June 5, 2003

[Audioslave album cover]

Wow, has anyone else been digging Audioslave? You take Rage Against the Machine, subtract Zack, and add Chris Cornell, the vocalist of Soundgarden whose lyrics are spiritually-tinged:


I’ve been watching
While you’ve been coughing
I’ve been drinking life
While you’ve been nauseous

Christians are quick to jump onto musicians and label them as “Christian” or “non-Christian.”

Show Me How to Live

Nail in my hand
From my Creator
You gave me life
Now show me how to live

Like a Stone

On my deathbed, I will pray to the gods and the angels
Like a pagan, to anyone who will take me to heaven
To a place I recall, I was there so long ago
The sky was bruised, the wine was bled, and there you led me on

In your house I long to be…

Set It Off

Jesus at the back door
Everything is all right
All we need is some direction
Every time the wind blows
Everything you don’t know
Turns into a revelation

Now I know Christians are quick to jump onto musicians and label them as “Christian” or “non-Christian”: “Gosh, is Chris Cornell a Christian?” I say beh. Musically, what difference does it make? All I know is that these songs rock, and they stir my faith.

Jon Reid

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As an American missionary kid who grew up in Japan, I'm a child of two cultures, while not fully belonging to either. This gives me a sightly different view of the world.

33 responses to Audioslave

  1. I really enjoy audioslave. and I really don’t enjoy the way we own and dissown artists as a community of faith. But what can we do, right? Just keep paving our way…
    If you want to hear a lyrically RIDICULOUS album, pick up that evenessence(sp?) album. that annoying guy(linkin park ripoff) is only on that one single, and the whole album is fantastic. It’s all about her struggle with God, faith, letting go, and more.
    Am i too lost to be saved
    Am i too lost?
    My god, my tourniquet
    release to me salvation
    my god, my tourniquet
    my soul cries out for deliverance.
    will i be denied??
    Poetic, heavy, and extremely beautiful.

  2. Absolutely. Music is music. I grow so weary of the segregation of music into sacred on one side and secular on the other. I rather like the situation in the UK and down under where there essentially is no CCM market. So, bands like Delerious? have had to go up against “secular” bands to make it.
    Oh, up till now I haven’t heard of Audioslave. Intriguing lyrics. :^)

  3. Why do we have to split it up?
    I like Audioslave as well. Evenescence is awesome, too. I dig Linkin Park.
    I don’t like divying up our music into “Sacred” and “Secular.” Everything can be sacred if we approach it from Jesus’ perspective – even brushing our teeth. If we leave God out of it, though, it ain’t.

  4. Brush your teeth with Jesus
    Similarly, one can easily do “religious” things and leave God out of it. As I tell my friends at work, reducing religion to a set of rules eliminates the need for God.
    And yes, Evanescence is great stuff.

  5. Bang your crucifix
    Sorry about the title. It seemed I was naked without one and that’s all I could think of.
    Definitely thought you were speaking truth about music and the “stirring faith” part. It’s a good message to preach on in our culture. I’d like to see your thoughts on where the line is with cultural habits and Christian ethics. I’m not saying there is a line necessarily….but don’t judge me for not saying so! I’d just like to see your thoughts.
    Be good

  6. Yeah i think a lot of Audioslaves lyrics definatley have a christian edge to them, And from a positive perspective… as opposed to some bands like A perfect Circle (and don’t get me wrong i think thier actual sound is good), but yeah Audioslave they’re great
    PS: Evanescance… do they even COUNT as music? 😛

  7. The hell you doing dissing Evanescence? Have you even listened to the album? 😛 Jeez, I’ll never understand some people’s tastes.
    I do agree with liking Audioslave, though. A friend once gushed to me about how Creed’s album Weathered is all about searching for faith… But I wasn’t able to bring myself to like it. Because Creed comes up with an -answer-, in Christianity. I don’t -have- an answer, I haven’t -found- an answer, and I like music that reflects that–a search that is still ongoing, with a fate yet to be seen.
    Audioslave isn’t really Christian, I think. It’s agnostic. Like, the classical definition of agnosticism–claiming that there is a God but no religion is correct because any creator entity would be so above our ability to comprehend that we could never hope to understand Him. Listen to “I Am the Highway,” and think of it as a message from God to mankind, and you’ll see what I mean. It’s something of a criticism of people who give lip service to God in hopes of some tangible return, when He (if there is truly one) is far, far beyond those aspects of the material world.
    And then there’s Like A Stone. If ever I’ve heard a better searching-and-not-finding song, I can’t remember it. And Show Me How to Live, too, which is a plea to God to make things simple, to reveal to him (to us) our path, instead of confusion, sadness, longing, and misunderstanding through the intermediaries of men.
    Yeah, these are all the singles released so far, I don’t have the album. I’m poor. 🙁 C’mon now though. You really think Rage Against the Machine would ever play backup for an evangelical Christian? A decade ago they started a career -criticizing- evangelical Christians, among others. Cornell is thoughtful, and he’s searching. He hasn’t found yet.

  8. The lyrics that Audioslave delivers is a lot like how I am feeling about religion right now. You can’t label them as Christian because you can tell they are asking for enlightenment on GOD and why we are here and what we should believe. There are so many religions that no one religion can prove right, but one thing is for sure is that the memebers of Audioslave do have a strong belief in a higher being. You can’t really ask God to just give you the answers, you have to search for them and life will be full of adversities but listen to Audioslave, they make sense! Like saying many people on there death bed will ask for forgiveness just b/c they don’t want to go to Hell, thats not what it is about, it’s pointless to believe and try to understand God at the last moments of your life. If you beleve that you can be saved follow through with it your whole don’t try to beg to be taken to Heaven as soon as you realize your probably going to Hell. Anyway I went off subject for a sec there. Audioslave and Chris Cornell truly beleve in every word they sing, the music will stay with you and the lyrics will make you think and thats what music should do. I love groups that don’t come straight out and tell you everyhitng they mean, Audioslave is still searching for THAT meaning so shall we all till the end of time!

  9. Before I join the discussion, I just want to say that I’m deeply religious. My perspective may show this. But enough about me . . .
    Do I think that the lyrics in many Audioslave songs embrace religion? Absolutely. For example, “Like a Stone” sounds like Cornell has searched for – and found – the Christian faith. Parts of “Light my Way” sound like full-fledged prayer. And “Show me How to Live” speaks for itself.
    The album’s religious bent makes it a truly inspired work of art. And I think Audioslave is an awesome chapter in the life of lead singer Chris Cornell. As a rock artist he’s seen it all, and experienced – quite literally – the highs and lows that superstardom brings. This is a man who has truly lived a worldly existence. And like many rock artists, I believe that at some point Cornell hit a low point. Maybe it was drugs, perhaps it was lack of inspiration, I don’t know. Soundgarden wasn’t making music and Cornell’s solo project was lukewarm.
    But something happened – all of the sudden, Cornell found renewed strength and inspiration. He found God, received the vision to form Audioslave, scrawled his spiritual journey from pen to pad, and screamed the lyrics into a microphone while being backed up by an awesome band. The rest is history.
    I saw Audioslave in Seattle and Oregon. Both times I was amazed at Cornell’s presence and talents. He was strong. Centered. Purposeful. And yes, truly anointed. He’s ornery as ever, and hasn’t slowed down a bit. And he had a message. Along with the other songs, he belted out Elvis Costello’s “Peace, Love, and Understanding” with a beauty and honesty rarely heard by artists anymore.
    Do I think that the lyrics in many Audioslave songs embrace religion?
    Absolutely. Hallelujah!!

  10. Thanks for the review, Alex. Feel free to jump in on more recent postings!

  11. cornell is great with words… not outright grunge ,but he really touches that pain n reality..
    not even to close to Soundgarden but still the best what we have around,,, good old rocks back i guess!

  12. How interesting…
    I was actually just looking for the lyrics to one of Evanescene’s songs when I came across this discussion. So many of you seem to be saying that God is above you and isn’t just going to give us the answers – say on a stone tablet – but at the same time your ingrained sunday school belief in Hell is retained. Does anybody really believe that a god that won’t interfere in the world to prevent deplorable things that happen everday is actually going to punish you for an eternity when you die… because you were human and couldn’t figure out the whole mystery well enough to commit to a faith?
    He is up there, but is he reading this post? Does he really care what you’re doing right now. Unless you are a serial killer, a rapist or someone that hurts others for pleasure I think your going exactly where the rest of us are going. Maybe even those I just mentioned are going to the same place. Christ supposedly forgave a murderer hanging on the cross next to him and said he would be in Heaven…
    Evanescence do rock, and maybe, just maybe God is listening to them right now on his brand new 40GB iPod.

  13. Oh, dude. I LOVE Audioslave!

  14. Wolf, the notion that God punishes people for not having the right answers is an understandable caricature of Christianity that Christians are guilty of promoting. We all need to go back and read the story again. The invitation from Jesus still stands: “Follow me.”
    As for heaven and hell, I am coming to believe that perhaps everybody does go to the same place — into the very presence of God, the unbearable reality of Life. The question is, will that be heaven or hell? It depends not on one’s creeds but on the direction of one’s heart.
    Sandman, I have to get my own copy of Audioslave now that I no longer have access to my friend’s shared iTunes at work!

  15. Well, we could always use network beacon, but that seems a bit convoluted. And my network is sick. 🙂

  16. “Christ supposedly forgave a murderer hanging on the cross next to him and said he would be in Heaven…”
    –Now I could be wrong, but I thought it was thief who was begging for forgiveness.

  17. J, your statement may be correct — but I don’t see how it is helpful.
    What is more interesting is the whole notion that Jesus forgave people. Isn’t that odd? I mean, if you were to hit the person next to you, what right would I have to say, “I forgive you”? The religious leaders of the day objected to what Jesus did, saying “Only God can forgive sins.”

  18. Hey guys, this is my first forum and I find your discussion really interesting. First of all, i totally agree with whoever was talking about the separtation bewteen “sacred” and “secular”. God created all things, even those things we may consider “secular’ and I think we can find god and beauty in all things, even if it is simply the beauty of having an outlet such as music to release thoughts we wish we didn’t have like some “secular” music seems to be. Secondly, I LOVE evanescence! ia m a singer myself and it is so nice to finally have a female vocalist in a lyrically talented, incredibly musical rock band to look up to! They are awe inspiring both lyrically and vocally!
    And finally as for Gauraug (sorry if I mispelled), I think the key is not whether or not god redeems you or condemns you n=based on you actions or inabilities. YOu said the key yourself…we are human and ARE going to make mistakes. The key is AGKNOWLEDGING that very fact and asking and trusting God for help and guidance. IT’s ok to mess up, but know that you will and that you can’t follow the path all on your own..we all need a hand and he is it!
    i look forward to chatting with you all!

  19. (what right would I have to say, “I forgive you”? The religious leaders of the day objected to what Jesus did, saying “Only God can forgive sins.”)
    Jesus could forgive people of their sins because Jesus was God himself in human form. The religious leader had taken God’s word and added a bunch of rules on top of it that were nonsense and made it hard to follow God. The religious leaders minds were closed and they did not want to hear anything about changing their ways. Sorry I don’t meant to preach and this post is old but maybe this will help someone in the future who comes across this. I was once where many of you are. Keep searching and keep asking God to help show you the way. He will come into your lives just ask him. I must say one more thing and then I will shut up 🙂 Read my thoughts below and maybe they will help you to believe.
    To the non-believer:
    You say you are logical and base your position on facts. Think about this, you do not believe in God, ok, but you still don’t know the meaning of life or why and how all of this was created. You have no facts or logic to tell you this information, and you never will. So by logic then, is it any more crazy to believe that a God created all of this, than it is to believe that all of this is just here for no reason and just popped up out of a magic poof. The answer is NO, it isn’t. It is just as crazy to not believe, as it is to believe! So you are not any more an intelligent, sane, or logical person in your way of thinking than people who believe in God!
    Thanks for letting me post. Open your hearts and just give it a chance.

  20. I am amazed on how people ramble on Audioslaves affinity to relegion, I guess it depends on how u look at the song, in ‘Like a Stone’ I see a frustrated mans dialogue with himself
    i was lost in the pages
    of a book full of death
    reading how we’ll die alone
    and if we’re good we’ll lay to rest
    anywhere we want to go
    but some say its the bible hes talking abt, well if he was talking of the bible then why would he say
    on my deathbed i will pray
    to the gods and the angels
    like a pagan to anyone
    who will take me to heaven
    I emphasize ” like a pagan”, I guess it alls a way to look at things there were people who debated on the fact that “Stairway to Heaven” is a christian song.

  21. Hey everyone,
    I’ve enjoyed reading your discussions very much. but i actually have the answer to the question, ‘is Chris Cornell a Christian?’ you asked. I was at an Audioslave gig at MEN arena, Manchester UK. Before ‘Show me how to live’ Chris announced, ‘this is as close as i get to a testimony, this song is about my god’. So…There ya go, from the man himself. Hope that answers some of your Q’s…
    C ya,
    p.s. If you ask Jesus into your life, he does actually come into it. You gotta knock on God’s door with a spirit that says, ‘i believe in you, i know your in, and i aint leavin till you open this door’. the door will be opened, i promise. He wants us to follow him, not know all the answers. A personal realtionship with our creator is possible. jesus is the bridge between earth and God, the only way. The PERSON of Jesus Christ. In Jesus we have the chance to start again, Peace out guys

  22. Glad to see people that actually understand the message of Cornell’s songs.
    He is, no doubt, a true artist, something not often seen these days.
    I miss Audioslave. Too bad they broke up..

  23. hmmm.. it actually matters if the artist is christian or not.. if the lyrics are written for God or devil.. music is music.. but slipknot is totally different than hillsong.. Jesus, as our savior would not really like us to listen or even sing songs that have a subliminal meaning.. yeah some songs are for worship and some others are just love songs or dancing songs and taht’s cool.. but there are also these songs with “sexual content” and these songs with “an agnostic, against-God content” .. it’s okay if we see music as music, it¿s okay if we decide to worship by other ways.. but it’s not okay if we go against him.. he created us with freedom.. and some people use that freedom to go against him.. lyrics are totally important

  24. AUDIOSLAVE has some great music i think.As for religions,unicorns,deities,gods,dragons,sons and daugters of gods,witches,vampires,fairies,flying carpets,devils,angels,santa,peter pan etc what can i say? Stupidity is unbeatable

  25. Just some guy July 22, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    I do lose like a stone, great song. But life cant be based on searching, because you may never find what that thing you want. When religion mixes with music, you can have good or bad. I myself am a christian and i truly believe that if you do not believe that jesus is the son of god you are wrong. You cant truly believe that you will agree with every aspect of a religion, because you will never find that, but you can accept the good and bad of a religion and live your life for that religion. Whether chris cornell believes in god or not, his music helps us deal with the good and bad in life and i can respect that. whatever be the case, i hope those of you searching, find faith. I recommend the bible myself, youll find truth in it.
    -God bless

  26. I love Chris Cornell and have followed his music since the Soundgarden days. Without a doubt he has one of the greatest voices in rock.
    The songs mentioned in this blog are great but I never heard anyone mention the Audioslave song “Revelations” if there is any doubt to his faith check out theses lyrics:
    You know what to do, You know what I did
    Since you know everything, just clue me in
    I am such a wreck, I am such a mess
    I know what I know,
    Why don’t you fill in the rest?
    I will bring it down, I will make it bad
    While your feelin’ proud, why don’t you help me?
    Such a shame that I wouldn’t know by now
    Your revelolations
    Cut me in
    I don’t want to live without
    Your revelations, revelations
    You know what to say, You know what I said
    You know what I dream sleeping in my bed
    You hold all the keys, You know all the roads
    Why don’t you guide me in if Im such a lost soul?
    I’m spinnin round, I’ll make you ill
    Since I’m so broken down, Why dont you fix me?
    Such a shame that I wouldn’t know by now
    Your revelations
    Cut me in, I don’t want to live without
    Your revelations, revelations
    I’m haunted when I’m sleeping
    Try to give without receive
    It’s in the apple bite
    It’s in the days and nights
    In the afterlife we’ll reap

  27. Pamela, I was not aware of that song. Thanks for posting that!

  28. OK I know I’m replying to a post that is 7 years old here, but I have a bone to pick with this definition of agnosticism.
    Kuro said, “he classical definition of agnosticism–claiming that there is a God but no religion is correct because any creator entity would be so above our ability to comprehend that we could never hope to understand Him”.
    Your definition boils down to “there is a god but we can’t understand him”. This is deism, not agnosticism. Agnosticism says “god’s existence is unprovable either way”, and is generally considered to be a rejection of the existence of god until proven otherwise. The vast majority of agnostics live secular lives (read: are atheists in practice), and if you forced them to answer yes or no to “do you think it is likely that god exists?” would answer “no” on the grounds of Occham’s Razor–though they’d first try to reject the question entirely.
    With respect to Audioslave, they are definitely not an agnostic band by either your or my definition. They definitely have explicitly Christian lyrics ((Nail in my hand/from my creator/you gave me life/now show me how to live)) and Chris Cornell (who writes the lyrics) is Christian, but Chris Cornell pretty much refuses to talk about the inspiration for his lyrics.
    Most people wouldn’t call Audioslave a Christian band because they haven’t identified themselves at all with Christian rock. But their lyrics do reference god pretty explicitly and address him directly from time to time, so they’re sort of Christian in practice. (As Kuro mentioned, the former RATM members would probably refuse to be part of a Christian band). This is unlike, say, Bad Religion, who sing about god in a neutral to negative way, and therefore are anti-religion in practice, but have publicly said they are not an atheist band.
    So Audioslave is not actually a Christain band, but is comfortably on the “Christian” side of the secular middle in the Christian-Atheist rock music continuum.
    It’s interesting to me that people here are calling Evanescence christian, I always interpreted Amy Lee’s lyrics as being abandoned by god. Which I guess accepts his presence implicitly, but seems borderline heretical. Goes to show how music can be all about interpretation though. To be fair, I was never that into them anyway, and I have no idea what is on their most recent CD.

  29. I’m sorry, but up until I heard this record, I was a Chris Cornell fan. Hearing him sing about Jesus sucks. Another victim from centuries of lies.

  30. Joel, which lyrics do you find offensive?

  31. for him or against him everything is toward him