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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Has anyone mentioned Trent Reznor yet? Out of all the musicians deriding the great sky daddy, he's my favorite.
Hi Cliff,

I don't have an answer for question #1, but I do for #2 and #3.

My 2 favorite "god-centric popular songs" are:

1) Are you Ready? By Pacific Gas and Electric
2) Jesus is Just Alright By the Doobie Brothers

Are you Ready? is a high-energy gospel song and one of my favorite songs of any kind. It's on my A|N page if you want to listen to it. I'm sure you know Jesus is Just Alright.

As for question #3, how about George Harrison's "Give me Love"? Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young had a great humanist song called "Teach your Children Well".
I have to say that my most hated god-centric work is Arlington by Trace Adkins.
lyrics:

I never thought that this is where I'd settle down,
I thought I'd die an old man back in my hometown,
They gave me this plot of land, me and some other men,
for a job well done.

There's a big white house sits on a hill just up the road,
The man inside he cried the day they brought me home,
They folded up a flag, and told my mom and dad, 'We're proud of your son'.

And I'm proud to be on this peaceful piece of property,
I'm on sacred ground and I'm in the best of company,
I'm thankful for those thankful for the things I've done,
I can rest in peace, I'm one of the chosen ones,
I made it to Arlington.

I remember daddy brought me here when I was eight,
We searched all day to find out where my granddad lay,
And when we finally found that cross,
He said, 'Son this is what it cost, to keep us free'.
Now here I am a thousand stones away from him,
He recognized me on the first day I came in,
And it gave me a chill, when he clicked his heels, and saluted me.

And I'm proud to be on this peaceful piece of property,
I'm on sacred ground and I'm in the best of company,
And I'm thankful for those thankful for the things I've done,
I can rest in peace, I'm one of the chosen ones,
I made it to Arlington.

And every time I hear, twenty-one guns,
I know they brought another hero home, to us.

We're thankful for those thankful for the things we've done,
We can rest in peace, 'cause we were the chosen ones,
We made it to Arlington, yea, dust to dust
Don't cry for us, we made it to Arlington.

This song pretty much equates the nationalist and religious. The stones at Arlington National Cemetary are rounded rectangles of stone. A cross is inscribed on those of Christians.
I guess I still like "Believe it or Not" from the video "The Amazing Book", because it actually helped me lose faith.
lyrics:

Chorus:
Believe it or not, the Bible says it's true
And wonders more amazing are written through and through
Believe it or not, it's right there in the Book
Come on and take a look and believe it or not

Verse 1:
Now did you know there was a time
A man lived to be nine hundred sixty-nine?
Then there was the longest day we're told
All because God put the sun on hold

Chorus

Verse 2:
There was a father very great
Whose many children numbered eighty-eight
And a king who loved to hear those wedding chimes
He married seven hundred times

Chorus

Verse 3:
You'll read about a giant man
Who had six fingers on each hand
And though he only had a single nose
The Bible says he had a dozen toes!

Chorus

Bridge:
That's not to mention, without exaggeration
A donkey and his master had a two-way conversation

Chorus

Believe it or not
Believe it or not

I consider Metallica's "The God That Failed" to be pretty atheistic.
lyrics:
Pride you took
Pride you feel
Pride that you felt when youd kneel

Not the word
Not the love
Not what you thought from above

It feeds
It grows
It clouds all that you will know
Deceit
Deceive
Decide just what you believe

I see faith in your eyes
Never your hear the discouraging lies
I hear faith in your cries
Broken is the promise, betrayal
The healing hand held back by the deepened nail

Follow the God that failed

Find your peace
Find your say
Find the smooth road in your way

Trust you gave
A child to save
Left you cold and him in grave

It feeds
It grows
It clouds all that you will know
Deceit
Deceive
Decide just what you believe

I see faith in your eyes
Never you hear the discouraging lies
I hear faith in your cries
Broken is the promise, betrayal
The healing hand held back by the deepened nail

Follow the God that failed

I see faith in your eyes
Broken is the promise, betrayal
The healing hand held back by the deepened nail

Follow the God that failed

Pride you took
Pride you feel
Pride that you felt when youd kneel

Trust you gave
A child to save
Left you cold and him in grave

I see faith in your eyes
Never you hear the discouraging lies
I hear faith in your cries
Broken is the promise, betrayal
The healing hand held back by deepened nail

Follow the God that failed
For #1 and 2, I don't really have much of an answer, I don't tend to catch a lot of religious music.

For #3, Alot of Marilyn Manson's work is anti-theistic and I enjoy it immensely, John Lennon comes at a close second.
1) Most hated god-centric songs: Geoff Moore "I believe in evolution", Billy Currington "God is great, beer is good, people are crazy"

2) Most tolerated: I like songs like "Amazing Grace", "Oh Happy Day" and "The Lord Bless you and keep you" - choir songs from my days in high school. Also that song

3) Although they may not fit, I really love the Electric Hellfire Club's song "Unholy Roller", Marilyn Manson's "S/ain't"

I don't know where to put this one but I absolutely adore that song "Hallelujah" from the Shrek soundtrack. It's haunting. :D
I know this an older post but I appreciate certain styles of music and wish to chime in.
As for question 1) I have a tendency to revile most religiously themed anthems
As for question 2) Back in the 80's - early 90's there was a band called Tourniquet I liked up until I realized the lyrics were Christian based propaganda.
Now for the reason I'm here, question 3) Epica - "Cry For The Moon" is a beautiful piece anti-theist music and many of their other songs are the same way.
After Forever is by far my favorite band and their song "Follow In The Cry" seems artistically anti-theist.
Opeth's track "The Grand Conjuration" also appears anti-theistic as well.

When I say that a track "seems" anti-theistic I only mean "in my interpretation" as I have no real idea of the song's true intent or that of it's creator
"Cry for the Moon" is one of my favorite Epica songs. :) \m/ Their new album, Design Your Universe is pretty good too.
Primordial - Gallows Hymn:

Sister, do not pray for me
There is no forgiveness here
Just the longest, darkest night
And my peoples end

Brother, many a crooked day we spent
Telling tales and making myths
Sharpening our tongues for the final fight
Yet doing little but growing old

I was never a religious man
So why should I put my faith in you?
You burned your bridges a long time ago
I'm a heathen, searching for his soul
A couple songs I've come across recently... I was watching Julie Sweeney's Letting Go of God on tv the other day. Jill Sobule recorded a song by the same title for the special. If you go to this link you can download it from Sweeney's site: http://www.juliasweeney.com/letting_go_mini/index.html

Epica's new album, Design Your Universe has some really good tracks on it. Here's an except of the song "Kingdom of Heaven":

"Scorn shall be directed at the genius
Represses subtle theories of the light
to the questions of life

Quantum physics leads us to
Answers to the great taboos
We create the world around us
god is every living soul"
I'm not a country fan any more than I'm a religion fan, but I fell in love with Mary Chapin Carpenter's "Between Here and Gone" album and the ones that followed it. That cd contains many religious references, not surprising since it seems to be focused on death and the hereafter. I know she's a christian, but her approach seems to be very much against the current American conservative christian approach. She's a thinker.

I don't mind songs that use religious metaphors, as long as the composer/lyricist shows some brain cells at work and doesn't get all fundamental about it. But I also enjoy blasphemy the same way; smart, not stupid.
I want a Flying Spaghetti Monster song that sounds good, and isn't too, too obvious til the end maybe :)
I'm gonna just answer number 2 here.. but even though I pretty much dislike country music as a whole I have a soft spot for Go Rest High On That Mountain by Vince Gill. Probably because they played it at every freaking funeral I've been to and I can hold myself together pretty well for the most part, until this song comes on. Then I turn into a blubbering, sobbing moron. Not that I wasn't sad or crying already, it just sends me over the edge and sends a whole new wave of emotion and starts it over again.

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