This morning, I received a great article from Paste magazine written by Geoffrey Himes about religion and spirituality in popular music and the absence of music geared towards an atheist demographic. It makes sense, really. I mean, to me it seems that there’s only so much that can be said about a non-belief in a deity. Not to mention the non-saleability of such music here in this most religious of countries.
One of the first Atheist-centric songs I hear was Atheists Don’t Have No Songs by Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers:
Hysterical. And frustrating.
Back to the Himes article. This really hit home for me:
…I hunger for music that will reflect my own deepest values. But when I read through the many long lists of “Atheist Songs” on the Internet, I find that very few of those titles are actually about atheism itself. Many of them don’t even question the existence of God; they merely point out the many failings of his churches, which is not the same thing at all. Some of them deny God but accept Satan—or angels or goddesses or reincarnation or whatever, an obvious contradiction of the standard atheist position that no supernatural phenomena exist. Even the handful of songs that adhere to this consistent position are usually more interested in disproving the theist ideology than in exploring what atheism might mean in leading a productive, moral life.
Atheism, in and of itself, doesn’t have anything to do with “leading a productive, moral life”. Many of my atheist friends will disagree with me on that, and I understand why. As Steven Weinberg said:
“Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you’d have good people doing good things and evil people doing bad things, but for good people to do bad things, it takes religion.”
I get it, but religion is different from what it means to be an Atheist. Gods (lower-case ‘g’ intended there) and religions are two different things. But back to the topic at hand. I am going to begin searching out music that speaks to atheists, agnostics, humanists, etc. I look forward to using Modern Atheist to share my findings with you.