9 Times Bono Was Spot On About What It's Like To Search For God

The U2 frontman expresses the kind of faith that is filled with both skepticism and a deep yearning for answers.
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Before Bono became the world-famous humanitarian and frontman of the Irish rock band U2, he was Paul David Hewson from Dublin.

The son of a Roman Catholic dad and a Protestant mother, Bono grew up during a time of sectarian conflict and witnessed the human cost of militant belief. So it’s no surprise that he became disenchanted with the idea of organized religion, turning to music instead for that wild, spiritual high.

As a bandleader and songwriter, Bono has helped infuse U2's music with spirituality from the start -- expressing the kind of faith that is filled with both skepticism and a deep yearning for answers.

The musician and advocate, whose ONE organization campaigns to fight global poverty and disease, also engages with issues of faith away from his role as a rock star. Bono has offered thoughtful critiques of Christian culture, written introductions to Christian books, engaged in dialogue with evangelical leaders, and intersperses his live performances with lines from one of his favorite book of the of Bible, the Psalms.

Throughout it all, Bono advocates for a spirituality that is raw, honest and acknowledges the fact that there are no easy answers when it comes to faith.

In honor of Bono's 56th birthday, which falls on May 10, HuffPost Religion has put together this list of nine times Bono was spot on about what it's like to search for God, however long and complex that journey is.

On the importance of music to his spirituality:
"Words and music did for me what solid, even rigorous, religious argument could never do -- they introduced me to God, not belief in God, more an experiential sense of GOD."

- Excerpt from the introduction to Selections From The Book of Psalms.
On the relationship between God and art:
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"Why do we need the lyric poetry of the Psalms? ... Because the only way we can approach God is, if we’re honest, through metaphor, through symbol. So art becomes essential, not decorative."
- "The Psalms," by Fuller Studio
On why coolness doesn't count:
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"Coolness might help in your negotiation with people through the world, maybe, but it is impossible to meet God with sunglasses on. It is impossible to meet God without abandon, without exposing yourself, becoming raw."
- An excerpt from Bono: In Conversation with Michka Assayas
On what organized religion can become:
"Religion can be the enemy of God. It’s often what happens when God, like Elvis, has left the building. A list of instructions where there once was conviction; dogma where once people just did it; a congregation led by a man where once they were led by the Holy Spirit."
- An excerpt from Bono: In Conversation with Michka Assayas
On how he approaches faith:
"I don’t let my religious world get too complicated. I just kind of go: Well, I think I know what God is. God is love, and as much as I respond in allowing myself to be transformed by that love and acting in that love, that’s my religion. Where things get complicated for me, is when I try to live this love. Now, that’s not so easy."
- An excerpt from Bono: In Conversation with Michka Assayas
On religious instinct in the world:
Jordi Vidal/WireImage
"Religious instinct comes out as gambling, as horoscope reading, as yoga, it’s everywhere. It’s supposed to be a secular society, but I look around: everybody’s religious. They’re superstitious, they pray when they think they’ve got cancer. It’s not that far below the surface. We’ve gone two hundred years since the Enlightenment, but science is starting to bow again."
- An excerpt from Bono: In Conversation with Michka Assayas
On the importance of being honest:
Samir Hussein/Getty Images
"It's very important for Christians to be honest with God, which often, you know, God is much more interested in who you are than who you want to be."
- From a conversation with Focus on the Family
On how to choose a religious denomination:
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"I just go where the life is, you know? If it's in the back of a Roman Catholic cathedral, in the quietness and the incense, which suggest the mystery of God, of God's presence, or in the bright lights of the revival tent, I just go where I find life. I don't see denomination."
- From a Christianity Today interview
On finding what's sacred:
"I enjoy the the test of trying to keep hold of what’s sacred, and still being awake, walking around, breaking through the plate glass window. It’s one thing being in that holy huddle; it’s another thing taking yourself out there into the world."
- As quoted in One Step Closer: Why U2 Matters to Those Seeking God
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Before You Go

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