A founding member of the Christian-oriented band Newsboys shocked the music industry this week after coming out as an atheist on the faith discussions website Patheos.
George Perdikis, one of the earliest members of the Aussie gospel rock band, recently revealed his atheism under popular secularist Heman Mehta’s “Friendly Atheist” column last Wednesday.
Perdikis’ former band played in a recently panned Christian movie called God’s Not Dead.
In his Patheos piece, Perdikis recounted the events that occurred before accepting his atheism. He says his slow and tedious journey towards secularism goes way back to when he was just founding the Newsboys with Peter Furler, Sean Taylor, and John James.
“Peter, Sean, John, and I started out as a cover band playing parties, pubs, churches, youth groups, parks — anywhere someone would have us. As we grew in confidence, we began to add some original songs to our repertoire. The band evolved quickly. Within a few months I had given up my career in the Air Force and moved in with the Furler family to concentrate on music full time.”
Perdikis wrote that the decision to turn Newsboys into a Christian band heavily relied on Furler’s parents, who were devout Christians.
“The choice to become a ‘Christian Rock Band’ was heavily influenced by Peter’s parents, Bill and Rosalie Furler. As fundamentalist Christians, the only acceptable form of music was the kind that worshipped God. Bill and Rosalie were like second parents to me and, for that reason, I never questioned their advice.”
The musician says he had always been uncomfortable with the fact that his music was being heavily influenced by the religious image they have cultivated during the first years of their fame. He wrote,
“I always felt uncomfortable with the strict rules imposed by Christianity. All I wanted to do was create and play rock and roll… and yet most of the attention I received was focused on how well I maintained the impossible standards of religion. I wanted my life to be measured by my music, not by my ability to resist temptation.”
Perdikis decided to leave the band and moved to Adelaide, where he established a separate career playing music in pubs and clubs. He says during his absence from the band, he had discovered scientific thinkers like Neil deGrasse Tyson and Richard Dawkins, who indirectly influenced him to doubt Christianity and venture into atheistic thought.
Before ending his guest post on the “Friendly Atheist,” Perdikis left scathing remarks against the Newsboys and the Christian music scene in general.
He wrote, “The Christian music scene is populated by many people who act as though they have a direct hotline to a God who supplies them with the answers to the Universe. There seems to be more ego and narcissism amongst Christian musicians than their secular counterparts.”
“The truth is — from someone who knows what went on then and what goes on now — the Newsboys aren’t as holy as they profess. Instead of wearing a mask of “righteousness,” they should acknowledge that they are struggling as much as everyone else,” he added.
[Images from Patheos and newsboys/Flickr]