Saturday, December 6, 2008

Some Songs for Atheism

I'd like to share a few songs which I feel I like. I feel that these songs contain messages that are useful for atheists. Please don't expect this to be any kind of universal or comprehensive list: it's entirely composed of selections I enjoy from my own collection. Also, the only semblance of order in my list is alphabetical. Finally, please keep in mind that this list applies exclusively to me, and it very well may be that nothing on this list has any relevance for anyone else.

#1: Beautiful World (Colin Hay)
#2: Bicycle Race (Queen)
#3: California Dreamin' (The Mamas and the Papas)
#4: Dark Horse (George Harrison)
#5: Eleanor Rigby (The Beatles)
#6: Exodus (Bob Marley)
#7: For What It's Worth (Buffalo Springfield)
#8: Get Up Stand Up (Bob Marley)
#9: A Horse With No Name (America)
#10: I Like It (Dixie Chicks)
#11: Imagine (John Lennon)
#12: Mississippi Delta City Blues (Chicago)
#13: No Woman No Cry (Bob Marley)
#14: Not Ready to Make Nice (Dixie Chicks)
#15: Now That You've Gone (Chicago)
#16: Ohio (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
#17: Red Rubber Ball (The Cyrkle)
#18: The Sounds of Silence (Simon & Garfunkel)
#19: What A Wonderful World (Louis Armstrong)
#20: Losing My Religion (R.E.M)


Will Errickson said...

My favorite atheist song is Sting's 1991 hit "All This Time."

And all this time the river flowed
Endlessly like a silent tear
And all this time the river flowed
Father, if Jesus exists,
Then how come he never lived here

The teachers told us, the Romans built this place
They built a wall and a temple, an edge of the empire
Garrison town,
They lived and they died, they prayed to their gods
But the stone gods did not make a sound
And their empire crumbled, 'til all that was left
Were the stones the workmen found

I don't know how else one could read these lyrics! Nice to know a pop hit could be so subversive.

Player Piano said...

Definitely, that's a good thing indeed.

Another song that I just added to the list is "Losing My Religion" by R.E.M.

I know that it's not explicitly about atheism - that it's actually referring to a polite of saying that one has lost one's temper, but the lyrics say some very profound to me about religion and about being an atheist.

It's bigger
It's bigger than you
And you are not me
The lengths that I will go to
The distance in your eyes"

That part definitely speaks to me about how life is meaningful even without the presence of a deity.

"That's me in the corner
That's me in the spotlight
Losing my religion
Tryin' to keep an eye on you
And I don't know if I can do it"

That describes the confusion and isolation I felt when I was doubting my beliefs. I felt lonely. I also felt like I was trying to keep in touch with my old beliefs, trying to "keep an eye on you", and I couldn't do it: I still try to live according to moral precepts, but not what I once believed.

"Every whisper
Of every waking hour
I'm choosing my confessions
Tryin' to keep an eye on you
Like a hurt, lost and blinded fool

I identify with this section, because I feel that "choosing my confessions" is reflective of the process of coming up with my own individual morality, and I did feel lost for awhile at first.

For a song that's not explicitly about religion, I feel that it has a lot to say to atheists, including me.

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