My Photo

The Out Campaign

Atheist Blogroll

Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 05/2005

« Pain, Connection, and Being Here Now | Main | Carnival of Feminists #49 and Skeptic's Circle #75 »



I think it's a phase. There was a time I despised automatically saying, "God bless you," when someone sneezed, but I got over that. "God bless you" doesn't mean anything to me, and "ransom captive Israel" has no power over me either.


I admit that I feel the same way this year, last Christmas, before I'd really started blogging or anything it was just Joy to the World, now it's all nativity scene lyrics and annoyances. It hurt even more when we were discussing church/state separation in schools and I realize that if we're against prayer in school, we have to be against Christmas carols too, or be hypocrites. I feel like Scrooge.

Geoff Arnold

For me it's a question of context. I can't stand to hear religious muzak: all those gooey songs that stores and malls are filled with during the last 6 weeks of the year. But if there's decent music (carols, or classical - not the modern crap) at a church service, and I have occasion to visit, I'll enjoy it. If I were transported to England right now, I'd be seeing if I could get to Kings College Cambridge for a carol service.

One of my favourite pieces is Benjamin Britten's "Missa Brevis". If you ever get a chance, try listening to it. If you don't get tingles up and down your spine, you're probably a zombie.

G Felis

I've been an atheist since I was 12 years old or so - before I even knew the word "atheism" I reached the conclusion that no gods exist. Given that background, I've never particularly liked music with explicitly religious lyrics. But I never had much of a twitch about it either, unless the lyrics were especially stupid - which is really more about aesthetics than content. Generally, though, the religious content of a song is usually no more offensive to me than "Puff the Magic Dragon," since angels and Jesus and God have about as much reality as the eponymous mythical reptile, and Heaven is located somewhere near Honalee. You'll probably end up in basically the same place eventually.

As for Christmas carols, I just can't relate. I mean, I don't hate all of them, but I don't like most of them much either. My favorite "Christmas" song is TMBG's "I Saw My Baby Wearing Santa's Beard," which ain't exactly in the holiday spirit...


I've started to notice this, not so much with music, but particularly with TV shows. Where I used to watch a show and just gloss over the god bits, nowadays I find myself critiquing them. Shouting at the TV things like 'there is no god dopey', 'god didn't help you, it was just good luck'.

Funnily enough, there was a new cop show on TV last night that had strong religious overtones. Whilst I thought the show was alright, in some bits I couldn't help thinking similar to you "This is fucked-up. I don't want to listen to this." Such that I had to write about it this morning
something I would never have bothered about 6 months ago.

I'm just hoping this doesn't destroy the enjoyment we can get out of music, and other entertainment, just because it has religious overtones.


You're not alone. As for this particular time of year, I know humanists who "go along" with the celebration, which I suppose is possible since xmas has evolved into an at least partly secular holiday. Problem is, the rest of it is religious, and I can't go along with it, at all. That includes the music. There are some secular tunes that are "safe" to like, but there are also those blatant religious ones you want to like, but the content is too much to swallow.

I have the same problem with bluegrass music, as I play the banjo. One learns lots of great old-time stuff, including murder ballads, train songs, etc, but unfortunately, the bluegrass repertoire includes a lot of religious and gospel tunes. It's a tough deal, really - jamming with other players is an awful lot of fun, but sooner or later, I know I'm going to be faced with the prospect of either playing along with some standard whose lyrics I despise (Amazing Grace, for instance), or finding a polite way of declining. I saw a video where Penn Jillette claimed to like gospel, but I for one am stumped as to how you can sing along to something precisely antithetical to your own beliefs.


I have that problem with music now, and I also hate it. One thing I truly loved about growing up catholic was the music, and not just christmas carols and classic hymns--newer hymns, and some contemporary christian stuff, and so on. And while there is a large portion of the contemporary stuff that I was glad to toss out and don't feel guilty about disliking it when it ends up on the radio in my family's car (it was campy and formulaic and eww), most of it was beautiful.

Complicating the matter for me though is the fact that I always had a more intense emotional reaction to the music in church than anything else, and a few songs were tied very strongly to an emotional retreat experience that changed my life at the time. I'm now quite resentful about the whole experience because it ended poorly and the emotional-high was the result of cult like tactics that have no business being used on anyone, much less children. I don't think I will ever be able to stand those songs, or any songs that remind me of those songs... which cuts me off from a lot. I'm still rather angry about that, because those songs are part of my past, they're things I loved and they were beautiful. I don't want to resent them, but I do.

But I am getting better at not resenting religious music in general. I think it would happen faster if it wasn't forced on me quite so often, so I could get some distance from it. And that is the best suggestion I have for now... get rid of the songs that you find yourself skipping for awhile, faze them back in later, preferably at a time when you can't have all of your attention on the music so you won't fight with the lyrics. I make playlists all the time anyways... I just went through a faze where I mostly kept the religious-y music out rather than feel bad about skipping it. Now songs are creeping back in as I'm ready for them.

Sorry for the ridiculously long comment.


I guess I am not getting the right subtext, because I thought "O Come O Come Emmanuel" was fairly benign (it's even in the UU Hymnal!). Perhaps it's because I hear the lyrics as a hope for someone to overthrow the Roman control of the province of Judea, so to me it is a song of hope against oppressive government.


I've never really stressed about whether music had "relgious content" or not. Good music is good music, in my not so humble opinion. I will admit that I grit my teeth a bit whenever I hear the country song "Jesus Take the Wheel" because abdicating responsibility for your own life in favour of an invisible friend does not seem like the course of wisdom to me. I prefer the song "God Must Be Busy", which seems to have an atheist subtext even if the writer didn't intend it. I like the way the song catalogues various evils and then concludes that "God must be busy" since he doesn't take any action. I wonder how many folks that hear the song are scratching their heads and thinking "Hang on, how can an omnipotent, omniscient being be busy?"

Stacey C.

For me it's a difference of degrees and where my tastes run. I have never been particularly attached to Christmas music so I mostly have been rolling my eyes at that for years. And 'Christian Rock' makes me want to run screaming from the room. Religious country/western, especially combined with blind patriotism, makes me ill. But I *will not* give up my Johnny Cash or Hank Williams. And their hymns still send shivers down my back. My dad gave me an appreciation for good bluegrass (though he refused to go to the church where they had a choir). Even though my main music collection is all goth/industrial/electronica! I <3 Johnny Cash.


The holiday music doesn't bother me too much - I guess because I know that it is supposed to be explicitly religious and so I can deal with that. But the other day Bette Midler's song From a Distance came on the radio and I really love that song. But when it got to "God is watching us from a distance" it really bothered me and I change the station before it ended.

I also find that my enjoyment of Prairie Home Companion has gone down- I guess I never really noticed the religious threads as much as I do now. I think John is right though - I will get over it. Part of my problem is that I need to correct people ( that's a personal defect I know) and when I hear a phrase like "God is watching us" or when I hear someone say "God Bless you" for a sneeze I want to tell them how silly that is. But I realize they are not REALLY thinking "God bless you" - it's just a routine phrase.

Ian W. Hill

I've gotten over that twinge in the last couple of years, as far as music goes, which I had for a bit after I found my atheism -- though I still have it when I hear a character in something on TV make a statement that just assumes belief in the divine is "standard/normal."

Music is a huge part of both my and my fiancee's lives (she's the hardcore lifetime anti-theist that brought me from a leaning-to agnosticism-seriously-doubting-my-Christian-beliefs to full-on atheism a few years back), and, beliefs or not, we can't give up gospels, blues, spirituals, etc.

If I can listen to and sing along with (as you point out) Nick Cave doing "O'Malley's Bar," and enjoy falling into the fantasy of being a psychotic murderer for a song, I can immediately follow it by being moved to tears as I sing along with him covering Dylan's "Death Is Not the End," and for the space of the song, enjoy the beauty of the IDEA, though when the song is over I am back to knowing damned well that death IS the end.

On the other hand, my fiancee and I both hate Christmas music, not because of the sentiment, but because almost all of it is insipid - there's SOME that I like, but my fiancee thinks that no good music for the season was written in the last few centuries, and she's convincing me more and more of this.


I admit that in the past few years, I've become increasingly annoyed by religious songs, in part, I think, because I play with a (community - not church) music group that has an associated choir that INSISTS on having at least one - often several - blatantly Christian songs every concert. In fact, I used to sing during the sing-along at the Christmas concert, but this year I could not stand it. OTOH, I have no problem whatsoever with lyricless renditions.

I do so dearly love Christmas carols, though, and, as has been said, there's so much AMAZING music that, unfortunately, is infested with god. So, I have begun to (re-)appropriate them, not as parodies, but as serious new (or partially restored) lyrics.


I've never thought of O Come, O Come Emmanuel as anti-Semitic. It's one of my favorite Advent carols of all time... it's moody and a bit haunting. I'm not sure how you find it to be anti-Semitic, as the Jews are still waiting for their Messiach, their Messiah. They could be singing it right up there with the Christians. Only the Christians sing it to reenact the coming of their Savior from years ago, whereas the Jews are still waiting for theirs.

As for Patrick's comment: "I for one am stumped as to how you can sing along to something precisely antithetical to your own beliefs."

Simple. You sing it because of the way it makes you feel.

I was very involved in music ministries in my Catholic church growing up. I went to Mass mainly for the music, and I think I gained the most from my faith at the time via the songs.

After I rejected most of the teachings of the Catholic Church, I would still go to mass for the music. At one point, I decided I wasn't going to say anything in Mass I didn't believe in, and I wasn't going to sing anything I didn't believe in, out of respect for those who DID believe. And I got NOTHING out of the Mass. I left feeling bereft.

I figured out, hey, I might not believe in this, but the emotions and the feelings that are behind it, I get. So I sing the songs anyway, get what I want and what I need out of them, and realize that, at least for me, it's just a conduit to those feelings. It has nothing to do with a God or any of that jazz.

Just because one doesn't believe they need, say, a Savior to save them from eternal damnation (*snicker*), doesn't mean they can't feel the almost universal human feeling of wanting to be rescued from suffering in their lives. How many stories end in Deus ex Machina? (And to make it geeky, I've been watching a TON of Doctor Who lately, and it's easy to identify with the Companions, and to wish that a wise and brilliant Doctor would sweep down with his time-and-space-travel machine and carry us away to more exciting lives.) I think the same is true of a lot of religious concepts. I was writing in my LJ the other day about how submission and praise before God and submission and praise before a Dominant might come from the same place of need inside. Some people fulfill the need via religion, some via BDSM, some via both, and some don't have the need, and that's ok.

So when I sing "People Look East, the time is near", I don't need to believe in God's coming to get caught up in the excitement of a festival, or when I sing "On Eagle's Wings", I don't need to believe in a God that's comforting me to gain comfort from the idea of a loving nurturer comforting me. It gets a bit trickier with songs like "I believe in the sun", which speaks of faith in God even without proof (*shudder*), but there's a line "I believe in love, even when there's noone there". To believe in our friends when they're not around, to know we are loved, to know that we'll get through this life even when we're facing bad times... this is universal as well. It's not Faith... it's Hope.

Basically, I think it all transfers, if you get past all the silly God talk and let it.


So far I'm okay. The only religious music that I can't stand is Christian Rock. I've tried to explain this to Christian friends (and, regrettably, my wife), "Rock is about being pissed off, getting laid or taking drugs. Tell me how Christian rock meets any of those criteria.", but they listen anyway. I suppose if the contradictions in their faith don't faze them, then they eat paradoxes like "Christian Rock" for breakfast.

And I actually dig, "that old-timey music" as they said in O Brother! Where Art Thou!"

But if it ever happens that I can't listen to Bob Marley because he was a rasta, then I'll be damn near suicidal.

Maybe for me, so far, it's the same as horror fiction. Hear me out. I don't believe in vampires, zombies or ghosts, but I love a good horror or gothic novel. Same with fantasy and soft SF.

Try a "suspension of disbelief" tack. Can't promise it'll help.

the chaplain

This is my first Christmas season as an atheist. For family, social and professional reasons, I still attend church and play the piano there.

As a pianist, I have the luxury of being able to focus on the music and not pay any attention to the texts. If I'm listening to music and want to ignore the texts, I simply focus on the harmonies, timbres, musical forms and so on. Consequently, at this point, my listening tastes have not changed. However, I am not interested in playing carols (or hymns) or attending carol festivals apart from the situations in which I must do so. I'm also not interested in composing religious music anymore. Right now, I can't get myself to do so even as a technical exercise. I guess I'll have to turn toward other compositional projects instead.

King Aardvark

I think I'm the same way. Though I was always an atheist, it's only been since I encountered IDiots and all the godless blogs that I've really cringed about any religiosity in music.

You think you have it bad? I have to cringe at my own country's national anthem! (Canada, btw)

It's really sad, since I actually like my country and our song. If we sing the anthem in french, it's better (since I don't understand french very well).


I think the problem is in assigning value or power to the words. To me they mean absolutely nothing. The Christmas carols are just a part of MY version of Christmas. Good meals, a week off work and getting together with family and friends. A Christmas Tree, decorations and presents for the kids. To Christians, they all have special significance. To me all they mean is that it's that time of year. That's the same reason I do not have trouble saying Merry Christmas. When I look on my calendar at December 25th, it says "Christmas Day" so that's what I say - no religion required or intended.

Maybe it's easier for me because I have always been an atheist. I've never had religion pushed on me and in Canada things are a little more laid back in that regard. Religion has no personal power over me at all. I get no visceral reaction to it one way or the other. It's just like the reaction you get when some Trekkie starts on about how great Star Trek is.(although I will admit 'Trek is better written)

Greta Christina

Veering off slightly: Here's why I think "O Come O Come Emmanuel" is anti-Semitic. For starters:

"O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o'er the grave
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel."

Amd that's just one verse. Complete lyrics:

There is no way this is about Christ freeing the Jews from the Romans. This is about Christ freeing the Jews from Judaism. "And death's dark shadows put to flight"? "Make safe the way that leads on high/ And close the path to misery"? This is about how Christ came to give the Jews eternal life and save them from going to Hell.

By becoming Christians. By believing in Christ as their lord and savior.

I suppose it's possible that the 12th century Latin version was more ecumenical. But somehow, I doubt it. :-)

That's all. Carry on.


To C4bl . . . (etc), I kind of understand what you mean, though I don't think it's simple at all. If you reject the content, how are you going to share the feeling? Aren't they connected? I can sort of go along with something like "Will the Circle be Unbroken" which can be considered religious, but if you really look at the words, it's more about grief, and the wish to be re-united with lost loved ones. Okay. I might even accept "I'll Fly Away" for similar reasons, and it's such a beautiful melody, especially the version in "O Brother". But most out-and-out religious folk-type songs are pretty preachy, and concern themselves with blind worship for, and humble submission to the great invisible authority, or what pitiful wretches we humans are, and so on, and they contain no feelings I can relate to.

Willo the Wisp

I understand your response to religious music, Greta. As an atheist who sings professionally, if I didn't sing religious music I'd be poor and hungry. It's never been a problem though, so although I do feel the occasional pang of hypocrisy, Willo gotta eat.


Along with Dysentery and King Aarvark, I'm blessed (a problematic word, but it's pretty, so it stands) enough to live in Canada, where we're a little more reasonable about these things, it seems.

However, in addition to O Canada ("God keep our land glorious and free!" and en français "Et ta valeur, de foi trempée" or "Thy valour steeped in faith" to translate), there's the first line of our constitution:

"Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law".

And yet, we've managed to keep the fundies at bay. Though God is actually enshrined in our Charter of Rights, as opposed to deliberately excluded from it. How did we do it? I wish I could tell you. The US could use some advice.

As for the music, god is just a quaint idea for me. I'll pay it lip service in the name of a good tune. I refuse to forsake reggae, folk, bluegrass, blues or gospel (older stuff, not that Amy Grant-type shit) simply because they sing about god. I've never been down and out, but I love the blues. And I love the blues even when I'm not depressed.

I guess what I'm saying is that I don't have to feel the feeling (or even have felt it), to enjoy the art that feeling produces. For example, the idea that Haille Selassie I was the saviour or direct descendant of King David and was going to free the rastas is extremely silly, at best, and certainly harmful in that it gave West Indians false hope, rather than inspiring constructive revolutions. But "Babylon System" is still a kickass song. As are "Forever Loving Jah" and "Redemption Song".

Religion has inspired people to create spectacularly beautiful things. It's one of the few good things that it's done. That's further proof that people, not religion or secularism, are responsible for great beauty and great ugliness. I refuse to throw the baby out with the bathwater.


Bingo, Brett. That's exactly what I was trying to say. Listening to Christmas carols is just like enjoying reading the Iliad or some Greek fables without even considering the relevance of a parthenon of gods/goddesses.


It didn't used to bother me. But, then I used to respect other people's relgious beliefs. I was an athiest in high school, but I sang in my church choir because I loved to sing and I envied the faithful their ability to believe in fairy tales, even though I was not "hopeless" at the thought of no god or heaven.

As I get further and further into my atheism and polyamory activism, though, I get more and more angry at hearing religious music, religious overtones in popular music, and even those sappy love songs about people the singers don't even like.

The problem I have with it is that these ideals are so pervasive that they seep into popular media without the general public even realizing it. They have absolutely no respect for those of other beliefs, let alone atheists, and it is a visible symptom of the particularly offensive stupidity.

With religious messages, they assume (the writers, performers, and radio controllers) that the rest of us want to hear it. Yes, I can change the station, which is why I don't advocate censorship of this music. But the fact that it is so readily accepted by the mass public only reminds me just how oblivious and self-centered those of that faith are.

For the sappy love songs that include tacit and explicit permission of things like jealous rages and personal ownership, again, it just reminds me that our entire society is steeped with these ideals and insists on perpetuating them to the detriment, I think, of our culture's overall health.

I wish I could offer some words of comfort. But I grow increasingly more and more disturbed by religious music as time goes by.


I don't think it's a phase, but I know I struggle with that too. You know, I don't think it's a reaction of anger or frustration, I think it's sort of the same thing you might feel listening to some Children's music. Even if the music was good, singing the words "dingalay-O, come little donkey come" can make you feel very silly. Religious music makes you feel even more awkward, because not only are the words silly, but many other people take them seriously.


Greta, if you're an atheist with good taste in music, you might fit right in as an Episcopalian.

I'm just sayin'. :)

Donna Gore

Usually I cringe, especially if I'm in a public place and it's on the overhead speaker.

It's hard for me not to be pissed when I feel like I'm being surrounded by it, and it's being pushed on me 24-7 -- which this time of year it definitely IS.

But there ARE alternatives, albeit few and far between. Dan Barker of the Freedom from Religion Foundation writes a lot of free thought songs, some of which are quite clever.

And check this out - are you a Lovecraft fan? It's a "Cthulhu carol" -- The Carol of the Old Ones.

As for music in general (all year long), I try hard to focus on the music and ignore the words. I still love that old Norman Greenbaum song, "Spirit in the Sky" - remember that one??

George Carlin once said that "The only good thing to come out of religion was the music."


Hm. I think, GC, that your discomfort may pass. I began reading Christian writings fairly intensively in the early 80s, and that never made me dislike religious music. If anything, it made me more sensitive to misrepresentations of religion, whether it be by Christians or by unbelievers. What I find most annoying is liberals who try to make Jesus into a 20th/21st century American liberal. But maybe your present discomfort will fade with time.

As with you, I like Christmas carols (though I like "The Little Drummer Boy") and mostly old choral music, preferably in Latin, Church Slavonic, or some other language I don't know. Back around 1971 I bought a record of Gregorian chant in a thrift store, which had someone reciting an English translation of the text between each sung Latin line, and I couldn't bear to listen to it -- the words were just too dumb. But give me church music from Ars Antiqua through Palestrina, and I'm fine.

I do go through periods when I don't feel like watching heterosexual movies, reading heterosexual stories, listening to heterosexual music, but those pass too.

I disagree very strongly with George Carlin's quip, if only because a lot of religious music is seriously dire, and because until societies start to become secular, everything comes out of religion. I guess that's what bugs me about so many of my fellow atheists: they view religion as a discrete phenomenon that can in principle be excised from culture. I've never perceived religion as an alien force, even if at times I've fallen into the trap of talking about it as if it were. (Once you name something, like "religion" or "sex" it becomes easy to split it off.) Maybe that's why I've never "envied the faithful their ability to believe in fairy tales." A disturbing number of atheists seem to have this feeling, that they're missing something. For whatever reason, I don't.


Even when I was a faithful churchperson there was some Christmas music I detested, and others I love because of the nature and quality of the music itself. I have always enjoyed music for its beautiful quality.

Enjoying a musician playing a Buddhist religious item did not make me Buddhist. Rather it gave me appreciation for the tonal and artistic designs of a different culture. One does not need to be a citizen to enjoying the grandeur of another nation’s national anthem, and enjoying it does not detract from the quality of one’s own citizenship. Listening to and enjoying the music of eastern Europe or Africa enriches my life and appreciation for the diversity of music. And I am sure that some of those pieces had some religious connotations. They have no power over me and do not impact me other than my enjoyment of them for that I enjoy their musical quality.

If I had to accept the message that stands behind a particular musical item would quickly narrow my enjoyment. The radio would be off more often than on. The over 5,000 items on my ipod may well be reduced to under a 1,200.


Probably a phase. I went through a very tortured period (though much younger than you, so part of the torture may have been that I was a teenager) where I could not stand religious music. This was bad because I am, in my if-it-existed-soul, a classical musician. Specifically, a classical singer. I love it, and a whole lot of it is religious. Since I've been doing this since I was seven or so, I knew enough of the Latin to find that abhorent, too. Oh, yes, I love madrigals best, because they ARE secular (and often interested melodically), but Handel's Messiah moves me musically just as much.

It came down to this: I can sing these songs (and genially parody them in rehearsals), not believe them, and that's okay. It's not wrong to enjoy something that is a product of religion, because so much of what I enjoy comes from a time when the only art WAS a product of religion. Visual or musical, it was all churchy. That doesn't make it less valid art.

I love Christmas Carols, too. I know 3+ verses to most, more than my Christian friends. They like to take me caroling with them!


That's a good point, DSVA: I should have mentioned that I also enjoy Indian classical music, which has religious uses and content. But again, divorced from its original content (and the words of the vocalists are in languages I don't understand), I just enjoy the sensual effect of the music, the "appreciation for the tonal and artistic designs of a different culture" that you mention.

On the muzak thing, well, muzak is annoying regardless of whether the music originated as sacred or secular. One would think that pietists would object to this commercialization of their cult objects.

One other thing George Carlin overlooked: the usefulness of religious iconography of various kinds for sexuality: the Catholic schoolgirl's uniform, the spanking on the bare buttocks for one's perversity and sinfulness, etc., etc. Where would kink be without religion?


As I read more comments, I do see the point of those who are still angry. Joreth, especially, made an impact on me. The messages ARE pervasive, and they can be damaging.

I suppose a very honest appraisal of my thoughts on religious music leads to this: I enjoy the tunes greatly (well, the classical stuff--I have no time for blues, gospel, or Christian rock), and I have so many OTHER things I could be angry about that it's not worth trying to beat myself up over it.

Robert Madewell

I am an ex fundie. When I was a teenager I learned to play the guitar. Of course, I started playing in church and singing "specials". Later I became involved in a music ministry. Even after my deconversion, I still like to listen to southern gospel. However, the extreme examples of the lyrics do annoy me. Many groups now are singing songs with anti-secular messages, and that just grates my nerves. I don't find such messages inspiring or cute. It's just crass.

I find it comes and goes. But JC Superstar is never affected by it. I think that's because JC Superstar is quite definitely a story, rather than a prayer in song.


I guess I've never even noticed much religiously-themed music, and when I have, it hasn't bothered me. I've never been bothered by "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" or "Spirit in the Sky" or "Fire and Rain" (though George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord" does kind of irk me a bit). And actually, one of my favorite songs is an old Genesis song called "Supper's Ready" that's filled with religious imagery, as it was inspired by the Book of Revelation" and my favorite part of it is the end (it's a very long song), where the lyrics are the most religiously explicit.

On the other hand, I loathe almost all Christmas music, although that tends to be more for the music than for the meaning of the lyrics.


I will normally give a pass to songs with "incidental" religious passages, or quasi-religious expressions. However, I did find myself singing along with "Spirit in the Sky" the other day; and, one finds it easy to forgive (or at least ignore) most of George Harrison's blatant proselytizing (e.g. "Awaiting on you all" etc) - being a Beatle, he earned it. I like JS Superstar, too (and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, for that matter) - they're just fun. My, but we're dating ourselves here!

Maybe it's a matter of how serious the song is meant to be, or how purely derivative it is, whether it sounds like it's being delivered from the pulpit and so recalls so much that is oppressive, or whether it's a more personal, heartfelt creation that instills no guilt or fear. Xmas brings a lot of this stuff down at once, of all kinds and qualities, so it's no wonder that many of us have difficulties with some of it.


"I don't believe in an interventionist god." --Nick Cave

Jesus Freak

"The fanatical atheists are like slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who--in their grudge against traditional religion as the 'opium of the masses'-- cannot hear the music of the spheres."
- Albert Einstein

Amazing that some little harmless Christmas Carols can piss blind people off so much. Obviously, Einstein was spot on.


I sometimes find myself bugged by religious music as well, and like you, I'm not thrilled about it.

The most egregious recent example was the song "Nemesis", from VNV Nation's "Judgement" album, which is all dancy-stompy, with lyrics about how we have to fix the world's problems because God ain't gonna do it for us:

"I want justice for a voice that can't be heard
Vindication for every suffering and hurt
Let retribution hold dominion over earth
Because judgement day's not coming
Judgement day's not coming"

And then the next line ruins it for me:

"Judgement day's not coming soon enough"


I disliked church music, Christmas music, and most other sorts of religious music long before I deconverted. I guess that means I can't help you.

I suppose there are a few exceptions, but I haven't had the same problem as you. Part of the reason is that I can never tell what the lyrics are anyways.

Blake Stacey

"Blind people"?

I thought the problem was that we couldn't hear the "music of the spheres". We should be the "angry DEAF people" then, right?

If the audiobarf they pipe through the shopping mall is the "music of the spheres", though, I'll eat my fedora.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Subscribe/ Donate to This Blog!

Books of mine

Greta on SSA Speakers Bureau

  • Greta Christina is on the Speakers Bureau of the Secular Students Alliance. Invite her to speak to your group!

Your email address:

Powered by FeedBlitz

Powered by Rollyo

Some Favorite Posts and Conversations: Atheism

Some Favorite Posts and Conversations: Sex

Some Favorite Posts: Art, Politics, Other Stuff