within Christian music so this is going to hurt. I guess they’ll try to say he wasn’t a “real Christian” but that’s not going to fly given his prominent status in Hillsong.

  • Wisdom, Justice, Love

    You say, ‘Science keeps piercing the truth of every religion’. I’m not sure where you picked up that old modernist myth but it is one that has been thoroughly debunked in the 21st Century.

    Good money says this guy has been on a plane, an elevator, and/or the internet in the last five years.

  • Lauren Lagergren

    Not any contradictions in the bible and I’ve been reading the Bible for 40 years. Did you read the Bible for 40 years or did you read the Bible 1 year 40 times? When I lost belief in gods, it wasn’t like losing money or a loved one; it was like opening a door or window into freedom as well. Why? Because, as far as I could see, no believer has demonstrated the existence of this god and my father certainly could not. No, a new born baby, a sunrise, a sunset, a cure for an illness are not demonstrable proofs of a god. People make up this god and attribute certain characteristics based on tradition, old redacted, revised, and re-revised books based on stories cobbled together and then re-assembled by human beings based on their own biases.

  • CoastalMaineBird

    How many preachers fall? Many. No one talks about it. How many miracles happen. Not many. No one talks about it. Why is the Bible full of contradictions? No one talks about it. How can God be love yet send 4 billion people to a place, all coz they don’t believe? No one talks about it.

    You’re full of ****. LOTS of people have been talking about it for a LONG time. If you take your fingers out of your ears you might hear something.

  • Freethinker

    In fairness to our newly minted non mythologist, the people he is surrounded with no doubt would never talk about issues like this, or dare question anything that is the word of Goad, least they be branded heretics or even worse, Liberals!

  • Freethinker

    Not any contradictions in the bible and I’ve been reading the Bible for 40 years.

    Must have not read it very well then….here is a little insight on at least 439 of them.


  • barriejohn

    Exactly – I took it that he was referring to his Christian “friends” (they won’t be now!).

  • barriejohn

    I know how he feels. The peace and joy that floods your being when you finally find the courage to ditch the nonsense that has enslaved you is almost palpable, and strangely enough is exactly what they claim comes with “faith”. I can truly say now “Once I was blind, but now I can see”, which is what I used to parrot as a Christian, though it was meaningless then. Strangely enough as well, I now know that I don’t have all the answers and it doesn’t bother me one little bit. It just fills me with awe and wonder at the magnificence of the universe and all it contains – and you don’t need “God”!

    I wish Marty Samson well.

  • barriejohn

    Barry: Are you sure that video is authentic? I’m afraid someone might be having you on there. I thought this was what happened to thoughts and prayers (I saw it on TBN!):


  • ephemerol

    Mother of all bible contradictions:

    Jesus prophesied the coming of the “Son of Man” within the lifetimes of those living in the first century.

    Six times within the canonical gospels this prophecy falls out of the mouth of Jesus.

    His prophecy failed. What does the bible say about people who prophecy falsely?

    Deuteronomy 18:
    20 But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.
    21 And if you say in your heart, How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?
    22 when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is a thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.

    Jesus was not god, and not the savior. Just a cheap imposter. If he existed at all, he was just a false prophet who spoke presumptuously.

    The bible even says so.

  • ephemerol

    The joy of athеists who hate the gоd they don’t believe will also fill the web.

    He makes it sound like there’s just one gоd we don’t believe. There’s so many, and it’s hard to care enough to come up with enough hаtе for even one of them.

    Sigh…It’s so ɡоddаm exhausting being an athеist… /s

  • Jenn H

    “It would be helpful if you could share some of these contradictions that you claim the Bible is full of.”

    I think the only appropriate response to that is “let me google that for you.”

    Seriously, how can you study the Bible for that long and not notice there are four different gosples? Do they just explain away every contradiction as not really being a contradiction (like the two genesis accounts).

  • Madison Blane

    The two Genesis accounts are easily explained if one doesn’t presume monotheism (and the writers didn’t) and knows that when the Bible was written, YHWH was a tribal god who ruled only the Hebrews. So:

    Genesis 1 is the origin story of humanity. It tells the story of “God” actually translated as the Elohim – a word that is plural in this context, meaning a council of gods and goddesses – creating our world, all plants and animals, and both male and female equally, “Let us make man(kind) in our image, after our likeness.” The fact that humans existed beforehand and outside of the garden is further evidenced by Genesis 4 when Cain marries a woman from the nearby city of Nod.

    Genesis 2 is the origin story of the Hebrews specifically, YHWH’s chosen people. It tells of how one of the gods — the one worshipped as The Most High by the Hebrews, or “Lord God” — YHWH wasn’t happy with this arrangement and decided to create his own little special garden full of only select animals and plants the he found “pleasant to the sight, and good for food,” and then he populated it with a single man, and then a woman from that man’s rib.

    In Genesis 3, the man and woman gain forbidden knowledge equal to that of the gods themselves. And YHWH worries that if they happen to eat from the Tree of Life (which wasn’t forbidden to them) that these two would then be competition instead of inferiors, so they had to go live with the rest of humanity, but they got to take their god-level knowledge with them. “And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever: Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden.” But still, they at least obtained something that made them special before they left. So the story is also a bit of a justification for why Hebrews are better than everyone else too.

    Read the first 3 chapters again in that light and see if it doesn’t make perfect sense now. It was when the religion moved to monotheism and wanted to pretend that no other gods existed that the story was edited to where it started looking like conflicting creation stories. But the difference between “God” in chapter 1 and “Lord God” in chapter 2 is a clue that the translators were looking at two different words that likely had different meanings before all mentions of any higher power were all swept up into a single deity. There are all kinds of traces like that throughout the Old Testament where edits being made in the name of monotheism leave traces and make the stories wonky.

  • Madison Blane

    Yup. I had to become an Atheist in order to find the “peace that passes all understanding” that was promised by Christianity – a belief system which in reality only brought me anxiety and fear that passed all reasonable tolerance.

  • Madison Blane

    “As someone who loves and follows Jesus and knows what life without him is like”

    Really? How does he “know” this? Was he raised in seclusion on some foreign island speaking a language that no Bible has ever been translated into? Because even as an Atheist, I have no idea what it’s like to live a life that isn’t having Jesus constantly shoved into it against my farking will. Is he saying he actually was an Atheist at one time? I don’t believe that for one second. Maybe he was one of those not-the-right-kind-of-Christian ‘Atheists’, but if he was less than happy, it certainly wasn’t for lack of Jesus; I do know that much. Or is he just saying that he knows all the scary things he’s been told about the misery of unbelievers and how awful our supposedly empty lives are with their god-shaped holes and all? Because somehow I think he “knows” about life as an unbeliever about the same way he “knows” that hell exists, and he probably “knows” an equal number of things about each of them – zero; he knows zero things about either of them but still thinks he knows everything because some other faith-is-all-the-evidence-I-need believer told him so.

  • Eric Jameson

    A lot of these Hillsong type “churches” have lots of people in them that are not truly saved as theses churches do not teach repentance. It is, therefore, no great surprise that they have such a high fallout.

  • Then you have in the OT mentions of deities as Baal and Asherah, that despite Fundy claims of them being demons were actually other deities venerated alongside Him.

    Apologists have also attempted to explain away those accounts as Genesis 1 describing everyone being formed in spiritual fashion (in line with stuff as the very first verses of Isaiah), while Genesis 2 described mankind being formed phisically. This despite souls, etc. not being present on early Judaism, everything being material, and having been introduced by Greek influence much later on -then again, those people are the kind who claims evolution and the Big Bang are either nonsense, the Biblical versions being the absolute truth, or that if you believe in a (botched version of) the former theory you must believe Jesus was born from a virgin.

  • barriejohn

    So true!

  • Sophotroph

    Ah, the settlers have arrived from No True Scotland! How is it this time of year on the Ersatz Isle?

  • barriejohn

    If I had a pound for every time I’ve been told that I must never have been “truly saved”…..

  • Sophotroph

    All you’ve told us is that you are so devoid of reading comprehension ability that you couldn’t find things that were staring you in the face for 40 years.

    That’s not something to be proud of.

  • If not, I wanna know how he got his ridiculous letter online using only an abacus.

  • barriejohn

    It was David Robertson who said that (see article); you’ve all got hold of the wrong end of the stick here because it’s not shown as a quotation!

  • It’s so sad that you can’t teach everybody in Christianity how to be as amazingly authentic and true as you are. Hey, you know what, I’ve had a great idea. You could write down how to Jesus perfectly, since obviously you know, and put it in a book. Then you could make sure every Christian gets a copy of that book. Oh! And and and then, you could tell them this book is super amazing. You could even say it’s divine in nature! That way they all know they should study it.

    After all, since you are totally correct and a real live god has told you exactly how to interpret the contradictory, maddeningly vague, hopelessly incomplete directives in the Bible, it should be really easy to persuade all of them that you are Jesus-ing correctly while they are Jesus-ing all wrong. A real live god of even reasonable competency wouldn’t ever make it easy to believe in him fervently and sincerely and still Jesus all wrong.

    Get to it! A book like that would sell like hotcakes at a lumberjack convention! Christians need this book like yesterday! They need your wisdom!

  • zenlike

    Yeah, I initially misread the comment too, but the first part contradicts the second part, so it kind of confused me: the first part is meant to be a quotation for sure.

  • zenlike

    Love the pun, but my pedantry forces me to state the emerald isle is Ireland, not Scotland.

  • Craig

    Christians: –

    1. God created a Hell.

    2. God brings people – specific people – into existence whom He knows will most definitely go to that Hell.

    How or in What way is God being morally good to billions of human beings to bring them into existence when He already knew that for each one of those persons it would be better for them – better for them personally – to not exist ( Namely, because God knew they would suffer and be in torment for all of Eternity Future ) ?

    Your answer is …………………….. ??

  • barriejohn

    But most of those Irish Protestants are really Scots!

  • Matt G

    These are Christians we are talking about – their powers of rationalization are superhuman.

  • Matt G

    I was once told “I’m not really sure you’re an atheist”. I answered “you don’t have to be sure – I’m sure”.

  • Michael Neville

    Why do they keep accusing us of hating their god? It’s silly to hate a figment of someone else’s imagination.

  • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

    Wellll…Voldemort, Thanos, etc…


  • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

    And YOU know this exactly HOW, again?

    Face it…if you think *you* have any special ‘discernment’, you’re almost certainly fooling yourself.

    If not, then make a list of those you’ve determined will ‘fall away’, *when*, and *why*, then seal it up and hand it to one of US to safeguard / review…or 69STFU and 69GTFO with your fatuous smarmy overweening arrogance

  • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

    Followed only by ‘jesus’ prayer that all would ‘know’ that xtianity was correct because all believers were of one mind…

  • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

    You’re either a Liar for Jebus™, or pathetically incurious.

  • Michael Neville

    I don’t hate them. Am I supposed to?

  • barriejohn

    Lauren is quoting David Robertson, as I pointed out!

  • barriejohn

    The answer is: “We don’t know now, but we will one day.” They think of everything!

  • HairyEyedWordBombThrower


    I love quotation marks for just this reason…

  • barriejohn

    I wish he/she would correct it!

  • Mark in Ohio

    I wonder how he wiggles around the discrepancies in the resurrection accounts?

  • Mark in Ohio

    Oh, that’s easy. Since God is defined as morally good, everything he does is morally good, regardless of whether or not we can see the good in it. And they can still and with a straight face claim he’s the source of “absolute morality” when anyone with sense sees him as at least morally deficient, if not outright psychotic.

  • Mark in Ohio

    His paycheck relies on him NOT finding those contradictions. It’s called motivated reasoning.

  • Mark in Ohio

    …my doctor would recommend bariatric surgery, after they cut a hole in the wall of my house and took me to see him, probably using a crane and flatbed truck.

  • Wisdom, Justice, Love

    Always amazes me:
    The people wearing wireless microphones think you shouldn’t trust science. And somehow never get called on it when walking into a hospital/doctor’s office/medical facility.

  • ephemerol

    Come to think of it, the pasttime of arguing (not being of one mind) isn’t just a Jewish thing, it isn’t even just a middle eastern thing, it’s kind of endemic to the whole ancient world. Given the highly fractious state of Jewish religion and politics in the 1st century, why would it even occur to Jesus as something Jews or anyone else would be remotely capable of, unless he were not actually a Jew, but rather a space alien? The Borg comes to mind…

  • I appreciate you writing this out! I hadn’t thought of it that way and it makes sense.

  • Saaaaame. It weirds me out when Christians act like only they get “true” peace. I only found peace when I deconverted. Love, too, and joy.

    Weird, right? That Christian recruitment pitches get it bass-ackward? /s

  • Mark in Ohio

    Every time I see one of those “No God, No Peace – Know God, Know Peace” church signs, I have to fight the urge to go up and remove the “K” and “w” from the second “Know”.

  • blogcom

    I have to agree with the minister, Samson’s grasp of Christianity does sound incredibly superficial.
    Here’s this guy, a Christian since his late teens according to him, who’s now fortyish with questions that should have been resolved a long time ago.
    Although it’s bad enough when someone loses the faith how did Sampson get to be so ignorant.

  • That line wasn’t meant for him. It’s an “open letter”; that particular lie was aimed at the faithful flock reading his message. If this pastor has studied the Bible, he knows how many contradictions there are, and how many twisted illogical leaps their god’s salespeople have to make to get the contradictions to seem “unimportant”. But he also knows most of the flock hasn’t studied the Bible; they’ll just believe whatever he says about the Bible.

    Now that the songwriter has seen the contradictions, he isn’t going to un-see them. But maybe the pastor can keep people from checking it out themselves if he just assures them they don’t need to think about it.

  • Madison Blane

    Want to hear some really weird explanations for simple truths they want to deny? Ask them about Deuteronomy 32:8-9, where El-Elyon (El, the Most High of the Canaanite pantheon) and his wife Athirat (i.e., Asherah) divided the 70 nations and gave one to each of their 70 children, and their child YHWH is given Israel.

    They try to say that El is God, ignore Athirat, and claim the “sons and daughters’ refers to angels, but if that’s so, then YHWH isn’t a deity. There’s a reason why Christian preachers largely avoid Old Testament (excepting Psalms, Proverbs and a few verses about creation and the flood) and this is why – it doesn’t support their claims.

  • Raymond Metcalfe

    Its really funny whenever any religious person leaves there faith no matter what its brand is weather its Christian Muslem Hindoo or the worship of the trees they where not really one of us they wernt real Christians you don’t agree with their version of bullssshit so then they are not true believers

  • Robert Anthony

    Ugh. Don’t look back Marty. It’s not “shaky ground”; it was never ground at all.

  • barriejohn

    One of the first things that they teach you when you become an evangelical Christian is that “The God of the Old Testament has many different names”. They have to get this in fairly quickly before you start reading it for yourself and come to the quite sensible conclusion that the OT writers were originally referring to many different gods!

  • Madison Blane

    Lest you think I’m some sort of prodigy who figured it all out, or that this is some harebrained idea of mine, I want to say that this isn’t my theory, it’s the scholarly consensus of Ugaritic studies. So I can’t take credit for anything but being a nerd who reads a lot and transmitting the information. There is proof that ancient Israel was monolatrous (many gods exist but we worship only one) before they were monotheistic, and that Genesis was written as the synthesis of several of those texts.

  • persephone

    It’s hard to hate something that doesn’t exist. I’ll stick to hating the people that believe they have the right to control and abuse others per their god(s).

  • persephone

    The Israelites pilfered so much from the time they were in Egypt, and they certainly ran into a lot of other cultures there, so none of this should be surprising, unless you’re a close-minded fundagelical.

  • persephone

    He’s going to have to build a whole new set of relationships. It’s not an easy row to hoe, and I wish him the best.

  • persephone

    I think I just blocked this guy a few days ago for abusing me because I said there was no God and the Bible was full of contradictions.

  • As a former worship leader, I can attest the irony of being happier after leaving the myth of “god’s presence.” I wrote about it in a chapter my book, LEAVING WORSHIP, how manipulative and routine worship-leading can be. Almost addictive. Zen? Glad Marty left Christianity and found peace and rationality.

  • If his questions had been resolved a long time ago, then he would have left christianity back then. He put up with those questions for a heckuva long time before admitting that “faith” wasn’t a good thing to have. He gave christianity more time and energy than it deserved. Glad he’s finally figured it out now.

  • Not that some have come with gems as considering Amalekites, Canaanites, etc. as demons to justify their genocides, to mix “to fear God” (OT, being jealous, etc.) with the NT concept of Him, (in theory) very different, Jesus as part of the Trinity having been all over the NT, Satan as accuser mixed with the Devil, and more.

    Then you have no foreshadowing of Jesus -besides their free interpretation of Isaiah and others-, especially after Adam and Eve are thrown out, no afterlife at least as in the NT and especially as in the case of A&E banishment, and the big gap between the last book of the OT and the Gospels.

  • Eric Jameson

    1st John 2 v 19

  • blogcom

    Yes, but that’s my point, Samson should have got the theology sorted out a long time ago even if it meant him opting out of Christianity.
    I believe there’s a verse, maybe someone could provide the book and chapter, where Jesus likens Christianity to a building project saying something along the lines of BEFORE builders get started on the job its imperative they evaluate whether they are able to finish it.
    Otherwise they are just foolish.
    It seems looking back isn’t an option.

  • Eric Jameson

    One day you will meet this God you don’t believe in, then you will suffer the flames of an eternal Hell.

  • This isn’t a place where people are impressed when you throw the right bible verse at something.

    When someone is indoctrinated into a religion, usually as a youngster, they aren’t going to be thinking “Oh no, I can’t sing Jesus Loves Me with the Sunday school class! I’m going to find out as an adult that there is insufficient evidence to warrant belief, so I’d better not start believing at all!” That isn’t how it works. And when someone has wrapped their lives and livelihoods around that belief system, it can be really hard to see through it all. But yet, it happens, and to people that you wouldn’t expect.

    Religious indoctrination includes strong discouragements from thinking things through, or asking difficult questions. Including getting people like you to go around calling people “ignorant” for “losing faith”. (That sort of thing is usually a defense mechanism on your part. If Marty Samson could “lose faith” then it could happen to anyone. Including you. That’s really scary, so better to tell yourself that he was never doing it right, so you can pretend that you are safe.)

  • anne marie hovgaard

    And they just ignore the fact that this means we have no reason to believe God’s “morally good” in any way resembles what we would consider morally good. They’re like abused children who adopt their parents’ warped ideas and values, because the alternative is unthinkable.

  • anne marie hovgaard

    …and loved one another. Even when I was a Christian, I only ever heard those quoted sarcastically.

  • Barry Duke

    And you know this, how? Now move long and make a nuisance of yourself somewhere else. You’re banned BTW.

  • Astreja

    Abacus? That’s a high-tech computational device. I would have guessed a few scratches in the dirt using a rock or twig.

  • Kimberly

    Hearing that he stopped believing – and now seeing the update that he does see himself as a believer still but on shaky ground – my conclusion is he was having a healthy dose of doubt. Which is good and right to become a stronger Christian later. Let me explain: I am a Christian. I do believe in Jesus and what the Bible says – because I have grappled with its realities, seeming contradictions and hatefulness for several years. There have been various times I got close to not believing myself. But once I pressed back into God, asked my questions, and then chose to believe Him, more often than not He has shown Himself to be real and who He says is. Faith is a choice, and times of doubt – even strong doubt – can strengthen your faith if you let it.

  • Joshua

    How? How did he show himself to be real? In any way other than your personal interpretation of reality has there been an iota of evidence? I’ll answer for you. No. Christianity is such a looped up mix of contradictions, anyone who claims there are none are blatantly, knowingly lying in spite of their sky-daddy rule against it. And deep down, they know it.