The lead singer of award-winning Christian band Hawk Nelson says he's decided to tell the truth: He no longer believes in God, and has had doubts for many years. In a lengthy Instagram post, Jonathan Steingard says he has been "terrified" about making the announcement, but it feels "dishonest" not to talk about his loss of faith, CNN reports. "After growing up in a Christian home, being a pastor's kid, playing and singing in a Christian band, and having the word 'Christian' in front of most of the things in my life—I am now finding that I no longer believe in God," says Steingard, who joined the band as lead guitarist in 2004 and took over as lead vocalist in 2012. He says he no longer fears losing his place in Christian music, but is "giving it up voluntarily."
Steingard says that people have always told him to look for answers in the Bible—but reading it only "amplified" his doubts. "Why does God seem so pissed off in the Old Testament, and then all of a sudden he's a loving father in the New Testament?" he wonders. He says he spoke to friends about his doubts, and discovered many of them felt the same way. "I am stunned by the number of people in visible positions within Christian circles that feel the same way as I do. Like me, they fear losing everything if they're open about it," writes Steingard. In a statement, his bandmates said they were now turning their mission of encouragement and inspiration toward "one of our own," Billboard reports. "God is still FOR Jon & he still matters," they said. "Why? Because that truth doesn’t change just because we question it," Billboard reports. (Read more Christianity stories.)