Editorial: All views expressed here are my own and don’t reflect the views of Hallels.com or Music Times LLC.
After over 30 years on his own, Ozzy Osbourne returned to Black Sabbath to record the album 13 which released in June. On the album is a song called "God is Dead?" that, once again, has many labeling Ozzy as a satanist at worst and an atheist as best. With the preconceived notions of evil in place, it's easy to take anything that comes out of the man's mouth and make it as anti-God as possible. But is that the reality or is it perception?
The first thing that may help answer that question is the title of the song itself. If it is an attack on God, why the question mark? While I've never met a satanist (that I know of), I've talked with more than one or two atheists in my 10+ years in ministry. From research and personal conversations, I've found that while not all atheists are satanists, almost all satanists are atheists. In other words, neither group believes that God exists at all - so why, if Ozzy were either one, would he ask if a God he doesn't even believe exists is dead?
The second hints come from the lyrics themselves... (full song lyrics)
Lost in the darkness
I fade from the light
Faith of my father, my brother, my Maker and Savior
Help me make it through the night
Again, in my personal experience, I've never met an atheist who believed in a heavenly maker and certainly not in a Savior. If Osbourne were not a believer, why waste valuable lyric space to talk about his "Maker and Savior?"
Farther into the song, Ozzy sings, I empathize with enemy / Until the timing’s right / With God and Satan at my side / From darkness will come light. If you've read your Bible, you know that the earth is called Satan's domain in several places, among them Job 1:7, John 12:31, 1 Peter 5:8. You also know that God says He will never leave us, nor forsake us (be at our sides) in Deuteronomy 31:8, Hebrews 13:5, Joshua 1:9, to name a few. So to say that God and Satan are both at your side isn't hateful, it's just fact. The reasons they are at are side are different (God because He loves us, Satan because he doesn't), but Osbourne doesn't go into the why. Now think about John 8:12, which says, "When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'" Or refresh your memory of 2 Cor. 4:6, which says, "For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God's glory displayed in the face of Christ." It gives "from darkness will come light" a whole 'nother meaning now doesn't it?
The daily headlines assure us that evil is alive and well in our world. The newspapers and TV media constantly report on this tragedy or that atrocity. Stories of love and triumph over evil aren't nearly as prevalent, but they are there, assuring us that God is indeed very much alive (just as our spirits tell us).
Isn't it possible that Ozzy was writing a song about the state of our world and how, with all of the daily horrors we're faced with, he's wondering why God hasn't stopped it all? If Ozzy were a Christian, believing in God as a loving father, couldn't he reasonably ask if God were still here (alive) if he couldn't wrap his mind around God allowing bad things to happen to good people? Surely at some point, you yourself have asked God the why of something. Does that question make you stop being a believer?
Then there is the line in the song that says, "I don't believe that God is dead." That one doesn't go along with the evil theory either.
As I pondered all of this, I came across an archived New York Times article that brought the last piece into the picture. Ozzy Osbourne is a member of the Church of England, and the man who many have called The Prince of Darkness (and not just as a gimmicky stage name) kneels and prays backstage just before going on stage every night. That little tid-bit made a quote I read earlier make a lot more sense. Ozzy is quoted as saying, "I have a saying. 'Never judge a book by its cover'. I say that because I don't even know who Ozzy is. I wake up a new person every day. But if you've got a fantasy of Ozzy, who am I to say? I mean, if you think I sleep upside-down in the rafters and fly around at night and bite people's throats out, then that's your thing. But I can tell you now, all I ever wanted was for people to come to my concerts and have a good time. I don't want anyone to harm themselves in any way, shape or form-and my intentions are good whether people want to believe it or not. I'm not going to suddenly become a Jesus freak or anything. But I do have my beliefs and my beliefs are certainly not satanic."
Yes, Ozzy Osbourne has done some outrageous things in his career. He's made some choices that were bad with a capital "B." In the New York Times interview referenced above, he even admitted he has done some less than stellar things. But aren't we all sinners? Haven't we all done things that fall short of the glory of God? Are any of us in a position to judge Ozzy Osbourne and determine his heart or his beliefs?