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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here's the lyrics:

Freewill-Rush:

There are those who think that life is nothing left to chance,
A host of holy horrors to direct our aimless dance.

A planet of playthings,
We dance on the strings
Of powers we cannot conceive.
"The stars aren't aligned
Or the gods are malign"-
Blame is better to give than receive.

You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice.
If you choose not to decide, you still haven't made a choice.
You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill;
I will choose a path that's clear-
I will choose Free Will.

There are those who think that they were dealt a losing hand,
The cards were stacked against them- they weren't born in lotus-land.

All preordained-
A prisoner in chains-
A victim of venomous fate.
Kicked in the face,
You can't pray for a place
In heaven's unearthly estate.

Each of us-
A cell of awareness-
Imperfect and incomplete.
Genetic blends
With uncertain ends
On a fortune hunt that's far too fleet.
"Natural Science" is one of my favorite Rush songs. Among the lyrics are this:

In their own image
Their world is fashioned
No wonder they dont understand

And

Science, like nature
Must also be tamed
With a view towards its preservation
Given the same
State of integrity
It will surely serve us well

Art as expression
Not as market campaigns
Will still capture our imaginations
Given the same
State of integrity
It will surely help us along

The most endangered species,
The honest man,
Will still survive annihilation
Forming a world
State of integrity
Sensitive, open, and strong

And there is also this bit from "Tom Sawyer":

No, his mind is not for rent
To any God or government.
Always hopeful, yet discontent,
He knows changes arent permanent,
But change is

On their latest album Snakes And Arrows (which is very good, by the way), there is a song called "Faithless". Here is the beginning of it:

I've got my own moral compass to steer by
A guiding star beats a spirit in the sky
And all the preaching voices -
Empty vessels of dreams so loud
As they move among the crowd
Fools and thieves are well disguised
In the temple and market place

Like a stone in the river
Against the floods of spring
I will quietly resist

Like the willows in the wind
Or the cliffs along the ocean
I will quietly resist

I don't have faith in faith
I don't believe in belief
You can call me faithless
You can call me faithless
But I still cling to hope
And I believe in love
And that's faith enough for me
And that's faith enough for me
1) Any song from that damned compilation that plays every 15, especially when you catch yourself singing along and jumping from song to song without missing a beat...other than that just about any song that puts "message" of their brand of nonsence above actual musical talent. (same reason I am not a fan of country, which is mostly "pop with a twang")

2)I have to say I was disappointed when i learned that switchfoot was a christian band. They had a few (only listened to radio) decent sounding tunes. Other than that I have always been drawn to the hard rock/ heavy metal side of things even before the deconversion (lots of pantera, slayer, old school metalica, manson)

3) Aside from Maynerd James Keenen (Tool/APC/Pucifer) I cant think of any non death metal (its a pretty long list) that stand out.
Any patriotic song (I'm looking at you country music) that has god or church in it. I'm okay with ones that just mention church as a part of daily life (because it is for so many people, they're just singing their own truth) but when the USA and Jee-zuhs get mentioned in the same sentence, let alone the same breath, I wince.

I hate the fact that I like Jesus Take the Wheel ...it's a very guilty pleasure.
1) ALL god-y songs annoy me. And here in Southern VA, I see quite a few commericals for compilation CDs, and there are several xtian radio stations I pick up in my car on the drive home (to MD, thank FSM). What's that one..."I can only imagine..." Ug. They all suck, imo.
2) I was a big Creed fan, but I never thought of it xtian music. Some of their songs seemed to criticize organized religion, at least to me.
3) I've got a few. Aside from the South Park Xmas CD, lol. Here's a few excerpts:

Epica: "Living a Lie"
Hope is a desert running dry
Deep inside
You refuse to face the facts
But pray for life
Find salvation in distress
We will wait for the day
You'll break out and reawake.

Epica: "Fools of Damnation"
Go for it, bow to the Supremacy
Go for it, at last
Kneel for me unknowing fool
Bow to the Supremacy
Kneel for me unworthy pig
Die for the divinity...
Believing is the cure
Religion is an opium
You'd better feed them all
Before they start eating you

Epica: "Beyond Belief"
Wisdom, knowledge, science
Develops always better faster
We have to guide ourselves
For we cannot stand
One more false pretense getting out of hand
Now fear is the driving force
Taking over us and finding out the source
May turn out to be too much to bear

Kamelot: "Up Through the Ashes"
So you can heal
They claim with conviction
You've got a crowd
So what's your appeal?
Your voice your predictions
They're getting loud
But if I let you die
You must forgive me...
You will hang on the cross
For playing god

Kamelot: "Mourning Star"
On the seas you restore your beliefs
Like an old man in church on a sunday...
So come save us turn water to wine
Give me words of unfathomable wisdom...
How can there be a reason for war?
For the life of human that suffers?
I remember, I heard it before
Tell me all when a new day begins.

Hurt: "Rapture"
Why are we stuck in this plan of mine
Fearing a god who dies
One who would not deny lovers?
And I don't care what they say
If what you need is your faith
Then take a look at face and know
Until your Rapture falls to pieces
Find in me the room to breathe
Simple things like suffering...
And I would and I would destroy your god
Yes I would if I could destroy your god
Because you're born again
Until you're worn again...
She swore she heard the voice of Jesus
Telling her it was wrong to keep it
And one more thing, it looked like me
Back when it breathed
Rest in peace
Until the rapture comes to meet us
Just want to add an answer to #3 that I didn't see here, and that is "I Will Follow You Into the Dark" by Death Cab for Cutie. Ben Gibbard, the singer and writer, is an atheist.

"I Will Follow You Into The Dark"

Love of mine some day you will die
But I'll be close behind
I'll follow you into the dark

No blinding light or tunnels to gates of white
Just our hands clasped so tight
Waiting for the hint of a spark
If Heaven and Hell decide
That they both are satisfied
Illuminate the NOs on their vacancy signs

If there's no one beside you
When your soul embarks
Then I'll follow you into the dark

In Catholic school as vicious as Roman rule
I got my knuckles bruised by a lady in black
And I held my tongue as she told me
"Son fear is the heart of love"
So I never went back

If Heaven and Hell decide
That they both are satisfied
Illuminate the NOs on their vacancy signs

If there's no one beside you
When your soul embarks
Then I'll follow you into the dark

You and me have seen everything to see
From Bangkok to Calgary
And the soles of your shoes are all worn down
The time for sleep is now
It's nothing to cry about
'cause we'll hold each other soon
In the blackest of rooms

If Heaven and Hell decide
That they both are satisfied
Illuminate the No's on their vacancy signs

If there's no one beside you
When your soul embarks
Then I'll follow you into the dark
Then I'll follow you into the dark
That is my favorite Death Cab song. Didn't know Gibbard was an atheist, though.
Check out "Atheist Anthem" by Leftover Crack, if you're much of a punker.
I don't have list but with Q2, the first song that came to mind is St. Patrick's by Savatage. It was actually nice hearing someone saying out loud some of the questions that I had been asking. The song is almost an agnostic song...at least until about 3:15 into it.

worth a listen
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gol6ep4_loQ
To answer number 3, this is my all time favorite:

Iva Davies, former frontman of Icehouse (rock, synthpop band) is from Australia, the song is called "Your God Not Mine" and it's from a yet to be released album. This is one of my all time fave songs to sing to righteous people who claim to speak for (their) God.

Here's the unofficial video from youtube. I hope you like the song, I love it.

man, i love "spirit in the sky", it's tragic. i appreciate "dear god" by xtc. I heard this song with creaky swing sound? by some group, i'm guessing here, called the bastard fairies or something. i'll have to look that up. joan osbourne is a good singer, but most people probably know her from "what ig god was one of us". I tell you, alot of musicians can screw themselves when they decide to sing about religion and politics. i may have repeated some artists, because i didn't read the replies yet. oh yeah, i also like the doobie brothers jesus song, too bad; also let it be. I need to look up this chick that snag on julia sweeney's cd. she had a good anti religion song. maybe i casn do that before the 15 minutes i have to edit this.

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