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Christian vs. Secular music?

Discussion in 'Theocracy' started by anexanhume, Jul 16, 2005.

  1. anexanhume

    anexanhume Member

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    I've seen this debate on another forum I go to, and it's been a difficult process for me since I've given my life to God several weeks ago. I haven't seen the discussion here, and I realize all may not be Christians on this forum, but that may be good for alternate insight.

    The question is basically if secular music is ok to listen to if you are a Christian. This becomes especially pertinent when the lyrics of a particular band are blasphemous or overtly anti-Christian. How do you dictate what is good and what isn't? Are bands with neutral lyrics OK?

    The best example I can think of is Blind Guardian and Hansi Kursch. Kursch is openly Christian, but none of his band members share his faith, nor is the band's lyrical content about religion ( it is mostly fantasy; however, his side project Demons and Wizards does contain religiously charged lyrics ). So, would that justify listening to BG, or any other band?

    The passage that most people refer to in this situation is in Phillipians, and a crude paraphrase is that whatever is good and true is OK. However, that too falls victim to subjectiveness.

    I am especially eager to hear Matt's opinion on this matter, and how his feelings on it have evolved.

    I know in the end it is between God and I, but I've been praying for guidance, and I hope he decides to deliver some of that through all of you. Post your opinions!
     
  2. Enmity

    Enmity Member

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    I never really pay much attention to lyrics, simply because I focus more on the music itself or the vocals. I'm one of those people that don't recognize songs via their lyrics most of the time. Probably the only songs I could even recite lyrics to are Iron Maiden tracks simply because I've heard them so many times that they're burned into my mind.

    I honestly think that it is kind of ridiculous for someone to only listen to christian music, or music done by christians, just like it is equally ridiculous for someone to listen only to music that endorses satan worshipping or is put out by satan worshippers. If you choose limit yourself to listening to music only put out by certain artists that meet a specific criteria, then I really think you're going to be missing out on a lot of well-done music.

    I can't really answer the question for you on a religious basis simply because there are so many different interpretations of the bible. There are people that believe listening to any music other than hymns is a sin. Then again, there are plenty of passages in the bible that say really odd things like associating with non-christian people in itself is bad or shouldn't happen. While there are a lot of good things in the bible, there are things that you just sort of need to make your personal on decision on. As long as you're comfortible with it, and you believe that your decision is in line with your beliefs then you should be fine. But then again, I'm not a christian so.... I guess my advice doesn't really apply.
     
  3. SeaStorm

    SeaStorm Member

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    Just to let you let you know where I'm coming from, I'm Catholic and I listen to music mostly for the lyrics/vocals - kind of the opposite of Enmity :)

    I have definitely had this debate on other sites, as well. Personally, I could not imagine limiting myself to Christian music. There are so many topics that music can address that have little to do with faith (directly, anyway). I have spoken to a lot of people who feel that all secular music is bad because it does not glorify God. To me, that is incredibly insular and unnecessary. Personally, I just stay away from anything Satanic or anti-Christian, and I'm very happy. I would say that the #1 topic of secular music is human relationships and you don't need to be a Christian band to muse about love.

    Just to illustrate how far some people take it, on some Catholic message boards I hang out at, I get some grief for being a metaller. I often hear the phrase "I guess some secular music isn't too harmful, but I only listen to Christian music." But what really blew my mind is when I heard "I guess some Christian music isn't too harmful, but I only listen to Catholic music." :OMG:

    On a related note, I sometimes hear Christians talk about not liking music because of the musicians' personal life, even though the music itself is not objectionable to them. If you're going to run with that theory, then you have to give up most music, most movies, most sports, many books, and a lot of art. It's silly.
     
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  4. Spyderman-Hyderman

    Spyderman-Hyderman more gear than talent:-(

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    I feel it's up to the listener to take what they like and filter out the crap.
    I can remember the Pastor of our church visiting and was brousing our movie collection. He asked to watch a particular war movie. We agreed but were a little nervous about what he would think of the language...lots of swearing. I asked him about it and he said that it wouldn't be a believable movie without it. Now I'm not suggesting that the pastor is condoning obsenity...I'm saying that everyone has a choice in what they take in. I have heard some of the most blasphemous death/black metal with satanic themes, but I sometimes marvel at the musicianship. God gave even them a musical gift, and the individual chose whether or not to use it to glorify God. God never intended us to deprive ourselves from things we enjoy, music in this case. Even Christians can go to an art gallery and see nude paintings and admire the artists use of colour and texture, shadows etc. without giving a 2nd thought of the naked figure depicted. My two pennies anyway.
     
  5. Doogie_Brian

    Doogie_Brian Member

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    Ive had this conversation before with one of my friends. I feel that its what you make of it. The question you have to ask yourself is what affect the music has on your actions and your relationship with God. I know everyone likes to say that it's just music, and it doesnt affect them at all, but thats a load of crap. If a song is about sex (as are many pop songs) it's going to put you in that mindset. Likewise with violent stuff. I listen to secular music, but I choose to filter out the more obscene lyrics. On the other hand, I have a friend who only listens to Christian music because he finds it more uplifting and there isnt the worry about maybe getting a song that will offend him. In my opinion, it all comes down to what runs through your mind as the song is playing. Is it going to lead your mind down a road you dont want to travel?

    Philippians 4:8 - Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
     
  6. Matt Smith

    Matt Smith THEOCRACY

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    I agree, it's an individual thing so no one can really give advice. For me personally, it just depends on the band. I can't imagine being a Christian and having any desire whatsoever to listen to anything blasphemous/satanic/etc. I mean, I don't care how good the music is, I just don't care to hear it. At all. To me, it would be like a slap in the face of God to listen to garbage like that. Of course, it's not like most of that stuff would even appeal to me musically anyway.

    As for normal stuff, I listen to a lot of different bands, but there are bands I won't listen to because of the content. Also there are occasionally songs that I don't listen to by bands I otherwise like. Music is a repetitive thing; it's not like we listen to a song once and that's it (at least if it's any good). So to me it's not good to drill something home in your mind over and over again that you personally have a problem with.
    Generally though, I find there's a lot of good stuff out there that doesn't bother me. Thankfully a lot of prog and power stuff is pretty positive in its message. I don't know, I just don't find a lot of good Christian music out there. At least as far as rock/Metal stuff, most of the ones I've heard sound like 2nd rate versions of popular secular bands. Of course, some would say the same about us I'm sure. :D

    I agree about the thing about "you can't buy so-and-so's CDs because of their lifestyle, etc." being ridiculous. I've heard people say stuff like that, too. Well, what do I know about the guy who fixed my burger at Burger King? Or the guy who changed my tire? Or my dentist? If we're going to base our choices in an economic society on the morality of the people we're buying from, we might as well go live on an island in the middle of nowhere, isolated from humanity.

    So anyway, I would just say to follow your heart. If a song bothers you because of the lyrics, don't listen to it. That's what I try to do. I just don't think there's a way to generalize everything as either good or bad, be it "Christian" or "secular". Just take it on a case-by-case basis.
     
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  7. Spyderman-Hyderman

    Spyderman-Hyderman more gear than talent:-(

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    I got the vibe paragraph one was directed towards me....at least somewhat. :) For clarity, there is no desire to listen. having heard and listening now are quite different. Although I admit in my younger rebellious days I did listen to alot of death and thrash....mostly to spite my saint of a mother, and being a pubescent I thought it was cool. :erk: So I couldn't in all honesty say I was a Christian at the time. Rather turbulent teen years, and I wouldn't rule out that the satanic music had something to do with it. Which only proves your point. What you allow in can mess with your brain without you knowing it.
    I seem to recall there having once been a Christian Death Metal band....I want to say Mortification but somehow I doubt that was thename. I remember a review which said "songs about God with satan's voice". Not what I would call a flattering review. Obviously referring to the growly vocals. I suppose the content was good....but the form....meh. Not a fan of death metal.....although there are certain elements that "certain" bands have that are cool. I could use Amorphis as an example. Tales From 1000 Lakes is a great album musically, vocally I have no idea what they are saying, so I can't say if I got anything out of it other than cool melodies and chunky guitar tones.
    Another thing to keep in mind is the 2 sided coin. Some people find Christian music (Christain anything really) offensive. Par for the course I guess. So it's not unlikely to find this exact same topic in other metal forums only reverse views.
     
  8. Spyderman-Hyderman

    Spyderman-Hyderman more gear than talent:-(

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    Just thought of something else interesting. What about hyper conservative Christians who feel that rock/metal is evil in itself regardless of theme. I come from a United Pentecostal background, where bee-hive hair do's and huge tight buns are still all the rage. Been a long time since I've attended, but I hear they are trying to make certain changes. I remember once in Sunday School (long time ago) bringing my 1st guitar to church with a little practice amp to show one of the guys that played guitar in the church band/orchestra. I had the overdrive on and one of the church directors came over to me and gave me a nasty scolding. Saying things like distortion guitars represent demons screaming, or it summons demons or something. And the rock music beat stems from occult chanting and rituals. To this day I still don't get the corelation. I've heard the church drummer blast out some killer beats to the gospel hits and no one batted an eye. It took a long time to get even my own mother to relax on her stance against rock and metal. It really wasn't until I started recording my own music that she started thinking it was okay. Mothers pride I suppose, and I'm married now so what can she do? I did let her listen to Theocracy a couple weeks ago. Was hard to get a read on her but she said she enjoyed it. My step father, a man of 76 and a guitar player as well, said he really liked Theocracy.....but I think he was just more impressed and curious about how one person could record everything themselves, rather than into the music. So how would any of you respond? Have you ever heard the "distortion guitars are demons" speach or one similar? Where does that argument come from?
     
  9. Matt Smith

    Matt Smith THEOCRACY

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    Nah, I didn't meant that to sound directed towards you; sorry if it came out that way. I was just stating the way I personally feel about the issue in my own life since it was brought up.
    Yeah, my high school was notorious for that kind of mentality. "Rock music is inherently evil, etc." Never heard the thing about electric guitars being demons or whatever (LOL, awesome). They usually harped on the backbeat. "These drums will take over your body and make you have sex," etc. I remember one time in a class they were like, "Scientists conducted an experiment. First they played some classical music to a plant and it was fine. Then they cranked rock music at 130 dB for 6 weeks and the plant DIED!!! If that happened to a plant, just imagine what rock music does to you!!!" I swear I'm serious...like I could make that up! Unbelievable, the stuff they tried to brainwash us with growing up--that kind of stuff was par for the course. I'm just thankful I finally realized what a joke it all was.

    It's just a generational thing though; it's always been like that with every generation, and probably always will. There's nothing you can do to try to change people's minds that grow up with that kind of legalistic and ignorant mentality, so I usually just stay away. If only my teachers could see me now! :tickled:
     
  10. Nightmare1z

    Nightmare1z Member

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    Yeah, I'm with Matt on this one as I listen to pretty much what I want as long as I don't find it truely offensive in nature. I do have some friends though who are like the people mentioned in the author's post. One has gotten very religious over the last couple years, and he's ended up phasing out his music collection. He mainly listened to mainstream material here in the US, so it's not like it was worshipping satan, killing people, etc. Yet he feels its offensive to listen to because its secular. To each his own - I don't try to change his mind on what he does. I know though if all I tried to listen to was Christian music, I would surely get tired of it as focusing yourself on just one style is so limiting.
     
  11. SeaStorm

    SeaStorm Member

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    I agree about music affecting you. I am always amazed at all the metallers that think music has NO effect on them. While I listen to tons of secular music, I will definitely filter some out based on content, or even just limit my listening to some of the stuff I loved in my athiestic, amoral days (Get The **** Out by Skid Row being a good example).

    BTW, there is actually quite a bit of Christian death metal. I can't get into it because I can't stand the cookie monster vocals, but Mortification and Frank's Enemy are the two I have CDs from.

    Theocracy has a 76 year old "fan". SWEET!
     
  12. Snert

    Snert Member

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    That's exactly my point of view, too.
    I do listen to secular music but I care for the lyrics and don't want to listen to anything blasphemous as good as the music may be. I also have several single songs I don't listen too by bands/on albums I like.

    As for christian metal music - fortunately there actually are/were some christian bands besides Theocracy that make great music.
    Some very good (IMO) are: Saviour Machine, Bloodgood, Seventh Avenue, Random Eyes, Harmony, Oratorio, Rob Rock, Tourniquet, Treasure Seeker, old Guardian, Impellitteri, Slav Simanic, Stryper.
    There are also some upcoming albums and new albums I plan to get that I really look forward to (besides the new Theocracy) like Revelation Project, Pursuit, Rivera/Bomma, Saviour Machine, Random Eyes, Audiovision, Lightmare, maybe the new Stryper and others.
     
  13. Doogie_Brian

    Doogie_Brian Member

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    Going back to Matt's last post: I dont know if anyone else saw this, but on one episode of Mythbusters they tried the Rock vs. Classical when played for plants, and they both helped the plant.

    And just a quick note about the rock music being evil bit:
    Psalm 150
    1 Praise the LORD. [a]
    Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens.

    2 Praise him for his acts of power;
    praise him for his surpassing greatness.

    3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
    praise him with the harp and lyre,

    4 praise him with tambourine and dancing,
    praise him with the strings and flute,

    5 praise him with the clash of cymbals,
    praise him with resounding cymbals.

    6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
    Praise the LORD.

    I think that says it all.
     
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  14. anexanhume

    anexanhume Member

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    Snert... no DivineFire?

    "6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
    Praise the LORD."

    I find that interesting because a possible interpretation is that anything with breath behind it ( vocalization ) can be used for praise. Although the growls and the like are viewed upon negatively, I don't ever recall reading anything in the Bible where evil was necessarily associated with deep, gruff voices.
     
  15. circleofone

    circleofone www.circleofone.net

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    Wow, this has always been such a touchy subject..probably always will be, no matter what we all say and feel. We could all talk about this until we are "blue in the face" or dead..whichever comes first, and never really change anything either way.

    I am definitely a Christian. Do I think a person will go to Hell for listening to secular music? ABSOLUTELY NOT. Now, being a Christian, and having asked Jesus into my heart, and knowing that His spirit dwells within me, I am very cautious as to what I entertain musically. I hate that feeling of "wow, I should not have listened to that..now I feel nasty or yucky". That feeling is the spirit within me being grieved, and it is not a good feeling. So yea, I do try my best to only listen to music with a clean positive message, whether it be secular or Christian. I try to make sure that whether it is a song I am listening to, or even a movie that I am watching, if Jesus Himself were sitting and listening or watching with me, would he be happy and good with what I am allowing myself to be subjected to?

    I have to add, I have been very dissapointed with some "Christian Rock/Metal". It is very obvious that the spirit that the music was written in was not a Godly spirit. Some of this music has given me the creeps, and that is very dissapointing. So, it is definitely not just some secular music that can be offensive and hinder a Christian's walk with God. So I definitely do not agree with the whole "I listen only to Christian music" thing.

    I say listen to that still small voice in your "gut", and listen to whatever your personal relationship with Jesus and your personal convictions allow. We are all NOT stupid. We know what is right and wrong as far as the message in a song. It is a personal decision that we have to make (prayerfully) as far as what we listen to.

    I had to edit this message and throw in that I absolutely think that Theocracy is an amazing band. I am sold on you and your music Matt..dude, you have seemed to actually in modern day, capture a true prog rock sound (which is amazing!), and added incredibly deep, positve, Jesus based lyrics. Very impressive man.
     
  16. Snert

    Snert Member

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    I do have "Glory Thy Name" and I think it's good, but honestly I expected a little bit more or different. However I'm curious what the new album coming in autumn/winter will be like...
    There are many more bands I didn't include which I really like, I just wanted to name some of my favorites.
     
  17. Matt Smith

    Matt Smith THEOCRACY

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    Yup, the only guidelines you'll find in scripture are concerning the contents of your heart. I might not like growly Christian bands or whatever, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't speak to someone, so it's not my place to dismiss anything altogether. This is the best article I've ever read on the subject; AWESOME.

    Speaking of bands with growled vocals, the only one I can really tolerate is Arch Enemy. Those guys are riff MASTERS! I don't know if it's the strange fact that the vocalist is a girl, or just the melodic sensibility of the guitarwork or what, but for some reason the growly delivery doesn't bother me like other bands. A lot of their stuff gets me pretty pumped. :headbang:

    Other than that though, I can only tolerate melodic vocals (though I often do like borderline vocals with a rough, ballsy edge as well, like old-school Hetfield or Chuck Billy--just depends on the singer).
     
  18. anexanhume

    anexanhume Member

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    Speaking of growled vocals, you remind me of my band search today. I was going through Christian acts and I came across ultimatum. Their vocals sounded like an angry teddy bear.

    Snert, I can see how you would say that. Even though Christian has a good voice, he doesn't use hardly any variation, and lucky for him, the music is varied enough for it to not drag it down.
     
  19. Sethist

    Sethist Theocracy is teh r0x0r

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    What about KillSwitch Engage? Are you backtracking on them?
     
  20. Matt Smith

    Matt Smith THEOCRACY

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    Oops, good point. I do like Killswitch (though Howard is more screamy than growly, and has a great singing voice as well). Thanks for reminding me!
     

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