How would you as a Catholic respond to Neil Peart of Rush?

Rush has a new song out called BU2B (Brought up to believe). I think this song gives some insight into Neil Peart's (lyricist & drummer for the rock band Rush) struggle with the faith he was raised in. It is unclear to me what faith he was raised in. I suspect he was raised Anglican due to his early drumming gigs in life taking place at an Anglican parish. He grew up in Ontario which has a 34% Catholic population, 12% United Church of Canada population, and 9% Anglican population. So it's possible he was raised in any one of those faith traditions (perhaps even another).

Here are the lyrics to BU2B. Please comment how one might respond to such faith experience insight:

**Lyrics:
I was brought up to believe
The universe has a plan
We are only human
It's not ours to understand

The universe has a plan
All is for the best
Some will be rewarded
And the devil take the rest

All is for the best
Believe in what we're told
Blind men in the market
Buying what we're sold
Believe in what we're told
Until our final breath
While our loving Watchmaker
Loves us all to death

In a world of cut and thrust
I was always taught to trust
In a world where all must fail
Heaven's justice will prevail

The joy and pain that we receive
Each comes with its own cost
The price of what we're winning
Is the same as what we've lost

Until our final breath
The joy and pain that we receive
Must be what we deserve
I was brought up to believe**

"I'm a linear thinking agnostic, but not an atheist folks." - Neil Peart (1996) The Masked Rider: Cycling in West Africa.

I don't know what faith he was raised in, but my guess is that he's still generally agnostic, perhaps with a lean towards belief due to many Rush songs about faith.

Is he the one who is a big Ayn Rand fan? Or am I thinking of someone else?

The quote you listed is from 1996. He had two major life-changing events since then. His daughter was killed in a car accident in 1997 and his wife died of cancer shortly thereafter in 1998. He wrote a song regarding faith in 2007 called "Faithless" which expresses that he has faith in love, but that he does not have "faith in faith". It's almost as if he has issues with an organized set of beliefs as opposed to rejecting faith altogether. I'm not sure what a "linear agnostic" means.

[quote=Bendecida, post:3, topic:203445"]
Is he the one who is a big Ayn Rand fan? Or am I thinking of someone else?

[/quote]

He has indicated being influenced by her writings. The song 2112 (from their 1976 album by the same name) was inspired by her writings.

As I would to most musicians.... take the good leave out the bad.
I.e. most Journey songs are uplifting and sing-along (Not sacred or anything but not deviltry either. AC/DC "Highway to Hell" also is not deviltry, but seems to glorify the party lifestyle... maybe not the best choice of songs to sing along with...
RUSH is pretty much non-God, very influenced by Ann Raynd,, listen to "Anthem" for instance.... basically they are very secularist humanist lyrics... the lyrics usually point to the person as the end all be all and not to a higher power...IMHO

I just heard the new Rush song on the radio. For my musical preferences, I am glad they made more of a 'rock' sounding tune, as opposed to the synthesizers that occasionally accompany their songs. As far as lyrical content, I don't usually pay too much attention to lyrics - I am much more concerned with the music and melody and whether it is pleasing to my ears. As far as Neil Peart being a fan of Ayn Rand, that is quite all right with me.

[quote="Dave_in_Dallas, post:5, topic:203445"]
RUSH is pretty much non-God...the lyrics usually point to the person as the end all be all and not to a higher power...IMHO

[/quote]

I disagree with you. I think a more accurate description would be that lyrically, RUSH is 'God-vague' rather than 'non-God'. There are songs like 'Mystic Rythms' which says that we can sometimes catch a window of what's beyond what we can see.

Having said that, Neil's lyrics tend to have a decidedly "I control my own destiny - not God" kind of feel to them. It seems he rejects predestination. It almost seems rebellious against a Calvinistic approach to theology. This is how I see the lyrics (explaining how he was 'brought up to believe'):

*Some will be rewarded *
*And the devil take the rest *

In the song 'Freewill', he seems to take a similar stance against predestination when he says we can decide not to decide, but we have still make a choice.

[quote="Oniren, post:2, topic:203445"]
"I'm a linear thinking agnostic, but not an atheist folks." - Neil Peart (1996) The Masked Rider: Cycling in West Africa.

I don't know what faith he was raised in, but my guess is that he's still generally agnostic, perhaps with a lean towards belief due to many Rush songs about faith.

[/quote]

Actually he was or his grandmother was a Methodist.

The same way I would respond to any human being. Hello.

[quote="Dave_in_Dallas, post:5, topic:203445"]
As I would to most musicians.... take the good leave out the bad.
I.e. most Journey songs are uplifting and sing-along (Not sacred or anything but not deviltry either. AC/DC "Highway to Hell" also is not deviltry, but seems to glorify the party lifestyle... maybe not the best choice of songs to sing along with...
RUSH is pretty much non-God, very influenced by Ann Raynd,, listen to "Anthem" for instance.... basically they are very secularist humanist lyrics... the lyrics usually point to the person as the end all be all and not to a higher power...IMHO

[/quote]

Rush isn't necessarily anti-Christ or anti-God, they are anti-religion and the Ayn Rand period Neil was referring to was their battle against organized religion and the record industry. Anthem, Freewill, 2112, and other free-choice songs were based upon the experiences that affected them in their musical careers.

Many believe that Peart is influenced by Rand, but in various text, Neil has no problem with wearing a helmet on his motorcycle. But the obvious proof that Rush are not libertarians is that they pay taxes in Canada. Unlike every other successful Canadian, at the Juno Awards, Geddy Lee (Gary Lee Weinrib(he's a Jew)) said that they are proud to be Canadians and that's why they never left Canada. Currently they hold green cards, but they have never given up their citizenship and pay taxes to support their country's socialized medicine. Those values that the band adopt, Rand abhors. Her philosophy of a free-market/anti-government mantra is vastly different than three men who would rather support the commons in Canada than give it up for more $$$. I see these agnostic/Jew more Christ-like than most Christian/Jew.

Something we could do that's better than responding. Praying for him. :)

That's a lot of bad stuff to go through no matter who you are. If my daughter and wife both died that close together, I don't know what kind of faith I would have. I like to think I would be strong, but that's easy to say until you experience it first hand.

God bless Rush, and God be with Neil.

I know this is an old thread but I’ve loved Rush since I was young, I’m a bass player and basically became very good by figuring out the bass parts. I’m familiar with every album
and used to think of their lyrics as philosophical. As my age advances and I trudge the road of happy destiny ever closer to the finish line I have given more thought to why we’re here and honestly I reject Peart’s theory of randomness.

I perceive there to be a growing anti-Christian bias in America, I am not a “good” Catholic, haven’t been to mass in a while, but I feel the need to defend people of any faith when they are attacked. It seems to me I hear less people of faith trying to “shove it down my throat” than I do atheists gleefully trying to tell believers about their “imaginary invisibe man”. I think it’s rather sick, I liken it to someone needing anti-anxiety medication and someone else purposely taking it away from them…why? People of the world should be glad that there are faiths and some level of implied morality that comes with the faith, not every nonbeliever is Neil Peart intelligent. Some have no morals or scruples and I am not comfortable with morality being a variable and my kid interacting with other kids who were brought up watching Jerry Springer and Snooki.

I love the music of Rush but the past couple albums I just thought were “shove it down our throat” anti-Religion. I paid 300 dollars to see them in Boston, they played the song Faithless and I dont’ think that’s a song that really resonates with people. My problem with Peart is that he is of the highest order of intelligence and presumes his perceptions are therefore correct. When listening to his songs I don’t get the feeling that he’s saying “here is what I’ve ascertained so far about life”, I perceive that he thinks he’s arrived at some timeless truth that he’s excited to share with everybody because he’s positive he’s onto something. What would make him think that his high intelligence would somehow give his perceptions more gravitas than any other human on earth? All the great philosophers he’s studies share one thing in common, they all thought they knew, the truth is nobody can know for sure.

I’ve tried going to the CNN “belief net”…which I call atheism net, go read a story there and then read the comments. They’re pretty vile.

Anyway, I love Rush and a lot of the older songs they are playing on this tour, but I opted not to go see them in Boston last night because not only do I not like being preached to by the religious, I ESPECIALLY don’t like being preached to by the non-religious. Either way it’s preaching, but for some reason I see the “man is the end all be all” crowd as being particularly condescending and arrogant.

I now say the rosary on the way to work every morning on my long commute, I feel comfort in believing, I beleive the faith has given me tools to be able to cope with life sans alcohol/drugs/sex/gambling/you name it. I feel that children should be given these tools for their toolbox, they may opt out later in life, but at least they have been trained how to pray. Peart seems to think people pray in order to get something or for something good to happen. I think that’s a rather childish view. I pray just to converse with God and for help for other people.

Welcome to CAF! :wave:

I think a lot of Rush’s more recent darker lyrics are the result of Neil’s personal tragedies. I cannot imagine what it would be like to lose your daughter and wife, espeically within the same year.

But yeah, obviously his philosophy and beliefs on certain things don’t mesh with our Catholic beliefs.

Ever since I first heard the song Xanadu back in the late seventies, Rush became my favorite band to listen to. They offered an alternative to the sex, drugs and rock-n-roll lyrics of that era (and yes I know what the message is behind Passage To Bangkok but they are put so beautifully that to the common person they probably pass for a trip to the exotic orient). Neil Peart (The Professor) wrote interesting and wonderful lyrics that were pure poetry. I identified with alot of Rush songs because their theme was about the underdog winning against some oppressor (By-tor and the Snow Dog, 2112, Red Barchetta, Marathon Man, Analog Kid (figure that one out) and there are countless others). Also, I loved the sciences (although some were very complicated for me to understand) and when Rush sang about cygnus x-1 or the space shuttle or storm clouds or the chemistry of human interaction, I just thought it sounded amazing. I couldn’t get enough of their music.
Unfortunately, I have heard of the tragedy in Neil Peart’s life. These are events you pray no one has to go through but many do go through. Let us keep all people who go through such tragedies in our thoughts and prayers. God is the only One who can touch these peoples hearts so that they can be healed finally of the pain and sorrow. And in Neil Peart’s case give him room to heal the tragic loss in his life. He has many people hopefully praying for him (I have done so twice but I need to pray more). He is a great drummer and a great lyricist. God bless Analog Kid.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.