Is it a sin to listen to Beethoven?


I’ve read that Beethoven was influenced by the historical Bavarian Illuminati, and that his musical talent may have been “developed” by an intensely abusive alcoholic father. These facts cast something of a shadow over his music.

Knowing this, is it a sin to listen to his music?


I would say no.


If it is, then “Joyful, Joyful We Adore You” needs to be ripped out of hymnals all over the country, and beyond …


I don’t understand. Do you mean that if a composer has been abused as a child, it would be sinful to listen to his music? Why would it?

If you don’t mean that, why did you mention it?



Given that much of today’s music is purely Satanic (death metal, gangsta rap, anti-woman hip-hop), I’d say that Beethoven was a much better alternative.


The Illuminati being one thing, why would it be a sin to listen to music by someone who had an abusive father?


No, it’s not a sin. Listening to music may not necessarily get a person merit for heaven but it also isn’t a sin.


Please, check out these comments of one of the greatest “sinners”, Benedict XVI:


I think it would be okay to enjoy his music.

Now, if the music, itself, were bad, that would be a different story. Enjoy!



sarcasm Yes. You will go straight to Hell if you listen to any one of his songs. [insert ironic sound bite from Beethoven’s Fifth] end sarcasm

Nah, if it really were sinful, then as another poster pointed out, we’d have to remove “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” from hymnals everywhere. Also, if art were tainted and sinful because of the artist’s upbringing, then we’d have to remove a LOT more art.

For instance, while Beethoven only had an alcoholic father, van Gogh was an alcoholic himself. (Not to mention his suicide and the whole ear-cutting-off thing)


Let me know if you find any composer who is not a sinner.


Thanks for those helpful articles!


Pardon, but that is the silliest thing I ever heard. Possibly the greatest composer who ever lived, composer of the greatest music ever written. How could he have been influenced by anyone but God. Be at peace and enjoy what God has wrought by human mind and hands.



No, Beethoven is fine. I was just listening to “Moonlight Sonata” while studying today.

You may want to examine yourself for scrupulosity. Don’t be afraid of anything and everything being a near-occasion of sin. When you start thinking something like this, the devil is trying to scare you and fill you with worry. Don’t fall for it.


No not per se.


Pope Benedict XVI



What I meant was that I read online in a Slate article that Beethoven’s father figuratively (and perhaps literally) beat musical talent into him. If such were to be the case, would that make his music the artistic equivalent of sweatshop labor?


I don’t think it’s possible to beat talent into somebody, and certainly not genius; Beethoven was naturally gifted, and his father’s abuse forced him to perform from a young age. Not that that isn’t also problematic, but who would you be helping by refusing to listen to his music?


I looked at that article, but I’d want to see some footnotes before taking it as gospel. It does not seem particularly unbiased. In any case, AFAICT, Beethoven did most of his composing (at least the composition of most of the works we ever hear) after his father’s death in 1792. So it’s hard to see how listening to his music would have anything to do with sweatshop labor. But regardless of that:

  1. Listening to music composed by someone already dead cannot cause anything that happened in his life.

  2. There is no systematic abuse of children to turn them into composers, so this isn’t supporting an immoral system.

  3. If Beethoven’s father was abusive, buying Beethoven’s compositions cannot provide him with any benefit, as he has been dead for over 200 years.

  4. You can’t beat musical (or any other sort of) talent into someone. Literally or figuratively.

The reason not to buy sweatshop clothing (or whatever) isn’t that the clothing itself is somehow tainted, but because it provides money to the people running the sweatshop. If it weren’t that it helps continue the sweatshop system and rewards people who treat their workers badly, there would be no reason not to buy it. How would it make the sweatshop workers feel better if not only were they forced to work for a tiny wage, but also everything they produced was a waste?

Besides that, if it were sinful to listen to Beethoven’s music, don’t you think someone would have mentioned it before now? I mean, you’d have heard at least a suggestion of it somewhere. There isn’t a stash of secret sins out there waiting to trap the unwary.



Absolutely not!

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