Scores of fans of the Missouri-based Christian death metal band Order of Elijah began shredding posters and deleting music files on Saturday following the group’s Facebook announcement that the lead singer came out as an atheist.
Front man Shannon Low announced that he became an atheist slowly over the past year along with others in the metal quintet who have also left their faith, adding that he feels completely at “peace” with his decision to leave the church.
“After one of the most difficult decisions in my adult years, I had no choice but to accept that I had shed my faith like a cocoon,” Low wrote. “It was scary yet liberating, it confusing yet simple, I felt at peace yet completely shaken, I pretty much had to reprogram my way of thinking about the world. Not only that, I felt I had lived a lie for half my life.”
According to Patheos, Low’s band switched labels last year, moving from a Christian record label to a secular one. Members gradually started “shedding” their religious proclivities and became more skeptical when viewing the natural world around them.
Following a choppy year of alcoholism and divorce, Low turned back to church for answers, but he began seeing the Bible in a totally different light.
“One Sunday morning there was a sermon that spoke about Elisha and the bears,” Low wrote. “After a large group of children make fun of Elisha for being bald he curses them in the name of god (which I thought was a commandment not to do). God sends out two female bears to rip the kids apart limb from limb. Now this story disturbed me. I thought ‘I’ve read the whole bible, how did I overlook this?’ So I began asking some questions and found each person had a different apologetic answer for this story. Some said “You don’t understand, calling someone bald back then was horrible.” or “You need to realize these children were heretics and needed to die so their seed didn’t spread.”
Low also noticed the religious hypocrisy of the Christian faith and described how some of his friends called gays “abominations.”
“Sometimes I would lose Christian friends by simple pondering certain questions,” Low wrote. “I would see these same Christians publicly calling my other friends “abominations” for being gay. The pastors making millions with feel-good sermons and theatrics, the abortion clinics being bombed, children dying because their parents insist on using faith healing, the barbarism of middle eastern Islam, the list goes on…. all of this cruelty justified by each particular sect in the name of their god’s love. Who’s god? Religion’s bad attributes began outweighing it’s good.”
Many of their fans are not accepting of the transition, especially after the band took a stand for LGBT equality.
“Some people have already declared… things such as ripping out posters off their walls, breaking our CDs in two, vulgar messages, deleting us from their music, and hundreds of dislikes from the page,” Low said in a Patheos interview.
“Especially after we took a stand for LGBT equality lol. Although, while its thinned out the zealots it has brought a lot of new opened minded fans. Many who have reached out to us about having the same doubts but have nobody to talk to. Most with the same fears that they will be shunned by their family or peers. I think it will be a transitional process, but separating myself from Christianity has been a great decision.
Featured image: hmmagazine.com