Joseph Solomon has been making Christian viral videos for almost a decade. He started his YouTube channel chaseGodtv in June 2012, which now has over 15 million views and almost 600,000 subscribers. The extraordinarily talented Solomon has shared the teachings of Jesus Christ through music, poetry, videography, and life experiences resulting in hundreds of videos that impacted millions of people around the world.
Solomon grew up in a Christian household. His father was an elder and his mother played piano in their Texas church.
On chaseGod.tv, the description says Solomon’s desire is to show Christians “practical ways to understand and live out the faith… He knew that he was not perfect himself, so the only way to teach other imperfect people how to strive for perfection was to point them to Someone who already embodies that. Every webisode is an attempt to approach common struggles and questions through the lens of the Gospel of Christ.”
During the “Flights & Feelings” podcast Solomon released on August 17, 2021, titled “The Shores Somewhere Over Here,” Solomon unpacked a social media post where he told the world he’s not a Christian anymore.
It appears Solomon has deleted many of his popular videos that he apparently no longer agrees with on his YouTube channel. His Christian videos can still be found online where others have uploaded them, but Solomon has asked that even some of those be taken down.
Joseph Solomon: ‘I’m Not a Christian’
Solomon started his recent podcast by saying, “You can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube…I wish I could put the toothpaste back in the tube.”
Before 2020, most people knew Solomon as the “Christian YouTuber guy” or the “Christian poet” or the “Christian worship leader/singer” — but whatever the description, it was prefaced by “Joseph Solomon the Christian,” Solomon explained.
“It took a lot of people by surprise when I posted something on Twitter and reposted a screenshot of it on my Instagram,” he said. The tweet read: “I’m not a Christian. Maybe I’ll explain that further at some point on a podcast or something, but I’m really in no rush. I figured I’d at least just set context for any inquiring minds…” Solomon told his followers that any questions in the comments or direct messages regarding his announcement would go unanswered.
Thinking back on his tweet now, Solomon said he wishes he didn’t say it, but also said he doesn’t regret telling people he’s not a Christian anymore. “Maybe I regret my approach to it…but I just wanted to get it over with,” he shared.
Solomon said he feared people’s responses, but added that he didn’t want to miss an opportunity to help others who are struggling with their faith like he has.
“If I believe that what I’ve found, what I’ve experienced, what I am experiencing, where I am going is beneficial and helpful and healthy…and I’m leaving away from something that was not healthy for me, then maybe there are many other people who are curious. Not because they’re nosey, not because they wish to condemn, but because they are scared right now. Maybe they’re going through their own process of unbelief. [The] process of drifting away from the faith that everyone knows them to have, and they don’t know what to do with that. To feel safe and put on a mask. They hide their true struggles so that they won’t be ostracized from the community they’re in. So that they’ll feel safe because they don’t know where else to go.”
Recalling a popular YouTube video he made discussing doubt, Solomon said he remembered using the phrase “Honestly, I’ve considered quitting but where will I go?…Back?” He said everything outside of the Christian faith was scary to him at that time, so he just stayed.
Solomon said he no longer fears leaving the faith and sees it as a choice between that which propels him to go in reverse rather than in a trajectory going forward.
“Deconstructing isn’t even the proper word,” Solomon said, regarding his faith journey. The “creative,” as he calls himself, used the word “evolution” when describing his faith as “evolving,” which he said dares him to be honest.
“Whatever you believe, you have to own it. You can’t lease it from anybody. You can’t rent it.”
Dangerously, Solomon promised hope, love, clarity, morality, community, peace, and joy outside Christianity for those struggling with their faith. He says all of those things “that were marketed as ‘exclusive’ to your Christianity, you can find outside of its boundaries.”
“Those who are hearing this and still want to stay a Christian,” Solomon said, “but they feel some uncertainty around their faith because of the influence that I’ve played in that…I’ve tried to be clear throughout my time on YouTube and poetry and things…Whatever you believe, you have to own it. You can’t lease it from anybody. You can’t rent it.”
The social media influencer told his followers that if they had borrowed faith from someone else and never fully owned it, that now is “a beautiful time to consider what you own.”
Solomon said that he felt hurt by people who questioned his desire to have an authentic faith in Jesus Christ and said people assumed he was only making Christian videos as a way to make money and become popular.
Solomon explained that popularity was a temptation at times, but that he “genuinely sought after the face of the God of the Bible,” leading him to pleading in tears that God would take away his doubt.
The talented creative posed a question to his listeners, asking whether they were just made for damnation, referring to the Apostle Paul’s teachings to the church of Ephesus in Ephesians 1:4-5. “But you’re not, and I hope that you see that,” Solomon said.
“I know what it’s like to heal and to become whole when I’ve been broken for so long.”
“[For years] I’ve struggled with believing God, particularly the God of the Bible,” Solomon stated, then shared that is why he was driven to study the Bible. “I probed, because in that Bible, I believed there to be the answers to all of life,”he said. He added that he wanted to understand biblical context and Author better so that everything in life would make sense.
With sadness in his voice, Solomon said his pursuit wasn’t about obtaining knowledge or facts, but was genuinely about wanting to have a relationship with and experience God deeply. There were moments he said he thought that was happening. “Ya’ll, I tried for so long,” he said.
“I looked all over for the evidence and I didn’t see it, so I kept going forward as if it were true…is that not what faith is?” Solomon said he was at peace with his doubt.
His now-deleted viral poem, ‘Shadow of a Doubt,‘ resonated with many people who also had doubts but felt too ashamed to voice them, which left them feeling alone. Solomon said that gave him the confidence to continue speaking about his doubt regarding God.
Solomon said his doubts began to grow the more he was honest with others about what he was feeling. Depression, too, became super heavy.
“When you become isolated during pandemic and quarantined to your own emotions, things can get dark.”
It wasn’t the lack of community during the pandemic quarantine that led to his full departure from Christianity, Solomon made clear. He reassured his listeners he had plenty of community.
Saying he understood how his loyal followers were disappointed and concerned, Solomon said he wanted to make it very clear the situation wasn’t easy for him. “That s–t was rough man. That faith did not die quickly,” he said.
Popular Christianity Is Dangerous
Solomon said that during his transition from a popular-viral-video-creative-teaching Christian to a Christian who’s deconstructing his faith, the ramifications of that journey were at the forefront of his mind. The YouTuber said he thought about things like how the journey would unfold for him; what would happen if he documented his deconstruction and the outcome was not good. He wondered whether his popularity would go away if the outcome resulted in him walking away from the faith. “I didn’t want that tied to my own livelihood,” he said. “I’d rather Uber than to be some popular poet…some popular singer who feels trapped and not able to truly wrestle through his inquiries.”
Solomon said he backed away from the spotlight and started living out his Christianity in the background. The influencer shared an insightful revelation about how he appreciated Christians who weren’t Christians tied to a social or monetary incentive for their Christianity.
The Pandemic Allowed Solomon to be Honest
With all his tours cancelled due to the pandemic last year, Solomon said the down time allowed him to be honest with himself because he didn’t have to perform for anyone. Therapy helped him be okay with “not calling his doubts…doubts,” to stop seeing them in a negative way, and to become at peace with letting them go.
“I was reconstructing myself after many years of Christian subculture That deconstructed me.”
Solomon said Jesus’ words in Matthew 28:11-30 didn’t add up for him. Jesus said, “my burden is light” yet it was heavy for him. “Eventually, I finally became okay with just letting it go.”
Listen to the Joseph Solomon’s podcast “Flights & Feelings: The Shores Somewhere Over Here” below:
Source : Christian NewsNow