Liking a band who is openly atheist...is this wrong?

This type of thread has likely been done before but here goes...

One of my favorite bands is the Canadian group Rush. Most of their songs are incredibly intelligent, covering themes including the Holocaust, life in the suburbs, the emptiness of fame and many other subjects.

But there's three songs in their (rather extensive) catalogue which worry me, but in particular one called Faithless which holds atheism, or at least unbelief, to be the best form of any religious belief and that traditional religion is to be mistrusted.

Given that the rest of their back catalogue contains little to no objectionable content, and even contains some very admirable messages, should I avoid these objectionable songs? Or should I avoid the band's music as a whole?

i would avoid the band in whole or at least the songs that talk about atheism you don’t want your head filled with disbelief God bless

I personalty believe you should stay away from the songs or material that could damage your faith, but I don't believe that those few "bad" songs render it immoral to listen to the ones that do not contain immoral messages. However if you buy their music, you will be giving them money to help spread their message so that might be problematic. Some things to think about. :confused:

[quote="NickVA, post:3, topic:254710"]
I personalty believe you should stay away from the songs or material that could damage your faith, but I don't believe that those few "bad" songs render it immoral to listen to the ones that do not contain immoral messages. However if you buy their music, you will be giving them money to help spread their message so that might be problematic. Some things to think about. :confused:

[/quote]

Bands like Rush aren't actually TRYING to push an anti-religious message at all, in comparison with something like metal music where Satanic and anti-religious themes are pretty much actively promoted.
These three songs are fairly minor songs in a band who has done some 300 or so songs and from what I can tell, they're more personal testimonies of the band's own beliefs rather than any sort of evangelistic atheism.

I think that people asked similar questions about listening to John Lennon due to his song "Imagine." I have yet to hear of any kind of boycott concerning his other works, however.

One of my favorite bands has always been XTC, best known (regrettably) for the pro-atheist anthem "Dear God" (no relation to the pro-Christian "Dear God" by Midge Ure, later used in the movie of the same name), which was a b-side that was never even supposed to be released. This is the same XTC that has done a few Christmas songs - so, obviously, I don't think 'fair weather' atheists are really atheists at all.

I would bet money Rush will some day do a Christmas song. It has become the norm for nearly all recording artists (even Jewish artists), so again....'fair weather' atheists in music really aren't bona fide atheist.

[quote="SonCatcher, post:5, topic:254710"]
I think that people asked similar questions about listening to John Lennon due to his song "Imagine." I have yet to hear of any kind of boycott concerning his other works, however.

[/quote]

Not even his song with the n-word in the title? Wasn't that song banned?

[quote="Kouyate42, post:1, topic:254710"]
This type of thread has likely been done before but here goes...

One of my favorite bands is the Canadian group Rush. Most of their songs are incredibly intelligent, covering themes including the Holocaust, life in the suburbs, the emptiness of fame and many other subjects.

But there's three songs in their (rather extensive) catalogue which worry me, but in particular one called Faithless which holds atheism, or at least unbelief, to be the best form of any religious belief and that traditional religion is to be mistrusted.

Given that the rest of their back catalogue contains little to no objectionable content, and even contains some very admirable messages, should I avoid these objectionable songs? Or should I avoid the band's music as a whole?

[/quote]

I'd avoid the song (or songs) that troubles you and continue to enjoy the band. It would be different if the band's catalog of music as a whole was promoting an anti-Christian message, but I wouldn't throw out the baby with the bath water as they say.

Even Sinatra sang about cocaine in one of his songs, but I don't think he was pushing drugs as a whole.

[quote="PatriceA, post:8, topic:254710"]
I'd avoid the song (or songs) that troubles you and continue to enjoy the band. It would be different if the band's catalog of music as a whole was promoting an anti-Christian message, but I wouldn't throw out the baby with the bath water as they say.

Even Sinatra sang about cocaine in one of his songs, but I don't think he was pushing drugs as a whole.

[/quote]

Might the Sinatra song you speak of be "I Get a Kick Out of You"? I LOVE that song...but then again, I love Sinatra in general anyway.

In answer to the OP, I think that it's a bit silly to avoid things that disagree with your religious beliefs simply *because *they disagree. My opinion is that faith and belief ought to constantly be tested and reaffirmed, and there's not much chance of doing that if you avoid everything that disagrees with it. It's kind of like exercising, I think, and it's why I try to read things from the atheistic viewpoint, the Protestant viewpoint, etc. I like to be able to know that I have heard such-and-such argument, and that what I believe in, namely the Catholic faith, has stood the test of that argument and came out intact. Unless your faith is shaky, then I don't see why it would be such a horrid thing to listen to those songs - provided you can identify why the things they say are wrong. And I believe (this is a little meandering thought of mine here) there is a logical fallacy - the fallacy of composition - that says that something that is part of a whole represents the whole. So the fallacy here is that because one song by a band is objectionable, the whole body of work by the band is objectionable - something which is manifestly ridiculous. At least, in my opinion.

In my view, when it comes to music that contains objectionable material, I usually don't mind it all that much. Sinatra, for example, sometimes sings about sex and stuff like that, but wrapped up in entendres and innuendo - nothing overt, really. What I care about the most when it comes to music is the sound and the style - I usually ignore the words completely (unless it's Sinatra, Sammy Davis, or Dean Martin, because I love singing along to them) and focus on the sounds. The only artist whose lyrics I pay real attention to is the composer Frank Martin, because his works - such as Golgotha and In terra pax - draw from Scripture and the writings of St. Augustine, and they are incredibly meaningful and inspiring.

Anyway, those are my admittedly wandering thoughts on the matter. God Bless!

Just don't listen to the anti religious songs and don't promote them by buying their material.

I wouldn't categorize Rush as an atheist band.

Neil Peart (Rush's primary lyricist) lost both his wife and his daughter in the same year (the latter to a car accident and the former to cancer). I grant him a little leeway in writing a few darker songs in the wake of that profoundly painful and tragic experience. It isn't reason enough to write off their entire discography (though you can certainly skip past those songs if they make you uncomfortable).

[quote="Lord_Timmsey, post:9, topic:254710"]
Might the Sinatra song you speak of be "I Get a Kick Out of You"? I LOVE that song...but then again, I love Sinatra in general anyway.

In answer to the OP, I think that it's a bit silly to avoid things that disagree with your religious beliefs simply *because *they disagree. My opinion is that faith and belief ought to constantly be tested and reaffirmed, and there's not much chance of doing that if you avoid everything that disagrees with it. It's kind of like exercising, I think, and it's why I try to read things from the atheistic viewpoint, the Protestant viewpoint, etc. I like to be able to know that I have heard such-and-such argument, and that what I believe in, namely the Catholic faith, has stood the test of that argument and came out intact. Unless your faith is shaky, then I don't see why it would be such a horrid thing to listen to those songs - provided you can identify why the things they say are wrong. And I believe (this is a little meandering thought of mine here) there is a logical fallacy - the fallacy of composition - that says that something that is part of a whole represents the whole. So the fallacy here is that because one song by a band is objectionable, the whole body of work by the band is objectionable - something which is manifestly ridiculous. At least, in my opinion.

[/quote]

This is a good point, and indeed I often find the viewpoints of others interesting, even where I may not personally follow that particular way of thinking, or agree with that specific opinion.

My own thinking, and this is not just a get-out to keep on listening to my favorite band, is that if you wrap yourself into a little Christianized bubble, you end up completely losing sight of the real issues in life. I know people who indeed only watch/listen to Christian music, TV and films, and they seem to me wrapped up in their beliefs and don't have a realistic view on the world.

In my view, when it comes to music that contains objectionable material, I usually don't mind it all that much. Sinatra, for example, sometimes sings about sex and stuff like that, but wrapped up in entendres and innuendo - nothing overt, really. What I care about the most when it comes to music is the sound and the style - I usually ignore the words completely (unless it's Sinatra, Sammy Davis, or Dean Martin, because I love singing along to them) and focus on the sounds. The only artist whose lyrics I pay real attention to is the composer Frank Martin, because his works - such as Golgotha and In terra pax - draw from Scripture and the writings of St. Augustine, and they are incredibly meaningful and inspiring.

Anyway, those are my admittedly wandering thoughts on the matter. God Bless!

:thumbsup:

[quote="jsaldar, post:10, topic:254710"]
Just don't listen to the anti religious songs and don't promote them by buying their material.

[/quote]

Too late.

[quote="Joe_5859, post:11, topic:254710"]
I wouldn't categorize Rush as an atheist band.

Neil Peart (Rush's primary lyricist) lost both his wife and his daughter in the same year (the latter to a car accident and the former to cancer). I grant him a little leeway in writing a few darker songs in the wake of that profoundly painful and tragic experience. It isn't reason enough to write off their entire discography (though you can certainly skip past those songs if they make you uncomfortable).

[/quote]

It's understandable in that kind of situation.

As to their religious beliefs, I can only guess from the scant hints I've seen in interviews and the song lyrics. They've never been one to advertise their religious or political beliefs. Although songs like Freewill are good indicators to my mind that they are in fact atheists or at least don't subscribe to any traditional belief.

There are certain things I won't listen to, like satan worshiping music (My love is for heavy metal, but there are several bands I won't support).

Having said that, music isn't a "all or nothing" sort of thing. Listen to what you want, and I guess you can judge for yourself about how moral it is by what you conscience tells you.

Rush is a great band, I believe most people are smart enough to to listen to what they want without being led astray by some bands lyrics.

[quote="SonCatcher, post:5, topic:254710"]
I think that people asked similar questions about listening to John Lennon due to his song "Imagine." I have yet to hear of any kind of boycott concerning his other works, however.

[/quote]

I honestly have a much harder time listening to "The Ballad of John and Yoko".

[quote="Kouyate42, post:12, topic:254710"]
As to their religious beliefs, I can only guess from the scant hints I've seen in interviews and the song lyrics. They've never been one to advertise their religious or political beliefs. Although songs like Freewill are good indicators to my mind that they are in fact atheists or at least don't subscribe to any traditional belief.

[/quote]

I would actually say the opposite. I've always thought that Freewill was pretty compatible with the Catholic worldview. We do have free will. I see the song more as a commentary against fatalism that against belief in God. But then maybe I'm just not that good at interpreting lyrics. :o

My favorite Rush song will always be "The Trees", though. Great commentary on the silliness of "us vs. them" dichotomies.

Not that the band members couldn't possibly be atheists. I wouldn't really be surprised. But then I also like Nevermore. That's an atheistic band. :p

I like Lord Timmsey's point about getting other viewpoints. I always think of (some) metal lyrics as offering insight into the human condition from a secular humanist point of view. I don't tolerate the blasphemy. But neo-paganism or atheism or even an honest critique of Christianity doesn't really bother me. If anything, it bolsters my faith as I recognize what is lacking in those worldviews.

I am a Rush fan, and also a musician. That's actually helpful, because I only know songs by their melodies. I never have a clue what anyone is singing about, because I don't listen to lyrics.

I'm a huuuuuge, long time Rush fan.

Make no mistake, Ged & Alex & Neil are atheists. Ged & Alex have said so but it never, ever comes up for them unless someone asks them about it.

Neil, on the other hand, is very open about is atheism. Especially in his book writings and blogging...he never fails to bash religion when he has a chance and he even said in a recent interview that he considered it "an assault" when he saw a truck driver had an advertisement for Jesus. So Neil has gone a bit overboard which is a shame for such an intelligent, well read man.

But, thankfully, that atheism rarely comes through even after 30 years of writing songs. Only a handful of tunes: Freewill, Ghost of a Chance, BU2B, Faithless are openly anti-faith of any kind. If you didn't know the bio's of the members you probably wouldn't notice their views on religion at all. They are a refreshing change to rock because of their stellar musicianship and lyrical content that is miles above "sex, drugs & rocknroll".

I saw them a few months ago in Louisville. To be nearly 60, those 3 guys put on a phenomenal show for 3 hours.

Like Elixer, I am a long-time Rush fan also. Both my father and I have been for ages (he is a devout Catholic too)

I never heard that Alex and Geddy are atheist, but that is not to say they are, just never heard them admit that. I know Elixer did make a point about Neil being very open about his agnosticism/atheism, especially in later times. It shines especially throughout the past two albums such as Clockwork Angels and Snakes and Arrows. We bought every single album, but Clockwork Angels was the FIRST Rush album we did not buy ever. The songs are getting darker and more depressing. Neil’s agnosticism really has gotten to me and put a sour taste in my mouth.

Since Neil is the main lyricist for the band, you can almost see his spiritual journey and wandering, lost path he has taken over the past 30+ years. It ranges in some songs to pagan mysticism, to search for God and his Creation, to now with denial and doubt.

I have also read Ghost Rider, Neils book about how he motorcycled the circumference of North and South America after the death of both his only daughter, his wife, and even his dog in rapid succession. It has been a few years since I have read it, but throughout the book he is searching for God.
He comes so close sometimes! Like when he would stop in Catholic churches in Mexico to sit in adoration (even though he did not know that what he was doing), and he would comment on what a “beautiful peace” he would find just sitting in the pews in front of the tabernacle
Yet, he is so far away! Along with him indirectly questioning God about why all this sufferening and loss. Near the end of the book he actually consults a Tarot card reader.

All in all, I still listen to Rush, but gravitate to the albums such as Permanent Waves, Power Windows, Grace Under Pressure, Hold Your Fire, etc; which I believe are some of the most positive and inspirational of them all.

Just for clarification, Clockwork Angels hasn’t been released yet…just two singles. The boys are still working on finishing the album.

BU2B, one of those singles, is anti-faith to be sure.

Permanent Waves; great album. Different Strings and Entre Nous are two of their most underrated but wonderful songs about relationships.

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