Are Atheists Allowed to Like Christian Music?

This girl had to deal with a frightening scenario:

Gwen Adams, a 33-year-old software designer and staunch disbeliever in the existence of God, accidentally enjoyed an uplifting song played on an all-Christian radio station while scanning the dial on her car radio during her drive home from work Tuesday evening.

“Since I [tuned in to the station] mid-song, there’s no way I could have known I was listening to a Christian rock station,” said Adams, struggling to find an excuse for her ignorant enjoyment of “What This World Needs,” a recent release from the Christian band Casting Crowns. “I was concentrating on my driving, so I wasn’t really paying any attention to the lyrics or their meaning. I was just kind of humming along with the chorus melody.”

Adams – who does not pray, attend church or read the Bible – reluctantly acknowledged a slight appreciation for the keen musicianship and slick songwriting apparent in the song she unintentionally savored, but refused to entertain the idea that she would ever intentionally listen to a song she knew to contain a spiritual message.

… I feel so tricked. I feel, I don’t know, dirty.”

Adams confirmed Wednesday that she is seriously considering buying an iPod to listen to while driving in hopes of avoiding future accidental enjoyment of Christian radio songs.

I’ll admit it. There are plenty of songs about God/Jesus that I like. Or have liked at one point or another.

Jesus Walks by Kanye West.

Flood by Jars of Clay.

What If God Was One Of Us by Joan Osborne.

Yeah, I don’t know what I was thinking with that last one, either…

Atheists, are there any Christian bands/songs you like?

(And for the record, yes that article is just satire.)

***Update***: How could I forget my favorite Christian band: Faith+One?

faithplusone.jpg



[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

  • http://www.skepchick.org writerdd

    I’m dating myself, but I still listen to Phil Keaggy, Randy Stonehill, and Keith Green from time to time.

    I’m not really interested in following Christian music now that I’m an atheist, but I am not upset if I like a song and later find out it’s by a Christian artist or that it has a spiritual message. I don’t really listen to music because I care about the message of the lyrics. I like gospel music, too, but I don’t listen to it very much mostly because I don’t have any albums.

  • Kate

    Oh man, I love “Jesus Walks”. Kanye just has a way of making Christian music appealing. :)

  • Mriana

    I like Kayne West’s Jesus Walks too. I also like the movie Jesus Christ Superstar- soundtrack and movie. It’s the only movie with the crucifixion in it that I do like.

  • P.S.

    “The Edge of Water” by Jars of Clay, as a sort of prayer and sign of lingering attachment to my Christian past (the song’s about the despair that accompanies trying to believe in a hidden god). I can’t think of anything else unless Pedro the Lion counts…

  • Matthew

    I still listen to a lot of bands that contain Christian members, but wouldn’t consider themselves a “Christian band.” As for songs I would have to say that I still enjoy a song by Lifehouse called “Everything.” It’s a nice tune.

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    I’m a Christian pastor, but I honestly can’t stand most contemporary Christian music. I find more inspiration from U2 than anything coming out of Nashville these days.

  • http://sarcastro.wordpress.com Sarcastro

    I’m good with the Blind Boys of Alabama or any old time gospel music. The new stuff that just takes crappy pop love songs and substitutes Jesus, makes my ears bleed.

    Like Faith Plus 1.

  • Para(Saurolophus)

    Kansas! While they technically aren’t (or weren’t; I hear they’ve gone off the deep end) a Christian band, Dust in the Wind is Ecclesiastes on AWESOME.

    And sadly, I’m not dating myself. I just happen not to like music that’s younger than I am.

  • Ubi Dubium

    I must say I have an appreciation for “What if God Was One of Us”. It sounds like the song is trying to get xtians to think outside their box a little, which is always a good thing.

    Lately there has been an obnoxious ad running on TV for an album of xtian music called “I Can Only Imagine.” It always brings me a smile, because I agree – they are only imagining. Oh, and it includes the song “Our god is an Awesome god”. It’s chorus is so wonderfully generic, and has been put to great use as a hymn to the FSM (or any other random deity) over on ytmnd.com.

    As for the rest, except for when they are being unintentionally ironic, contemporary xtian music just makes me cringe. Sheep exhorting the rest of us not to think, but just to be sheep also. Ugh. Not so for serious religious music, some of which I find to be great art, as long as I ignore the text. For example, I can’t think of a piece of music I have enjoyed singing more than Morton Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna.

  • http://gretachristina.typepad.com/ Greta Christina

    Not a big fan of contemporary Christian music. At all. Pleah.

    But gospel, old-time and bluegrass, shape-note singing, Mozart’s requiem, the really old Christmas carols… that shit rocks.

    I’ll admit that I have a certain flinching reaction against the words that I didn’t have before I became such an outspoken atheist. But I’m hoping to get over it. Some of the best music ever written is religious I’d hate to be alienated from all of it.

  • http://brownjs.wordpress.com/ J.S.Brown

    I listen to music for entertainment; not for “spiritual,” philosophical, or other guidance in my life. If it sounds good, then it sounds good. The end.

    I enjoy the music of a number of christian bands, and I have no problem admitting it. Given my preferred genre of music – metal – I hear lyrical content offering all sorts of messages with which I disagree. These include worshiping Satan (as well as a long list of other gods), murder, violence, hatred, etc. Christian metal can be easier to digest because growled, screamed, and shrieked vocals are usually indiscernible.

    But I understand being turned off by christian music. I can tolerate lyrics about worshiping Oden because I know it’s a theme or gimmick for songwriting. Hearing about Jesus and salvation is different because I know the artists are serious about it.

  • http://limadean.wordpress.com Nadine

    If I had a nickel for every time a Faith+1 song got stuck in my head…

  • DSimon

    I’m an atheist, but I really enjoy “What Are We Made From” by the strangely interesting pop band Ima Robot.


    His face worn through / But worn with pride
    He saved us all / With his hot suicide

  • http://groundedinreality.blogspot.com Bruce

    I’m sorry, but I have to draw the line somewhere, and this is it, Christian music sucks. I had a co-worker who used to listen to the local Christian radio station while we worked out during lunch break and it was all I could do to not strangle him because the music is just dog-awful. I don’t mind the occasional mainstream musician writing a Christian-themed song once in a while, but most music written for the Christian-based market sucks donkey balls.

  • Milena

    “Jesus Walks” naturally. I also happen to enjoy “The Wanderer” by Johnny Cash and U2.

  • http://mcshaggy.blogspot.com Brett

    I like the “old-timey” gospel, a la “O Brother Where Art Thou” and “The Ladykillers”. It’s good.

    And Bob Marley’s wacky religion can’t detract from the sheer awesomeness.

    So there’s that. Religious music can be cool.

  • Slut

    Not “Christian” music per se, but there are lots of rock songs that have references to god that I enjoy anyhow.

    In a way, I feel as though most people are striving toward the same goals (peace, love, fulfillment), whether they label its source “god” or attribute it to supernatural beings or not. So I don’t let it bother me too much.

  • AMT

    From A Distance! It’s cheesy and ridiculous but I love it. I also like a lot of old country/gospel songs too (In The Garden, etc). Contemporary Christian, not so much.

  • Stephanie

    When I first met my husband he was into heavy metal and industrial music. One day I heard him listening to some Christian heavy metal band and called him on it. He calmly pointed out he also listened to bands with Satanic songs as well and placed exactly the same amount of credibility on them. That made me reevaluate how I thought about gospel and Christian music. So what if there’s religious reference? There are a lot of songs with other mythological references too. Avoiding ones that might have a Christian emphasis is just giving added weight to that superstition over any other.
    Personally, I like the harmony in a lot of gospel. I just think of them like any other historical folk songs.

  • http://liberal-debutante.com Katie Kish

    From A Distance! It’s cheesy and ridiculous but I love it.

    Ah, my answer… stolen.

    There is that one song by Sinead O’Conner that was really great to listen to when I thought it was about a boy – and then it turned out to be about God and that almost ruined it. But I still like it.

    also, sara groves. tres pretty voice.

  • Sunflower Sutras

    I dig a good deal of religious music. Rastafarian, Christian, Muslim, Thelemic, any sort. I mean, I even like Gregorian chant; there’s no way to rationalise my way out that one being weird and inappropriate-seeming.

  • http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com/ miller

    I never have this problem because a) I dislike most music anyway b) I tend to especially dislike religious music for purely musical reasons c) If I ever did like Christian music, I would never find out because I can’t hear lyrics without making a conscious effort.

  • MercuryBlue

    Music’s music. Threw me for a loop when my fundie friend informed me that she likes “Dare You to Move” by Switchfoot specifically because it’s Christian, though–there’s absolutely nothing I can see that makes it specifically Christian.

    Also: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat!

  • http://blog.myspace.com/johnpritzlaff John Pritzlaff

    Of course we can enjoy Christian music. Just because you enjoy a piece of art doesn’t mean you agree with its entire message.

    But, for the record, I can’t think of any Christian music that I happen to like off the top of my head.

  • Lisa

    Creed.

    Oh, wait, they denied being Christian.

  • http://www.blacksunjournal.com BlackSun

    Dream Theater

    Best. Progressive. Metal.

    Also very Christian.

    I will confess to having gone to their show last year.

  • http://www.xanga.com/drew85 Drew

    Mine are mostly holdovers from the Christian days– I like Waves of Mercy a lot.

  • Xeonicus

    Hmm, I didn’t know Dream Theater had anything to do with Christianity. I just liked them because they’re prog rock and have killer guitar shreds.

    Anyway, I’ll admit that “What if God Was One of Us” is one of my [very] guilty pleasures. I’m alloted a few.

    Most contemporary Christian music makes me cringe though. Not because of the music, but because when I see it advertised on TV the live crowd freaks me out.

  • http://intrinsicallyknotted.wordpress.com Susan B.

    J. S. Bach is awesome! Some of his religious music sends chills down my spine, though I admit I like some of his secular music best of all (Brandenburg concertos especially).

    There is other Christian-related music that comes to mind: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (as another commenter mentioned). Also “Blow, Gabriel, Blow” by Cole Porter, which is pure awesome (and was only written as an excuse to have Ethel Merman be a gospel singer, which is even more pure awesome).

  • Kathryn

    I loved Plus One. And Creed, JoC, Switchfoot, Lifehouse (although they’re not a Christian rock band per se), Oasis, Mercyme, Matthew West, DCB… but I also like non-Christian religious stuff.

    I do admit that I’m not gonna like any song that references God way too much.

  • JimboB

    I like RED’s “Breathe Into Me”, Thousand Foot Krutch’s “Rawkfist” & “Falls Apart”, several songs by Reliant K, and numerous other christian bands, despite the implicit/explicit religious messages. Good music = good music.

  • http://msatheists.blogspot.com Oliver

    I have to promote the podcast “Bored Again Christian” by the podcaster Just Pete. He finds music by Christian bands and/or has a positive message that he thinks his audience will enjoy. And if sucks, he won’t play it. And he will admit on his show that most Christian music is pretty boring.

    So…. Bored Again Christian is a podcast that I will recommend to both the Christian and the Infidel.

    http://boredagainchristian.com

    I heard Casting Crowns in concert once, but it’s your typical “I love Jesus” and every song has to bombard the listener with a “Jesus/God/Church Family” message. If that’s your thing, I won’t knock it, but I thought the music was boring.

  • Jen

    I cringe whenever the Christian music station comes on. Yes, the music sucks, more or less, but what really bothers me? It reminds me of my super Christian days, when I vowed not to listen to anything that wasn’t Christian. The problem was, it was all pretty crappy.

    The past few years I have been avoiding or ignoring religious Christmas music (with a few exceptions) but I am not sure if that is the message or that I am just kind of sick of Christmas these days, and really now, can’t we write just one new carol a year? I swear there are only about twenty Christmas carols, and I OD on them by Thanksgiving.

    I find more inspiration from U2 than anything coming out of Nashville these days.

    I had no idea that the Christian music industry was in Nashville! I wonder if they share resources with the Country music people.

  • Richard Wade

    Atheists, are there any Christian bands/songs you like?

    I blockquoted Heman’ts question just to emphasize that he didn’t ask specifically for contemporary Christian music. I never heard of most of the bands and songs people have mentioned here, and contemporary rock of any kind just doesn’t rock me much. I’m an old fossil hunting for other fossils.

    “Sympathy for the Devil” by the Rolling Stones is the closest rock song I can think of that I like, but most Christians would probably not agree that it qualifies.

    On the other hand, the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah is irresistably stirring, Shubert’s Ave Maria is sublime beyond description and Mozart’s Requiem is 54 minutes of bliss.

    Guess I got spoiled 266 years ago.

  • Kathryn

    Ooh I forgot about that Richard – gotta love all the church-sanctioned music, especially choir! Too bad there wasn’t much of an alternative back then…

    Personally I like Vivaldi’s Gloria and Byrd’s Ave Verum Corpus.

  • http://iloveteh.biz/ James W.

    Sure, I like Christian bands. In fact, I’ve been to a number of Christian-only metal shows. Granted, it’s really weird walking around in the House of Blues with families (and preachers) around you wearing a shirt for an Italian black metal band or having the drummer of one of the bands sign your jacket with “Psalms 23″. That was an odd moment to say the least.

    Bands I like with overt Christian messages:
    Becoming the Archetype (Christian progressive death metal)
    ZAO (Christian hardcore)
    Horde (“unblack” metal)
    Mortification (Christian death metal)
    Alove For Enemies (Christian straightedge/hardcore)

    And about a thousand more hardcore bands. Something about being straightedge makes kids want to make hardcore music…and preach. At the same time usually. What a paradox. Sure, there are some songs whose message I do agree with such as many of ZAO’s songs about activism or saving the Memphis Three.

  • http://auryn29a.livejournal.com Auryn

    In response to BlackSun, I never thought of Dream Theater as Christian. I suppose I’ll have another look at their lyrics.

    Stryper, “To Hell With the Devil.” I can’t help headbanging to it.

    There’s also another Christian metal band called Narnia I quite like. I admit it’s mostly for the name, but the music isn’t bad at all. I figure it all balances out since I listen to Satanic metal as well. *smile*

    I’m also quite fond of Christmas songs, both secular and religious.

  • Ada

    I like “One of Us” too. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

    My favorite holiday song will probably always be “O Holy Night” and I’m not sure they get much more obviously religious than that. It’s a beautiful song, though.

  • http://www.evolvedrational.com Evolved Rationalist

    ‘Everything’ by Lifehouse.

    Must…not….let…theistards….eat…my….brain….

  • Stephane

    There’s nothing particularly Christian about Dream Theater (one of my favorite bands). They’re a very diverse band with many influences, but no overt religious references that I am aware of.

    The most religious I could cite would be Mike Portnoy (drummer and leader of the group) who is involved in AA and wrote songs about it. He is also a huge fan of the uber-Christian prog rock artist Neal Morse, and has been involved in all of his latest Christian albums.

    Neal Morse by the way is very very good stuff, if you can ignore the born-again lyrics. Absolutely top-notch prog-rock. As an atheist that’s the only Christian music I ever listen to.

  • http://http//blog.crispen.org/ Rev. Bob

    Your friend should find out where the next Christian band is performing and flash them. Well, not the Blind Boys of Alabama.

    It might precipitate a crisis of faith among some of the performers.

    To show that this is a principled stand, I don’t want to be there.

    Well, not that much.

  • http://aboutkitty.blogspot.com/ Cat’s Staff

    I like the old time religious music (which is most classical music). I have a post with a video of O Magnum Mysterium, which is nice and relaxing (the YouTube camcorder in the school gym versions don’t begin to do it justice). I went through a folk phase recently, which tends to include a lot of religious references.

  • http://www.greyscalecomics.com Shaded Spriter

    Not sure if it counts as Christian Music…or just music with Jesus mentioned in it. But “Jesus’ Brother Bob” by the Arrogant Worms. has me singing along with it everytime it comes up on my iPod.

    The live verion has an extra line or two which is spoken…Like in the section after Jesus’ death “Hello Bob.” “Hello Judis. How you doing?”.

  • http://heresycorner.blogspot.com Heresiarch

    Well there’s Bach’s St John Passion, which I inexplicably prefer to the St Matthew… But I suspect that’s not what the article has in mind.

    Gospel I like. Gospel is authentic and rooted in experience, exile, loss and pain. It is the heart’s yearning for freedom and escape from the mundane. This I would contrast with the genre calling itself “Christian rock”, which is just terrible, (oxy)moronic trash. Jesus and Rock n’ Roll make a terrible combination. Why? Because rock music is satanic. It really is the devil’s music. And I mean that in a good way. It’s about sex and drugs and excess and carnality and all the rest of it. Bring God into it and you lose the whole point.

  • http://lowmag.net/ Eli

    @Para(Saurolophus)

    Though I’ve never listened to his overtly Christian band work, Kerry Livgren has always been Kansas’s strongest writer to me.

  • http://joshuamcharles.com/blog Josh Charles

    DC Talk has some great songs out there. I still love their entire ‘Jesus Freak’ album, even though the lyrics can be especially ignorant.

  • Mike

    I agree about Bob Marley, it does carry a religious tone to it, but it is so relaxing. Almost all the songs I liked while still a believer bother me now, I can barely stand them. Makes me feel kind of dumb and ashamed when I hear them.

    But I am torn bands like Flyleaf and Evanescence, both started out as Christian Rock bands. I like some of their songs but the fact that they did start as a Christian band rubs me the wrong way. Though I still listen to them though.

    And yes Jesus Walks isn’t a bad song either.

  • http://merkdorp.blogspot.com J. J. Ramsey

    Ubi Dubium: “Lately there has been an obnoxious ad running on TV for an album of xtian music called ‘I Can Only Imagine.’”

    I think I’ve seen that now and again. Somehow it sounds “bleached,” like all the musical color was sapped out of it. I don’t know if I can explain it any better than that.

    BTW, did anyone else notice that “Atheist accidentally enjoys Christian song on radio” is on a news parody site?

  • http://www.skepchick.org writerdd

    I also like God Is A DJ by Pink.

  • http://butchbailey.com/ Butch

    I contend that Amazing Grace is, without even a close second, the greatest, most profound, most beautiful piece of music ever written in any genre. Yeah, I mean that. It still gives me, an apostate hell-bound atheist, chills.

  • http://www.otmatheist.com hoverFrog

    I used to be really into a Christian band called Fat and Frantic but it’s been many years since they did anything. Also Christian thrash metal band One Bad Pig who I saw live at Greenbelt ’87. Other than that there are several centuries of excellent classical music, much of which was dedicated to the Christian ideal, that I get a lot of enjoyment from.

    As the saying goes: “I don’t know much about art but I know what I like” and I see no reason to restrict my enjoyment because it comes from a religious artist.

  • http://perceivingwholes.blogspot.com Jane

    As a long-time country fan, I like many songs with Christian themes. “What If Jesus Comes Back Like That?” by Collin Raye was one of my absolute favorites in high school, and I still love it. There’s also “The Wanderer” by Johnny Cash and U2, “Love, Me” by Collin Raye, “Give Me One More Shot” by Alabama and too many others to name. (Does anybody else think “Drugs or Jesus” is the weirdest religiously-themed song ever?)

    Then there’s Bruce Cockburn — sheer poetry. “Lord of the Starfields” is awesome, with lines like “voice of the nova” and “O love that fires the sun, keep me burning”. “All the Diamonds in the World” is also beautiful in its simplicity.

    Oh, and Christmas carols? My (secular Jewish) mother and I debate our favorites each year. “O Holy Night”, played loud, is usually at the top of the list.

  • http://bligbi.com KC

    My favourite gospel song is Down in the River to Pray (video) by Allison Krauss. I also like Fly Away (video) by Tim McGraw. Not sure if he meant it as gospel song but it strikes me as a updated and far more ‘happier’ version of I’ll Fly Away which is the most godawful gospel song to ever plague the planet if not the universe. And if it isn’t a replacement, it should be.

  • Bo

    I listen to about 30% of Five Iron Frenzy’s (Christian ska) and Relient K’s(Christian pop/rock) material, but always when I’m alone. It’s a little embarrassing.

  • Marlon Mendez

    Stryper rocks!!
    They were the very first christian metal band on the mainstream

    They are really, really good

  • LadyVonKulp

    I love Christian music, but almost all of it is over 100 years old and/or in a different language, usually latin. Good old-timey gospel and old christmas carols are pretty great, too. Contemporary xian music I cannot get into.

  • http://skepchick.org/blog/ Amanda

    I have such an inappropriate love for the song Savior by Skillet. Yes, Skillet. The name alone is enough to crack me up but the lyrics have such gems as, “It’s time to redefine your deiophobic mind.” And the chorus is:

    Whatcha got
    Whatcha want
    Whatcha need
    Gonna be your savior
    Everything’s gonna crash and break

    It goes so far into awfulness that it becomes worth listening to for how bad it is.

    I like old timey gospel music and the Blind Boys of Alabama, too. And Jesus Walks is a good song, even if I don’t like Jesus or rap.

  • http://msmith13.wordpress.com Mark

    Any radio station that plays Christian music indiscriminately isn’t doing the listener any favors, but there’s some decent stuff in there to be mined, and a few stations that care enough to do the mining.

    Even George Carlin said that some religious music was good. A lot of the great classical music and art was commissioned by churches.

    Of course, the corollary to that generalization is that, just as you can’t believe everything you read, neither can you believe everything that is set to stirring music.

  • Chris_O

    As a Christian, I barely liked Christian Music. Now, not any.

  • http://www.bernerbits.com Derek

    I’m a fan of ’80s glam metal, so I have to give a shout out to Petra, sometimes known as the Christian Def Leppard. They were the first band I listened to and by the end of high school I had all their albums. I still pop their CDs on long car rides from time to time.

    I really liked Supernatural, DC Talk’s follow-up album to Jesus Freak. Of course, now I hear some of their lyrics and I’m like, how the hell did I even tolerate this?

  • http://www.bernerbits.com Derek

    I also sing in choirs when I have the time, and I really like performing a lot of the classical stuff.

  • ash

    like most commentators i enjoy music for itself, regardless of the religious/non- leanings of the artists. i’m sure there are loads of secular songs out there i can’t stand because i don’t like the music either. having recently discovered Anberlin filed under ‘christian rock’ in amazon does not make me listen to it any less; and by the same token i wouldn’t make a point of listening to ‘atheist rap’ (i presume it may exist ?)because i’m not generally a fan of rap anyway. add to that the huge history of musical and religious intertwining, and you’re somewhat limiting your musical choices if you’re willing to define acceptable music purely on the basis of the belief convictions of others.

  • Darryl

    “Christian Deathmetal?” “Christian Hardcore?” These exemplify what is worst about Christian contemporary music–it is pastiche. It appropriates what is happening in secular pop–whether or not it makes any sense to do so–and just adds Jesus words to it. The South Park group Faith + 1 makes this point in a funny way. If it doesn’t do that, then it just holds on to some past pop style for decades. I still hear music today that is identical to what was being playing in churches thirty years ago.

    As a music teacher with Christian students I notice one trend that is good: my students don’t think they have to listen to just Christian Rock, or feel ashamed of listening to secular Rock. If they like it, they listen to it.

  • Mr. Vorhias

    Matisyahu, but I specifically don’t listen to him for any sort of spiritual message, (And he’s really good at being subtle about it, too.) I listen to him because the music sounds really good, and is one of the only things that passes as reggae anymore in the mainstream that uses real instruments.

    A while ago at my campus we had a Christian Death-Metal group perform. I still can’t begin to fathom how that’s possible, but it’s just as well since I couldn’t understand a word they were saying amongst their metal shrieks and grunts.

  • http://www.blacksunjournal.com BlackSun

    For anyone questioning whether or not Dream Theater is Christian, look up the lyrics to “In the Presence of Enemies.” Case closed.

  • Shane

    While I’m not a fan of Christian rock/pop music, I can always dig me some gospel music or old country.

  • femdujour

    I’m an atheist who sings at an Episcopal church every single Sunday. I’m constantly singing about how much I love God and Jesus, but I’ve learned to ignore the text completely and enjoy the music alone. So much choral music is Christian that I can’t avoid it if I want to sing. Who am I kidding, though, I like the paycheck just as much as I like the music.

  • Julie

    As a fan of ska, I gotta appreciate the christian ska band Five Iron Frenzy. I like their songs, and I guess things work out pretty evenly, since there are a lot of christian ska fans who like the anti-religious band Streetlight Manifesto, even if they don’t agree with their message.

  • Darryl

    Butch, to each his own, but for me Amazing Grace is way overrated. It’s okay, not great. You need to listen more widely, I think. Nothing personal though.

  • Emily

    I actually really like Switchfoot, especially their song “Meant To Live”. Even though it’s probably really about the higher purpose in life being something to do with God, and it has a line that goes “everything inside screams for second life…”, i still think that the message rings true for anyone: We as humans are now wanting and expecting more than people, or the world, has to offer. We don’t respect or learn from the past, and we just want more STUFF. I agree that life has a higher (one might say “spiritual”) meaning, but i don’t believe it has anything to do with a deity. I just like the song.

  • Emily

    Oh, and i too like Jesus Walks, because it sounds super cool, not because i love Jesus or even Kanye West (as a person, at least, i think he’s kind of a douche).

  • Emily

    Oh and, last thing, i swear, i really like old-timey Southern gospel music, like you’d hear in O Brother, Where Art Thou?, for example. If there’s one good thing that’s come out of Christianity, that’s it.

  • http://www.wayofthemind.org/ Pedro Timóteo

    I used to listen to Deliverance in their trash metal days…

  • The Reverend

    Amazing Grace is amazing when played (properly) on bagpipes.

    I, too, appreciate the art of music, regardless of the lyrical content, as much as I enjoy the art and architecture of an old cathedral, despite the reason for its existence.

    The Mills Brothers did some great gospel (A Closer Walk With Thee) along with great secular (Paper Doll) music.

  • http://www.rekounas.org rekounas

    Christian Rock sounds soooooo fake. It sounds like the music is trying too hard to please one listener.

    I recall a couple of years ago I got an e-mail from a high school classmate about his CD that he released. It was christian rock and I blogged about it. I called it F’in crap and gave a link to his site. Well, the number one Google hit for about 3 months for the christian singer and minister (BJ McKelvie) brought up my site first.

    He sent me an e-mail about the wonderful online publicity it gave him. I got a good laugh about it. For those three months, I made sure my site had plenty of atheist and anti-christian content :D

  • Almond

    I still love Jennifer Knapp from my Christian days. Sadly, she was ostracized by the Christian community because she attended Lilith Fair, and there were rumors that she was gay. I don’t think she’s put out anything new in years.

    On a side note, the secular band Rush has several fantastic atheist songs, including “Faithless” on their most recent album “Snakes & Arrows.” Just thought I’d mention it for those of you looking for an atheist anthem…

  • Maria

    I have to admit I really like Jesus Christ Superstar. And christmas carols.

  • Darryl

    You gotta love Christmas carols. I want to get a group together to go caroling this year. They’re the best pieces in the hymnal (in the baptist church that is)

  • Kate

    Ruthie Foster- she’s a blues and gospel singer who has an amazing voice- seeing her live was absolutely brilliant. One of the best concerts I’ve been to.

    I also love Gospel for the reasons Heresiarch said above (great way of putting it), but I also have a soft spot for cheesy christian rock/pop.

    Also, at fourfour (one of my favourite blogs), you can download a house-gospel mix by Rich. He’s not Christian, he just loves house and gospel:

    Check out the rest of the site too- start with the God and stuff category.

  • Kate

    The above links seem to be screwing up- but just google “fourfour” and “jesus is the reason” and you’ll find the mix link.

  • http://www.jamonation.com/ Rolf

    While not Christian music, y’all might find yourself singing along to this song: She Left Me For Jesus by Texan Hayes Carll. It’ll make a great campfire song this summer.

  • http://www.jamonation.com/ Rolf

    While not Christian music, y’all might find yourself singing along to this song: She Left Me For Jesus by Texan Hayes Carll. It’s going to be fun singing this one around the campfire this summer.

  • JeffN

    82 comments about Christian music. Wow. Cool South Park picture.

  • Joseph R.

    Christian music is not my thing, however, some of my favorite artists have made gospel records that I find myself listening to on occasion. Willie Nelson is one of my all time favorites and has many religious references in many songs. I also listen to bands such as Slayer. Their music is very anti-religious, but the lead singer, Tom Araya, is a catholic, go figure. If a song is religious and a good song, I will listen to it. I will listen to just about anything; I like to keep an open mind.

  • http://darwinsdagger.blogspot.com Darwin’s Dagger

    What If God Was One Of Us? is certainly not Joan Osborne’s best song, but it’s tolerable. I like the Weird Al version (sung by Joan) What if God Smoked Cannabis?.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PybtBKSAtLM

  • http://dcberner.blogspot.com Derek

    @Darwin’s Dagger

    What if God Smoked Cannabis? is by Bob Rivers, not Weird Al. I’m a fan of both, but it’s a tiny pet peeve of mine to see every parody song under the sun attributed to Weird Al.

  • http://darwinsdagger.blogspot.com Darwin’s Dagger

    I thought that it was strange. Al usually sings his own parodies. But that was how it was attributed on the video. Thanks for providing the proper attribution.

  • A-theist

    Is there a law that says an atheist can’t appreciate anything that was borne of faith? Some of the world’s most beautiful art and architecture is faith-centered. Why would music be any different? I think getting a “dirty” feeling is kind of an overreaction.

    You can appreciate the beauty of a thing without wholeheartedly accepting the philosophy that inspired it.

    I like “God is A Real Estate Developer” by Michelle Shocked.

  • Polly

    Every once in a while I find myself humming a tune from the (Armenian) church hymnal. Some of it is pretty good and the pastor plays the hell out of the piano (pardon the expression). Because of the different ethnicity, the music seems a little less bland, emphasizing more minor-keys and chords which I like.
    When she catches me, my wife will usually just point it out with a smirk and an expression that says, “so, you don’t mind whistlin’ ’bout Jesus, I see.”
    I also play them myself on the piano sometimes, though I’m no virtuoso.

  • Metatwaddle

    How about Handel’s Messiah? :)

    Apart from classical music, where I don’t care if something is about God or not because classical religious music rocks, there’s other stuff. I admit I kind of like Relient K. “Life After Death and Taxes” is a decent song despite some Christian lyrics, and their rendition of “The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything” is awesome.

  • http://soberish.wordpress.com Cain

    There’s nothing inherently wrong with Christian rock. It’s just that most Christian rock nowadays is either sappy acoustic ballads or nu-metal, and these genres suck no matter what the lyrical content is.

    This atheist loves the OC Supertones.

  • http://aintchristian.blogspot.com MothandRust

    I went to school with members of the band Newsboys, here in Qld Australia back in the late 80s, they put on a concert in the school grounds and were pretty much ignored… I couldn’t give a toss until I became a Christian a year later. And I have to say that since leaving Christianity I still LOVE the music of these guys. I always wonder how they would have went without the Christian angle.

    I still have a sweat spot for PETRA and WHITEHEART… the lyrics are mostly cringey for me, but I still appreciate their style. DC Talk and their solo efforts still get my attention too.

  • Christophe Thill

    “Jesus is just alright” by the Byrds !
    and “I say a little prayer” by Arteha Franklin (ok, she doesn’t say who she prays to…)

    Is “One of us” really considered a Christian song ? I find the lyrics slightly… I don’t know, strange.

  • http://twistedone151.wordpress.com Kevin C.

    I personally enjoy “The Man Comes Around” by the late Johnny Cash. I also enjoy the “Dies Irae” segment of Verdi’s “Requiem.” (I think both reflect my fondness for music of an eschatological bent).

  • http://mypantstheatre.blogspot.com bullet

    I’m surprised no one mentioned Kiss Me by Sixpence None the Richer. I love that song.

  • Mark Daniel

    Okay, maybe this isn’t “Christian,” but George Harrison’s My Sweet Lord makes me choke up every freakin’ time.

  • Cafeeine

    Being in Greece, the only christian music widely available is Greek Orthodox hymns, so I was unaware of modern Christian-themed music as a genre until I found the Internet and scratched my head at the concept of a “Christian rock station”. While I had heard songs referencing christianity or general religious themes, the first non-hymnal songs I heard that I thought as unambiguously christian came from Michael W Smith.

    As a sidenote, Billy Connolly commented hilariously on christian rockers here

  • http://aintchristian.blogspot.com MothandRust

    Thanks for the Billy Connolly youtube link, that was pure priceless godless gold. Had to blog that.

    Did anyone ever get into the Christian cover band, The Apologetix… they used to cover ‘worldly’ songs into Xtian, eg. The Bethlemian Rhapsody, or Shepherd’s Paradise and so on… a bit like how Porno movies rip off mainstream movie titles… like Edward Penishands… well, you get the picture.

  • Ant

    Music is just music, I reckon. There’s this song I like by Brian Littrell (of the Backstreet Boys) – Welcome Home. :)

  • http://www.myspace.com/thecorban Matthew W.

    Yah I love the band apologetix.it seems so inspirational and yeah.

  • imsonotyou

    A couple of songs from skillet are great… like “Whispers in the dark” and “Better then drugs.” But when i first herd them i thought that they had a different meaning to them xP

  • Christian

    Brian “Head” Welch, Alice Cooper, Megadeth, Stryper, Bride, White Cross, U2… I think Johnny Cash is probably my favorite though. He struggled with some serious addictions, and with the help and grace from God, was able to beat them.

  • Olivia

    I’m an atheist and I like a  lot of songs by Skillet, a few by BarlowGirl, Beautiful Tonight by Krystal Meyers, On and On by Tenth Avenue North, When She Cries by Britt Nicole, and a few more. Good music is good music, and vague references to religion (that could easily be interpreted in other ways) don’t bother me in the least.


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