Religion becomes electric

The Arcade Fire will show you the light with their latest offering, “The Neon Bible”

Haily Gostas

Good evening, my children. My name is Win Butler, and I am joined tonight by my wife Régine Chassagne and our seven (or eight, or nine, depending on whether we’re feeling particularly brotherly) members in faith, the Arcade Fire.

We thank you very much for tuning into our latest program, “Neon Bible,” which will not be, contrary to popular belief, just another late-night, zombie-like televangelist special. No, we will not be reading from recent news headlines and then applying our staggering memorization of Good Book verses to interpret the story as a prophecy extended from God to punish the homosexuals. Nor will we predict the second coming of Christ. Nor will we announce the featured fundraising item of the week, though I’m sure many of you out there could really use one of those vials of holy water (complete with instructional video) in order to take that next step toward heaven.

Really, what we’re all so excited about is that you’ve decided to join us tonight because, actually, we too want to talk about the power of religion in the world today: the destructive, confining power many other channels refuse to address. Ultimately, we hope you enjoy what our new album, the frequently enlightening “Neon Bible,” can bring to your life. For these and other exciting developments that can speak both to you and others like you, please continue on.

Are you an unwilling soldier who must go at it alone, who aches to free himself from these holy wars ravaging our planet? Do you feel as though you slave away for an unmerciful God? Do you lose sleep worrying over when World War III will make its way to your door?

If so, the “Funeral” isn’t over, and “Neon Bible” may be for you. We ask you to join us in moving toward the darkness of reality and not toward the blinding, falsely guiding white light. We here can taste your fear, but we want not for you to kneel. Rather, we encourage you to stand, to sway, to perhaps pump your fists as if at an especially engaging rock music concert. The end is nigh, certainly, but we needn’t be afraid.

ÖWell, actually, we probably should be afraid. But nevertheless, let us go out with an impossibly triumphant bang.

The end will come with bells and whistles, my children! With an abundance of booming pipe organs and trembling orchestral strings! With the crash of a timpani and the drone of the hurdy gurdy! With the distant cries of a military choir and the high metal clang of the glockenspiel! We will not go quietly – instead, sing hallelujah with the fear in your heart!

We too feel as though we have been left for dead and that our bodies are cages that keep us from such dancing. For many of us, heaven is but a fantastical figment of our imaginations. We have heard the voice calling from outside that wishing well, and she has proclaimed: “You fool!/ Now that you know your end is near/ you always fall for what you desire or what you fear!”

The time has come to turn the volume of our collected voices up to 11. Me personally, I have been blessed with an emotive quaver that speaks the tongues of Bowie and Springsteen, but to each his own. Let this be a lesson learned, brothers and sisters! I will use this voice to warn of religious corruption and commoditization because, honestly, who here among us still believes in choice? Not I! I encourage you to do the same.

With working-class conditioning, Judeo-Christian imagery, and dark predictions, I will show you the way! With production that swells and swirls and swallows, I will envelope you into our hearts and put to rest your fears of, if nothing else, a Sophomore Slump! We have returned, and we will clap, we will rejoice, even despite our own confusions!

We are here to tell you that you have a reason to be scared, but also that it is okay to be scared. I know that Régine and I are scared. We haven’t much chance for survival, if the “Neon Bible” is right.

So, therefore, let us pray. Pray with me!

“Dear God, I’m a good Christian man/ In your glory, I know you understand/ Lord, would you send me a sign/ because I gotta know if I’m wasting my time.”

Perhaps “Neon Bible” can be your miracle. Call or visit today.