The lead singer of a well-known Christian band no longer believes in God.
Hawk Nelson frontman Jon Steingard published a lengthy Instagram post last week, explaining he has, over time, lost complete faith in the existence of God — a shift he admitted he’s been “terrified” to share.
The “Drops in the Ocean” singer-songwriter compared his turn away from belief to the unraveling of a sweater, writing he has been undoing much of his faith over the past few years, even as he was continuing to perform.
“So if you’re someone who follows me because of Hawk Nelson, and my involvement in Christian music, you are probably thinking, ‘Wait — were you lying to me the whole time? Were you just pretending to be a Christian? What about all those songs you wrote? Did you mean those?’” Steingard wrote. “The short answer is that I was not lying. I did believe those things at the time. I may have been pulling on the threads of the sweater, but there was still some sweater left back then.”
For Steingard, faith has always played an integral role in life.
He grew up as a pastor’s kid and is married to a woman, Jess, whose father is also still a pastor. For most of his life, Steingard has had the word “Christian” in front of most of the things he’s done.
The 36-year-old singer said it is nerve-racking to open up about his unbelief, because doing so jeopardizes his relationships both professionally and personally. He admitted he fell into a deep depression when he first began to realize he no longer believed God existed, a conclusion he said he still hopes is wrong.
Several of the Christian artists Steingard has spent years around responded lovingly to his post, encouraging him and offering to speak with the musician about faith, if he were to be interested in doing so.
Bible teacher and author Sheila Walsh wrote, “The real God who knows and loves the real you will always be there. If you ever need a big sister — so will I.”
“I only met you once, playing a show with y’all,” wrote up-and-coming Christian artist Cade Thompson, “but I want you to know that we love you, brother. Thankful for you!”
Jeremy Camp, whose life story is now a major motion picture, “I Still Believe,” commented on Steingard’s post: “Love you, bro. Always will.”
The former lead singer of the Christian group Sanctus Real, Matt Hammitt, wrote, “To echo so many others here, I have nothing but love in my heart for you, old friend.”
Steingard’s abandonment of Christianity comes just shy of a year after Joshua Harris, author of “I Kissed Dating Goodbye,” announced he was divorcing his wife and leaving the faith. He also announced his support for the LGBT lifestyle.
In February, YouTube celebrities Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal, who grew up in Christian homes and spent years working for a parachurch ministry before pursuing entertainment careers, “came out” as agnostics, explaining their feelings on issues like homosexuality simply no longer jive with Christian doctrine.