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29 October 2014
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Moby tells BBC World Service that his understanding of Christianity helped him achieve a new balance in life

Musician Richard Melville Hall, otherwise known as Moby, has been a Marxist punk, a fundamentalist Christian and a teetotal vegan.

Moby talks to BBC World Service about his Christian faith, why he's wary of aligning himself with any one specific denomination and how he has managed to achieve a balanced lifestyle.

The interview can be heard at 10.45am BST in tomorrow's edition of Heart and Soul – Celebrity I Believe (30 April 2003, BBC World Service).

On hedonism and consumerism

Moby, who owns a vegetarian restaurant and loft apartment in downtown Manhattan, says he's not a consumerist.

"I wish I could say I'm enlightened and it's some sort of spiritually inspired choice but there just aren't that many material things that I like very much."

In the 80s and 90s he was a strict Christian and vegan. Now:

"I'm still a vegan and still Christian but I'm just a lot less rigid.

"When I first got involved in club culture I didn't drink, I wasn't promiscuous, I didn't take drugs. I didn't really get involved in any of the hedonistic vices that most people got involved in.

"I have taken drugs a few times but I didn't really start experimenting with hedonism until I was about 33 or 34 years old. In some ways I'm grateful for that.

"Now hopefully I've found a balance wherein hedonism can be juxtaposed or balanced in moderation by a more sober, sane lifestyle."

On his belief

"I was never encouraged to believe anything. I was brought up in a profoundly agnostic or pantheistic community.

"Through my teens I was really interested in different types of spirituality and different types of world religion. At one point I sort of flirted with Daoism, I was an atheist for a while, I was a punk rock Marxist for a while.

"In about 1985 I read the teachings of Christ and was instantly struck by the idea that Christ was somehow divine.

"When I say I love Christ and love the teachings of Christ I mean that in the most simple and naïve way. I'm not saying I'm right."

On religious orthodoxy

"I don't necessarily subscribe to any denomination. I'm even wary of calling myself a Christian.

"I'm really wary of orthodoxy, any sort of orthodoxy, whether it’s religious orthodoxy or musical orthodoxy. Because the truth is, orthodoxy and fundamentalism are arbitrary concepts."

On fundamentalism

"One of the reasons why fundamentalists are so aggressive in trying to promote fundamentalism is because deep down they know it's arbitrary. If you're comfortable with your belief you don't need to convince other people to agree with you.

"When I was younger, when I first became a Christian, I was a very fundamentalist Christian and I was very rigid in my fundamentalism and my Christianity.

"Basically what led me away from fundamentalism was looking at the world around me. The fundamentalist is always trying to conform his or her experience to his or her orthodox belief, to his or her fundamentalism. But then you look at the world around you and you realise, you know what, the world is flexible and fluid in ways that cannot be contained within a fundamentalist ideology."

His best song

"Ironically enough it's a song that doesn't have any lyrics to it. It's a song called God Moving Over the Face of the Waters, and it's an instrumental piece of music that, when I was writing it, I had this vision, like at least according to the Old Testament, the creation story, at one point you know, what is it – the earth was without form and void and God was moving over the face of the waters. And this particular piece of music was written with that in mind."

His epitaph

"Here lies Moby. He tried not to take himself too seriously but at times he did. He was a jerk who tried to be a nice guy."

Notes to Editors

BBC World Service broadcasts programmes around the world in 43 languages and is available on radio and online at

It has a global audience of 150 million listeners.

Heart and Soul: Celebrity I Believe with Moby will be broadcast on the BBC World Service at 10.45am BST (repeated 3.45pm BST) on Wednesday 30 April 2003.

All the BBC's digital services are now available on Freeview, the new free-to-view digital terrestrial television service, as well as on satellite and cable.

Freeview offers the BBC's eight television channels, interactive services from BBCi, as well as 11 BBC radio networks.



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