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.

Tags: Atheism, Culture, Music, Pop

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OTEP

From "March of the Martyrs":

The devil may care but I don't
No masters, no gods, no laws, no soul


From "Noose & Nail":

Your God is a fossil
Abandoned apostles
Stand and join hands to behold

Your Godless disciples
Abandon your idols
Stand and join hands to behold

....

Jesus needs his prescriptions filled
Buddha's using too many pills
Allah promises endless thrills
In volatile bottles marked
Religion kills

This is the ache we can't escape
Betrayed!
One day this could be you

We're just another nail in the coffin
Another knot in the noose
It's just another squeeze of the trigger
One more hue in the bruise

....

Krishna's rolling on ecstasy
Jehovah's smoking too much PCP
Mother Mary carries a junkie Messiah
Shooting smack and smoking crack
With the king of liars
Not anti-religious really, but two songs dealing with the preists abusing children...

Apocalyptica - I'm Not Jesus

Billy Talent - Devil In A Midnight Mass
1) I don't think I hate any specific songs... It really depends on the song whether I find it annoying, repulsive, okay, or something else. Overly preachy is definitely yuck.

2) Hayley Westenra, she has several very spiritual songs but I love her voice and think her music is very beautiful. Also, she's not really 'pop', probably, but I also enjoy Máire Brennan's music.

3) Damn, I can't remember the song or the artist... but it was metal, and they were singing about some sheep and how wolves have no choise but to prey on them. It sounded very anti-Christian to me... :) *googles in vain*
About #3, it's been mentioned, but "Dear God" by XTC was a huge influence in my beliefs.

I wrote an article about it. If you'd like, you can read it here:

http://secularsundaysermon.blogspot.com/2008/07/in-praise-of-xtc.html
About #2, a lot of Prince's preachier stuff still resonates with me. He has a song called "The Holy River" that is so Goddish you'd be forbidden from playing it in a public school. Yet for some reason I still love it.
I just thought of "Get Up, Stand Up" by the Wailers - a frustrating song that is equal parts #3 ("If you knew what life was worth, you would look for yours on earth" - addressed to a "preacherman" (!)) and #2 ("Almighty God is a living man"). This song confused the hell out of me when I was a kid, but I choose to take it as pantheist rather than explicitly theistic Rastafarianism.

Alas, bitter reality.
Personally, I like Marilyn Manson. He has a lot of anti-religious lyrics...
1) I've written posts against the recent country songs I've heard, "I Saw God Today" and "God Must Be Busy". I haven't actually heard the Carrie Underwood song you mentioned, though I doubt I'd have to.

2) I can't think of anything off the top of my head. "Higher" by Creed, maybe. I used to really like "Heaven" by Live (and even covered it a few times), but the blatant appeal to design just rakes against my rational brain. A lot of Live's songs contain references to a spiritual "goddess" idea, but I can overlook that -- it isn't beating me over the head with religion, unlike the songs in #1. I still like covering "Last Kiss" thought it appeals to the idea of an afterlife. There's also religious references in songs like "Lips of an Angel" or "Friend of the Devil". But hell, we can sing "Santa Claus is coming to town" without having to actually believe it!

3 ) My songs would be:
The Noose - A Perfect Circle
Judith - A Perfect Circle
Sleeping Beauty - A Perfect Circle
Opiate - Tool
Eulogy - Tool
The Worm - Audioslave
The Pusher - Blind Melon
God Will Fuck You Up - John R. Butler
Magdalene - Amanda Bloom
Some stuff by Roy Zimmerman
The Bible is Bullshit - Corporate Avenger
The Number of the Beast - Iron Maiden (fuck it, any heavy metal "devil music" will do! XD)
Imagine - John Lennon (or the APC cover)

For rap, look up Greydon Square, Proclaim, or Mr. GAWN, although I'm not really into all that. Az mentioned some other good tunes.
DZK - Bow Down

http://www.warlab.com/clips/
Search for "bow down" - it's toward the bottom. You can even download the mp3 for free. I love it!
Wear the grudge like a crown of negativity
Calculate what we will, or will not tolerate
Desperate to control all and everything
Unable to forgive your scarlet letterman

Clutch it like a cornerstone; Otherwise it all comes down
Justify denials and grip 'em to the lonesome end
Clutch it like a cornerstone; Otherwise it all comes down
Terrified of being wrong; Ultimatum prison cell

Saturn ascends, choose one or ten
Hang on or be humbled again...

(This has to be a criticism of religion)

---

I embrace my desire to
Embrace my desire to
Feel the rhythm, to feel connected enough to step aside and weep like a widow
To feel inspired to fathom the power, to witness the beauty,
To bathe in the fountain,
To swing on the spiral
To swing on the spiral
To swing on the spiral of our divinity and still be a human.

(I think this is humanistic)

---

Choices always were a problem for you
What you need is someone strong to guide you
Deaf and blind and dumb and born to follow
What you need is someone strong to guide you

Like me

If you want to get your soul to heaven
Trust in me, now don't you judge or question
You are broken now but faith can heal you
Just do everything I tell you to do

Deaf and blind and dumb and born to follow
What you need is someone strong to guide you
Deaf and blind and dumb and born to follow
Let me lay my holy hand up, hand upon you

Thy god's will
Becomes me
When he speaks
He speaks through me
He has needs
Like I do
We both want
To rape you

Jesus Christ, why don't you come save my life now?
Open my eye, blind me with your light now
Jesus Christ, why don't you come save my life now?
Open my eye, blind me with your light now

---

This is all from TOOL.
My most hated God-centric music is the music they played in the Catholic Church. Not only did I not want to be there, but the music put me to sleep, and made the service feel even more dragged out. An hour has never felt so long since I stopped going to church.

On the other hand, I love musicals, and one of my favorites is Les Miserables, which has a great deal of religiosity in it. Interesting side note, though. The author of the book (Victor Hugo) wrote "Les Mis" as a Catholic and died a Free Thinker.

Lastly, I don't know about popular songs, but I grew up in the punk scene, where there is no lack of secular themed music. How about I just go with Bad Religion's songs.
Very funny! And if I read the end credits right, that's actually Joan Osborne singing this version too? Ha.

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