Can A Christian be a Goth?
Almost every Christian Goth will be asked this question at some point.
“I didn’t know you could do that?” is an oft heard comment, not necessarily made in judgment but astonishment as if God has a book with a checklist of “may,” and “may nots,” and goth is on the “may not” list.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had an attraction to the gothic. I love it. I find it beautiful and safe.
If goth is your nature than embracing goth may well be the single, most therapeutic thing you will ever do. Living a life that is out of harmony with what you believe about your self is unhealthy.
Jesus said, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free,” John 8:32
Like many things that Jesus said, this simple statement is subject to interpretation.
Perhaps he meant, “When you are in a right relationship with me you can be the person I created you to be without fear.”
Maybe authenticity is what really matters, that is, being true to the people we believe ourselves to be and living that life as opposed to the life someone else or some other culture wants for us.
When you find your tribe, and you may belong to more than one, you will feel that you have found a family. Growing up gothic was like being a bird in a squirrel’s world. It was one of the happiest days of my life when I finally discovered other birds and realized I wasn’t the only one.
Asking if a Christian can be a goth is like asking me why I wear a size small shirt.
The obvious answer is, “it fits.”
Perhaps a better question is how a Christian or anyone else of any faith or no faith at all can conform to any standard other than the one God called him or her to?
I understand that goth is “different” but differences can be strengths.
Diversity itself is a strength because it can expand our world view.
Instead of focusing on the perceived difference why not focused on the contribution that difference can make to the greater culture:
• Goth encourages us to accept people for who they are.
• Goth inspires awe and wonder.
• Gothic culture is much older than the modern Goth underground movement. If you look for it, you will find it everywhere—reflected, perhaps, in the church building you worship in.
• Goth can open our eyes to the beauty in sorrow or the elegance in darkness.
• A close association with the darker side of life will increase one’s appreciation for the light, the way eating a strict diet will increase one’s sensory experience of food. It will heighten sensitivity; it will make one more aware not less. In short, it will increase sensitivity and awareness of the spirit world.
• Goths have a different perception of beauty than the mainstream culture, different, not better nor worse. Gothic beauty invokes awe. It puts us in touch with the magnificence of God and the utter transcendence and the limitless depths of our own supernatural, eternal existence.
• Goth reminds the mainstream that there is more to life than the material and we are more than material beings.
• Goth reminds us to be outraged at oppression and hatred.
• Goth encourages everyone to come out from behind the mask and be the people we believe ourselves to be.
• Goth is a counter-cultural movement. In many ways, Jesus was counter-culture. He swam against the mainstream and was persecuted for it.
This is what others have said:
“God offends the mind to reveal the heart.” – Author Unknown
“Goth culture is a movement embracing the romanticism of darkness and the outcast persona…it is a statement against what was seen as the oppressive, materialistic, and superficial values of mainstream society…Goths are usually gentle people with artistic and literary tastes. Sometimes their deliberate off-putting look is a test to see who will accept them for what they really are…we should not assume that all in the Goth subculture are damaged. They search for the authentic, not the plastic, intimacy, not the grandiose. They are sensitive to artificial and superficial social behaviors.” – Marcia Montenegro
“Goth is the ability to find the art where art seems to be lacking; to find the light in the darkness and embrace it for all its worth.” – Jennifer Mason
“Goth unashamedly celebrates the dark recesses of the human psyche…many people lead unhappy, unachieved lives. And that’s sad. Goth makes depression and angst a lifestyle choice and that’s art…Goth is about living precisely when suicide is the only reasonable option.” – Unknown Author
“I could not adapt to the cookie-cutter Christian model…Being Goth to me is also being real with myself, real with others, and real with God…In “normal society,” people seem so concerned with appearances, they hide their true selves in order to gain the favor of others. This mask wearing is accepted, yet stark honesty is often shunned, even by those in the church…If I were to be anything but gothic in my views, I would be among the mask-wearing hypocrites.” – Pastor Ed Carter of Sanctuary
Think of it this way:
“If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin,” – 1st John 1:7
Walking in the light is not rejecting darkness or those in dark culture; it is honesty. Taken this way, a Goth is walking in the light and a mask-wearing hypocrite is walking in darkness. Kind of ironic, isn’t it?
You don’t need to conform to someone else’s cultural standards to be a Christian.
God loves diversity.
God made diversity.
God wants you to know that you are highly valued, loved, and appreciated for who you are.
I think Goths are creative, imaginative and courageous people. They tend to present the uncensored truth, not hypocrisies or lies. But, truth can frighten. That is why we must speak the truth in love. We must show love when we are shown hatred. We must understand when we are misunderstood.
If Goth is who you really are and not just some fiction you are hiding behind, then Goth will set you free.
Truth is liberating, just as lying and hypocrisy are enslaving.
Goth is not a fad. For some it may be. For others it may be a temporary stop along the journey home. But for the vast majority of long-term Goths it is a part of our personality, our very being. It is an outlook on life, a point of view, or a value system and we are here to celebrate it.
What is goth
“Goth is a state of mind. Romance is at the heart of what it means to be goth. Most goths are goth because of a refined sensitivity to life… goths try to live with dignity; they aim to respect one another. The Victorian goth is a genteel character, mourning that environment which nurtured sensitivity and venerated consideration… goth is a realm devoted to the deepest yearnings of the collective unconscious. It respects what has been traditionally called feminine values in both men and women, beauty, love, refinement, creativity… goth is about surviving with style and grace.” – Nancy Kilpatrick, The Goth Bible
“Goths serve a shamanistic role in society to protest, to mourn, to amplify and relay mourning and anger for the collective mind.” – John Shirley as quoted by Gavin Baddeley
“Goth is a distinctive style of music and fashion.” – Paul Hodkinson, Goth: Identity, Style, and Subculture
“A Goth is a fan of gothic music. They wear black and act melancholy. Themes that appeal to Goths tend to pertain to the dark aspects of human existence—such as death, romance, and feelings of loneliness or isolation. Many Goths are drawn to the scene due to experiences of abuse, discrimination or ridicule at the hands of “normal” people. To the outside, Goths are weird; black clad freaks who are obsessed with death. Take a closer look, however, and you will find a rich tapestry of ideas and practices and a menagerie of colorful characters. There are many kinds of Goths including but not limited to Romantic Goths, Death Rockers, Cyber Goths, Rivet-Heads, Ethereal Goths, Punks, Perky Goths, and Goth-a-Billys. Each has a distinctive style.” – Voltaire ‘What is Goth’
“Goth in its simplest form is a subculture, a group of people who feel comfortable with each other’s company. There is no specific thing that defines what you need to do or be to fit into the goth scene (except of course the implied black clothing). People in the goth scene all have different musical tastes, follow different religions, have different occupations, hobbies, and fashion sense.” – Goth.net
“Many people lead unhappy, unachieved lives. And that’s sad. Goth makes depression and angst a lifestyle choice, and that’s art.” – A goth primer
“Goth refers to the modern underground scene. But Goth is more than just a subculture, a gloomy aesthetic or literary genre. It is a philosophical perspective. In Goth, the strange and eerie are commonplace, while the everyday is somehow uncanny. Camp is an important concept to anyone who wishes to understand the gothic aesthetic. The essence of Camp is its love of the unnatural, of the exaggerated and the off.” – Gavin Baddeley, Goth Chic
“Goth culture is a movement embracing the romanticism of darkness and the outcast persona… it is a statement against what is seen as the oppressive, materialistic, and superficial values of mainstream society… Goths are usually gentle people with artistic and literary tastes. Sometimes their deliberate off-putting look is a test to see who will accept them for what they really are. They are sensitive to artificial and superficial social behaviors.” – Marcia Montenegro
“Most people pass through the valley of the shadow of death, you people build condos there.” – Lynn Vigliante
Goth means many different things to many different people but this is what it means to me: Goth is beauty. Those that are Goth are tender, sensitive, and courageous. Goth is empathy and Goths are the bearers of sorrow and sadness for a lost and dying world. Goth is an expressionist response to the pain and injustice that diminishes every human being. When one suffers, we all suffer. Goth is a gentle and elegantly masochistic answer to a cruel and sadistic society. Goth is choosing life when death is a seductively tempting option. Goth is art, a means of expressing the darkest and saddest of all human emotion. Goth is, always has been and always will be as long as people hurt.
- David Dellman