U2’s ‘Christian’ Bono rips up a bible at an Innocence Experience gig

Was watching a concert I recorded off iPlayer during Christmas.   This gig was in Paris after a terrorist attack that happened during another artists’ event.

bono rips bible2

This cool celeb Christian kicks two books across the long stage, before reciting Psalms….

bono rips bible

I watched this footage 3 times over to see if I was believing what I saw.  Whilst he is doing this after the song, he is reading out Psalm 23, yelling the Comfort Me!!! several times over.

The song “raised by wolves” is about the conflict in Northern Ireland, specifically about one attack in 1974.  Does he blame Protestant/Catholicism differences for this?   Would Bono rip up a Koran knowing this probably might trigger him having to be Salman Rushdie’s new room mate?

I did some google searching to see if any other bloggers has noticed and commented on this.   It seems various U2 forums thought Bono was tearing up another work of literature.

I love U2’s music but never really thought their activism work really seemed that effective.  This saddened me and I stopped watching this show.   You can probably find this gig on Youtube if you can skip to the point roughly I’ve stopped it, if you find the end of Raised by Wolves song.

With all the ambiguity over the years of if this band of they know Jesus as their Lord and saviour, or just culturally Christian, or weak luke warm ‘progressive’ Christianity, after this, I can’t really take Bono seriously as a believer in Christ.

Interesting analysis of Bono on his faith from this link:

Additional; just added this scripture which seems apt here
2 Timothy 3 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

Additional (2) – you can see for yourself at these concerts
26/5/2015 in Los Angeles 46 mins
19/9/2015 in Turin 46 min
25/9/2015 in Berlin (not so easier to see) 56 mins


15 comments on “U2’s ‘Christian’ Bono rips up a bible at an Innocence Experience gig

  1. I just saw it for myself as I was blaring the concert in bliss, I couldn’t believe it. I am sure it has some deeper symbolism to him, but to the outsider it looks like he’s denouncing God. Truly broke my heart.

    • I have found since that the stunt was to rip Psalms out and throw it to the crowd as well as pages from other different books as an artistic thing.

      I still think its horrible though.

  2. Its not meant to be about ripping up a Bible. The ripping pages out of the Psalms is meant to symbolise someone losing their faith, being angry with God in the aftermath of a horrific tragedy, such as a bombing. This is mentioned in the lyrics to Raised by Wolves (“I don’t believe any more.”)

  3. this is a symbolic, artistic act. He is not denouncing his faith. he’s playing a part, like an actor, something he’s done since the very earliest days in U2. to judge Bono is so uncool. he loves Jesus with all his heart. you don’t know what your talking about.

    • Have you not read “The ScrewTape letters”. Written by a Christian, from a DEVIL’S perspective. Bono did exactly the same thing here with Macphisto, a sort of anti-Christ/devil figure.

      On one of the Glasgow gigs a girl he pulled out of the crowd (who happened to be a Christian) to dance with him attempted to pull of his horns, wipe the make-up of his face, demanded “What are you doing?!” He whispered in her ear, “It’s the Screwtape tape letters.”


  4. As Americans, it’s difficult for us to relate to the way Christians in the rest of the world experience their faith. The constant threat of terrorism that the Irish people lived under, plus the open hostility between Protestants and Catholics created a huge barrier for people when it came to the way they felt about God. Bono’s act of book ripping and kicking is intentionally irreverent and disrespectful. He’s playing the part of someone who’s both angry with, and lost faith in God and is lashing out. He is isn’t representing himself as he sings “I don’t believe anymore”, but rather the feelings of many of the people who were a part of his community while growing up. You have to remember that the song “Raised By Wolves” is about a specific terrorist attack that had an immediate and devastating impact on people he knew and loved. No doubt, watching people lose their faith under these circumstances was something he was accustomed to. Bono’s own father lost his faith in God somewhere in these years.

    But, interestingly enough, Bono himself came to faith during his late teenage years, the very years the events depicted in “Raised By Wolves” were happening.

    God works in all of our lives differently. Many people have gone through periods of anger and doubt with God, only to come out of the tunnel closer to Him than ever before. Bono is just trying to let people know that as a believer, he understands these feelings, and so does God. If you watch the concert to it’s conclusion, later on in the show, Bono is singing the song October. October is a prayer to God. He sings “…And Kingdoms Rise, And Kingdoms Fall, But You Go On. You Go On…” It’s at this point in the show that the character/characters Bono is playing have come full circle.

    In Bono’s personal life I like to hope that he tries for holiness, reverence and respect as much as any of us, but he also sees himself as an artist, and is willing to be misunderstood to express his art from his personal perspective and vision.

  5. You should read the fan sites where folks have clearly identified what he was kicking and ripping, which was not a Bible. I get that many of U2’s songs are written from the perspective of a struggling believer, but that does not make them autobiographical.

    • Can you post a site that says so?

      P.S. This is not Bono renouncing his faith. For starters he did a video with Eugene Peterson talking about The Message Bible after this concert.

  6. Only it wasn’t a Bible, it was just leather bound pages of catch-phrases, buzz-words and fractured poetry — not any one piece of religious text. It was meant to represent the ideology that a “holy book” could be used to excuse violence, as the song he was performing was a denouncement of IRA violence.

    But what’s the truth worth if you can’t be judgmental, right?

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