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The Long Hard Road out of Hell
Monday, 25th August, 2008 Posted by Beren @ 22:54:46

The book I am reviewing today I doubt that many Christians have read. It is the autobiography of Brian Warner, a.k.a Marilyn Manson. A prominent artist, who has been outspoken against Christianity. His music has made plenty of headlines over the years and has certainly irritated a large number of Christians and people from conservative groups. It was primarily this that drew me to the book to learn more about him and his motivations behind his music and the persona he puts forh. I had seen him interviewed several times on youtube and other places, but the most notable interview I saw of his was within the Bowling for Columbine movie/documentary. Some people vocally blamed his music for the actions of the boys within that school, hence his interview. However, watching the documentary (and indeed other interviews) he actually seemed to come across as the person whose opinion I largely agreed with. And so this is where some of my curiosity to read the book came from.

Now the book is most definitely not for everyone, it does, unsurprisingly, contain quite a large amount of bad language and descriptions of various drug and sex acts. However, beyond this it does give plenty of insights into where he is coming from, and indeed what influences within his life have lead him to be who he is today. The first thing to note and say (for those who don’t know) is that a large portion of his work is aimed at attacking American pop culture. They are a shock rock band who are commentating upon the MTV/Soccer mum/fakeness of mainstream. Aiming to be non conformist in any way possible and pushing people’s buttons is his goal. Those who complain about them only open themselves to lyrical attack, which only increases his notoriety and popularity.

In reading through the book the things that gave the most insight, and also disgusted me the most (and were upon my thoughts a great deal during the days surrounding me reading the book) were the “Christian” influences in his life that have obviously resulted in him being such a vocal opponent of Christianity. He records several times when as was a child he came across what I like to refer to as “Kooky School Teacher’s”. I, like him, had several of these. I remember quite vividly a primary school teacher of mine screaming at the class, in attempt to cast demons out of us, and another who “prophesied” that one of my friends was going to grow up to be a rapist and a murderer in Bosnia. As unfortunate as these people are, and extremely unsuited to be in charge of a class room, as children, my entire class realised that the woman was a nutter and to be ignored. Marilyn Manson seemed to take his similar experiences to be normal Christian behaviour. He had other run ins with people who claimed to be Christians who made false statements to the police about events at his concerts which were total fabrications - and usually so far beyond what the band ever planned for any shows.

Is this an excuse for his opinion of both Christ and Christians? No. On the last day there will be no place for excuses. And indeed his response to these people shows his most obvious character flaw: Arrogance. Throughout the book he details his interactions with various different groups of people, and in the vast bulk of these situations forms his opinion of that entire group of people extremely quickly based upon a few small interactions with one or two members. Forming an opinion of a religion which has over a billion so members off a kooky school teacher and a few others is bound to give you a disjointed view of the group as a whole and the spiritual things relating to that group. His spiritual view is expressed within the book (p213) in these terms: "I believe I am God. I believe everyone is their own God." Which is not a new concept, but it does illustrate his spiritual state. It is virtually the classic description of what defines a sinner in Christianity. Which is possibly why he worded it as such.

An extremely obviously lesson that can be taken from this book is that Christians need to be blameless. Marilyn Manson has developed his views of Christianity, largely, from his interactions from Christians who were not acting as they should as true Christians. It has been famously said that the problem with Christianity is the Christians. And this is a fine example of a person who is vocally anti-Christian because of his interactions which Christians who were not behaving as Christ would have them behave.

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