The lead singer of Christian rock band "As I Lay Dying" recently confessed that although he and several of his band mates had become atheists, they kept confessing Christianity in order to sell records to faith-based audiences.
Earlier this year, Tim Lambesis shook the Christian music community when he was arrested and subsequently sentenced to six years in prison for attempting to hire a hit man to kill his estranged wife. Following his sentencing, the former "As I Lay Dying" singer sat down with the Alternative Press to discuss his shocking spiral, including drug addiction, the breakdown of his marriage and the loss of his Christian faith.
The singer addressed a claim he made last year in a YouTube video about his religious affiliation after fans started saying he had become a Satanist
In the interview, Ryan J. Downey asked Lambesis, "A month before your arrest, you posted a YouTube video addressing fans who felt your new side project, Pyrithion, was 'satanic.' I remember watching the video at the time and noticing you never gave the easy answer: 'Of course not. I'm a Christian!' You knew people thought of you as a Christian. Weren't you lying by omission?"
In response, the singer responded, "Yes. If you say, 'This is what I believe, you can count on this. If you believe the same things, I'm on your team.' A lot of Christian parents said, 'Yes, you can buy this As I Lay Dying CD, because they're a Christian band.' They don't even think to actually check the lyrics. So when you change your views, you kind of owe it to the fans to be honest."
Lambesis clarified that he didn't reveal his anti-Christian viewpoint for fear it would negatively impact his band's record sales. Instead, the singer chose to simply state that he was "not a Satanist"-a move he now calls "cowardly."
"As far as the [YouTube] video I did explaining Pyrithion's lyrics ... I was trying to put out a fire. I was afraid it would affect As I Lay Dying sales, which would affect my overall income. I was trying to put out the fire by saying the easiest thing, 'I'm not a satanist!'" he explained.
"Truthfully, I was an atheist. The 'strategy' I had at the time was cowardly. Two of the songs on that record were about coming to grips with the idea that life has no purpose, no meaning. These were negative themes I wasn't 'allowed' to deal with in As I Lay Dying songs. I thought making As I Lay Dying darker would be bad for my career. That was my thinking," he said.
However, Lambesis says his band is not the only one who falsely claimed Christianity. He noted that the majority of "Christian bands" he toured alongside were not actually Christians.
"We toured with more 'Christian bands' who actually aren't Christians than bands that are. In 12 years of touring with As I Lay Dying, I would say maybe one in 10 Christian bands we toured with were actually Christian bands," he said.
Lambesis says things became extremely awkward as he, along with his band, lost interest in Christianity.
"I remember one Christian festival where an interviewer wanted one of the guys [in the band] to share his testimony, and he just froze up and let one of the guys who was still a Christian at the time answer the question. We laughed about it afterward, but we were only laughing because it was so awkward," he stated.
"When kids would want to pray with us after shows, I'd be like, 'Um, go ahead and pray!' I would just let them pray. I'd say 'Amen.' If praying while I have my hand on their shoulder makes them feel better, I didn't want to take that away from them. When they would specifically ask me to pray for something, I'd say, 'I don't really like to pray out loud, but I'll take that with me to the bus," said the singer.
Lambesis is currently serving six years in prison for attempted murder. His former band has since changed their name and is reportedly attempting to "seek alternative music routes."