Consider the following excerpt from Bono in Conversation by rock journalist Michka Assayas.
In the interview, Assayas asks if Bono doesn’t agree that “appalling things” happen when people become religious.
Bono: “It’s a mind-blowing concept that the God who created the Universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people, but the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma."
Assayas: “What’s that?"
Bono: “At the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics by an equal or an opposite one…And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that...Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I’ve done a lot of stupid stuff.”
Assayas: "Like what?"
Bono: “That’s between me and God. But I’d be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge…”It doesn’t excuse my mistakes, but I’m holding out for Grace. I’m holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don’t have to depend on my own religiosity.”
Assayas: “The Son of God who takes away the sins of the world. I wish I could believe in that.”
Bono: “The point of the death of Christ is that Christ took on the sins of the world, so that what we put out did not come back to us, and that our sinful nature does not reap the obvious death. It’s not our own good works that get us through the gates of Heaven.”
Assayas: “That’s a great idea, no denying it. Such great hope is wonderful, even though it’s close to lunacy, in my view…Christ has His rank among the world’s great thinkers. But Son of God, isn’t that farfetched?
Bono: Look, the secular response to the Christ story always goes like this: He was a great prophet, obviously a very interesting guy, had a lot to say along the lines of other great prophets, be they Elijah, Muhammad, Buddha, or Confucius. But actually Christ doesn’t allow you that. He doesn’t let you off that hook. Christ says, ‘No. I’m not saying I’m a teacher, don’t call me a teacher. I’m not saying I’m a prophet. I’m saing, “I’m the Messiah.’ I’m saying “I am God incarnate. So what you’re left with is either Christ was who he said he was, or he was a nutcase…The idea that the entire course of civilization for over half of the globe could have its fate changed and turned upside-down by a nutcase, for me that’s farfetched.”
Is it any wonder they call it Amazing Grace?