The Late David Bowie Experiemented with Christianity But Found It Lacking
Two days after the release of his final album Blackstar, the 69 year-old English rocker David Bowie passed away. Blackstar has been described as his final farewell gift to his fans; it's an album where Bowie has been most transparent about death, sin, and purpose in life.
"David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18-month battle with cancer. While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family's privacy during their time of grief," said a statement on Bowie's Facebook page.
For over five decades, Bowie has been an innovator in pop music. Throughout his career, Bowie has released 27 studio albums, 9 live albums, 49 compilation albums, 6 extended plays (EPs), 120 singles, including 5 UK number one singles, and 3 soundtracks. Bowie also released 14 video albums and 58 music videos. Bowie stopped concert touring after 2004, and last performed live at a charity event in 2006. In 2013, he returned from a decade-long recording hiatus, remaining musically active until his death from liver cancer three years later.
But where did Bowie stand spiritually? Over the years, Bowie had been searching for answers as far as God is concerned. Even before he got his break in the music industry, Bowie told Ellen DeGeneres in a 2004 interview that he experimented with a number of religions including Christianity. "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."
Unfortunately, Bowie never really came to any conclusions in his spiritual quest. He told Beliefnet: "I honestly believe that my initial questions haven't changed at all. There are far fewer of them these days, but they're really important. Questioning my spiritual life has always been germane to what I was writing. Always. It's because 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.
That's the shock: All clichés are true. The years really do speed by. Life really is as short as they tell you it is. And there really is a God - so do I buy that one? If all the other clichés are true. ... Hell, don't pose me that one."
Though he considers himself "not quite an atheist," he is not convinced by any religion either. In the Esquire interview, he said: "What I've Learned", he stated, "I'm in awe of the universe, but I don't necessarily believe there's an intelligence or agent behind it. I do have a passion for the visual in religious rituals, though, even though they may be completely empty and bereft of substance. The incense is powerful and provocative, whether Buddhist or Catholic."
Bowie showed an interest in Buddhism that began in 1967. He frequently studied in London under the Tibetan Lama Chime Rinpoche before becoming a solo artist. Bowie later wrote the song "Silly Boy Blue" in tribute to Rinpoche on his 1967 album David Bowie. In the 1960s, he had also studied under the crazy wisdom tulku Chögyam Trungpa.
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