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Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?

Related threads:
Atheist Hymns (104)
Lyr Req: For the Godless March on Washington (72)
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)


Cruiser 21 Dec 03 - 02:18 AM
DonMeixner 21 Dec 03 - 02:22 AM
Bill D 21 Dec 03 - 12:48 PM
John Hardly 21 Dec 03 - 01:12 PM
GUEST,Gene Burton 21 Dec 03 - 01:24 PM
mack/misophist 21 Dec 03 - 02:59 PM
Folkiedave 21 Dec 03 - 03:14 PM
Little Hawk 21 Dec 03 - 06:22 PM
Ebbie 21 Dec 03 - 06:42 PM
freda underhill 22 Dec 03 - 07:49 AM
Willie-O 22 Dec 03 - 08:41 AM
Rapparee 22 Dec 03 - 12:16 PM
Pied Piper 22 Dec 03 - 12:29 PM
Big Tim 22 Dec 03 - 12:33 PM
Les in Chorlton 22 Dec 03 - 12:34 PM
GUEST,Nancy King at work 22 Dec 03 - 12:55 PM
Joe Offer 22 Dec 03 - 01:27 PM
Amos 22 Dec 03 - 01:37 PM
Cruiser 22 Dec 03 - 01:41 PM
Cruiser 22 Dec 03 - 01:45 PM
PoppaGator 22 Dec 03 - 04:12 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Dec 03 - 04:36 PM
Cruiser 22 Dec 03 - 06:33 PM
GUEST,Anne Croucher 22 Dec 03 - 07:32 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Dec 03 - 07:53 PM
Peace 22 Dec 03 - 07:54 PM
GUEST 22 Dec 03 - 08:16 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Dec 03 - 09:27 PM
Peace 22 Dec 03 - 10:22 PM
GUEST,MC Fat 23 Dec 03 - 05:59 AM
GUEST 23 Dec 03 - 07:45 AM
John Hardly 23 Dec 03 - 09:08 AM
GUEST,MMario 23 Dec 03 - 09:27 AM
John Hardly 23 Dec 03 - 09:45 AM
PoppaGator 23 Dec 03 - 09:55 AM
Mrrzy 23 Dec 03 - 10:41 AM
Charley Noble 23 Dec 03 - 10:52 AM
Bill D 23 Dec 03 - 01:44 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Dec 03 - 01:54 PM
John Hardly 23 Dec 03 - 02:21 PM
Little Hawk 23 Dec 03 - 04:47 PM
Peace 23 Dec 03 - 05:13 PM
The Fooles Troupe 23 Dec 03 - 05:34 PM
Peace 23 Dec 03 - 05:50 PM
Cruiser 23 Dec 03 - 06:18 PM
Peace 23 Dec 03 - 06:47 PM
Bill D 23 Dec 03 - 06:53 PM
Peace 23 Dec 03 - 07:49 PM
John Hardly 23 Dec 03 - 08:40 PM
Bill D 23 Dec 03 - 09:25 PM
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Subject: BS: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Cruiser
Date: 21 Dec 03 - 02:18 AM

I was perusing the BS threads and noticed the one titled "Can a believer sing Atheist songs" and thought: Can an atheist sing believer songs?

As an atheist, later in life, I often sang "believer" songs to my young son while I rocked him when he was sick (Amazing Grace) or 'He's got the Whole World' we he tagged along while I worked. At the table I taught him to say Grace by reciting "Our Hands We Fold, Our heads we bow, For food and drink We thank Thee now". For fun when he was learning to talk we would sing Who Built The Ark? (Noah, Noah! Talk about a religious song earworm!), Onward Christian Soldiers, Do Lord, and 'I'm In The Lord's Army'. To help keep him from getting into trouble and avoid time-outs, I taught him Jesus Sees Me (…"when I sleep, play, all the time", and I took some lyrical liberties and expanded them to include "Jesus sees me when I'm bad").   Whisper A Prayer was sometimes sung in the evening I would sometimes help him recite the old standard 'Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep' as a bedtime prayer. I still often think of those good old church hymns, spirituals, and country music "gospel" standards. They will forever be part of my "mental song" repertoire even though I may never sing them again. I must add that the world of music would be much less rich without these songs penned by ecclesiastically inspired lyricists and songwriters.   


I knew and loved all those songs (and many more, especially 'The B-I-B-L-E') as a lad going to Sunday School and church with my Mother and sometimes by myself. I looked forward to singing those "Jesus" songs:
'Jesus Loves The Little Children', 'Jesus Loves Me', and 'Oh, How I Love Jesus', and 'What A Friend We Have In Jesus'. I was baptized a Christian in a Southern Baptist church. I often got attendance pins for not missing any scheduled functions, including choir practice (which I loved), for the whole year.

While in college I began to question my faith partly because of the freethinking atmosphere. My science courses made me wonder how an anthropomorphic God could exist without credible, objective, empirical evidence. I slowly became an agnostic but still wanted to believe after my college graduation and through my tour of duty in the Army during the Viet Nam era. I lost my brother, a fine Green Beret Officer, in Laos and that was the turning point for me.

Even though I consider myself a "strong atheist" I am tolerant of religious belief though I don't see why a belief in the "God Hypothesis" should be necessary. All of my relatives are bible-belt Christians and I respect their beliefs and customs but don't participate in prayer before meals though I stand or sit quietly while other heads are bowed and grace is spoken. My relatives can't understand how I can be the moral person I am with out being a believer. It is very clear to me because I know I am solely responsible for my actions with out guidance from a voice or image "up above" but from a conscience within.

I reason that if humans knew this was their only chance at life (no afterlife) they would treat their fellow man justly based on moral grounds instead of the threat of holy punishment (fire and brimstone) or for reunion with loved ones as a reward for obedience. One would also realize that punishment (including death for serious crimes) would be meted out here and now instead of at the improbable pearly gates. Often you will hear a criminal that is guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt, (and others that probably got away with murder) say "God and I know I am innocent and he is the only one that can judge me". What bothers me is Christians and other believers think that God will punish the person later and he avoids the real "he can feel" punishment on this earth. He therefore never receives what he deserves and his crimes are forever unavenged while his victims and their families suffer. I also don't see the logic of wasting mental and physical energy asking for holy forgiveness for "sins" committed or sins one might be capable of committing in the future.

The conundrum: I am not sure I would have become the same decent, moral man if I had not been exposed to the Christian teaching as a young boy and young man. So, and to finish the reason I started this thread, an atheist can sing believer songs. The reason I did was to give my son the opportunity to experience many sides of the issue and let him make up his own mind as to the value of believing in a deity or not. He now is a Christian, goes to church, helps out at many ecclesiastical functions, and is a drummer in a church band. He, like his old man did, is asking some of the same questions about the existence of God. I simply tell him my reasoned opinion, to read all he can on the subject, and reach his own researched conclusions. I would prefer he follow the science and reason out the evidence for himself. I told him whatever conclusion he reached that to berate the other view maliciously or with contempt is unjustified. However, I mentioned fringe religions espousing irrational martyrdom and "if you don't believe in Christ the way we do you are going to …" proclamations are radical and deserve complete skepticism and measured criticism. Finally, that the separation of church and state is crucial. As a registered Republican who voted for Mr. Bush, I abhor his preachiness and the omnipresent "may God continue to bless America" valediction after his speeches (especially the day after September 11 were we could use less of those kinds of "continued blessings").

To close, an important lesson I learned from the powerful Scientific Method is "right or wrong, the God hypothesis is untestable". Simply stated, "the concept of God is outside the domain of science and science cannot legitimately say anything about "him".

Ron

Humming "Beyond the sunset, oh blissful morning, when with our…" as I prepare for the night and another beautiful sunrise tomorrow, the first day of winter.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: DonMeixner
Date: 21 Dec 03 - 02:22 AM

A good song doesn't care who sings it.

Don


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Subject: RE: BS: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Bill D
Date: 21 Dec 03 - 12:48 PM

Bok, Trickett & Muir once introduced a song called "The Middle Class Life is the Best of All" with the comment "...you don't have to believe everything you sing."

Why, I sing "The Stern Old Batchelor"

("..I do believe I'll never live with women anymore.."

so, sure...I have sung in Christian gospel workshops with Baptists, Episcopalians, Jews, agnostics and atheists. Each felt inwardly whatever was right for them...but the songs were wonderful and made everyone happy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: John Hardly
Date: 21 Dec 03 - 01:12 PM

there is a difference between "empirical" and "real". Both mythos and logos are held in esteme by most thinkers. The choice of one over the other is quite possibly choosing ignorance, regardless of which of the two you choose to exclude.

...Oh, and I don't mind if you sing Believer songs.

"...she said, 'Are you a christian?'......I said, 'Man, I am tonight!'" M. Cohn


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Subject: RE: BS: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: GUEST,Gene Burton
Date: 21 Dec 03 - 01:24 PM

Obviously, yes. Whether they understand them is another matter (although admittedly that goes for some believers as well).


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Subject: RE: BS: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: mack/misophist
Date: 21 Dec 03 - 02:59 PM

If you're truly serious about the question, my answer would be "Treat the songs like booze. Keep them away from children." Wait until the child is old enough to understand that they're only songs, and what the difference is.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 21 Dec 03 - 03:14 PM

If you come to the South Yorkshire Carols (se other thread) then you will undoubtedly meet many people who sing sogns they don't believe in. And they are great songs.

Regards,

Dave
www.collectorsfolk.co.uk


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 21 Dec 03 - 06:22 PM

Sure an atheist can sing believer songs. I've known atheists who would do practically anything for money... :-)

The real question is: Can he enjoy doing it?

- LH


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Ebbie
Date: 21 Dec 03 - 06:42 PM

"I grabbed her by her golden curls
And dragged her round and round
I threw her into the river
That flows through Knoxville town"

I sing it with fervor but with the proviso that I ain't likely to do it.

:)


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: freda underhill
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 07:49 AM

..i wanted to become an athiest, but they don't have any holidays.


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Willie-O
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 08:41 AM

Sure we do Freda. We take 'em whenever we like and there are no social obligations attached. ;)=

Willie-O


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Rapparee
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 12:16 PM

Don't see why not. Lots of those who profess to be "Christian" and aren't sing 'em.

'Tain't what ya believe, but what ya live, that matters.


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Pied Piper
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 12:29 PM

I don't have any problem singing hymns even though I'm a vehament Athiest.
I play Pipes at a lot of funerals and some times I stop in through the service, and not to stand up and sing in the hymns would be disrespectfull.

"I've known atheists who would do practically anything for money"

Whareas the new age cristal waving, crop circling mudcat Sanyasi do everything for higher reasons and would not soil there hands with the petty trinkets of Maya.

TTFN
PP


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Big Tim
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 12:33 PM

I still love singing the Catholic hymns that I learned as a child, eg, Faith of Our Fathers, even though I no longer have the slightest tincture of religious faith.


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 12:34 PM

But can a blue sing the whites?


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: GUEST,Nancy King at work
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 12:55 PM

We had a really good discussion of this topic here.


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 01:27 PM

All those gospel songs about bloody lambs and the war imagery don't jive with my beliefs as a liberal Catholic, and the technology metaphors like the "Royal Telephone" and "Turn Your Radio On" and "Life Is Like a Mountain Railroad" strike me as silly - but I love those old gospel songs because they're so colorful. I wonder, though, if I am disrespectful in singing those songs - since I sing them for fun and not for faith. I admit that sometimes I ham them up, but believers who sing with me don't seem to be taken aback.

I don't agree with the theology in most "negro spirituals," but I have no problem singing most of them seriously, because so many are so darn beautiful. I think that if I find a song beautiful or interesting, I have no trouble singing it seriously, even if I might not agree with the ideas expressed in it.

For me, my personal moral code is far more important than the moral beliefs of my church, although the two usually coincide. My moral code dicates that I must tolerate almost everything but hatred and intolerance. I can't think of any "atheist songs" that are intolerant of believers - I suppose there are some, and I probably would have trouble singing those. There are lots of Christian songs (and some Roman Catholic ones) that are intolerant of other beliefs, and those I either can't sing, or I sing with a bit of trepidation. Great Speckled Bird is a good example - it's such a good song that I hate not to sing it, but it shows a lot of intolerance for ideals that are sacred to me. I suppose I also have trouble singing Christian songs that are drippingly sentimental, since they portray Christianity in a light that is embarrassing to me.

In fact, I may have more trouble singing songs of my own faith that I think misrepresent that faith, than I do singing songs of other beliefs.

-Joe Offer-



I think this is a valid musical issue, and I'm going to move this thread up to the "music" area of the forum.


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Amos
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 01:37 PM

Personally I think it is a non-issue; any singer worthy of the art is capable of singing songs he does not personally believe in. I could probably do a convincing rendition of Deutschland Uber Alles if I knew the lyrics, but I wouldn't deign to, in general. Not that I could not, but that I would not choose to do so.

I can certainly sing believer songs, because although I do not share the Christian faith, nor its iconophilic passions, I am replete with faith and passion of my own, and I am sensitive to human situations, or at least try to be.

A


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Cruiser
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 01:41 PM

Thanks Nancy (and the other posters as well).

I did a Search before I started this thread and did not find the one you just linked, thanks. That thread does not occur on the "Related Threads:" section at the top of this page either, as I would expect.

Mudcat never ceases to amaze me. Thank you all for your reasoned responses and to Joe and/or the other "clones" for the "behind the scenes" work (like removing the BS designation I put on this thread and I guess since there is some "philosophizing" it is appropriately placed here in the BS section since it is probably borderline).

I must admit that I only infrequently venture into the BS section "down there below the Music posts" but realize from perusing the articles, as opposed to just skimming them, it should not be summarily dismissed.

Ron
    Thanks for pointing out the Gospel/Belief thread, Ron. I added it to the crosslinks.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Cruiser
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 01:45 PM

Joe,

Our posts crossed through cyperspace, or I am just a slow typist.


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 04:12 PM

Hey, what about us agnostics? We can sing just about any damned (or blessed) thing!

I have no more use for the mindset that is *sure* that nothing exists beyond human understanding than I do for the most fundamentalist systems that claim specific knowledge of God, and presume to know what He thinks of me.

And in this season of goodwill, on the very date of the equinox, let's not forget that we humans have been celebrating Yuletide since long before the birth of Christ. Roast poultry and alcohol for everyone!


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 04:36 PM

"Treat the songs like booze. Keep them away from children."

I don't think that's the right way to treat either songs or booze. But be sensible about it.

...................

The Great Speckled Bird - seems to me that all that needs to ease out the sectarianism Joe finds worrying is to change the one verse from

All the other churches are against her
They envy her glory and fame;
..."


to something like

All the wide world is against her
It laughs at her glory and fame..."


And so forth. That's called being Ecumenical with the truth...


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Cruiser
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 06:33 PM

Hey McGarth, I thought ecumenicalism was something about promoting unity among churches or religions, ergo a worldwide Christian church. However, I guess it can mean "universal" as it seems to apply in your phrase: "Ecumenical (universal) with the truth".

Those many English words that have more than one (often broad) meaning are often a source of confusion to me.


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: GUEST,Anne Croucher
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 07:32 PM

And in this season of goodwill, on the very date of the equinox, let's not forget that we humans have been celebrating Yuletide since long before the birth of Christ. Roast poultry and alcohol for everyone!

ER - scuse me but -

Isn't it a solstice? - the equinox is the other one, when the clocks change, the solstice is when the years change.

No body ever wrote a song about an equinox - did they?

Anne


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Subject: Lyr Add: EQUINOCTIAL AND PHOEBE
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 07:53 PM

Well, there's EQUINOCTIAL AND PHOEBE:

Equinoctial swore by the green leaves on the tree
That he could do more work in a day than Phoebe could do in three, three,
That he could do more work in a day than Phoebe could do in three.

"If tha be so," Phoebe said, "then this you must allow:
You must do my work for a day, and I'll go follow the plow, plow,
You must do my work for a day, and I'll go follow the plow.

"You must milk the Tiny cow for fear that she go dry,
And you must feed the little pigs that live in yonder sty, sty,
And you must feed the little pigs that live in yonder sty.

"You must watch the speckled hen that she does not run astray,
And you must wind the hank of yarn that I spun yesterday,
And you must wind the hank of yarn that I spun yesterday."

Phoebe took the staff in her hand and went to follow the plow,
The old man took the pail in his hand and went to milk the cow, cow,
The old man took the pail in his hand and went to milk the cow.

But Tiny hinched and Tiny flinched, and Tiny buckled her nose,
She hit the old man such a blow that the blood ran to his toes, toes,
She hit the old man such a blow that the blood ran to his toes.

And when he'd milked the Tiny cow that she would not go dry,
He went to feed the little pigs that lived in yonder sty, sty,
He went to feed the little pigs that lived in yonder sty.

But while he fed the little pigs, the hen did run astray,
He forgot about the hank of yarn that sh'd spun yesterday,
He forgot about the hank of yarn that sh'd spun yesterday.

He looked to the east, he looked to the west, he looked to the setting sun,
He swore to his heart it had been a long day, and Phoebe would never come, come,
He swore to his heart it had been a long day, and Phoebe would never come.

He swore by all the stars in the sky and all the skies in heaven
That Phoebe could do more work in a day than he could do in seven,
That Phoebe could do more work in a day than he could do in seven.

....................

"Ecumenical with the truth" is a reference to a famous quote from an English Civil Servant, who'd been caught out trying to deceive people in behalf of his political masters, when he said that he had been "Economical with the truth". Perhaps it never made it across the Atlantic.


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Peace
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 07:54 PM

Oh, equinox,
Oh, equinox,
The turkey's on the chopping block.
Oh, solstice time,
Oh, solstice time,
The equinox verse doesn't rhyme.
Oh, Christmas tree,
Oh, Christmas tree,
Forget me not and I'll forget not thee.
Oh, think a bit,
Oh, think a bit,
The verse above don't scan for sh#t.

And to all a good night.


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 08:16 PM

Good brucie, Real good.


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 09:27 PM

Next year the Spring Equinox is on March 20th, so here is a song we all know in a Spring Equinox version -

Th Greenland Whale Fishery

It was the year of eighteen five and March the twentieth day
When our gallant ship from her anchor swayed
To the seas she bore away, brave boys, to the seas she bore away...


Easter is an Equinox, Santa comes on a Solstice.


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Peace
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 10:22 PM

Thank you GUEST. It was an inspired moment. No applause necessary. It's a gift.


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: GUEST,MC Fat
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 05:59 AM

I agree with Foliedave. I'm a second genration atheist and there's nothing better I like than singing the South Yorkshire Carols and it's fair to say that if you mentioned religion I think they'd throw you out.


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 07:45 AM

Isn't an agnostic a gutless atheist?


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: John Hardly
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 09:08 AM

no. An agnostic is one who isn't sure if there is a God...

...but is ABSOLUTELY convinced that you can't know either.

The atheist is just a little angrier at God than that. *BG*


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 09:27 AM

a priest friend of mine once told me that he thought the vehemence of some atheists belief that there is no god was the best rational he had for the existance of god. illogical - but then faith is illogical.


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: John Hardly
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 09:45 AM

MMario,

That's not too illogical. When someone is comfortable with what they believe (it seems to me) that they feel little need for "vehemence". If those "vehement" atheists were comfortable in their own atheism, they wouldn't care, one way or the other, whether others did believe in a god.

The converse would somewhat be the same way except that those coming from the perspective of faith are often evangelical -- not because of their weak faith's need to convince others in order to fully believe themselves, but rather, because when someone has something good, and that good is percieved to be in other's best interest, they wish to share it.

Of course, there are those who are evangelical exactly because of their weak faith (and a need to convince others in order to fully believe themselves)...

...and those guys just kinda piss you off.


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 09:55 AM

Just as I was falling off to sleep last night, I realized that I had posted "equinox" when I meant,of course, "solstice." I briefly considered jumping out of bed to post a retraction, but . . . naaaah!

I suppose it shows I'm about as serious about paganism as I am about my cast-off Catholicism (not much).

Anyway, I'm glad to see y'all had so much fun with it -- well worth any slight embarrassment I might be feeling. (I'm not usually that stupid/careless.)

Also, I suppose I'm not a true agnostic; I do believe in a higher something-or-other, and that we humans can aspire to union with said Divine by transcending our egos and caring for others. I'm just very skeptical of any doctrine or organization that claims to have all the answers about That which surpasseth all human understanding.

Also, speaking of agnosticism: DId you hear the one about the dyslexic agnostic insomniac?

He kept himself awake all night wondering whether or not there's a dog.


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 10:41 AM

Also, there are nautical songs about the equinoctial (sp?) gales, like the one where the fine young man went overboard... married to a mermaid at the bottom of the deep blue sea. Good song, will check the db or post lyrics...


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Subject: LYR.ADD.:Trouble in Heaven
From: Charley Noble
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 10:52 AM

Having scanned this thread I'm thinking that maybe we just need some well written aethist songs. My mother was never one to find any comfort in the newer gods. She respects nature and has fought to protect the environment, and sometimes she communes with the older, some would say, pagan gods:

TROUBLE IN HEAVEN
(Words by Dahlov Ipcar, Circa 1975 Tune: "The Falcon" by Richard Farina)


The archangels we meet all carry spears
And have an angry look as if to say,
"Though God's been dead in Heaven these long years,
Don't be trying to put us away!"

Chorus:

The lessor angels form protective bands,
They dare not go out late at night;
They speak in whispers of "trouble" in this land,
They, no longer seek the light.

Our prophets say He was a God of Love,
And speak of a freedom we never knew;
But by their every action seem to prove
That God was a tyrant and a bigot too.

Chorus:

The lessor angels form protective bands,
They dare not go out late at night;
They speak in whispers of "trouble" in this land,
They, no longer seek the light.

Final (spoken):
Lucifer smiles as patiently he waits,
Until the day we open wide the gates.

In these troubled times, I find this song worth musing over again.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Bill D
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 01:44 PM

" When someone is comfortable with what they believe (it seems to me) that they feel little need for "vehemence"."

Well, John Hardly, I see the point...but I also at least think I see why some DO feel strongly...and often vehemently..about the issue.
MMario noted that "faith is illogical", a position treated in great detail by philosopher Sören Kierkegaard in "Fear and Trembling" and other works. Since history is full of abuses, wars, hate and intolerance done in the name of religion, there are many who get very irate that what they consider an 'illogical' position to begin with can lead to so much suffering. "Why", they say, "if God exists, and is so great, does so much evil happen?"
....Well, we know that there are various theological answers to that oft asked question...and we also know that a lot of good is done through religion....but these days, when there is a great deal of ill will being espoused and violence being done, fueled by religious fervor, I can see why some would be tempted to "vehemence" in their opposition.

I had a friend tell me once, many years ago, that "the conflict in Ireland is not 'about' religion"....but I replied to him.."yeah, but it sure is the identifying marker when they want to shoot or bomb each other"....

it is simply that some think that(if they think at all), if logic and reasonable debate do not make men aware of the folly of their positions, then 'perhaps' vehemence will get their attention


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 01:54 PM

In Northern Ireland, as in many (most?) "religious" wars, it's not about religious belief, it's about about religious affiliation. As in the old jokes about "Are you a Catholic Atheist or a Pritestant Atheist?" Or even "Are you a Catholic Jew or a Protestant Jew?"


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: John Hardly
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 02:21 PM

Faith may or may not be logical...

...but it is inevitable.

It is equally illogical (seems to me) to make your life's judgement about generalized "religion" when "religion" is not general. Each religion is quite specific. You may decide that, given the scope of what is out there to discover and analyze, "I ain't got time for this!" or even admit that you're too lazy to give a damn (that'd be me most of the time!). But to ascribe collective behavior to something that is not "collective" is not good logic.

If A does not equal B does not equal C does not equal...

They ain't zackly all wrong. They MAY be (all wrong).....but the same empirical method that would demand that one dismiss God because of his "unprovability", should require the application of that same standard for your "collective religion" theory.


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 04:47 PM

Ho! Ho! I am such a troll at times. I knew some aggrieved atheist out there would flip out over that "do anything for money" comment, and SURE I could just as well have said the same thing about some ( or many) evangelists or baptists, couln't I? You betcha! :-) With bells on. I was an atheist myself until about age 23, and figured I already knew just about all there was to know about reality, in a general sense. It's great to be 23 and know everything.

Greed for money? It's commonly found in every category of both believers and non-believers. My point was that it might weigh larger in the mind of the hypothetical singer of the religious song than the choice about which song to sing.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Peace
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 05:13 PM

"Can an Atheist Sing Believer Songs?" Does this thread or does not this thread have a punchline? I've been waiting for two f##kin' days.


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 05:34 PM

I'm still waiting for the song, brucie.

Robin


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Peace
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 05:50 PM

I sing to those of little faith,
A question in the telling;
I sing to Thee or thee, you see,
The answer's in the spelling.

Now, what's the punchline?

Have a good Christmas, Robin. BM


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Cruiser
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 06:18 PM

I am not sure if this will satisfy as a punch line but I will restate what I wrote in my original thread opening this discourse:

"So, and to finish the reason I started this thread an atheist can sing believer songs. The reason I did was to give my son the opportunity to experience many sides of the issue and let him make up his own mind as to the value of believing in a deity or not".

I would prefer that brucie would be willing to wait another, er, period of time so the many philosophies, beliefs, opinions, etc. would flow from the people whom chose to contribute. With the excellent archival abilities of the Mudcat Café, people can respond whenever possible.

I still have believer songs in my head and I will never forget what they meant to me and I will probably join in with a chorus of believers when 'Will The Circle Be Unbroken' is sung. At least I might attempt to back them up on the fiddle if not join in on the vocals.


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Peace
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 06:47 PM

Cruiser: I was joking. Have a good Christmas time. BM


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Bill D
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 06:53 PM

John Hardly...I sorta feel I should debate with you, but I ain't 'zactly sure what you said..

"..faith is inevitable"? hmmm??

" "religion" is not general."... I don't know what that means. I know 'not all religions are the same'...but that doesn't seem to be what you mean. IF you mean that one cannot apply a 'general' belief/attitude to *religion* in general, I think I'd have to disagree.
One can say "I believe that there IS some guiding, spiritual essence to the universe, though I haven't picked a set of rules" or one can say the opposite.."I think the Universe just is with NO sentient force behind it." You may be wrong, either way, but those are ways to 'generalize' about religion...unless I have totally missed your point...


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Peace
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 07:49 PM

One of the great truths is this: God exists or doesn't exist. Not very profound, but I'm aging.


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: John Hardly
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 08:40 PM

Yup. Faith is inevitable. Faith is usually accepted as the domain of the religious but that just ain't so. Whatever philosophy drives your life is based primarily on faith.

Nobody has the where-withall to empirically test all the stuff in which they believe -- all the stuff that make rhyme and reason of their lives.

So, like a house of cards, all these life-driving philosophies still, ultimately, are taken on faith.

And of course you knew what I meant about generalizing about religion.

When it is convenient, all religion is lumped into one steaming pile of shit and dismissed as irrational. Then one merely has to walk away with their superior intellect, having soundly dismissed the greater percentage of thinkers that have lived or currently live.

...and all based on "provability" not "truth" or "reality".

The same mind that will dismiss God as "unprovable" believes unswervingly in "string theory".


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Bill D
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 09:25 PM

"When it is convenient.." for whom? I don't 'lump & dismiss', and I seldom meet anyone who does. THAT seems like a pretty broad generalization to me.

I think you are using a pretty loose concept of 'faith'. Faith usually refers to not even trying, to test one's beliefs. If I say I follow the Scientific Method, and try to test my hypotheses, do you call THAT 'faith'?

And that "...greater percentage of thinkers that have lived.." notion...what did THEY dismiss in order to arrive at what I assume you mean is a 'religious' position? In any case, I don't do that either.

"The same mind that will dismiss God as "unprovable" believes unswervingly in "string theory".....well, like your other examples, it seems like you are postulating extreme examples, and then ridiculing them suggesting that this is common behavior.

There are some folks who act as you say on both sides of the issue, but there are careful, thoughtful, reasonable folks who simply do NOT take their positions on faith alone, unless you hold to a pretty simplistic notion of 'faith'....but *shrug*..., it's like 'folk', I can't force anyone to accept narrow definitions.


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