Jon Steingard, lead guitarist for Christian pop-punk band, Hawk Nelson, made an announcement last week on Instagram that he no longer believes in God.
“I’ve been terrified to post this for a while – but it feels like it’s time for me to be honest,” wrote Steingard in opening the dialogue he’d been scared to initiate for years, adding, “I hope this is not the end of the conversation, but the beginning.”
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I’ve been terrified to post this for a while – but it feels like it’s time for me to be honest. I hope this is not the end of the conversation, but the beginning. I hope this is encouraging to people who might feel the same but are as afraid to speak as I am. I want to be open. I want to be transparent with you all – and also open to having my heart changed in the future. I am not looking for a debate at all – just a chance to share my story in the hopes some good can come from it. I love you all.
“This is not a post I ever thought that I would write, but now I feel like I really need to,” Steingard wrote. “After growing up in a Christian home, being a pastor’s kid, playing and singing in a Christian band, and having the word ‘Christian’ in front of most of the things in my life — I am now finding that I no longer believe in God.”
Rather than it happening ‘overnight,’ the musician explains that his journey to unbelief was more like ‘pulling on the threads of a sweater, and one day discovering that there was no more sweater left.’
The ex-Christian artist assured fans that may have followed him because of his band affiliation with Hawk Nelson that he was not lying to them the entire time, nor pretending to be a Christian.
“I was not lying,” he shared. “I did believe those things at the time. I may have been pulling on the threads of the sweater, but there was still some sweater left back then.”
Though unsettled about his faith in Christ from early on, Steingard felt that growing up in a Christian home and being surrounded by believers, he must develop a “reflex to push it down, and soldier on.”
While he’s admittedly “open to having [his] heart changed in the future,” Steingard felt it was essential to finally be transparent about where he’s at.
The reasons for his doubts in an almighty God are many, including the presence of evil and suffering in the world, God’s seemingly Jekyll-and-Hyde character shift from Old Testament to New Testament, and the idea that an all-loving God would send people to hell.
However, in spite of the announcement that Steingard feared would ignite hateful backlash, he has received nothing but love from other big names in the Christian music world.
“Love you bro. Always will,” wrote Jeremy Camp.
“We love you and hope you will continue seeking,” commented the band ‘Seventh Days Slumber.’ “Life can hit us hard sometimes. Just know we are always available for you bro!”
‘Love and the Outcome,’ a husband-and-wife duo thanked Steingard for his “honesty,” calling it “brave,” and saying that they had “heard” him.
‘Tenth Avenue North’ had nothing but love for Steingard as well, as their encouraging comments reflected:
“Man I love that you shared this,” wrote Mike Donehey. “You know I’m always around to talk about our belief in God or lack thereof. Love you and always will.”
Fellow ‘Tenth Avenue North’ band member Jeff Owen commented, “Love you Jon. I miss being around your joyful presence. The next time I’m in San Diego I’m hunting you down and hugging you and bro-ing out. I’m here for you and love you.”