I am a HUGE classic rock fan, and am constantly rocking away on air guitar (which I am actually an expert at) for most of my free time. However, I listen to some bands who I just don’t know what to think.
I have two examples. The first is the well known band AC/DC, which is one of my favorites. They have plenty of songs that convey bad moral values, such as picking up girls and whatnot, but I know where I stand in my faith so I’m not too worried about that. Besides, isn’t that like 90% of classic rock songs? Anyways, AC/DC has a famous song, “Highway to Hell”, that I always rock out to. But is that song, and the band, bad for me as a Catholic to listen to?
The second example is my best friend’s favorite band, Iron Maiden. I like two of their songs, but I find the lyrics from their song “The Number of the Beast” troubling:
“666, the number of the beast! Hell, and fire, are small to say the least!” :eek:
My friend told me that they arent satanic, but i’m not too sure. I personally think that most bands talk about hell and the devil only to look tough and give rockers what they want to see: a person who lives life like there’s no tomorrow and is a troublemaker. I don’t think that Bon Scott (lead singer of AC/DC) would worship the devil and desecrate the Holy Eucharist or anything horrible like that.
Can someone please give me their thoughts on what I should do?
Hi, (again). You’re an inquisitive young Catholic…we love that here! :clapping:
Music is an challenging one to consider as a Catholic. Many of us enjoy the melody, others enjoy the imagery or message in the lyrics, and many enjoy both aspects.
That said, songs that have suggestive lyrics that purport violence, immoral behavior should likely be avoided for now. Many hip-hop songs fall in this category. As you get older you will have the proper catechesis and maturity to enjoy songs that cross this line (just as you can play a video game or watch a movie with similar overtones but not treat its messages as real or consider its religiosity as genuine or acceptable).
That’s not to say to put away everything you have just because it has the word "hell’ in it. But the music and the message are not easily divided, no matter what the Singer Flavor of the Moment might say. Some singers, like Lady Gaga, have music that’s attractive to dance to, but the messages in many of the songs are completely poisonous because they paint religion or faith in the wrong way or personal desires as too positive.
The good news is, if you are smart enough to question whether you should listen or not listen to a particular song, you likely have the smarts you need to make the best decision. But also–listen to mom on this one, too.
Our lot is cast in days of unprecedented spiritual declension when many Catholics have adopted a hand in hand with the world type of religion. Alas, as a consequence of this they no longer retain an eclessial sense (sen**sus fidelium) and therefore are unable to discern that rock and pop music is debased sensory material which can coursen their manners, poison their minds and demoralize their lives, if not immediately then certainly over a period of time after continual exposure. Not surprisingly any opposition or censure of rock or pop music is seen as prissy Puritanism (not that all things Puritan are inherently bad or negative) or is contemptuously dismissed as irrational prejudice and purblind hysterical resistence to a modern art form by some prudish moralists.
Of course I am aware that many of the faithful, especially the neo-Catholic orthodox types, not only see nothing unwholesome with rock and pop, but actually thoroughly enjoy it as equally as any non-Christian. However, no amount of liking something, be it rock music or anything else, gives a man warrant for surrounding himself with philosophies and values that utterly at variance with our most holy Faith. Herein lies the fundamental problem with this deplorable music, for rock and pop music is, sadly, an art form that has been created to express a certain godless philosophy and is so wedded to that philosophy that it conveys that kind of world-view. Undeniably, the philosophy of rock is anti-religion, anti-authoritarian and certainly anti-morality; by its very beat and sound it has always implicitly rejected cultural and sexual restraints. Thus rock and pop music is, per se, communication without words, irrespective of what lyrics/ideology you insert into the music, which decidedly is not neutral or ‘amoral’. The words only inform as to what the music already declares. In other words, the music is its own message and it can completely alter the message of the words, even if it was the words are, for example, The Magnificat or the Lord’s Prayer. This is why so called ‘Christian rock’ is one enormous myth because such a thing does not exist. There are Christians and there is music; there is good music and there is bad music (btw, that statement has nothing to do with taste, style, culture or the age of the performer/listener); there is music that reflects the glory of God and music which simply does not. Music is not somehow sanitised because it is has some sacred words attached to it. Thus debased sensory material will always necessarily convey a debased message and this is the case with rock/pop.
Therefore, rock/pop is totally unacceptable for any Catholic who is in earnest respecting sanctity and separation from the godless world. Those who assimilate the vulgarity that is inherent in rock are unlikely to cultivate a passionate attachement to that which is pure, lovely and virtuous (cf. Phillip. 4: 8). Moreover, listening to rock and pop will only present an unwanted and unecessary distraction to the pursuit of holiness and Christlikeness.
My advice, dear friend, is give this bilge-water a wide-berth, for it will seriously damage your moral health and do absolutely nothing to ennoble and excite that which is virtuous within you. The groups to which you refer are a defintite must to avoid if you truly value your immortal soul. You will be in my prayers today and I trust that there will be a parting of the ways as regards yourself and this unwholesome music. Please discuss this matter with your parish priest.
I will answer your question about the Iron Maiden song specifically because a few years ago the same thing was on my mind. Long story short, I decided to analyze the music I listened to and what it portrayed exactly. The Number of the Beast is a song about someone who has come across some unholy ritual taking place, and in the end he himself gets possessed. It does not promote devil worship or encourage anything of the sort. In fact it would be the complete opposite. As you would well know Iron Maiden are great story-tellers, everything from historical battles, to ancient history, to science-fiction. To the uninitiated, they would think it’s demonic, simply because they do not understand what the band is or what the song is.
I decided to get rid of songs by certain bands like Pantera, I felt their music instilled negativity and hatred in me. I loved their music but it wasn’t right I felt. Songs like “By Demons Be Driven” was clearly very, very negative, instilling despair, so even though “demons” are metaphorical in the song, I believe they promoted Satan unknowingly, even though none of them actually believe in Satan.
You must make an analysis of the music you listen to and see what’s right or wrong based on your understanding, because music is a subjective thing, so don’t let others choose for you, you are a person with a personality. In a puritan’s world, everyone would be listening to Church music only.
Any song which contains content regarding an unholy ritual and demon possession is culturally unwholesome sensory material and I cannot understand how any devout Catholic who was striving to think upon those things that are pure, lovely and virtuous (cf. Phillip 4: 8) would wish to befoul his soul by listening to such an objectionable song, except those who have lost their eclessial sense and powers of discernment.
As I understand it, Bruce Dickinson admitted that during the recording of the album from whence this Number of the Beast track is taken, a succession of things went wrong, including an accident involving producer Martin Birch’s car which produced a repair bill for £666.56. Dickinson admitted, “That was just too close for comfort. He was absolutely terrified and the rest of us were very shaken” (Quoted in Buzz, May 1982). Coincidence perhaps, but we should remember that the Devil and his forces have deeply invaded man’s social and cultural structures and there is no reason to think that music has been omitted.
We are accountable to God for our musical choices and what we allow ourselves to listen to. Good music ennobles and excites that which is virtuous in man, whilst evil music poisons the mind and demoralizes the life and therefore ought to be shunned.
Yes, we are responsible to God for our music choices, we are also responsible to him for fear-mongering, and spreading doom and gloom. Good music is subject to opinion.
As for your little section on Bruce Dickinson, it’s lucky that I happen to know a fair bit about Iron Maiden to say it’s rubbish, and grossly exaggerated. Dickinson said no such thing, and the repair-bill tale was made up too by the magazine to promote publicity, it was all during the time when fear-mongers and the over-zealous were burning records.
Use some reasoning and think about it, if they were that shaken as was claimed would they still be performing the song? What else are you going to copy-paste after doing a brief search on something you have no idea about?
Can you kindly provide us with some reliable source that demonstrates the truth of your claim that that Buzz quotation was a complete fabrication by the magazine and “grossly exaggerated”.
It is perfectly reasonable to assume that once they had recovered from the initial disturbing effects of the occurences, they would have continued to perform the song.
What I also find offensive regarding this group is that they repeatedly use expletives when they are interviewed, or is that simply lies concocted by anti-rock music Christians who are determined to cast aspertions upon the band?
However, the fact remains that a song which treats of unholy ritual and demon possession, is hardly edifying fare for a Christian who is serious concerning the pursuit of holiness and who is striving to reflect on that which is virtuous and pure in very morally depraved world.
Let’s clear a few things up. You obviously aren’t the type that follows metal, or even rock. So as to why you’d be asking me to produce evidence for my “claim” when you’ve used some random thing that’s been spreading like a viral mess on the internet as “truth” is a joke. You might as well have used evidence from a chain-mail and I could have taken you more seriously.
You just took the first thing that caught your eye without investigating whether that claim was true or not, and have the audacity to ask me to prove mine :rolleyes: - in fact, when I first saw it some 10 years ago now, I didn’t even know where it came from until you just quoted it as supposedly “Buzz”, May 1982, and I can’t really find any proper source for your claim either.
Long story short, the onus is on you to be proving things, copy-pasting some text and a supposed source is not an explanation for anything. Where did you find that anyways?
I don’t care about what you find offensive, so there’s no point telling me, plus I think we already know.
The reason that I requested a source for your claim was because you stated that my paragraph respecting Bruce Dickinson and the citation from Buzz was “rubbish” and “grossly exaggerated”. You also said that it “was made up by the magazine to promote publicity”, thus I was merely enquiring as to how and why you were so certain of this.
Buzz magazine was originally formed by those affiliated with the ‘coffee house scene’ of the late 60’s, who saw the rise of popular music as way of expressing their faith. Its readership consisted predominantly of believers in their twenties and it was anything but some conservative reactionary publication written by fuddy-duddies. It continues today as Christianity and is published here in the UK by Christian Communications Partnership. Quite honestly, I think the integrity of the original magazine is beyond question and they would not have resorted to fabrication, or intentionally qouted out of context - their informed trendy young readers would never have allowed them to get away with such lack of probity.
My quotation from Buzz is taken from *Pop Goes the Gospel *(Eds. John Blanchard, Peter Anderson & Derek Cleave, Evangelical Press UK., 1983, p. 47), which is a highly provocative, hard-hitting examination of rock and pop music. The authors reference *Buzz *as the source of their quotation. Incidently, there is no valid reason to impugn the integrity of the editors, as they are all highly respected members of the conservative Evangelical community here in the UK. and would have done their utmost to establish the veracity of their sources.
Since I have now submitted the above information, can you kindly inform us as to your source for the claim that the *Buzz *quotation is a complete fabrication and exaggeration “made up by the magazine to promote publicity”. Without controversy, if you can satisfactorily demonstrate that it is what you claim it to be, then I will gladly eat humble pie and never make use of it again in debates of this kind.
Dear friend, in the final analysis it is not an issue about what you or I find offensive, but rather of what God, who is “of purer eyes than to behold evil” and who “cannot look on wrong” (Habakuk 1: 13), deems to be offensive and evil. Now I would contend that a rock music number that treats of an unholy ritual and demon possession (to say nothing of the music itself) would be offensive and repugnant to our all holy God and it ought to be viewed with similar repellence by any devout Catholic. To retort by saying that that is merely my opinion of what God would think, is to succumb to the vagaries of modern relativism with its qaugmire of competing opinions. Moreover, it also reveals a lamentable loss of the sensus fidelium that enables men to discriminate between what is good and what is unwholesome and what is edifying to what is unedifying.
Every thread on this forum where someone is worried about lyrics to a specific song they’re making one of two mistakes… either misquoting the song (as you are) or taking them completely out of context and twisting the meaning around. My thought… make sure you have the lyrics right before you freak out…
“666 the Number of the Beast
Hell and fire was spawned to be released”
I searched around a bit and couldn’t find one version that had the lyrics you referenced… in fact googling that exact phrase with the punctuation taken out it brought up this thread and several beneath showing the actual lyrics that I noted above. That said sure it is still singing ABOUT Satan… the key thing there is it’s not suggesting that you worship the devil any more than a scary movie about exorcisms or demons does.
To answer your question… what do you think about it when you hear it? Do you listen to it and think “YES I LOVE SATAN!!!”? Doubtful and assuming that to be the case I wouldn’t worry about it
I think all this concern about music has to be scrupulosity. I mean, they are just words!!! And those are bands that put on an ACT, like Ozzy Osborne, it’s just an ACT. The people who believe all that stuff are pathetic. It’s just music, not Satan.
I had no idea people were so concerned about this stuff.
Thread delivers, this is what I suspected. After I did some searching online, I figured the only way you got this kind of information was from some kind of source that spends their time nit-picking, and I was right. I wouldn’t be surprised if they made it up, or exaggerated it and added their own words to it.
What could clearly be more objective than a completely biased, religious source dedicating their time to highlighting the evils of rock? :rolleyes:
I think you’ve indulged yourself to such a high-level of scrupulosity that you can no longer see the obvious right in front of you and have trouble discerning the distinction between pure bias and objective.
I reject your claim completely on the basis that it is biased (by your own presentation of the source). I have no reason to give a counter-claim, until a more neutral source of that claim is presented. If you have trouble coming to grips with this basic idea, I suggest you contact a priest on this board and ask him to give you a crash course on basic philosophy.
That’s all I will have to say about this, good day.
I actually opened another thread that touches this. There’s virtually no such thing as ‘good’ or ‘evil’ music. The lyrics might be like that but words can be ambiguous in their own right. If we’re talking purely on sound though, there is no objective/absolute standard for what is a ‘good’ or ‘evil’ sound.
You can argue that some songs are inappropriate in some situations. However, such propriety does not necessarily equal or dictate moral value.
Take this from a guy who listens to songs he doesn’t even understand.
Cordial greetings and a very good day. Thanyou for the above.
Surely, dear friend, you yourself are indulging in a little subjectivity when you assert that my source spends its time “nit-picking” and that you suspect them of inventing things and gross overstatement etc. Then you proceed to contemptuously dismiss it as a “biased religious source”. What evidence can you adduce to support these unfounded claims, apart form your own very biased opinion? Indeed, the editors are “highlighting the evils of rock” and presenting a devastating exposure of this deplorable art form, and that was never going to prove a popular assignment. However, it was long overdue and I doff my hat them for having the courage to grapple with this very thorny issue within the contemporary Church. Personally I think their book, which is aimed at the popular market, is both riveting and illuminating and achieves exactly what it set out to do, notwithstanding some defects and blemishes. However, to traduce the authors because they do not hold to your position as regards rock/pop music, is totally uncalled for and uncharitable.
Regarding the issue of scrupulosity, or what used to be termed years ago being ‘righteous overmuch’, this I will concede can be a problem, especially if it develops into some sort of complusive disorder. However, that does not mean that there can never be a *healthy *scrupulosity or, if you please, a godly vigilance against anything which may present a threat to our spiritual life and the pursuit of holiness. That surely is plain common sense in a fallen world like ours where the Devil roams about seeking whom he may devour, especially the faithful.
Over-scrupulosity is very subjective thing because it revolves around what individual Christians deem to be unacceptable and what are considered to be forbidden pursuits and pleasures. Thus, for example, and individidual like myself who vehemently denounces rock and pop music would only be accused of over-scrupulosity by those who for polemical reasons profoundly disagree with, in their opinion, such, erroneous and ‘prissy’ standpoint. This proves very little and is actually what one would expect. Indeed, I would say, and do say, that those who rationalize debased sensory material are lax and are not living up to the arduous demands of a religious life, but then, men would expect me to make such a statement, given my passionate opposition to rock/pop music. Invariably the over-scrupulosity card is played by those who want nothing more than a stick to figuratively thrash their opponent and discredit them. Therefore, I do not think there is any milage in branding a man for alleged over-scrupulosity, since it all boils down to subjective and, not infrequently, biased opinion.
Having said that, dear friend, it admits of no doubt that if one is not on ones guard against evil and evil influences, then one is that more likely to be influenced by evil - that is not being over-scrupulous, merely being vigilant:
Help me to guard my precious soul
By active constant self-control.
Cleanse my thought, my speech, my play.
O Lord, keep me pure from day to day.
Thus, I think that most devout men would be agreed that we must needs have a healthy sense of scrupulosity, for we certianly need to remain vigilant and not grow lax.
This will be final posting for the time being as it is my custom to take a breather from the boards at weekends. Sorry that we have not seen eye to eye over this issue and just to assure you that I do not bear you, or any other poster with who I disagree, any ill-will.
Have a jolly splendid weekend, whatever you plan to do. Goodbye for now, dear friend.