When you think you own the Truth, then it is when your life is over.
This is one of the greatest teachings of philosophy: to always doubt yourself and everything that surrounds you. This is also something that Johnny Cash was doing constantly, even when it comes to his religious beliefs.
Like all artists, Johnny Cash is remembered as a man that didn’t follow the rules of society. And, like most artists, he has had his wild days, wild days of sex, drugs and rock and roll. However, he was still a Christian in his heart, a Christian with a conflicted soul.
Some might say right now that he was not just a Christian and they would even name some denominations (some would say Baptist Christian or Devout Baptist). But this is what the Man in Black hated the most: to be put into a corner, to be labeled as being something.
This is actually a real story, when a writer asked him about his religion, about the denomination he has subscribed to. Johnny Cash answered, don’t put me in another box.
But what does that mean? What is labeling actually? In my opinion, when a man says about his own religion that it is the only true one, then that man has lost all the meaning of the Holy Book (whether it is the Bible, or the Quran, or some other – it doesn’t matter). But if you keep an open mind, then it is possible that even more truths, even higher truths could reveal themselves to you.
I believe that this is what Johnny Cash wanted to say. First of all, your religious beliefs are your own and none other’s. Don’t expose yourself as being this or that, but at the same time live according to your own principles.
And then I believe that he was also trying to say that living is actually learning, and you don’t know what you can find just around the corner that will make you change your mind. After all, Johnny Cash said this during the same interview to the same writer: In my travels to Europe, Asia, and Australia, many times I have remembered and realized more fully that the gospel is the only doctrine that really works, and it works for all men. But when this or that denomination begins to feel, or still worse, begins to teach that their particular interpretation of the Word opens the only door to heaven, then I feel it’s dangerous.
Ultimately, I believe that it doesn’t take a genius to recognize what is good and what is wrong. However, like Johnny Cash said, if you want to be right you need to be tough.