Here's an example: I have always listened to Johnny Cash. Even before i started to think where we come from. (and thats young!) I am an Atheist now and I am 100% sure it isn't god or some other douchebag. But Cash thinks it is. I know his ways of thinking are not realistic. But I still like his music. It's not always about god or something.. What do you think?
I think you can listen to music without listening to the message. If it sounds good to you, then treat yourself by listening to it. If the message hits you harder than the music, however, and you disagree with it - then I'd say it's been ruined for you; walk away from it.
If you look at Cash's entire career, you should notice a pattern. Several albums about whatever he wanted to sing about, followed by a faith based album. Also, if you look at his popularity and financial situation right before the faith based albums the pattern makes more sense.
Who cares? If a song is good, it's good.
I love that song "Spirit in the Sky".
The religionist position that's always difficult for me to answer for myself is how profoundly faith has inspired art and architecture. I can't deny the fact that there is no historically persistent accumulation of monumentally mind-blowing artistic ventures undertaken in the name of secular humanism (there's some good stuff, no doubt, but nothing so powerful). There are surely many logical reasons for this, but – aside from species-wide dementia (which is what I believe) – I can't think of one. No doubt I'd sacrifice all these lovely things if it would erase the Inquisition, the Crusades, and the Salem Witch Trials, etc., or even just bring back Dr. Tiller.
One of my favorite movies is Robert Duvall's The Apostle. I love the story and go completely bonkers listening to him, and the other preachers, testify. WTF are they saying? I don't know. They mean it! Also, I am full-on addicted to Joseph Spence, and can listen to him sing “Oh How I Love Jesus!” all day every day. I'll play the Ave Maria on my piano without feeling like I'm betraying my "faith."
It occurs to me that if religion, which offers a petty, black-and-white picture of the unfathomable universe, can inspire people so profoundly, I should imagine what people could create if they were inspired (rather than suicidally depressed) by infinite possibility. As far as I'm concerned, atheism is just another silly belief system if we have to decide whether or not we're allowed to revel in the enormous, resonant freaking beauty human beings are capable of creating, simply because we don't agree with their inspiration.
Listen to whatever you want to, and if you're worried about how it jibes with your atheism, keep in mind that Cash used what was meaningful to him as a human being on this earth, and ended up creating something that's meaningful to you. And if anyone hassles you, just quote the religious zealot in response: