Nick Cave has described “cancel culture” as “bad religion run amuck” and said political correctness has an “asphyxiating effect on the creative soul of a society”.

The Bad Seeds musician said the practice of “cancelling” a high-profile figure who takes a misstep “embodies all the worst aspects that religion has to offer”.

Answering a question from a fan on his website, The Red Hand Files, he wrote: “As far as I can see, cancel culture is mercy’s antithesis. Political correctness has grown to become the unhappiest religion in the world.

“Its once honourable attempt to reimagine our society in a more equitable way now embodies all the worst aspects that religion has to offer (and none of the beauty) – moral certainty and self-righteousness shorn even of the capacity for redemption. It has become quite literally, bad religion run amuck.

“Cancel culture’s refusal to engage with uncomfortable ideas has an asphyxiating effect on the creative soul of a society.

“Compassion is the primary experience – the heart event – out of which emerges the genius and generosity of the imagination.”

He went on: “Creativity is an act of love that can knock up against our most foundational beliefs, and in doing so brings forth fresh ways of seeing the world. This is both the function and glory of art and ideas.

“A force that finds its meaning in the cancellation of these difficult ideas hampers the creative spirit of a society and strikes at the complex and diverse nature of its culture.

“But this is where we are. We are a culture in transition, and it may be that we are heading toward a more equal society – I don’t know – but what essential values will we forfeit in the process?”

Cave uses his website to answer questions from fans on any topic they choose.

He has previously addressed his break-up with PJ Harvey, the death of his teenage son Arthur, and his tactics for dealing with writer’s block, as well as dishing out romantic advice.

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