Why Scott Stapp Hated God and Other Revelations in His New Book Sinner's Creed
These days, it's possible to feel a perverse nostalgia for Creed, the original kings of gloss-grunge Christosterone buttrock. After Stapp and Co. burned out in a blaze of ignominy, Nickelback popped into their slot at the bottom of the critical totem pole so gracefully that we barely noticed. But Creed was no Nickelback: Creed sucked better and sucked harder, and their hilarious music -- even now that no radio station would be caught dead spinning it -- is aging like a fine box of Franzia.
This month, Scott Stapp released his memoir, Sinner's Creed, detailing his dark history of abuse, addiction, faith, and redemption. It could have been a leaden tale of spiritual struggle, but Stapp -- and his veteran rock ghostwriter, David Ritz -- pack it with all the qualities that make Creed songs so wonderful: It's a grandiose, ridiculous, overwrought, egotistical, and unintentionally comical tale of spiritual struggle.
No secondhand description could do justice to the absurd majesty of this book. To convey the torment, the triumph, the martyrdom, and heartbreak, we must bring you Stapp in his own beautiful words. This week, Sound of the City is proud to present an unprecedented multi-part series on Stapp's poignant struggles with his father, his God, his art, and, most of all, himself.
Part I: "I hate You, God!"
Like most Creed videos, much of Sinner's Creed finds Scott at the edge of a crumbling cliff, striking of pose of crucifixion and heaving his bosom skyward, crying out for a God that has forsaken him. He is bedeviled throughout by depression, self-doubt, addictions, and, occasionally, actual devils; through it all, he screams at the heavens for answers. In our first installment, we'll look at Stapp's most dramatic moments of demonic warfare and holy angst.
The tone is set by the prologue, in which Stapp recounts hitting spiritual rock bottom, flinging himself from the balcony of a Miami hotel in an episode of drug-induced paranoia. From the get-go, Scott elaborately pleads with the man upstairs for one last break:
"How could You allow all this to happen to me?" I yelled. "You know I love You and my heart's in the right place. Why didn't You protect me? Do You know what humiliation this is going to bring to me? I'm going to be another one of those Christians who embarrass You. Listen, just take my life. I don't care. But please spare my wife and son from shame. They've been through enough. I'll never understand why You would bless me so much only to take it all away."
As his grip weakens and he plunges from the deck, all the very real horrors of the underworld nip at his heels:
I felt my spirit plummeting through the stages of Dante's Inferno. Devils were chasing me with knives and swords, bayonets and scythes. Snakes were curled around my arms, their mouths biting my neck. The Enemy himself, a pitiless beast with eyes of blazing fire, was in pursuit, looking to devour me whole.
Spoiler alert: Scott Stapp is not devoured by Satan (maybe in the sequel). Let that not diminish the fact that his tale played itself out on the grandest possible scale; Scott Stapp was not just a simple plaything of heaven and hell, but the king in their eternal chess game:
I felt like I was in the middle of an epic battle between God and Lucifer, good and evil, life and death. At that moment I couldn't deny that the devil had complete control over me, but I also knew I had a heart that loved God. At many times throughout my life, I felt I was living under His divine control and following His purposes for me. So how could the devil have won?