Judeo-Christian Themes in the Smashing Pumpkins’ Oceania, Part 9: Faith
Welcome to Week 9 of my series exploring Judeo-Christian themes in the Smashing Pumpkins' 2012 album Oceania. Check out the previous posts if you want to catch up. Last week we talked about the concept of The Way in Track 8, the title track. This week, I've pressed the skip button to check out Track 10, "The Chimera."
"The Chimera" is a driving, straight-ahead rocker. I have a lot of fun listening to it, and I imagine Billy Corgan enjoyed the recording process as well. Upbeat yet edgy guitars and pounding drums drive the track, and Corgan sings with abandon.
I can't really tell what the song is about exactly - the titular creature, a mythical combination of a lion, a goat, and a snake - doesn't appear anywhere in the lyrics. Some of the lyrics sound as if they come from the perspective of someone who is discovering faith and perhaps even singing to God.
I'll take you with me where I climb
In my mind, oh my mind
I'll take you with me where I keep
In my sleep, oh in my sleep
And if I'm wrong, I'm right
I'm never gonna lose you
If I'm wrong, I'm right
Take me to your life
All you need is you, lover
All you need is you
All you need is you, lover
So please need me too
What you need is love, stranger
What you need is love
When your love needs its danger
Please let me through when I've got you
The Bible obviously contains plenty of verses about faith. Many of the key figures in the Old Testament were people of faith. Genesis 15:6 says that Abraham "believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness." In fact, the author of the New Testament book of Hebrews shares a list of faithful Israelites throughout chapter 11:
7 By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going... 11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth...
Jesus tells His followers in Mark 11:
22 “Have faith in God,”Jesus answered. 23 “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."
Jesus healed men and women because of their faith, He rebuked His disciples for their momentary lapses in faith, and He refused to minister in towns due to their complete lack of faith.
The Apostle Paul tells us that our faith allows us to have a relationship with God:
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith... (Galatians 3:26)
...there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. (Romans 3:30)
In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. (Ephesians 3:12)
The author of Hebrews tells us that "without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him" (Hebrews 11:6). Faith in God is the cornerstone of a relationship with Him. I pray that those who earnestly seek Him - Billy Corgan included - will find faith in the God of the Bible.