Convicted singer of Christian metal band As I Lay Dying comes out as an atheist


Tim Lambesis of As I Lay Dying in 2010, when he was still pretending to be a Christian. (Chris Pizzello/AP)

As a general rule of thumb, it’s better to be a Christian when performing Christian music. We also recommend that you don’t try to kill your wife.

Last month, Tim Lambesis, lead singer of the San Diego-based Christian metalcore band As I Lay Dying was sentenced to six years in prison for ordering a hit on his estranged wife, Meggan Murphy.

Long before Lambesis tried to hire an undercover detective to kill her, Murphy had revealed in divorce-court documents that her Christian-rock-singer husband had actually been an atheist for years.

In an series of interviews with Alternative Press before his May sentencing, Lambesis came clean, admitting that he became an atheist in college, when he was finishing his degree in philosophy and religious studies through an online program.

The month-old revelation from Lambesis received renewed attention this week after the Christian Post reported on the singer’s admission.

The first hint to his fans that something was amiss with his Christian faith might have come shortly before Lambesis’s arrest in 2013, when he revealed a side project, called Pyrithion, whose music was decidedly darker than As I Lay Dying’s.

Comments on YouTube suggested that the band was “satanic” or “anti-religious.” So Lambesis did what any embattled artist would do: He donned his glasses, grabbed a book and sat in front of a hearth to explain.

“These songs have been a good way for me to address point of views that I don’t necessarily believe myself, but I just want that challenge in my thinking,” Lambesis said at the time.

But a year later, he admitted that he was misleading his fans, telling Alternative Press:

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. … As far as the 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!” Truthfully, I was an atheist.

Lambesis claimed in the interview that he was hardly an anomaly in the Christian music scene — or even his own band — telling the Alternative Press:

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. I actually wasn’t the first guy in As I Lay Dying to stop being a Christian. In fact, I think I was the third. The two who remained kind of stopped talking about it, and then I’m pretty sure they dropped it, too. We talked about whether to keep taking money from the “Christian market.” We had this bizarrely “noble” thing, like, “Well, we’re not passing along any bad ideas. We’re just singing about real life stuff. Those kids need to hear about real life, because they live in a bubble.”

Even without its imprisoned frontman, As I Lay Dying is still tweeting to its 144,000 followers. Some of Lambesis’s bandmates have formed a new group, Wovenwar, which is hitting the road in July for a summer tour. Lambesis’s wife has also sued him for $2 million.

Abby Phillip is a general assignment national reporter for the Washington Post. Before that, she covered politics at ABC News and Politico. She can be reached at abby.phillip@washpost.com. On Twitter: @abbydphillip

 

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