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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)


GUEST,Steamin' Willie 10 Apr 10 - 02:03 PM
Rowan 10 Apr 10 - 12:02 AM
Cruiser 09 Apr 10 - 09:49 PM
dick greenhaus 04 Apr 10 - 11:17 AM
Rob Naylor 03 Apr 10 - 08:30 PM
buddhuu 03 Apr 10 - 08:20 PM
Stringsinger 03 Apr 10 - 06:37 PM
GUEST 03 Apr 10 - 07:08 AM
Genie 02 Apr 10 - 03:18 PM
Art Thieme 02 Apr 10 - 02:46 PM
Charlie Baum 02 Apr 10 - 09:05 AM
Mo the caller 02 Apr 10 - 08:40 AM
Stower 02 Apr 10 - 08:23 AM
Ebbie 01 Apr 10 - 07:07 PM
beeliner 01 Apr 10 - 04:17 PM
wysiwyg 01 Apr 10 - 04:12 PM
olddude 01 Apr 10 - 03:38 PM
Acorn4 01 Apr 10 - 03:29 PM
autoharpbob 01 Apr 10 - 02:52 PM
Richard Bridge 01 Apr 10 - 02:36 PM
Acorn4 01 Apr 10 - 02:25 PM
GUEST,Demonicus 01 Apr 10 - 01:43 PM
Amos 06 Mar 04 - 06:53 PM
Bill D 06 Mar 04 - 06:44 PM
GUEST,Pat C ooksey. 06 Mar 04 - 02:19 AM
Donuel 05 Mar 04 - 10:43 PM
johnfitz.com 05 Mar 04 - 10:34 PM
Two_bears 05 Mar 04 - 03:12 PM
NobleSavage 28 Dec 03 - 10:45 PM
PoppaGator 28 Dec 03 - 11:26 AM
freda underhill 28 Dec 03 - 08:35 AM
GUEST 28 Dec 03 - 03:05 AM
NobleSavage 28 Dec 03 - 02:11 AM
Mr Red 27 Dec 03 - 08:54 PM
GUEST,Frank 27 Dec 03 - 04:21 PM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Dec 03 - 06:46 PM
PoppaGator 26 Dec 03 - 06:04 PM
Richard Bridge 26 Dec 03 - 05:41 PM
PoppaGator 26 Dec 03 - 12:50 PM
Cluin 26 Dec 03 - 12:04 PM
annamill 26 Dec 03 - 08:03 AM
annamill 26 Dec 03 - 07:59 AM
Mr Red 26 Dec 03 - 07:40 AM
harvey andrews 26 Dec 03 - 06:42 AM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Dec 03 - 06:23 AM
Little Hawk 25 Dec 03 - 09:33 PM
GUEST,TK The DJ 25 Dec 03 - 09:31 PM
Cruiser 25 Dec 03 - 06:20 PM
Cruiser 25 Dec 03 - 06:17 PM
toadfrog 25 Dec 03 - 06:15 PM
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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: GUEST,Steamin' Willie
Date: 10 Apr 10 - 02:03 PM

if you have issues, then it is simple...

As there is nothing to believe, there are no such thing as believers. Hence, anybody can sing anything...

For instance, I did that old Stan Crowther classic The Vicar and the Frog the other night. I changed it slightly to call it The Priest and the Frog, to make it a) topical and b) factual...

Ok, not a believer song, more a song about believers...

In a free society you can sing about anything, superstition included. And the best bit is, blasphemy is a victimless crime.


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Rowan
Date: 10 Apr 10 - 12:02 AM

At the (Oz) National Folk Festival, every Easter, Sunday morning is the occasion for a Hymn Singing session, scheduled to occur at the same time as the Poets' Breakfast and the judging of the new dances in the TSDAV Dance Competition.

I'm sure there are a few believers there but I can assure you that many of those who lead the singing are atheists/agnostics/non-believers. Some years ago a few preachifiers sought to proselytise but were politely asked to take their proselytising elsewhere, as this was a singing session where love of harmonies was paramount.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Cruiser
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 09:49 PM

Interesting new comments. Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 04 Apr 10 - 11:17 AM

Well, Bach wrote some pretty good masses, though he was never a Catholic...


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 03 Apr 10 - 08:30 PM

Beeliner:
"Can blue men sing the whites?
Or are they hyp-o-crites?"

That would be Vernon Dudley Bohay-Nowell on bass guitar, then :-)


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: buddhuu
Date: 03 Apr 10 - 08:20 PM

As a very staunch (but not evangelical) atheist, believe me, I can sing whatever the heck I like - believer, atheist, pop...


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 03 Apr 10 - 06:37 PM

Sure. A pacifist can sing a song about war. A non-killer can sing Sam Hall. Any song can be sung by anyone anywhere. I wouldn't sing the Wessel-Horst song without a helluva lot of context to explain why I sang it. The same would be true for Dixie (which is a great tune corrupted by Southern bigots).

African-American spirituals and gospel music are beautiful and don't require any belief in them.

Amazing Grace is a lovely piece of music and requires no belief in it whatever except that
I like the anti-slavery sentiment and agree with that part of it.

Can a non-political person sing a political song? Is there any such animal as a non-political person? (Questionable).

You don't have to be a Calvinist to appreciate the majesty of St. Mathews Passion by J.S. Bach.

I can't get into sacred harp shape note stuff, though. It sounds like a lot of yelling
signifying nothing but that's my take. Others may not agree.


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Apr 10 - 07:08 AM

Hello there, Mr. Baum, Charlie--
I'm writing you here because at about 6:30am my late cousin Susan (Garber) danced down my brain again, as she often has in the nearly 10 years since her death. She was likely the best friend I may ever have, I met you only a couple of times.
I googled her name and 'Sacred Harp' and found your most beautifully written tribute to her that you wrote just 3 days after her death in the year 2000. I know it would have made her cry with happiness and gratitude. She loved you a lot. Many times she would somewhat breathlessly mention 'Charlie' to me and I know that your friendship meant so much to her.
I wish I'd seen your gorgeously heartfelt tribute to her 10 years ago, but I'm just as happy to see it now, when she popped into my head.
She and I spoke every day, and I had spoken with her just 4 hours before I got a phone call from my Dad that she was gone. One of Susan's favorite aunts, Theresa, just passed away last month at the age of 105. How I wish that Susan could have had such longevity.
In your writing of Susan, you most certainly were spot-on about the inseparable 'Dot-Susan' bond. My Aunt Dot outlived Susan by nearly 7 years, she died in June of 2007 and I truly hope that she and Susan are somewhere beautiful together now, chatting happily as they often did, and, once again, your name was one I often recall that they mentioned with great happiness at having such a good friend in you. So, I bet they're still talking about you, and when I read your obituary/tribute, I said outloud 'Oh, Susan, you won't believe what I just read'. Thank You so much, Mr. Baum.
Susan called me 'Kolya' usually, most of the family called or calls me Nick, I first met you when I was about 19 years old at a party Dot and Susan had at their house, I know I was annoyingly vacuous. Sorry. 19 will do that to you. I think I finally outgrew it somewhere around 35. Susan was very dear to me, always, and I thank you again for your most touching, wonderfully written tribute to her.
Best Wishes,
Nikolaj Mikita


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Genie
Date: 02 Apr 10 - 03:18 PM

Barry Finn did a right fine, convincing job singing the prison song "Ol' Dollar Mamie," but I don't think he ever lived that life.   As has been said, lots of people play roles - in songs, plays, film, etc. - that are totally unlike their own lives and personalities.   

I also think a singer can connect, spiritually and emotionally, with the underlying feeling of a religious song without having to believe in the particular icons and dogma that some lyrics may refer to.      

Now, the question arises: Can a hellfire and brimstone 'fundamentalist' Christian (who thinks all gays and "infidels" can and should burn in hell) convincingly sing songs about the unconditional love of an omnipotent God?


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 02 Apr 10 - 02:46 PM

I think an atheist can sing whatever he wants to sing--like anyone else.

I've underlined the word THINK because I most always never use the word believe. ""Believe" infers a leap of faith--an irrational act -- I think.

Yes, I do try to THINK things through. Pretty much I don't merely believe anything.

Art


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 02 Apr 10 - 09:05 AM

Ever since it was founded in 1897, the Yiddish newspaper Forverts (Forward) has run a column called "A Bintel Brief"--"A Packet of Letters", one of the first advice columns in any newspaper, and the forerunner of "Ann Landers" and "Dear Abby."

One of the classic Q&As:

Q: Can a freethinker go to the synagogue?
A; Of course--Izzy goes to the synagogue to talk with G-d, and I go to the synagogue to talk with Izzy.

--Charlie Baum


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 02 Apr 10 - 08:40 AM

'Down in yon forest' would probably never be sung if the singer had to believe in all the imagery.

But the idea, at the top of the thread, of an atheist teaching his children all the 'Jesus' songs he was brought up with sounds strange. Seems like setting him up to believe. Very emotive, those songs and prayers learnt at a mothers knee.


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Stower
Date: 02 Apr 10 - 08:23 AM

Some years ago I sang an arrangement of Down In Yon Forest / Corpus Christi Carol / Bells Of Paradise, which has the refrain, "I love my Lord Jesus above anything". I'm an atheist and was happy to sing it. After all, I sing shanties and I'm not a sailor, I sing murder ballads and I've not intention of killing anyone, I sing lots of stories in the first person about things I've never done. Strange thing was, the folk club audience - who are always lusty singers - were strangely muted in this song and seemed really uncomfortable singing the refrain. I'd never seen them like it before, and I didn't sing it again.


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Ebbie
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 07:07 PM

I like to say that if it's a murder ballad I will deliver it as mournfully as I can feel it, if it's a love song- for those few minutes I will be in love, if it's a gospel song, for that moment I will enter as deeply into belief as I can manage.

For me, it depends a great deal on the music itself, how the words fit and the ambiance they create together.


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: beeliner
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 04:17 PM

Can blue men sing the whites?

Or are they hyp-o-crites?


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 04:12 PM

We've had many folks visit our home who have come along on Sat. night to sing with us in our weekly goofy gospel service. I never asked for their credentials, any more than a community choir at a Catholic college asked for mine to sing several beautiful requiems and other oratorio-type stuff. It's too personal!

Was I a believer when I sang those-- yes, in great music. The Latin texts-- did their "propaganda" influence me? I don't care! :~) Prolly not any more than the anti-religion propaganda does, actually.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: olddude
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 03:38 PM

I sing cowboy songs, and I was never a cowboy nor ever will be ...
so why not


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Acorn4
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 03:29 PM

If you're an agnostic, and you're not familiar with Les Barker's "Church of the Holy Undecided" do try and find a copy.


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: autoharpbob
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 02:52 PM

I have plodded through the above, and a couple of other related threads, and noticed that nothing had been said on this subject since about 2003. I joined Mudcat way after that, so feel very pleased that this has surfaced again, and I have the chance to raise how I feel.

I would probably be better described as an agnostic - I don't know. Atheists are as confirmed in their beliefs as Christians. I am too much of a scientist to be able to either accept or disprove the existence of God.

But I do enjoy singing many Old Time/ Carter Family songs - kind of goes with my instrument - and a lot of these are very religious songs. "Resurrection Day" by Joe Newberry is a more modern example that I have sung recently as well. I have anguished over whether I have the right to sing these songs. It is a bit like going to Christmas Midnight Mass - its fun, its enjoyable, but you are not there to celebrate the birth of Christ, you are there because its what your family and friends do once a year. I guess the conclusion I have come to is that as long as I respect the song, and sing it with feeling and do the best I can, it is OK. I have to put myself in the shoes of someone who believes - in the same way that I put myself in the position of a 19thC female weaver when I sing "Poverty Knock", or of a spurned lover when I sing "Green Grows the Laurel". I find I can accept that position. I don't sing fox-hunting songs because I don't feel comfortable in the shoes of a hunter. But I do apologize to believers who feel that I am "lying" in some way. I do not intend to mock anyone's beliefs and just want to make beautiful music, which a lot of religious music is.


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 02:36 PM

I have not plodded through all of the above but no I will generally not sing the propaganda of a cause to which I am opposed (unless there is a very very good reason).


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Acorn4
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 02:25 PM

You don't have to be a psycopath to sing a murder balled. I know of some singers who disapprove of fox hunting but deliver a great song on the subject.


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: GUEST,Demonicus
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 01:43 PM

Have your religious friends ever sung "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer"? If so, did they really BELIEVE there is such a reindeer? If they don't believe it, they shouldn't sing it, or even allow their children to sing it. Tell then that.


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Amos
Date: 06 Mar 04 - 06:53 PM

Jphnfitz:

Could you lift your vow long enough to explain what it is that it is killing you not to talk about? That would be a good start.


Shutting up is most often the wrong solution.


A


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Bill D
Date: 06 Mar 04 - 06:44 PM

"I can lay hands and ease the suffering"
...what suffering? Anyone's? Physical AND mental? Every time?

"...if it is in the person's highest good."
.. ummm..interesting disclaimer.

"I KNOW healing occurs."
   and is this 'healing' like 'curing'? as in cancer, or heart disease? Or something more abstract like 'malaise'? And would I, as a sceptic, also KNOW that healing had occurred?

That's a lot of claims, and you say nothing about where you draw this ability from...How many more like you are there, and why aren't you getting more attention, since there seems to be so much 'healing' that needs to be done?

Sorry, but those of us who have no such power and have never BEEN healed remain a bit sceptical.


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: GUEST,Pat C ooksey.
Date: 06 Mar 04 - 02:19 AM

I was raised a Catholic in Ireland, for me heaven and hell are here
on earth, I have no beleif whatsoever in the hereafter, floating around on clouds strumming harps seems extreemly boring to me, and
I cannot imagine any friend of mine joining this throng, I don't
think my friends would be there anyway, for me life is the only
heaven there is, many gospel songs are great, but the devil has all the best tunes.


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Donuel
Date: 05 Mar 04 - 10:43 PM

There is but one thing that matters and comes through in the work of anyone, artist and laymen alike, and that is caring.

Caring is supremely powerful and apparent in its presence as well as absence.

Religion and trust without reservation (otherwise known as faith)is but another form of caring and in no way can claim sole dominion of caring or love in this world.


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: johnfitz.com
Date: 05 Mar 04 - 10:34 PM

It is killing me to remain quiet, though it is a pact I made many years ago. My need and desire to break this vow makes that vow all the more important.   My challenge to you; how do you shut up?


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Two_bears
Date: 05 Mar 04 - 03:12 PM

The words faith and belief are difficult to differentiate because they are synonymous, by definition, in most dictionaries. I would define Faith as a subset of the belief system, a special kind of belief. I use a capital "F" to distinguish it from another common usage of faith. I prefer to use the words Faith and belief in different contexts. While dealing with scientific issues over the years, and often struggling with the proper usage of the two words, I've tried sorting them out this way:
-----

Faith and belief are not as synonomous as you think.

I can lay hands and ease the suffering. I KNOW for a fact that real healing will occur if it is in the person's highest good. I have seen it happen many times, and to people that did NOT believe in energetic healing.

I do not believe healing will occur. I KNOW healing occurs. That is a difference between belief and faith.


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: NobleSavage
Date: 28 Dec 03 - 10:45 PM

Poppa Gator--
The same back to ya. . . consider your hand shaken in a friendly manner.

As far as I know, the existence of Diety is beyond the ability of science to falsify or confirm while remaining true to the scientific method.

It seems to be one of those 'direct experience' type of events; either you have a direct experience that convinces you of Diety, or you accept the word of someone who has. I have not had such an experience thus far, and I prefer not to take anyone elses's word for it--so the question still remains unanswered as far as I am concerned.

NS


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 28 Dec 03 - 11:26 AM

Noble Savage:

No hard feelings. *I* should apologize to *you* for not elaborating upon my argument about "beyond human understanding." There were probably a few more points I could have made, but I've lost the impetus to do so.

Everyone:

To all those who still argue that theism is disproven by science, let me recommend a remarkable book with a stranger-than-science-fiction premise: "The Physics of Immortality," published about five years ago by Frank Tipler, professor of mathematical physics at Tulane University. A really thorough reading requires deeper understanding of math and physics than I have, but you can skip over the more complex formulae and still read and "get" about 95% of the book. Whether you *buy* his argument or not is quite another thing. I would think conventional church-going belivers would disagree more strongly with Tipler than academic nonbelievers.

For reader reviews & comments, as posted on Amazon.com, click here and scroll down about one-third of the way.


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: freda underhill
Date: 28 Dec 03 - 08:35 AM

re
Farther along we'll know all about it,
Further along we'll understand why;
Cheer up my brother, live in the sunshine,
We'll understand it all by and by…

woodie guthrie made a version of this song, which still has all the hope and power, but leaves out the religious references. it's a powerful, moving song.

freda


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Dec 03 - 03:05 AM

Anatheist can mouth the words but if it doesnt come from the soul then listeners/observers see.


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: NobleSavage
Date: 28 Dec 03 - 02:11 AM

Hey, Cruiser--

I just wanted to say thanks for the well thought-out post regarding faith, Faith and belief. I quite agree with what you said.

Poppa Gator--

It was not my intention to show any disrespect to you--it was your post and not you personally I was questioning. After reading your subsequent post I find that we agree more than disagree. Besides, it wouldn't do to agravate Santa Claus. . .

NS


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Mr Red
Date: 27 Dec 03 - 08:54 PM

annamill
I always state I have faith in human nature. The faith guarrantees that there will be bastards in the bunch. You can spot most of them, and occasionally nice guys get shit on. Honing observational skills (or doing ablutions) is a full time religion for me.
Mind you faith nearly was swept aside in the deluge (ney lahar) that was D.I.V.O.R.C.E. (mutter, mutter, mutter........) BUT FWIW I never sang till the wife left home and I have been singing religiously ever since - you never know when the magic will wear off!



a lahar is a mega-mudslide with serious momentum - boulders float along in one.


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: GUEST,Frank
Date: 27 Dec 03 - 04:21 PM

I believe that context is everything. If a religious song is sung with the understanding that unlies it, I don't believe you have to be religious to sing it convincingly. For example, Simple Gifts can be sung with conviction by a non-Shaker. Hebrew texts may be sung by Gentiles. Early pro-musica antiqua was predominantly Catholic and masses are done by Protestants and Jews.

I think that most of the performers on this list are kind of like actors in that the songs they sing have a limited bearing on their cultural backgrounds. Can you sing a sea chantey without having served on a vessel or a cowboy song without being at home on a cutting horse? I think so.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Dec 03 - 06:46 PM

No reason any Irish Republican should feel any reluctance to sing "The Soldier".


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 26 Dec 03 - 06:04 PM

Pretty provocative questions, Richard.

I guess a lot depends upon how threatened the potential singer feels by the alien belief system presented by the song in question.

I don't imagine many atheists are so militant that they would feel threatened by the words of a hymn. Turning the question the other way around (as in the original earlier thread "Can a Believer Sing Atheist Songs?"), it's probably a bit more likely that some religionists would find explicitly atheistic lyrics to be offensive and therefore unsingable.

However, neither case seems to carry the same emotional weight of singing the patriotic anthem of your sworn ememy, as in your examples.


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 26 Dec 03 - 05:41 PM

Who's going to stop him/her?

Surely the real question here is whether people should be prepared to participate, or should be prepared to refuse to participate in propaganda for causes in which they do not or should not believe - or to which they are opposed.

Should an ordinary member of the English middle class be sufficiently offended by Irish terrorist songs to refuse to sing them?

Should a Jew be prepared to join in "Die Lindenbaum"?

Should an Irish rebel be prepared to join in an Orange song - or "the Soldier"?


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 26 Dec 03 - 12:50 PM

Well, for Christmas, I took the day off from all this philosophical discussion. I just now observed that I was challenged/questioned immediately after my last post, but at this point I'm just gonna let that slide. Little Hawk, with whom I more-or-less agree on most of these issues, covered whatever I might have said nicely enough.

In my work as Santa Claus, I feel that I'm representing the pre-Christian (but by no means anti-Christian) celebration of Yuletide: good fellowship, coupled with delight in the consumption of food and drink and worldly goods. The aftermath of the equinox promises that the sun is coming back -- spring will come eventually even though the coldest part of winter is still ahead of us -- so we can chow down on this year's harvest with impunity.

The Church was smart enough not to even try surpressing this ancient holiday, instead grafting on a commemoration of the birth of Christ. The result we see today is something that can be enjoyed by all, and is open to all: Christians, secular humanists, and even believers in other faiths.

Of course, there's also an aspect of the Santa role where you're inevitably working in service of Mammon, the worst kind of commercialism. This is usually just a subtext, but on occasion it becomes unhappily obvious and can hit home pretty hard. When encountering some kids, and some parents, this distasteful aspect can be much more evident than usual. I just try to remain friendly while interjecting a note of moderation ("well, we might not be able to get you *everything* on that [overly long and detailed] list."), and hope for an immediate elevation of the mood upon the next vistor's arrival.

Enough drift! Peace to one and all, whatever you do or don't believe in, and best wishes for another 12 months and more.


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Cluin
Date: 26 Dec 03 - 12:04 PM

Go ahead. If Neil Diamond was happy to have the Monkees record I'm a Believer, he can't be too particular. Have a bash. Then try Sweet Caroline too.


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: annamill
Date: 26 Dec 03 - 08:03 AM

Actually, what I should have stated was that I believe in the goodness of people. That requires faith.

Again, Love Annamill


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: annamill
Date: 26 Dec 03 - 07:59 AM

Interesting thread. I am wondering if those that believed that the "Sun" was a deity, or worshipped "Cats", would feel Christians were "Atheists". Funny, huh? I'm an Atheist, but I don't feel vehement about it. I'm an old 60's person. You do your thing, I do mine. Simple.

I do, however, believe in people. Now, there is something that requires faith.

Happy Holidays!!

Love, Annamill


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Mr Red
Date: 26 Dec 03 - 07:40 AM

With beliefs, being individual rather than statistical, it is very much an individual thing. I went carolling round a village this Xmas and I have to say it is a very involving thing for caroller and carollee. The real problem with modern society is the trend towards self and flick-a-switch, as opposed to community and particitpation.

AND you get mulled wine, mince pies, sloe gin (yummy) and a lot of communal camaraderie. Mind you I might not do it if it wasn't for the fact that Joy (a believer) gardens for a goodly few houses in the village. She only works for those she likes, and we only sing for those that would never think in terms of Bah! Humbug!

I was asked to read the lesson at the church carol service and felt that was one step too far. I missed the serice this year but would go to be with Joy (metaphorically and physically). There is more to this singing religious songs than religion you know! I guess I am worshipping a Goddess.


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: harvey andrews
Date: 26 Dec 03 - 06:42 AM

And now you come knocking on my door
To tell me it's your God who saves
But for too many years
You've brought nothing but tears
And the crosses to plant on the graves


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Dec 03 - 06:23 AM

Actually the root of the English word "religion" and the Latin word "religio" is the verb "religo" meaning "tie up" or "fasten". The idea being, religion incorporates a system of rules for living.


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 25 Dec 03 - 09:33 PM

toadfrog - No problem. There are probably as many different kinds of atheism as there are different kinds of religion. :-) I myself was an atheist until my early 20's, but that doesn't mean I would necessarily have seen eye to eye on it with various other atheists... I think what atheism usually is...is it's a reaction to various forms of traditional religion by people who can see through the more irrational and primitive aspects of those traditional religions. Or else it's just a learned attitude, picked up from atheistic parents. That's what mine was. Monkey hear, monkey do. You can see the same about kids who learn Catholicism or some other religion from their parents. Or it's both of those. Communists were usually atheists because they were trained to be from an early age. Lakota Indians were usually believers in spiritual things because they were trained to be from an early age. And so on....

I think one of the requirements to becoming a truly free being is this: Question everything you've ever been told by your parents, your culture, your peers, and your society. Re-examine it in the light of your own experience. See if it works. Question every common assumption and every habit and tradition. It's a lifelong process. Otherwise, you just let other people do your thinking for you, and surrender much of your own potential in the process.

Cruiser - Yeah, the reason that I give broader than usual definitions to words like "religion", "faith", etc...is that I am by nature a philosopher. I see people playing a few really basic and vital games in life (survival, mating, seeking pleasure, avoiding pain, forming familial and tribal groups, ego-enhancement, self-expression, working with Love...or fear, and finally...asking WHY?), and clothing them with different complicated symbols, which then get divided up into supposedly separate categories which aren't really separate.

Accordingly, I believe everyone has a religion (or several of them), and everyone relies to a certain extent on faith, and so on... I even consider party politics to be a form of organized religion, and a mighty stupid one, too! :-) I don't believe a religion presupposes the existence of "a supreme being"...just of a supreme concern. The supreme concern of political parties for instance is to gain power and hang on to it...by whatever means possible. The supreme concern of Communism (another "godless" religion) was to replace all other social systems with itself...kind of like the Catholic Church was trying to do for the last 15 or 20 centuries.

Primitive religions deal in the most primitive of human motivations...simple win-lose scenarios...and they rely heavily on FEAR/reward as a motivator. The whip and the carrot.

Advanced religions and advanced philosophies ask WHY? And "who am I?" And "who would I wish to be?" And then they ask HOW? And then they apply what they have learned through asking those questions, step by step...and their strength and their purpose arises out of LOVE. This is as true of great science as it is of great philosophy or great religious faith.

But that's just my own peculiar view of things. Most people don't use those words the way I choose to.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: GUEST,TK The DJ
Date: 25 Dec 03 - 09:31 PM

I'm agnostic.. Agnostic-(noun)- Athiest who is afraid of pi##ing God off.


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Cruiser
Date: 25 Dec 03 - 06:20 PM

Little Hawk

Thank you for the reasoned response. I must disagree with you on your use of religious. I am probably once again defining my terms too narrowly, but specificity is important here.

The Latin root religio means religion. The definition of religion, among others, is the personal commitment to and serving of God. There are of course many varied definitions but God is always a major component.

To be fair, the Latin root religio can also refer to reverence and piety. I have a reverence for science but never could or would say that the awe I have for science is a religious belief or faith. The problem is I might slip up and use a common variant of religion on some occasions. I might say, tongue in cheek, that I perform my scientific tasks religiously. I would mean in a zealous, conscientious, devoted manner. I would never say I was a religious human being.

As for piety, which usually means religious devotion and reverence to God, I can also have a non-religious atheistical devotion and reverence to my parents and family: filial piety.

I will concur. A writer or speaker must define their terminology beforehand. Word meanings are often difficult because the English language is full of synonymity, obscure etymologies, and varied, often broad, definitions.

Ron

Give me that old time religion…


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: Cruiser
Date: 25 Dec 03 - 06:17 PM

Yes, to all except #5, but I should recuse myself from that one. It is probably unanswerable anyway.


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Subject: RE: Can An Atheist Sing Believer Songs?
From: toadfrog
Date: 25 Dec 03 - 06:15 PM

1. Little Hawk: Atheism is not the assertion that there is "nothing beyond human understanding." It could be, for example, the belief that it is extremely improbable that the universe was created with humanity in mind, by a Supreme Being who places humanity before all else and sounds very much like a human on steroids. Or an atheist might feel that the idea of a "supreme intelligence" unduly exalts a trait of which humans are already unduly proud. Or that it is extremely doubtful that an "all-wise Creator" would hold some of the astoundingly unwise views often attributed to Him. Or that a benevolent Creator would create not only the wonderful things that exist in the universe, but also the many horrible ones as well. Or that He would endorse the cruel things often done in His name.

2. I sing all kinds of songs that stand for things I don't believe in. I sing religious songs, mostly, when the feeling in the song is one I share, even if I don't share the theology. Songs that give comfort in adversity have something in them that gives comfort, and does not require that there is an all-powerful being out there that takes a personal interest in protecting one's well being.

3. And "Amazing Grace" is by no means the best there is.


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