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Atheist Hymns

Related threads:
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Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs? (114)
Can a believer sing Atheist songs? (141)
Godless March on Washington - looking for songs (5) (closed)
Atheist Hymnal (71)
Lyr Add: Godless America (13)
Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief? (108)


carigeen@eircom.net 02 Nov 99 - 08:11 AM
alison 02 Nov 99 - 08:15 AM
alison 02 Nov 99 - 08:26 AM
RWilhelm 02 Nov 99 - 09:20 AM
Chet 02 Nov 99 - 11:02 AM
Liz the Squeak 02 Nov 99 - 11:40 AM
KathWestra 02 Nov 99 - 01:37 PM
Tom on Comfort 02 Nov 99 - 10:26 PM
margaret 03 Nov 99 - 07:11 PM
GUEST,Here's an atheist parody hymn 31 Mar 10 - 06:22 PM
Young Buchan 31 Mar 10 - 06:35 PM
McGrath of Harlow 31 Mar 10 - 07:28 PM
GUEST,Ray 01 Apr 10 - 05:07 AM
Young Buchan 01 Apr 10 - 05:25 AM
theleveller 01 Apr 10 - 06:04 AM
Carol 01 Apr 10 - 06:23 AM
The Borchester Echo 01 Apr 10 - 06:35 AM
IanC 01 Apr 10 - 06:46 AM
Carol 01 Apr 10 - 06:46 AM
Valmai Goodyear 01 Apr 10 - 06:49 AM
greg stephens 01 Apr 10 - 06:53 AM
autoharpbob 01 Apr 10 - 07:36 AM
Young Buchan 01 Apr 10 - 07:49 AM
mikesamwild 01 Apr 10 - 08:00 AM
Bryn Pugh 01 Apr 10 - 08:09 AM
mikesamwild 01 Apr 10 - 08:36 AM
john f weldon 01 Apr 10 - 09:12 AM
Acorn4 01 Apr 10 - 02:41 PM
frogprince 01 Apr 10 - 07:54 PM
Joe_F 01 Apr 10 - 10:07 PM
Wesley S 01 Apr 10 - 10:55 PM
iancarterb 02 Apr 10 - 12:35 AM
Amergin 03 Apr 10 - 05:12 PM
Stringsinger 03 Apr 10 - 06:30 PM
Amergin 03 Apr 10 - 06:59 PM
GUEST,Chris P 04 Apr 10 - 10:11 AM
Amergin 04 Apr 10 - 11:28 AM
john f weldon 04 Apr 10 - 01:08 PM
GUEST,Chris P 04 Apr 10 - 04:20 PM
Chris Partington 04 Apr 10 - 05:12 PM
Joe Offer 04 Apr 10 - 07:19 PM
Joe_F 04 Apr 10 - 09:06 PM
Art Thieme 04 Apr 10 - 09:31 PM
Uncle_DaveO 04 Apr 10 - 09:34 PM
Joe Offer 05 Apr 10 - 02:09 AM
Stringsinger 05 Apr 10 - 12:39 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 05 Apr 10 - 12:44 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Apr 10 - 12:54 PM
Joe_F 05 Apr 10 - 05:53 PM
mikesamwild 07 Apr 10 - 06:37 AM
GUEST,seth in Olympia 07 Apr 10 - 08:22 AM
Stringsinger 07 Apr 10 - 03:45 PM
Paul Burke 07 Apr 10 - 04:13 PM
Stringsinger 07 Apr 10 - 05:54 PM
Desert Dancer 08 Sep 10 - 02:00 PM
dick greenhaus 08 Sep 10 - 02:32 PM
Bill D 08 Sep 10 - 07:58 PM
Kent Davis 09 Sep 10 - 10:19 PM
Joe Offer 10 Sep 10 - 12:00 AM
GUEST,sesquipedalian101 19 Oct 10 - 02:33 PM
Dan Schatz 19 Oct 10 - 02:42 PM
michaelr 29 Dec 10 - 06:50 PM
Desert Dancer 29 Dec 10 - 08:29 PM
michaelr 29 Dec 10 - 10:32 PM
Desert Dancer 10 Apr 11 - 12:21 PM
Stringsinger 10 Apr 11 - 12:35 PM
Stringsinger 10 Apr 11 - 01:03 PM
Joe_F 10 Apr 11 - 05:40 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 10 Apr 11 - 05:54 PM
Vic Smith 11 Apr 11 - 03:39 AM
Stringsinger 11 Apr 11 - 11:25 AM
Artful Codger 11 Apr 11 - 08:32 PM
Desert Dancer 09 May 11 - 03:12 PM
Richard from Liverpool 09 May 11 - 04:11 PM
Joe_F 09 May 11 - 06:30 PM
Desert Dancer 09 May 11 - 06:48 PM
Stringsinger 14 Aug 11 - 10:45 AM
Musket 14 Aug 11 - 10:59 AM
Richard from Liverpool 14 Aug 11 - 11:11 AM
Big Ballad Singer 14 Aug 11 - 12:44 PM
Neil D 19 Nov 15 - 02:03 PM
GUEST 20 Nov 15 - 02:53 AM
Steve Shaw 20 Nov 15 - 04:41 AM
GUEST,Peter from seven stars link 20 Nov 15 - 06:43 AM
Steve Shaw 20 Nov 15 - 07:54 AM
Steve Shaw 20 Nov 15 - 08:41 AM
Mr Happy 20 Nov 15 - 11:55 AM
Paul Burke 20 Nov 15 - 12:24 PM
Steve Shaw 20 Nov 15 - 02:34 PM
GUEST,Desi C 21 Nov 15 - 04:49 AM
Jeri 21 Nov 15 - 10:04 AM
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Jeri 22 Nov 15 - 12:17 AM
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Subject: Atheist Hymms
From: carigeen@eircom.net
Date: 02 Nov 99 - 08:11 AM

Hi all,

I was at a nephew's wedding in New York some time ago. The couple had, very bravely, declared themselves atheists and insisted on a totally non-religious ceremony.

The ceremony seemed to lack something in the musical line though. I tried to come up with some non-theist hymns but memory failed me and all I could recall was the 'Internationale'! As it was a distinctly yuppie occasion that one was better avoided!

Has anyone any brilliant ideas for the next time?

/ Carigeen


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymms
From: alison
Date: 02 Nov 99 - 08:15 AM

The music doesn't have to be atheist...... there are plenty of good love songs out there that can be used that have no religious connoctations.... search the forum for "Irish wedding", "Celtic wedding" type stuff... we've had threads on both... lots of great suggestions...

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymms
From: alison
Date: 02 Nov 99 - 08:26 AM

a filter search for wedding (set date to 1 year).. gets a heap of threads... heres a few to get you started...

Folksongs appropriate for a wedding

a folkie (sort of) wedding

Celtic wedding songs

wedding tunes

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymms
From: RWilhelm
Date: 02 Nov 99 - 09:20 AM

I once wrote an atheist spiritual called "I'm Goin' to a Hole in the Ground." I don't think it would work for a wedding.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymms
From: Chet
Date: 02 Nov 99 - 11:02 AM

I'd love to hear "I'm goin' to a hole in the ground". Please post.

Chet


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymms
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 02 Nov 99 - 11:40 AM

Have a look again at some of those supposedly Christian hymns.... they ain't so Christian as you'd think! Take the Holly and the Ivy, definately a song about tree worship, take out Jesus and insert a different name, you have a hymn to the Goddess. Same with most of the Catholic hymns to Mary, change the name(and that isn't always necessary) you have a hymn to the Goddess. Christians have always been good at taking stuff from other religions and filing the serial numbers off.

If you don't like that sort of thing, then there is a hymn in Songs of Praise (anyone brought up in a Church of England school will be familiar with that one) called 'When a knight won his spurs', it mentions knights, dragons, truth, strength,charger (big war horses), giants, ogres, darkness, castles and adventure. Not a great deal there about any god, only truth, and surely that is all that matters? If you believe that what you believe is the truth, then there is no need for anything else.

And yes, I'm Christian!! (although my priest calls me the token Pagan and my Pagan friends call me the token Christian.....)


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymms
From: KathWestra
Date: 02 Nov 99 - 01:37 PM

There are some very hymnlike songs that don't mention God, Jesus, or any other particular deity. One that comes immediately to mind is "How Can I Keep From Singing", which feels very spiritual to me and offers the great hymn-singing satisfaction of singing with others in lush harmony. I'm sure it's on the DT.
Kath


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymms
From: Tom on Comfort
Date: 02 Nov 99 - 10:26 PM

Kath, "How Can I Keep from Singing" is a great choice. I'd also suggest Si Kahn's "What Will I Leave Behind?" or Utah Phillip's "Hymn" Or "What a Wonderful World" by George Weiss & Bob Thiele, popularized by Louis Armstrong. I bet we come up with a bunch more, too.

(Maybe they're not in-yer-face athiestic, just universal & don't bother with mentioning deities, thankyouverymuch...

Cheers, Tom


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymms
From: margaret
Date: 03 Nov 99 - 07:11 PM

i guess it's more of an agnostic hymn, but iris dement's "let the mystery be" is a great song that proclaims belief in love and living life accordingly, despite not knowing where we'll all end up in the final analysis. i never thought about it for a wedding, but i sure have thought it'd make a great, happy song at a funeral. another great one for a funeral that i'd consider a philosophical rather than theological hymn is gillian welch's "i'm not afraid to die," very serene and beautiful. probably not appropriate for a wedding, though! margaret


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymms
From: GUEST,Here's an atheist parody hymn
Date: 31 Mar 10 - 06:22 PM

Sung to the tune of "I'll fly away" a Christian hymn.

When I die and my life is over I'll rot away.
6 feet down underneath the clover I'll rot away.
I'll rot away how gory,I'll rot away.
When I die I won't go in the sky
I'll just rot away!


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymms
From: Young Buchan
Date: 31 Mar 10 - 06:35 PM

Have a look at http://www.workingclasslit.com/?q=socialist_hymns/book
(sorry, I'm a Blueclicky-atheist!)
It is a page by page scan of the ILP's Labour and Socialist Hymns. A few of them do mention God, but most don't.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymms
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 31 Mar 10 - 07:28 PM

I can't quite see how supposedly pagan hymns could be particularly relevant to atheist celebrations.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: GUEST,Ray
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 05:07 AM

Not so much the hymns themselves but the music. Ralph Vaughan Williams, who wrote numerous hymn tunes was a self professed atheist. Personally, I don't like the term "atheist". I don't play the banjo but banjo players don't have a specific term for me!


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Young Buchan
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 05:25 AM

The correct term for someone who can play the banjo but doesn't is Great Hero and World Benefactor.

As to what constitutes atheism I recall that Dylan Thomas once said of his father that it wasn't so much that he was an atheist as that he didn't like God - when the weather was bad he would shake his fist at the sky and shout 'It's raining again, damn him!"


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: theleveller
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 06:04 AM

'When a knight won his spurs'

When Martin Simpson did his superb version live he used introduce it by saying that he had taken any reference to god out of it because he didn't want to sing about anyone who talked on equal terms with George Bush.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Carol
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 06:23 AM

How about Hard Times by Stephen Foster, only kidding. How can I keep from singing must be 'top of the list', then Blessed Quietness, and Where are we bound by Sy Khan or even Amazing Graced at a push, after all it's all about a lady.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 06:35 AM

Chris Wood: "Come Down Jehovah"


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: IanC
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 06:46 AM

Glad That I Live Am I is totallly non-theist. In "Songs Of Praise".

:-)


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Carol
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 06:46 AM

That was good, perhaps not for a wedding more like for a funeral, anyhow I'm going to learn it.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 06:49 AM

Coope Boyes & Simpson's 'Unison in Harmony'and 'Bringing in the Sheaves'.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: greg stephens
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 06:53 AM

"How Can I kep from Singing" always turns up in these sort of lists as a great non-God spiritual type of song. It should be remembered that was not the intention of its original creator, it was written as a very Christian hymn. Someone very cleverly filletd out the bones of Godliness, and left it very atheist, back in the 60's I think. It was done very well, most of these sort of rewrites are like modern language versions of the bible...rubbish, for the most part. But this has actually improved the song and made it very succesfully universal. That's what I think, anyway.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: autoharpbob
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 07:36 AM

Not Atheist, but I like "Zen Gospel Singing" written by Mark Graham, as sung by Bryan Bowers on "By Heart"

"And now I'm a Buddhist, chant my mantra's each day
But I miss the hymn singing in the good Gospel way"

...... its Zen Gospel singing - just Om, Om sweet Om."


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Subject: ADD: When Wilt Thou Save the People (Elliott)
From: Young Buchan
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 07:49 AM

There's a hymn by Ebenezer Elliott which even as an atheist I rather like since though it mentions God its main line seems to be giving him a good telling off.

WHEN WILT THOU SAVE THE PEOPLE
(Ebenezer Elliott)

When wilt thou save the people
O God of mercy when?
The people, Lord, the people
Not thrones and crowns but men?
God save the people - thine are they,
Let them not pass like weeds away:
Their heritage, a sunless day.
God save the people

Shall crime bring crime forever
Strength aiding still the strong?
Is it thy will, o Father,
That men shall toil for wrong?
'No' say the mountains, 'no' the skies;
Men's clouded sun shall brightly rise
And songs be heard instead of sighs.
God save the people.

Words: Ebenezer Elliott, 1850
Music: Kendal

Meter: 76 76 88 85


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: mikesamwild
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 08:00 AM

As a kid in Manchester in the 40s we went to a Socialist Sunday school and sang songs that were anthemic like England Arise by the writer and activist Edward Carpenter who lived near Sheffield . A green , gay, socialist, feminist before his time. It was one of the tunes at my Dad's and Mum's funerals


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 08:09 AM

If you were to look, you'll find this in any christian hymn book, but I have always thought of it a a paean (sp. ?) of praise to the All Father. There ain't a single reference to jesus, god, or any other bugger. I intend to have this sung,

once I have croaked, at the cremmy :

Be thou my vision, thou, lord of my heart :
Let nowt be all else to me, save that thou art.
Thou, my best thought in the day or the night -
In waking or sleeping, my treasure thou art.

The "middle verses" you can keep for me :

High King of Heaven, with victory won -
Let me reach heaven's gate, heaven's bright sun.
Heart of my own heart whatever befall -
Still be thou my vision, thou, ruler of all.

So mote it be.


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Subject: ADD: England Arise (Edward Carpenter)
From: mikesamwild
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 08:36 AM

ENGLAND ARISE
Edward Carpenter (1844 - 1929)

1. England, arise! The long, long night is over,
Faint in the East behold the dawn appear,
Out of your evil dream of toil and sorrow –
Arise, O England, for the day is here!
From your fields and hills,
Hark! The answer swells –
Arise, O England, for the day is here!

2. People of England! All your valleys call you,
High in the rising sun the lark sings clear,
Will you dream on, let shameful slumber thrall you?
Will you disown your native land so dear?
Shall it die unheard –
That sweet pleading word?
Arise, O England, for the day is here!

3. Over your face a web of lies is woven,
Laws that are falsehoods pin you to the ground,
Labor is mocked, its just reward is stolen,
On its bent back sits Idleness encrowned.
How long, while you sleep,
Your harvest shall it reap?
Arise, O England, for the day is here!

4. Forth, then, ye heroes, patriots and lovers!
Comrades of danger, poverty and scorn!
Mighty in faith of Freedom, thy great Mother!
Giants refreshed in Joy's new rising morn!
Come and swell the song,
Silent now so long;
England is risen, and the day is here!


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: john f weldon
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 09:12 AM

After a bout with pneumonia, I felt the need to write a gospel song. Tough, since I have no beliefs. This is what I came up with.

old rugged hammer


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Acorn4
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 02:41 PM

"Jerusalem" might do as William Blake, who wrote the words, was verging on atheism.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: frogprince
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 07:54 PM

I've never heard David Tamalevich (sp?) say whether this was actually intended as atheistic, but I would say it can be taken that way. On the other hand, while it's certainly anti-fundamentalist, I don't find it really anti-Christian.

Ours is a simple faith
Life is a short embrace
Heaven is in this place
Every day

Hope is the ground we till
Make each day what you will
Thankful for dreams fulfilled
Every day

No room in this heart for fear
No judgement day drawing near
Trust that inner voice you hear
Every day

Life's not a goal or race
Its about heart and faith
And living a life of grace
Every day

Ours is a simple faith
Life is a short embrace
Heaven is in this place
Every day

Hope is the ground we till
Make each day what you will
Thankful for dreams fulfilled
Every day

Trust is an open hand
Making an honest stand
Rooted here in the land
Every day

Living the mystery
Seeking the harmony
Here between you and me
Every day

Ours is a simple faith
Life is a short embrace
Heaven is in this place
Every day

Hope is the ground we till
Make each day what you will
Thankful for dreams fulfilled
Every day

-----------


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Joe_F
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 10:07 PM

No JP has signed a certificate.
No one said blessings or broke a glass.
You clothes are the same as on the day we met,
And there is no rice on the grass.
Don't stare at your plate when the food is all gone --
Put it up to wash with the rest.
Our love will go on, or it won't go on,
If not in the east, the west.

-- Bertolt Brecht, freely translated by me.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Wesley S
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 10:55 PM

Susan Werner has a great recording called "The Gospel Truth". It's gospel for agnostics. Here's a review that will tell you more.


Susan Werner review


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: iancarterb
Date: 02 Apr 10 - 12:35 AM

An acquaintance from Suquamish, WA, a comedian and songwriter named Mike Neun, wrote a splendid agnostic hymn which I NEVER wrote down, and I foolishly gave the CD to a cousin. The chorus is, of course:

I don't know, I don't know,
To tell you the truth, I don't know.

so probably not an ideal wedding song:)
I haven't seen Mike for a few years, but I'll hunt and try to recover this very funny song.
   Carter


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Amergin
Date: 03 Apr 10 - 05:12 PM

We Don't go To God's House Anymore


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Stringsinger
Date: 03 Apr 10 - 06:30 PM

I have to keep reminding people that Atheism is NOT a religion. Hence, any love song works or any song about Peace or human values. There can't be an atheist hymn because it's
oxymoronic. (Please look it up).

Any reference to "heaven" has to be taken in a religious context. The same is true for any mention of god.

Keep it secular and happy!


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Amergin
Date: 03 Apr 10 - 06:59 PM

It may not be a religion...however certain people have taken it to that extreme, and turned atheism into an organised religion....you do realise there are churches where atheists go and congregate, right?


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: GUEST,Chris P
Date: 04 Apr 10 - 10:11 AM

Well that's a new one on me, Amergin. Sounds like a rumour. Of course, in the Middle Ages, people who didn't partake of the dominant religion, or any, were also supposed to get up to their own strange rites, dancing naked in circles in the woods and being pagan and sacrificing babies and stuff. Where is it nowadays and what do we worship when there?


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Amergin
Date: 04 Apr 10 - 11:28 AM

Well you should check out this magical tool called a search engine.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: john f weldon
Date: 04 Apr 10 - 01:08 PM

Maybe he means those godless Unitarians.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: GUEST,Chris P
Date: 04 Apr 10 - 04:20 PM

"Well you should check out this magical tool called a search engine."

Wow! I have seen and I believe! I've never heard of that over this side of the water, it seems such an unlikely concept.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Chris Partington
Date: 04 Apr 10 - 05:12 PM

Actually I take that back, having looked a little closer at what Google really threw up. There seem to be only three separate organisations that are referenced when Googling for "atheist church", out of 3,250,000 hits for atheist + church, i.e. The First Church of Atheism, The Church of Atheism, and The First Atheist Church of True Science, none of which appears to have any solidity beyond an old website and a plea for other people to join them, which hasn't happened, because it's a stupid idea.
Then there are all the other 3,249,997 hits containing the words "atheist" and "church", which consist of the religious complaining about atheists. And commentators and journalists remarking on how absurd atheists are, having churches and all. Which they don't. Even in California.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Apr 10 - 07:19 PM

I've always thought of the Washington Ethical Society as the atheist equivalent of a church. They deal with ethics and ideals and social activism from a non-theistic point of view - and they often have plaid host for musical gatherings of the Folklore Society of Greater Washington (FSGW).

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Joe_F
Date: 04 Apr 10 - 09:06 PM

jfw: Unitarians are not necessarily godless. According to Prof. Whitehead, their creed is that there is *at most* one god.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Art Thieme
Date: 04 Apr 10 - 09:31 PM

There is a song I sang and recorded. Some say it is religious, but to me it is only about inclusiveness. The Master Of The
Sheepfold


It's in the DT and some threads have discussed it.

Chorus is)

Oh, the master guards the sheepfold bin
And he wants to know is my sheep brung in
And he's calling, calling,
Calling softly----softly calling
For them all to come gathering in.

The shepherd in the song has room for all. It is a practical statement of the absolute desirability of including all in the group--no matter what the differences are.

In my life I must constantly deal with so many religious folks who are very certain of their RULES and dogmas---to the extent that they do real harm (I think) to those they shun because of their differences from the big group. At 68, I'd rather look for ways to make it work out--and learn from others.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 04 Apr 10 - 09:34 PM

Seems to me people lose track of what is meant by "hymns", "carols", and "a spiritual".   

Hymns are, by definition, religious songs of praise to some entity, in our culture a god. If it's an atheist occasion, a hymn would be entirely out of place, don't you think?

A carol is a folk or folk-type song (not amounting to a hymn), associated with a particular holiday.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 Apr 10 - 02:09 AM

As a Catholic Christian, I see Jesus Christ as the incarnation of all that is good - peace, generosity, compassion, and hope. Many people don't believe in Jesus Christ or in a God, but if they also believe in peace, generosity, compassion, and hope - aren't we in some ways brothers and sisters in faith?

Does that make sense, a God who is the embodiment of goodness, instead of a God of doctrine and law? And if we don't choose to see goodness as God, can't we share something with those who share our ideals but not necessarily our beliefs? I think that Lift Every Voice and Sing embodies many of our shared ideals - but it gets theistic in the third verse.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Stringsinger
Date: 05 Apr 10 - 12:39 PM

There are no churches where atheists go to congregate. Not true! There are more and more meetup groups for atheists to discuss their world views. You can't make a religion out of atheism no matter how hard you try. It won't work. That's Orwellian.

I think the theistic part of "Lift Every Voice" weakens its message but that's my opinion.
What we can share is the fact that you don't have to believe in a god to be good person with ethical and moral standards. I don't see any god that has been presented as an embodiment of goodness, certainly not from the bible.

That said, I think it's possible for Freethinkers to work with religious people on advancing social issues. I don't think it requires faith to work for peace and justice but that these are ideals worth achieving. It is not valid to think of atheists or freethinkers to be "brothers in faith". But we can work together to achieve a better world.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 05 Apr 10 - 12:44 PM

It would seem to be as difficult to find representative music for pantheism, atheism's polar opposite. I surely haven't encountered any. It is probably time for a composer to step forward.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Apr 10 - 12:54 PM

...There ain't a single reference to jesus..

There is, and you quote it, Bryn: "High King of Heaven, with victory won


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Joe_F
Date: 05 Apr 10 - 05:53 PM

Buddhism and Confucianism usually count as religions, but have no gods.

If I were a Supreme Court justice (God forbid), I would opine that the various schools of psychiatry are religions within the meaning of the First Amendment, and that the government has no right to persecute or establish any of them.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: mikesamwild
Date: 07 Apr 10 - 06:37 AM

Is Lord of the Dance religious. I mean the song not Michael Flatley's thing. Didn't Lord Shiva dance ?

The tune is Simple Gifts I think from the Shakers, but I don't know what Sydney carter believed , wan't he a Marxist?


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: GUEST,seth in Olympia
Date: 07 Apr 10 - 08:22 AM

I grew up on Cleveland locally produced gospel on the radio.Even though my family was white and catholic, the RC stuff didn't come close to Clara Ward and Marion Williams. Later(much later) I joined a Unitarian Church, but part of what I wanted from a church experience was some music that moved me and the U.U.'s have the right string but the wrong yo-yo in that area. Sometimes I go to black churches for the music. I've decided that I'm a believer until the song is over and then I'm an atheist...


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Stringsinger
Date: 07 Apr 10 - 03:45 PM

Psychiatry as a religion? I don't think so. The view of it being a recent science is valid but a religion would require articles of faith which is not represented in psychiatric scientific circles. That argument would assume that Evolution was a religion and not a scientific fact.

Buddhism and Confucianism are religions, no gods notwithstanding. They are a systemized view of philosophy that is not scientifically based. They are systems of "faith". Psychiatry or psychology is not predicated on a systemic faith. They are "established" in the scientific community and the government today would be advised to adhere to mental health that is prescribed by this new science.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Paul Burke
Date: 07 Apr 10 - 04:13 PM

Buddhism is philosophy, if that's how you take it. It's religion of the most bell ringing, incense burning, heretic killing type too, if that's how you take it. Most Western Buddhists are of the former type, but it seems that in its homeland, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Burma, the latter type predominates overwhelmingly.

I wrote an atheist Christmas carol a few years ago; it wasn't very good.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Stringsinger
Date: 07 Apr 10 - 05:54 PM

Paul, I like it! The King as Warlord says it all. It's not OTT for me.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 08 Sep 10 - 02:00 PM

It's clear that Steve Martin did not do his Mudcat research, as he should have:

Steve Martin, at Merlefest 2010

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 08 Sep 10 - 02:32 PM

Joe-
It used to be said that Ethical Culture was a church for Jewish atheists; Unitarianism was one for Christian atheists.

There's always
"Confusing Grace, so rich, so rare
Each Day we live, we learn.
And daily offer up our prayer
To Whom it May Concern."


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Bill D
Date: 08 Sep 10 - 07:58 PM

There used to be a tongue-in-cheek list of "Unitarian hymns", such as "We Would Rather Not Be Moved" (from Utah Phillips, I think)


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Kent Davis
Date: 09 Sep 10 - 10:19 PM

Amazing Chance

Amazing chance, how sweet the sound,
That evolved a being like me!
I know you're lost,
Though you think you're found.
You're blind, but I can see!

'Twas chance that taught your heart to fear,
But chance my fears relieved.
How precious did that chance appear,
The hour I disbelieved.

Kent, who is puzzled to find himself contributing to the atheist hymnal


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Subject: ADD: Atheists Don't Have No Songs
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 Sep 10 - 12:00 AM

That Steve Martin song is a kick, Becky. Lyrics (and another video) are available at a Website called Inner Light, Radiant Life.

ATHEISTS DON'T HAVE NO SONGS
(as performed by Steve Martin - songwriter known)

Christians have their hymns in pages.
Hava Nagila's for the Jews.
Baptists have the Rock of Ages.
Atheists just sing the Blues.

Romantics play Claire de Lune.
Born-agains sing He is Risen.
But no one ever wrote a tune
for godless Existentialism.

For Atheists there's no Good News;
They'll never sing a song of Faith.
In their songs they have a rule:
the "he" is always lower case.

Some folks sing a Bach cantata.
Lutherans get Christmas trees.
Atheist songs add up to nada.
But they do have Sundays free.

Pentecostals sing, sing to heaven.
Coptics have the book of scrolls.
Numerologists count to seven.
Atheists have rock and roll.

For Atheists there's no Good News;
They'll never sing a song of Faith.
In their songs they have a rule:
the "he" is always lower case.

Atheists don't have no songs.

Christians have their hymns in pages.
Hava Nagila's for the Jews.
Baptists have the Rock of Ages.
Atheists just sing the Blues.

Catholics dress up for mass
and listen to Gregorian chants.
Atheists just take a pass,
watch football in their underpants.

Atheists don't have no songs.


I dunno about your theory, Dick. I know a lot of Jewish Unitarians - lots of Catholic ones, too. I suppose you're right that the mix is higher on Jews in the ethical societies.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: GUEST,sesquipedalian101
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 02:33 PM

How about "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning" (for, obviously, a pre-noon wedding)?


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Dan Schatz
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 02:42 PM

My new CD and book, The Song and the Sigh, contains 17 songs of hope, meaning and community - songs that I consider "spiritual" - and never mentions the word God. Same with the reflections in the hardcover book that comes with it. I have long held that the question of a deity's existence is secondary to the questions of how we live as human beings.

Some of the songs, like "Daylight Song," really do fit the hymn genre.

Dan


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Subject: The Atheist's Hymnal
From: michaelr
Date: 29 Dec 10 - 06:50 PM

Steve Martin and band


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Subject: RE: The Atheist's Hymnal
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 29 Dec 10 - 08:29 PM

previously posted here a couple of times... Atheist Hymns, and here. Still funny, though.

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: The Atheist's Hymnal
From: michaelr
Date: 29 Dec 10 - 10:32 PM

Sorry - new to me.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 10 Apr 11 - 12:21 PM

Another Godless 'hymns' or Atheism Church Music? thread, chronologically sandwiched by this one.

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Stringsinger
Date: 10 Apr 11 - 12:35 PM

Atheist hymns are oxymoronic.

There are many love songs that express honest passion and commitment that can be used in lieu of religious platitudinous hymns.

I think that hymns can be taken as musical expressions in and of themselves without having to refer to deities, rituals, and all the religious trappings that go with them. Many of them are beautiful and my preference is for the African-American ones.

I think that the notion of interjecting religious aspects into a wedding service is really a red-herring and are really irrelevant to the ceremony. If a hymn fits, why not use it for its appropriateness to the vows of the couple being married? If not, who needs it.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Stringsinger
Date: 10 Apr 11 - 01:03 PM

I see that there are these two threads can be condensed into one. I was confused by the two so responded to each individually and as a result may have repeated myself. I apologize.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Joe_F
Date: 10 Apr 11 - 05:40 PM

I suppose Christians at War counts more as blasphemous than atheistic.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 10 Apr 11 - 05:54 PM

My Atheism doesn't preclude a fascination with religion, hymns included, likewise other sacred music, which I love to sing & listen to. In Catholic Mass at Easter I can't sing many of the hymns for crying though. It's all human in the end!


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Vic Smith
Date: 11 Apr 11 - 03:39 AM

Dolly Collins and Maureen Duffy wrote a humanist mass called Missa Humana over twenty years ago now. I had the honour of making a digital transcription of Dolly's lovely carefully written music. In my opinion, it is a major work of music with strong influences from the tradition. I consider it a disgrace that it has never been performed.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Stringsinger
Date: 11 Apr 11 - 11:25 AM

I think there is a difference between a song say "This Little Light of Mine"
and "Onward Christian Soldiers".

Also, indisputably, Bach's B Minor Mass is one of the great musical works of all time.

The notion of an atheist hymn makes no sense, however, but the point of view of atheism can be reflected in a choice of songs religious and secular.

I think it's possible to rewrite some of the old hymns to make them secular.
In a sense, that's what happened in the Civil Rights Movement.

"Woke up this morning with my mind on Jesus" became "Woke up this morning with my mind on freedom".


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Artful Codger
Date: 11 Apr 11 - 08:32 PM

There tends to be a particular "sound" to hymns, so it makes great sense to talk of hymns in the sense of musical genre, apart from any theistic orientation. Sure, there's musical cross-over with non-theistic songs (from which hymn writers lifted heavily), but in contrast to hymns, the secular counterparts tend to be story-type songs of murder, betrayal, licentiousness, courtship, coercion...--not quite the same thing. I think the request for "atheist hymns" refers to uplifting, inspiring or gospelesque songs with a similar sound but without the theistic baggage--that great leap from "isn't this amazing?" or "let's create a better world" to "we must be the undeserving pawns of a loving but strangely violent deity who demonstrates his love by testing our faith in ways that would give the Marquis de Sade a wet dream, according to some perfect and perfectly inscrutable plan--and if you can't accept this, may you burn in torment forever while we sit around with harps, eat bonbons and remind god what a ripping chap he is."


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 09 May 11 - 03:12 PM

More pop than hymns (consider his audience), but, topically, it seems to fit in this thread, rather than really needing its own: Phil Zuckerman's 65 Greatest Songs for Atheists and Agnostics.

Phil Zuckerman is a professor of sociology at Pitzer College in Claremont, California, and has just succesfully worked to add a new major in "Secular Studies" there.

Of this list of songs, he says

"Strictly speaking, any song that doesn't mention God or gods is an a-theist song. That said, it is still fun to listen to songs that specifically debunk religion, critique faith, express healthy skepticism, laud doubt, celebrate the natural world, advocate humanist principles, uphold reason, declare love, or in one way or another offer a secular orientation that is moral, libratory, valuable, joyous, and vibrant.

"The songs compiled here offer a variety of irreligious, agnostic, secular, naturalistic, or atheist opinions and perspectives, representing a wide continuum: from the harshly damning to the sublimely happy, from literal debunking to mild innuendo. Some of the songs attack Biblical theology head-on, others merely express a natural love of life. Some express a hearty secular sexuality, others comedic blasphemy. Some express defiance, others transcendental acceptance. Some provide existential wonder at the mystery of being, others a sober frankness concerning the brutal facts of life and death. In some songs, critiquing religion is the heart of each verse and chorus, while in others it is merely the soul of a single line or phrase. In some cases, the title of the song alone warranted inclusion. For some songwriters, merely negating religious dogma is the theme, but for others, expressing a respect for human dignity or a deep love of daily life predominates."

Any candidates for the hymnbook here?

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Richard from Liverpool
Date: 09 May 11 - 04:11 PM

Has Phil Zuckerman listened to all of these songs - or looked up the artists and their intentions? I'm not sure some of them can really be considered atheist at all.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Joe_F
Date: 09 May 11 - 06:30 PM

Evolutionary Hymn


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 09 May 11 - 06:48 PM

Hmm. The provenance of that last (doubly), to say nothing of its content, puts it on questionable ground.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Stringsinger
Date: 14 Aug 11 - 10:45 AM

"It may not be a religion...however certain people have taken it to that extreme, and turned atheism into an organised religion....you do realise there are churches where atheists go and congregate, right?"

Amergin, this is not true. There are no churches that atheists go to (except perhaps as underground because they like the ritual), there are no atheist churches. Atheism is not, I repeat, an organized religion no matter how much you jump up and down and say it is.
That's religious propaganda.

Songs for weddings from a Secular Humanist or Freethought perspective are yet to be written.
I've written one and there will be others.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Musket
Date: 14 Aug 11 - 10:59 AM

When I got married in a hotel the other year, the registry office people were quite strict on the principle that there were to be no religious overtones to the event, no hymns sung etc.

So, as we were signing the register, the congregation listened to the following over the speakers;

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Into my Arms.

Sterephonics & Jools Holland - First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.

I couldn't think of better songs at the time (although there were many on the shortlist...) that could suit the wedding.

I suppose atheist hymns are an oxymoron, although I don't like putting atheist on forms when asked, (I usually put other and then say not applicable.) For me, atheism is portrayed by many as a belief system in itself. The belief that there is nothing. Einstein had a problem with that because he said that atheism ultimately is the belief in chaos and as we experience the laws of physics working, then whatever the answer is, it certainly isn't chaos.

If people use the term atheist and then put labels to it, then I would have to say the term no longer describes me and irreligious is a better term. (I joined the church of the flying spaghetti monster the other year, but so did a few colleagues and our childish aim was to make the government body we work for state it in the staff statistics page in the annual report. We pastafarians get about you know!


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Richard from Liverpool
Date: 14 Aug 11 - 11:11 AM

Surely "Into My Arms" is a song with deeply religious overtones (from a writer who's quite famous for religious thought, writing an introduction to the Gospel of Mark, etc.)

I'm surprised they let you get away with that one!

"To make bright and clear your path
And to walk, like Christ, in grace and love
And guide you into my arms"


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Big Ballad Singer
Date: 14 Aug 11 - 12:44 PM

How about "Nowhere Man"?

"She's Not There" by the Zombies?

Seriously, though... there are a LOT of beautiful songs that are not religious hymns (many have already been suggested), and there are a LOT of hymns that don't have to be taken at their prima facie level as theistic. We, being human, are free not only to create, but to interpret. It's the insistence of one person or group that DEFINITION (of words or ideas) be concrete that makes for war, especially jihad, no matter whose jihad it might be.

I am always encouraged when people are able to gather inspiration or find beauty in the artistic expressions of others without believing that they must ABSOLUTELY accept or COMPLETELY reject the worldview behind said expressions.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Neil D
Date: 19 Nov 15 - 02:03 PM

FREEDOM
                     by Neil Devore

The savage knows that Holy Joes
And emperors who wear new clothes
Never were the ones he chose
To teach him how to live

And heaven's just a siren's song
Enticing you to go along
And certainly the pull is strong
Of the solace it can give

But when you teach them to beseech
A man upstairs they cannot reach
The baleful sermon that you preach
Is empty and unfair

As long ago the Lizard King
Raised his voice to shout and sing
You cannot go petitioning
Your mythic lord with prayer

And we were never born to be remorseful
Or contrite about some vague primal sin
You need only strive to do no harm to what's alive
To be in touch with the light that shines within
You'll be aglow from the light that shines within

Any other rules are just too forceful
A crooked game that we can never win
You must merely care for one another
And the bountiful world upon which we spin
The beautiful world upon which we spin

When the scales drop from your eyes
And fall beneath the bridge of sighs
With no one there to hear your cries
You're beginning to breathe free

With no one there to criticize
To damn your eyes or demonize
You'll begin to realize
The way we're meant to be

Sweet music on a summer night
Seductive scent that wafts just right
A subtle hint of pledged delight
To set one's heart aflame

A stolen glance, a merry dance
So come young lovers grab your chance
At dizzying new found romance
Without a sense of shame

For we were never born to be remorseful
Or contrite about some vague primal sin
You need only strive to do no harm to what's alive
To be in touch with the light that shines within
You'll be aglow from the light that shines within

Any other rules are just too forceful
A crooked game that we can never win
You must merely care for one another
And the bountiful world upon which we spin
The beautiful world upon which we spin

So excuse me my apostasy
My rejection of theocracy
What need we of philosophy
To share some food and drink

Like hand in glove are peace and love
With no assistance from above
These are thoughts worth thinking of
When you take the time to think

When it's said and done, your race has run
I hope you'll know you had your fun
Golden days spent in the sun
With a sparsity of strife

Good friends relaxing on the grass
A touch of class, a parting glass
Nostalgic that this too must pass
Like all good things in life

And we were never born to be remorseful
Or contrite about some vague primal sin
You need only strive to do no harm to what's alive
To be in touch with the light that shines within
You'll be aglow from the light that shines within

Any other rules are just too forceful
A crooked game that we can never win
You must merely care for one another
And the bountiful world upon which we spin
The beautiful world upon which we spin


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Nov 15 - 02:53 AM

It's alright proposing hymns for atheists but what about the vast majority of people who don't have any stance on superstition and for whom religion and atheism would be two sides of the same coin?

Atheism means rejecting theism. Most people reject coins from parking meters.

For my wedding, whilst we were signing, our guests had my friend sing Into my Arms and First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 20 Nov 15 - 04:41 AM

I rather like the idea that we atheists can also have hymns. I think the sentiments expressed in this one are inspiring and excellent!


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: GUEST,Peter from seven stars link
Date: 20 Nov 15 - 06:43 AM

And why not , most other religions probably have hymns too....


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 20 Nov 15 - 07:54 AM

Twit. Don't even think of trying to spoil this thread.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 20 Nov 15 - 08:41 AM

Joseph Kerman, one of the very finest writers on classical music (he died last year), in his book The Beethoven Quartets, persistently refers to the Adagio ma non troppo e semplice variation in the slow movement of the Quartet in C sharp minor as "the hymn variation."   Well, there are no words, of course, but the passage is certainly a moment of stillness and reflection at the heart of the quartet, with a simple metre and much moving up and down the scale. Very much like a hymn, in other words. I didn't mind at all his nicking of the word from religion for that context. Try it and see!


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Mr Happy
Date: 20 Nov 15 - 11:55 AM

The last few funerals I've attended have been of a secular nature & had the mourners join appropriately in songs such as 'Always look on the bright side of life', 'Across the universe' & 'Thank you for the days'


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Paul Burke
Date: 20 Nov 15 - 12:24 PM

Perhaps the main reason that there aren't many atheist hymns is that we aren't an organised belief system, and most of us never talk to other atheists as such, just as people. Atheism is a private matter. And we think those with other belief systems should have the common decency to keep quiet about theirs too, and not organise to pass laws and engineer social situations that impose their values on others. BBC's Thought For The Day is one example, the laws about religious education and the promotion of faith schools another. They might just be starting to regret that last one.

A friend died a few years ago having asked her children to give her a humanist funeral. It was embarrassing, the children had left it to the undertakers to organise it. They were clueless. A woman dressed in a short skirt and tights (black), a sort of red hunting jacket, and a top hat, assured us all that our friend was now happy and looking down on us, forgivingly. She then recited the (apparently non- religious) Lord's Prayer, complete with the kingdom, power and glory. The irony was that our atheist friend had been a Catholic when previously religious, and they don't do that bit.

Neil D - more of that sort of stuff please.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 20 Nov 15 - 02:34 PM

Well that's right. I suppose that as most hymns are either praising the Lord/God/the Virgin Mary (delete as applicable), or asking one or the other of them to do something for us (save us from our miserable, wretched selves or make some or all of us better in any way you care to choose), we heathens don't actually have anyone to sing hymns to for stuff of that sort. I suggest we keep this thread sweet; if you want to have a pot at religion (I always want to do that), try the Pope in America thread. I could use a lift over there! :-)


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 21 Nov 15 - 04:49 AM

Why on earth would youwant Hymns at an Atheist wedding!? Surely there's a massive amount of other good music to choose from. Oddly though as an Atheist myself I do have a few good Gospel songs I like to do purely because I like the tunes


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Jeri
Date: 21 Nov 15 - 10:04 AM

You realize you're answering a question asked 16 years ago, right?


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 21 Nov 15 - 12:19 PM

Neil's song was posted two days ago, Jeri, and resurrected the thread. I honestly can't see an issue with that. Lots of old threads get resurrected. It's great.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Neil D
Date: 21 Nov 15 - 11:50 PM

I realized when I posted this song here that it was an old thread that hadn't been open for 4 years. I had just written the song and thought "Hmm, that's kind of an atheist hymn. Didn't there used to be a thread like that on Mudcat?" So I went ahead and posted it. Didn't see the harm, Jeri. Thanks for the kind word Paul. Hope you've been well.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Jeri
Date: 22 Nov 15 - 12:17 AM

Neil, I mentioned the age of the thread because Desi C didn't like the subject, and the person who started this thread is probably not here to see his complaint.


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