THE emotional reaction to the death of legendary musician David Bowie has revealed that people still have a longing for heaven, according to the Free Kirk Moderator.
In what he perceived to be undertones suggesting the nation was unwilling to abandon God altogether, Rev David Robertson spoke of his genuine surprise that so many celebrities and politicians had freely spoken that the pop legend had gone to heaven.
Mr Robertson added that only the Bible could bring lasting peace to people with complex lifestyles, and that the “nihilist existentialism of atheistic naturalism” had no comfort for those mourning.
The Free Church of Scotland Moderator said: “What really interested me was the number of spokespeople who made comments about David Bowie being in heaven.
“I hadn’t realised that so many of the great and good believed in heaven. And that set me thinking – what do we really think about heaven?
“I thought that in this naturalistic, materialist world we could be all grown up and just say, ‘He’s gone, he had a good life, did a lot of daft things, did a lot of good things, we will miss him, but he’s gone’.
“I haven’t checked but I almost expected Richard Dawkins to tweet, ‘He’s gone. There is nothing left of him but his music and family. He’s not in heaven’.
“But it appears that in popular culture, we still cannot face up to the nihilist existentialism of atheistic naturalism. It seems that the Bible was right about eternity being in our hearts.”
The Dundee minister revealed his own “real and frustrating sorrow” over Bowie’s death, observing that the “musical genius” appeared to be seeking peace from God.
Mr Robertson added: “Bowie, like most human beings was a complex man, who experienced many changes in his life. He cannot just be simply pigeonholed according to what we want to be true.
“I didn’t know David Bowie and I am in no position to pass any judgement upon him. I do think he was a musical genius and much of his music was also part of the soundtrack of my early life.”
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The Moderator continued: “There is no doubt that he was not an atheist. He said so. In that interview with Tony Parsons he explained why he had said the Lord’s Prayer at the Freddy Mercury tribute concert.
“David Bowie is on the record telling Tony Parsons about his ‘undying belief in God’s existence’.”
“I personally found that moment of saying the Lord’s Prayer absolutely extraordinary. It was so unexpected and somewhat surreal.
“Did Bowie not realise it was a public ‘secular’ event? How dare he bring religion into it! Did he not care how many people he would offend? Probably not.
“Does this mean that we can claim him as a card-carrying Christian? Not at all. As far as I know he never professed to be one.
“But like all intelligent and creative people, he did show a great interest in the Bible, in Jesus Christ and in the great questions that Christ is the answer to.
“I mourn for David Bowie. And I also mourn for those whose need for fulfilment, forgiveness, faith and a future can only be met by Christ.
“The Church’s task is to bring life to the living. Let us bring the Good News to everyone.”