Thursday, July 12, 2007

An interview with Sinead O'Connor

... in Christianity Today. I've added a few comments here and there.
What's your religious background?

Sinéad O'Connor: I was born in 1966 in Ireland, which was at the time a Catholic theocracy, (!?) which can sometimes have negative connotations. My family were all strict Catholics—not in a ram-it-down-your-throat way, but in a kind, loving way. So it was a very Catholic upbringing, went to Catholic schools, an extremely religious environment. [Actually it is refreshing to here someone refer to their upbringing as "strict" but not "ram-it-down-your-throat." In my experience the two are almost always linked!]

Did religion ever become a lifestyle to you, or was it more of a tradition? [Not sure what exactly is being asked here. And, I suppose it suits the folks at CT just fine, all this anti-Catholicism?]

O'Connor: I would say that I'm religious by culture and nationality. It wasn't that I was dragged to mass; I went willingly because I liked going. Religion is not so much a lifestyle because I don't necessarily actively practice it. I don't go to church regularly, but I don't think you have to in order to conduct a relationship with God. Having said that, I do enjoy the times that I do go to church. I believe you can find God all over the place.

Any reason why you don't attend regularly?

O'Connor: I have difficulties with aspects of religion, just as there are things about myself that I like and don't like. I think there's an area of weakness in Catholicism, the way that it's all very hierarchically structured. There isn't equanimity between the audience and the performer, even in the symbolism. In the old days, the mass was conducted in Latin and the priest had his back to the congregation, the idea being that he was somehow leading people to God, while the people were giving their energy to the priest for him to be able to do that. But now when the priest is facing the audience, the symbolism is that the audience is being dictated to and the priest has his back to God. [Fascinating critique of the new Mass! But "energy"? Hmm.]

The hierarchies, not just of Catholicism but a few different religions, see themselves as being above everybody else, which has created this kind of exclusionary thing. The hierarchies are dictating whom God can love and whom God can't love, whom God should love or shouldn't love. [Doesn't have to be that way. Hierarchy isn't automatically "bad" Perhaps, especially if one wants something to endure through time, eh?]
[snip]
So it doesn't matter your lifestyle, we're all going to heaven.

O'Connor: Yeah, I don't think God judges anybody. He loves everybody equally. I think there's a slight difference when it comes to very evil people, but there are not too many of those in the world. [But why a difference when it comes to "very evil people?" God doesn't love them? They're not "everybody?" Who defines "very evil"? How do we know there are very few of them in the world? There certainly is evil in the world -- just read the newspapers. What about that? Well, she's a little woolly here. No surprises there really.]

God's character is very human; he goes through the whole gamut of emotions that a person might go through.

By human, do you mean fallible?

O'Connor: People often say, "If there's a God, why does he let bad things happen?" We expect God to be perfect, but if we're made in God's image, then perhaps God isn't perfect. And that's OK. But I also believe that partly we are God. We are part of God and God is something that's in us and all around us. [Hardly traditional Christian doctrine. No surprise there either though.]

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