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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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Just read this nice text inside my Friend's Jethro Tull's Aqualung:

1. In the beginning Man created God; and in the image of Man created he him.
2. And Man gave unto God a multitude of names, that he might be Lord over all the earth when it was suited to Man.
3.And on the seven millionth day Man rested and did lean heavily on his God and saw that it was good.
4. And Man formed Aqualung of the dust of the ground, and a host of others likened unto his kind.
5. And these lesser men Man did cast into the void. And some were burned; and some were put apart from their kind.
6. And Man became the God that he had created and with his miracles did rule over all the earth.
7. But as all these things did come to pass, the Spirit that did cause man to create his God lived on within all men: even within Aqualung.
8. And man saw it not.
9. But for Christ's sake he'd better start looking.

I was thinking this text probably knelt into me as a young teenager, but I'd forgotten it.
Amazing Rap against religion by Rationalwarrior with lyrics to follow along.
I'm late to the thread, but here are mine:

1) "Jesus Is Just Alright With Me" by the Doobie Brothers (also covered by DC Talk who I liked back when I was Christian and a kid). Of course I hate "God Bless America" as much as the next atheist...maybe more because I also hate schmaltzy songs.

2) "God Only Knows" by the Beach Boys. I still think "Flood" by Jars of Clay is a catchy tune. I like a lot of classical music inspired by religion. I also like blue grass renditions of songs like "Farther Along"

3) "Jesus Doesn't Want Me For a Sunbeam" by the Vaselines, but most famously covered by Nirvana. It doesn't say there is no Jesus, but it makes a good case as to why what Jesus supposedly wants from humans is degrading.

Bright Eyes- At the bottom of everything..


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. :)


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