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Michael Stipe

John Michael Stipe (born January 4, 1960) is an American singer, lyricist and visual artist. He was the lead vocalist of the alternative rock band R.E.M. from their formation in 1980 until their dissolution in 2011. Stipe is noted and occasionally parodied for the "mumbling" style of his early career as well as his social and political activism. He was in charge of R.E.M.'s visual image, often selecting album artwork and directing many of the band's music videos. Outside the music industry, he runs his own film production companies: C-00 and Single Cell Pictures. [1]

"Losing My Religion" by Michael Stipe is popular in the atheist community but the song doesn't necessarily refer to losing religion. "Losing my religion" is an expression from the southern region of the United States that means losing one's temper or civility, or "being at the end of one's rope." Stipe told The New York Times the song was about romantic expression. He told Q that "Losing My Religion" is about "someone who pines for someone else. It's unrequited love, what have you." Stipe compared the song's theme to "Every Breath You Take" by The Police, saying, "It's just a classic obsession pop song. I've always felt the best kinds of songs are the ones where anybody can listen to it, put themselves in it and say, 'Yeah, that's me.'"[2]

Today Michael Stipe identifies himself as a Buddhist. He hasn't made Buddhism part of his music or involved himself in any Buddhist organization fundraisers.[3] Buddhism lacks a belief in a deity therefore making it an atheistic religion.

Michael Stipe comes from a long line of Methodist Ministers. But clearly isn't a Methodist today, and believes the Bible is merely allegory.

"I think that where we are right now, the 21st century ... is going to prove a very difficult testing ground for organized religion and for people of faith. A lot of the ideas that are still being held onto -- I call them 'hangovers' -- seem to be mid-century or even earlier. (They are) 19th century, 20th century ideas that are almost anachronistic in 2004. And so, if organized religion and people of faith want to continue into the 21st century, I think they kind of have to live in the times that we're living. You have to understand that the holy scripture is a very important part of my life, and my upbringing, and the culture that I came up through -- but it's allegory. We're living in a time where stem cell research is very, very key, and the idea of cloning is not some science fiction writer's dream of the future. Start to talk, and discuss, and provoke thought about these things, and recognize that the time we're living in is not the same as it was 2,000 years ago."[4] - Michael Stipe

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