Since I began my journey away from religion, whenever a religious song (not a hymn or even worship, just religious) pops into my shuffle I've begun to immediately skip it. I can't bring myself to get rid of them because I love the music, but the message just irks me now.
I'm just curious if anyone still listens to their Christian music just for the love of the music. It feels sort of hypocritical for me to listen to it and enjoy it but I mean it is just music.
I grew up singing in the church choir, occasionally playing piano for the offeratory, etc. (it was a small congregation). So whenever those commercials for some Ultimate Collection of Favorite Hymns comes on the teevee, I can't help but sing along (much to the chagrin of hubby).
After my deconversion, I did have a hard time enjoying christmas songs - until I decided that it's no different to me to sing O Little Town of Bethlehem than it is to sing Santa Claus is Coming to Town. I enjoy the traditions, but it's all mythology.
My ipod playist is quite mixed (from YoYo Ma to Tool) but the only religious music I can think of that's currently on the playlist is Sweet Honey in the Rock. It's about the vocals, and the stories of the women singing. I can accept that their beliefs are wrong without discounting the truth of their experience.
There is one hymn that still kind of gives me trouble - it was a favorite - It is Well With My Soul. It resonated so strongly within me for so long, that I sort of feel like I can't sing it without reliving the struggle of shedding the chains of faith.
The closest I get to "Christian" music is Mellencamp. He strikes me as different because not all his songs have some sort of religious theme to it, and even the ones that do aren't overbearing to me. Human Wheels is still one of my favorites.
Other than that, I find the "Christian" variants of any given genre to be...well, safe. Too safe. None of them want to expand beyond singing about stuff in a book, there's no risks involved...It's boring to hearing Christian song after Christian song rhyme "voice" with "rejoice".
It'd be like me making an entire genre devoted to singing songs about Harry Potter. After awhile, stuff is going to all sound the same and mush together.
I have ONE Christian song in my collection. I had heard it on the radio one early morning on my way to work and eventually downloaded it some 12 years ago. I liked the tune, and the vocals were alright. The song itself is just a cry to God for peace and happiness for the world, and that makes it really sad. I still listen to it, but only because I like the song itself. Not because of its message.
It really depends on the band. Some of it just sounds terrible now, but some bands I go back to every once in awhile, just to reflect (ie., Anberlin, MuteMath, Thrice). If a song's anywhere near preachy though, I can't listen, no matter how great it is.
It's OK to love the music but hate the sinner///words. I have been known to sing a whole collection of hymns with words that no longer make sense, just to keep me awake while driving home late at night (4 hour trip from a major city to a country town late at night.)
I listen to praise music rarely, now,but when I do, I feel nostalgic for the community I once felt a part of and sad at the loss of that connection I experienced during the time when it was meaningful to me; 10-15 years ago. When I go to a church wedding or funeral, I can't/won't sing the words - they are usually too ridiculous. I still like Handel's Hallelujah chorus for the music, though, and will sing every word with no ill effect - haha.
Music through the ages has myriad examples of religious connotations. Possibly even before religion was formalised: I can imagine primitive man humming a simple ditty to call on the rain gods to bless his crop. Then you have those magnificent operas and symphonies' by people like Bach, Mozart, Handel etc. to today's pop music, gospel, and choral pieces ...what I abhor is the abuse by shops playing religious tunes (Little Drummer Boy) to boost sales. The same argument applies to cathedrals and works of art dedicated to some icon or god; the creativity of man in the pursuit of religion is actually quite breathtaking if it wasn't so misdirected.
I don't listen to much music at all. I prefer audio books or listening to podcasts. In general, I don't listen to religious music, but I admit that a few songs (Amazing Grace is one) still move me, despite having given up on religion half a century ago.
Aw now you've gone and done it, C Woods. Now I've got that Amazing Grace earworm playing in my head. Don't get me wrong, it is a lovely song. Problem is, whenever I hear it, I end up singing it to the tune of Gilligan's Island. (Go ahead, try it. I dare you!)
I never had many religious songs to begin with but the one's I have I still listen to and really enjoy. I don't think you need to be religious to enjoy good music! For example Avenged Sevenfold have a song called Dear God, which I think is fantastic, it has a great melody and is just easy to listen to! I think music is open to personal interpretation and you can take whatever message you want from different songs!
The first album I ever owned, back when I stared believing in Christianity, was Jars of Clay's Much Afraid. I will to this day put that album in my car's CD player and sing my heart out.
And I still love Rich Mullins' Songs 1 and 2. And Jars' Eleventh Hour and Caedmon's Call's 40 Acres.
And if Leonard Cohen counts as a religious musician, or at least if Various Positions counts as a religious album, I'm guilty there as well.
I can't hate the words any more than I can hate the melody. It's wonderful, earnest, rich stuff. Not getting the God they're singing about doesn't change that at all, just like not getting the gist of love songs when I was younger didn't bother me.