Listening to the Beatles

I love the Beatles, but it seems that almost every one of their songs condones sin in some way or another. So many of their songs have at least one line that either explicitly condones or could be interpreted as condoning sinful behavior or denial of church teaching. At what point does it become sinful to listen to a song with such lyrics? Does it just take one lyric to be sinful to listen to, or is it permissible to a degree? By what standards are we to judge?

Good question. I wonder the same about sit-coms on tv…

What song are we talking about? Almost all songs and sitcoms have something questionable in the material. I watched an episode of Bernie Mac yesterday and he excaimed something to his wife about using birth control pills. Other than that the episode was hilarious. For me the entertainment that teaches a lesson and doesn’t have a lot of questionable moral material can be good for liesure time but to get away from it all is hard. Church music praising God is the best music but we can still get enjoyment from secular entertainment as well. The stuff that gors overboard I would say no to. Recently I heard an r and b song promoting same sex attraction.

In questions like these, I would say that sinning depends in large part upon a person’s intention.

If it’s your intention to listen/support by listening to something because it’s anti-Catholic or for the mere sake of being against Church teaching, then I’d say the conversation just got more interesting.

But I don’t see anything to suggest that would be a sin. :shrug:

The danger here is that one becomes too scrupulous and is too afraid to do anything for fear of sinning, which can frustrate a person and that in and of itself may lead to much greater sins than what a Beatles song would inspire.

Really? As you have publicly made this claim, could you please post the sinful lines in the Beatles 20 Greatest Hits?

[LIST=1]
*]“She Loves You”
*] “Love Me Do”
*] “I Want to Hold Your Hand”
*] “Can’t Buy Me Love”
*] “A Hard Day’s Night”
*] “I Feel Fine”
*] “Eight Days a Week”
*] “Ticket to Ride”
*] “Help!”
*] “Yesterday”
*] “We Can Work It Out”
*] “Paperback Writer”
*] “Penny Lane”
*] “All You Need Is Love”
*] “Hello, Goodbye”
*] “Hey Jude”
*] “Get Back”
*] “Come Together”
*] “Let It Be”
*] “The Long and Winding Road”
[/LIST]

Thank you in advance!

I’m no expert on the Beatles, but I can’t think of a reason why any of those songs would be questionable. I guess if you obsessed about it, nitpicked it to death and tried to stretch your imagination you might find something but it seems pretty tough.

If your conscience is telling you that something is wrong, then I think it is best to follow your conscience. The Old Law is a light for us, it shows us how to do what is good and avoid that which is evil; by Grace we live under the Law of the Gospel, the Law of Charity and within this there is freedom…not all things are spelled out “this is right” or “this is wrong” but if something seems wrong or condones what is wrong then it is better not to ignore your reservations about the thing.

There’s nothing wrong with an appreciation of The Beatles and the majority of people who listen to them desire nothing more than entertainment etc. Songs like “I Want to Hold Your Hand” are innocuous enough but the danger lies in a cult-like devotion to the band or the music (this can apply to many things). A person of a certain mind may, in time, go from singing along and digging the music to searching out the “hidden meaning” of things and delving into all kinds of esoteric nonsense i.e. “why is Aleister Crowley on the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s?” or Paul is dead, see this? hear this? Before long Abbey Road is a funeral procession and your juxtaposing Wings album covers over scenes from The Magical Mystery Tour and on and on and on…This may seem like an extreme devotion but I’ve seen it happen. Just remember we’re all commanded to guard our hearts and minds and in the end is something doesn’t glorify God then what exactly is it doing, what is it intended to do?

The thing is, you are feeding your mind (and, your soul and spirit), by what you intake (listen to, read, watch, study, etc.). What happens is, those lyrics will stay in your memory, and they can, subconsciously, influence your behaviors and actions. We are formed by what we take in to ourselves. Some music can be troubling, or even disturbing.

People who choose freedom, as their way of living, take Christ (forgiveness) as a form of permission. People want the freedom, to live, according to their own personal will (“choices”), and they want that to be okay (without consequence, but nobody escapes *natural *consequence).

I Want To Hold Your Hand is very non-offensive in my opinion. I mean compared to today’s standards, a song about wanting to hold a girl’s hand is extremely old-fashioned and safe.

Compared to the rap / metal / hip-hop / and other “pop music” of the last 20 or so years, the Beatles’ stuff is practically pure as the driven snow.

We are called to be in the world but not of the world. It would be very hard to avoid all occasions of sin on the TV, radio, internet etc. You will be subjected to sinful influences everyday in this world. My advice would be to avoid what you can but turn a deaf ear to most of it. Listen to the Beatles and learn to ignore the sinful elements.

I can name three: “Happiness is a Warm Gun” (um, hello? does it get any more suggestive than that?), “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away,” and “Helter Skelter.”

I think it’s important to remember that the 1964 Beatles of “The Ed Sullivan Show” - the supposedly “innocent” Beatles - only existed for a few years before they got huge.

Yes, if you take the lyrics literally to mean someone’s hand…I’m not so sure that that’s they were singing about. Isn’t that the one of the songs that got the gay treatment on “Glee” not too long ago?

But why do you have to read anything else into it? Who cares whether or not they had some other thing in mind when they wrote those particular words, those words, “I want to hold you hand” are innocent words, set them to music as the beatles did and it is innocent and enjoyable. If people have dirty minds and want to read other things into it so what? If we set our standards of what is acceptable to listen to based on how they could be taken by people with dirty minds we could never interact with others in society, lots of normal everyday conversation is twisted that way, which is the entire point of the whole “thats what she said” gag. Its a great song with innocent and heathy lyrics. :shrug:

The claim was that almost every one of their songs condones sin, not that some of their songs do.

With all due respect, song lyrics are rarely, if ever, about what they’re singing about. Much like how movies of the Golden Age had to fill the dialogue with double entendres (Mae West, anyone?), so, too, did most music of the same era have to do the same thing to get played on the radio - since this was the era before Spotify and YouTube. So you’re saying grown men who were smoking dope were singing about holding a girl’s hand? And that “All You Need Is Love” is actually about licit and orthodox love? And “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” is actually about a girl named Lucy? I think the one Beatles song I really like, because there’s nothing suggestive about it and it has truer lyrics than “Yesterday,” is “Eleanor Rigby.” Why can’t they have more songs like “Eleanor Rigby”?

Not to go through every one, but, just as an example, “Come Together” starts out with a bunch of insults and “All You Need Is Love” excludes the need for God. I’m wary to post too much into the details so as not to cause scandal. There’s questionable elements that are not clearly evident in the lyrics, but are subtle references and intentions the songwriters had. I agree, many of these songs have nothing wrong with them, and I listen to them without any hesitation.

I thought we were discussing the actual lyrics, not our most uncharitable, ungrounded personal interpretations of those lyrics.

If that’s the case, then maybe “Amazing Grace” is about a woman named Grace who rocked John Newton’s world in bed. Do you see how absurd this can get?

Each verse refers to one of the band-members. It’s not sinful to poke a little fun at yourself. :slight_smile:

“All You Need Is Love” excludes the need for God.

God is Love :slight_smile:

When you perceive an occasion of sin, you should cut it off and discard it.

Matthew 18:9 And if thy eye scandalize thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee. It is better for thee having one eye to enter into life, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

:hmmm: and all this time, I thought it was a prophetic song about recording “Real Love”.

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