I'm not talking about "Amazing Grace" or the like.

I'm curious if overtly religious themes ruin good music (or books or movies) for any of you. I just got M. Ward's new album. Musically, it is really fantastic. Some of the songs have a really religious bent to them, though. For example, in "Blake's View," he sings that "death is just a door" and that the heroine and her recently deceased lover will "be reunited on the other side." In "Shangri-La," he "cannot wait to see the expression on the face of my sweet Lord."

The themes tainted those songs for me a little bit. I'm not sure if it was just unexpected (I've never noticed such over religion in his music before) or if I'm just becoming overly sensitive to religion. I think more than anything, I was disappointed that such a good musician would be religious. Maybe my default setting has become "atheist until proven otherwise" and I need to reset that to something else; I'm just setting myself up for disappointment.

Has anyone else noticed this? If so, are we over-sensitive?

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One song I really like called "Jerusalem" by Don McLean, as you can probably guess by the title, is quite overtly religious. It's all about people of the Abrahamic religions sharing Jerusalem as a holy land. The religious theme of the song irritates me sometimes, but I normally am able to ignore it. I try to enjoy the song as music than as a religious composition. I think being irritated at religious themes in music is somewhat normal for an atheist, as it reminds atheists of the extent to which religion saturates society. Oversensitive? Perhaps. Just try to listen to the music and not the religious message.
Two of my favorite bands right now are extremely religious, Robert Randolph and the Family Band and Matisyahu. If you have haven't heard Robert Randolph, I highly recommend it. He is an amazing lap steel player and the music just makes you want to dance. As for Matisyahu, he is the famous Hasidic reggae artist.
I've seen Robert Randolph live. They are great. They opened for the Black Crowes, who themselves have a religious tone in much of their music. I like these bands for the music, not so much for the lyrics.
I love the Crowes too. They are playing here in the middle of nowhere in the Ozark Mountains this summer. I can't wait.
How very odd. I just caught myself singing 'Oh Come All Ye Faithful', complete with the fiddly bits in the last verse, in a somewhat startlingly high falsetto, while making the coffee in the kitchen.

A little flash back to the 12 year old me. Very unsettling.

I'm going to whack XTC's 'Dear God' on to redress the balance!

I enjoy country-western music but so many artists sing about God and going to church and how great Jesus is, blah-blah-blah. I can tolerate a little of it but too much is just too much.
I have a very low tolerance for it and would never buy music with religious themes.
If it's overtly Christian, it invariably repels me. But I say the same for any preachy (religions or otherwise) or overtly politicized songs. But subtle (political or spiritual) references don't bother me; it often heightens the poetry and ambience of the song.


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