As a popular music historian (of a sort), I am constantly banging head first into hit songs about people's imaginary friends. And, as such, I mourn for the nation and the world.

So ...

Question 1). Which are your most hated god-centric popular songs? (Mine are, in order, "God Bless The U.S.A." (Lee Greenwood), "Jesus Take The Wheel" (Carrie Underwood) and "Jesus Walks" (Kanye West).

Question 2). Do you have any god-centric popular songs that you rather like, despite their theme? (I'll only admit to "Spirit In The Sky" by Norman Greenbaum, though there are one or two others.)

Question 3). This one is going to be a stumper, I fear. Aside from "Imagine" by John Lennon, is there/are there another/other popular song(s) which are expressly atheistic/humanistic and specifically don't call upon an invisible friend? (I say "popular," in that there are probably many by a variety of indie artists, but those don't necessarily swim in the mainstream where everyone would have heard it on the radio.)

There are a million reasons why there wouldn't be -- not the least of which it's hard to sing about a negative of something (belief), but maybe I'm overlooking something.

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Bad Religion has a lot of song that meet the criteria you're referring to.

I published a small blog on   Community Ideas on Inspiring, Secular Music  Secular Perspectives ( and would be interested in hearing other people's favorite candidates for a family of broadly secular/humanist songs. These could atheist, but I take a song like John Lennon's Image to have a broader message than just being anti-relgious and providing a richer mix of humanist values.

Some good suggestions included Tim Minchin's  White Wine In The Sun asone of those Xmas songs that that discusses how how a secular person celebrates the season.  I like Vienna Teng's "An atheist Christmas Carol"

It's a quietly powerful about humanistic values in cold Winter Time. It has grace and speaks to the companionship and love that people provide in dark, wounded times. Various religious concepts are humanized just a bit.

Another secular song is Iris Dement's - Let the Mystery Be that nineofnine posted at

Q1. Never Would Have Made It; Marvin Sapp (Dedicated to the passing of his Dad, sorry but I hate it.)

Q2. Higher; Creed (Rife with supernatural imagery buy catchy.)

Q3. Only The Good Die Young; Billy Joel (A phenomenal social commentary on catholic virtue.)

(Dare I say it?)  AMEN!  ...But what happened to Mark Cohn's "Walking in Memphis"?  (I received your first comment--with said title--in my Gmail.)


Yeah, that was the original song I had for Q2 but I realized as I was writing that I like "Higher" much more than "Walking In Memphis". The fact is there are so many songs that are either explicitly religious in nature or have some sort of questionable logic in them that are on my favs list, that I wouldn't have anything to listen to if I was too ridgid.

All right, I forgive you.  (Please note my [somewhat pathetic] attempt to be funny here.)  I guess I just happen to like Mark Cohn's song a little better than I like Creed's.  My kids are more likely to pick the latter, though. 


You've raise another good point, too: It's not a very good idea to be too rigid, especially when choosing what you listen to.  After all, music is meant to be enjoyed by the musical parts of our brains, right?  Less so by the logical side.  We can't expect that, simply because we happen to like what our favorite musicians and/or songwriters have composed, that our philosophies and/or logic will align with theirs.  When we feel like being picky about another's rhetoric, we should be searching for books or articles, not music CDs.

Billy Joel's lyrics were a major source of inspiration for me as a young teen. I lived by the line:

"They will tell you, you can't sleep alone in a strange place
Then they'll tell you, you can't sleep with somebody else
Ah, but sooner or later you sleep in your own space
Either way it's okay to wake up with yourself"


Either way you wake up with yourself is one of my mantras in life. :)

I recently started listening to Echoes of Eternity. Of course, the song "Letalis Deus" from their most recent album, As Shadows Burn, caught my attention:


From the void,
Nothingness becomes aware of itself
Consciousness is born
Self realization through creation
And so the universe is born

Lost inside the human maze
Through your mind, you create
Only way to the other side
Is to live and to die

Eons pass by,
Alone with all this power
Sure makes for a stagnant existence
The solution?
Divide into pieces
The immortal ones, long to be flesh

Organized religion
A distortion of the truth
Make your own decision
Ignorance will undo you

I, I am the game
I, I am the player
I'm the creator
I'm the destroyer


1. Most all of them for me.

2. Nusrat Feta Ali Khan. He is a Pakistani quali singer. I cannot understand a word he is singing, but as quali is described as inspirational devotional music I figure plenty of it is about how his ecstasy is inspired by his imaginary friend. I don't understand this at all. On one hand, I understand Islam prohibits music somehow. Yet on t other hand, there is plenty of music out of the Islamic world. I like plenty of it precisely because it is exotic and foreign to my ears. And I suspect that if I could understand the lyrics, I would probably like most of this a lot less.

3. Besides "Imagine", Mr. Lennon has a song called "God" that is explicitly atheists. I stopped being a big Rush fan when I instead got into the Ramones. However quit a few or their songs are slanted against both god and government. John Prine has "Plastic Jesus" which is pretty cool. There are plenty others. But those are all that are coming to mind presently.

In his 1973 hit song "Superstition" Stevie Wonder sings: "If you believe in things you don't understand then you suffer...Super-stition aint the way."


Indeed Stevie!

I absolutely love Skillet's work. Really religious elements in a song doesn't bother me much as long as it's not brainwashing. I don't know if they're atheist or not, but voltaire's :"God thinks" is delightful.


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