Is Neil Diamond a Christian?

I have to admit I fast-forwarded through Neil Diamond’s performance on Thursday night’s American Idol. However, this morning as I was getting ready for work he performed on the Today Show and this time I was able to listen to his song “Pretty Amazing Grace.”

Uh. Did he convert? I know he’s Jewish – but is it possible he has had a salvation experience? Here are the song lyrics:

Pretty amazing grace is what You showed me
pretty amazing grace is who You are
I was an empty vessel
You filled me up inside
and with amazing grace restored my pride

Pretty amazing grace is how You saved me
and with amazing grace reclaimed my heart
love in the midst of chaos
calm in the heat of war
showed with amazing grace what love was for

You forgave my insensitivity
and my attempt to then mislead You
You stood beside a wretch like me
Your pretty amazing grace was all I needed.

Stumbled inside the doorway of Your chapel
humbled in God by everything I found
beauty and love surround me
freed me from what I fear
ask for amazing grace and You appear

You overcame my loss of hope and faith
gave me a truth I could belive in
You led me to a higher place
showed Your amazing grace
when grace was what I needed

look in a mirror I see Your reflection
open a book You live on every page
I fall and You’re there to lift me
share every road I climb
and with amazing grace You ease my mind

Came to You with empty pockets first
when I returned I was rich man
didn’t believe love could quench my thirst
but with amazing grace You showed me that it can

In Your amazing grace I had a vision
from that amazing place I came to be
into the night I wandered
wandering aimlessly
found Your amazing grace to comfort me.

pretty amazing
pretty amazing
pretty amazing
pretty amazing
pretty amazing
pretty amazing
pretty amazing
pretty amazing

You overcame my loss of hope and faith,
gave me a truth I could believe in.
You led me to that higher place
showed me that love and truth and hope and grace were all I needed.

To copy the phrase – pretty amazing, huh? What a wonderful, peaceful song it is. That makes it THREE TIMES on American Idol this season that there have been openly Christian songs performed. Dolly Parton’s performance night she sang a straight up gospel song about Jesus. The Idols sang “Shout to the Lord” as the Idol Gives Back finale, and now Neil Diamond sings about amazing grace.

What’s going on over there at Idol? Either way, I like it! And I like this Neil Diamond song a lot. And yes, that means I’ll probably download it from iTunes.

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15 comments

  1. He mentioned God in his interview with Ryan, too. I didn’t take his song to be about God/Jesus, though. It sounded like he was singing to a woman to me.

  2. I, too, first thought the song was about his love for a woman. But, when I went back and replayed the song, later (paying more attention to the lyrics), I became nearly convinced that when he sang that he was standing at “the door of your chapel” (the actual meaning may be that the song was directed to The Christ). His YouTube performance of ‘Brother Love’s Travelin’ Salvation Show’ on the Johnny Cash Show, from the early 1970s, was also revealing. No matter what, his song writing has always been truly amazing, in and of itself.

  3. It will be on the Home Before Dark Album which will be released the day after tomorrow.

  4. If you have a relationship with JesusChrist there are certain words in this songs that are signs of an encounter with Christ…like: I was an empty …You filled me up …You saved me …You forgave …You overcame …and many more…
    Think about that…
    I wish to see him in heaven…

  5. I saw your comment on that thread, TonyT and have to say I ardently disagree and absolutely don’t believe that Neil is John the Baptist reincarnate. And I hope you don’t really think that either.

  6. The words to MISSA written by Diamond and on his 1970 album
    Note: 1970

    Kristo, Kristo, Kristo

    Nitakutana nayeye
    Nitakutana nayeye
    Atakutana nami
    Atakutana nami

    Kristo, Kristo, Kristo

    Sina budi kwenda sasa sasa
    Sina budi kwenda sasa sasa

    Lazima nisichelewe
    Mtoto amezaliwa
    Mtoto amezaliwa
    Mtoto amezaliwa

    Kristo, Kristo, Kristo
    Gloria

    [English Translation:]

    Christ, Christ, Christ

    I shall meet him
    I shall meet him
    He will meet me
    He will meet me

    Christ, Christ, Christ

    I must go now,
    Now I must go now
    I must not be late
    A child has been born
    The child has been born

    Christ, Christ, Christ
    Gloria

    I am an expert on his music and he not only has many Baptist-like compositions but many on the soon-to-be New World. I would not be too quick to judge.

  7. Ed, there’s no need to give TonyT’s theory ANY thought. I absolutely do NOT believe (nor do I think Neil believes) that he is the reincarnation of John the Baptist. And not just because I don’t believe in reincarnation, but because I think that’s ridiculous. If *I* were to write a song or a poem from the perspective of John the Baptist – or even an album of songs from the perspective of John the Baptist – that doesn’t make me John the Baptist. And nor does it make Neil Diamond John the Baptist.

  8. I agree with your last two sentences (except for the use of the two conjunctions), although interestingly, the same sort of argument could have been posited against the first Baptist as well. Ah, but Jesus validated John did he not, but then, who is to say such validation could not happen again? I for one would not be so brazen as to think it could not.

    Two recurring motifs in Neil’s work are “being lost” and “seeking home,” and now we have a new album entitled “Home Before Dark.” Makes me think time will tell soon enough about this outlandish theory.

    I’m afraid I’m much too busy to continue a discussion that I assume will be met with great skepticism anyway, and I cannot say I blame you, esp. since you yourself don’t particularly care for Neil’s music anyway. God bless.

  9. Was about to call it a night Jaynee until I read a news article about Einstein and his characterization of the Bible as “pretty childish” and the idea of God as a product of human weakness. Though I sympathize with Einstein’s position, I believe another type of genius will prove Einstein wrong, whereby (a) God’s existence will be undeniably affirmed, and (b), ethical relativism will be supplanted by a biblical ethos. What biblical ethos? The same one espoused in “Brother Love’s Travelin’ Salvation Show.” That song comes to mind when hearing these lyrics from Neil’s new album:
    “Stumbled inside the doorway of your chapel, humbled and awed by everything I found, beauty and love surround me, freed me from what I feared, ask for amazing grace and you appear.” Not YOU in some born-again Christian sense but YOU in the sense of the flesh-and-blood Christ alive today. (Do me a favor: remember you heard it here first…wink.)
    I hope to meet you someday in the New World, Jaynee, or as Neil calls it :”America.” Oh, and there’s another type of genius Christ is: a puzzle genius. But I guess that isn’t too surprising given what the Baptist sings in On the Way to the Sky: “we are two and two of us are one.” Another point of interest is that Neil ends a lot of his concerts with the song “I’ve Been This Way Before.” In fact, he even included the song in a Jonathan Seagull medley. Not familiar with the book or Neil soundtrack? Some have likened it to Christian allegory. In that book the main character Jonathan comes back to earth, and when he does, there’s another main character involved named “Fletcher.” Finally, in respect to “I’ve Been This Way Before,” there’s a telling line that states: “I’ve been this way before and I’m sure to be this way again, once more time again, just one more time.” Ah yes, “One More Bite of the Apple” indeed. His asserting that he’s sure to be this way one more time has already happened because the Christ–the literal in-the-flesh Christ–has already come. When two geniuses come together, there’s nothin’ that can compare to the “The Power of Two.” 🙂

  10. I just bought my ticket to see Neil perform in NSW, Australia. I wanted my kids to listen to the songs my mum played for me when I was little. I was redirected on YouTube to Neil’s new music. The first song I listened to I thought “Oh, my Lord! This is a song singing praise to Jesus!”. It was unmistakable! So I listened to another one and was sure! I then searched the net to see if Neil is a religious man. I had no idea he was born Jewish. I have no doubt now that he has felt the power and love of Our Christ, the Saviour. I’m so glad I have bought tickets for his concert in the Hunter Valley. I can’t wait to hear the songs!!!

  11. Wow, Shocking news!:
    American Idol is owned or partly owned by some religious sect, nothing new there, they have blatantly promoted god rubbish and god believers for years.

    Neil Diamond has been singing religious stuff all his life.
    Pity ND is a great composer and singer.
    I found out many years ago his lyrics were skewered with god stuff hence I lost my appreciation of his talent.

  12. Interesting comment, John. We’ll have to disagree about many of your points. Suffice to say, it’s a shame that you think someone being religious is a stain on their talent. You are missing out on the contributions of some really talented people in the world.

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