David Bowie, who’s given name is David Robert Jones, was born in London, England.
Bowie wasn’t raised religious but grew up to become one of the most provocative artists of all time, causing a generation of glam-rockers to question everything from their sexuality to their spirituality. The lyrics to his songs range from confusing nonsense to possibly brilliant in their depth. Bowie is truly an artist. That being the case, his spirituality is of great interest, particularly as he enters his golden years.
Like so many aspects of this man, Bowie is difficult to pin down–even to himself. By his own account, he’s tried about every religion in the book, saying:
I was young, fancy free, and Tibetan Buddhism appealed to me at that time. I thought, ‘There’s salvation.’ It didn’t really work. Then I went through Nietzsche, Satanism, Christianity… pottery, and ended up singing. It’s been a long road.1
But in his advanced years, Bowie’s real spiritual views have come out. He said:
I’m not quite an atheist and it worries me. There’s that little bit that holds on: Well, I’m almost an atheist. Give me a couple of months.2
This interview was given in 2003, much more than a few months ago. Perhaps Bowie has finally made the leap to full-blown atheist by now.
One of Bowie’s lyrics in particular is reminiscent of Nietzsche famous quote: “God is dead.” Perhaps Bowie is just more disenchanted with religion than he is with the concept of God when he sings in his song, “Seven”:
The gods forgot that they made me/So I forget them, too/I dance among their shadows/I play among their graves.3
Let’s hear what you think about all of this.
Ground control to politics
Politically, Bowie is surprisingly inactive. His gender-bending antics have certainly pushed the envelope of what is socially acceptable, and for that reason, we could call him a progressive liberal. He’s admitted to being bi-sexual, for one.4 And he’s hung around with all sorts of hippies and avant garde artists in his long career.
But politics and rubbing elbows in the halls of power is not what Bowie’s all about. He’s an artist. He even refused knighthood when it was offered to him, saying:
I would never have any intention of accepting anything like that. I seriously don’t know what it’s for. It’s not what I spent my life working for.5
Perhaps Bowie’s most oft-used political statement is his song “Changes,” which could really be used by any political campaign.6
- Bowie interviewed by Ellen DeGeneres. YouTube. [↩]
- Anthony DeCurtis Interviews David Bowie about Spirituality, Sept 11, and God. Beliefnet. [↩]
- David Bowie Lyrics – Seven. Azlyrics. [↩]
- David Bowie FAQ: Personal Life. Teenage Wildlife. [↩]
- Top 10 People Who Declined Knighthood. Top Tenz. [↩]
- Changes – Presidential Candidates feat. David Bowie. YouTube. [↩]