Rush and Religion May 26, 2008

Rush and Religion

The coolest music video you’ll see all day is below. The song is “Malignant Narcissism” by the band Rush. The video was created by Bobby Standridge. You may want the full screen for this one:

Rush lyricist Neil Peart also mentions Richard DawkinsThe God Delusion in the liner notes to their album Snakes and Arrows:

I was also thinking, like Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion, about how children are usually imprinted with a particular faith, along with their other early blessings and scars. People who actively choose their faith are vanishingly few; most simply receive it, with their mother’s milk, language, and customs. Thinking also of people being shaped by early abuse of one kind or another, I felt a connection with friends who had adopted rescue dogs as puppies, and given them unlimited love, care, and security. If those puppies had been ‘damaged’ by their earlier treatment — made nervous, timid, or worse — they would always remain that way, no matter how smooth the rest of their life might be. It seemed the same for children.

There are also some atheist-friendly lyrics in their songs in case you want to check them out.

(Thanks to Paul for the links!)

[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

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  • Purple

    That was really cool. Although the tree kind of creeped me out since the branches looked like worms. =]

  • Pseudonym

    Brilliant video, but inaccurate in several respects. The main fault is that the religions of the world don’t form a tree structure.

    The actual pattern is a multi-rooted directed acyclic graph. Some religions are quite new without an obvious ancestor, and others are the result of different traditions merging (e.g. Hinduism). To push the metaphor a bit, this means that applying an axe to one location won’t help remove the structure.

  • Andrew C.

    Yet another reason to blast Rush at my next D&D game. Far out.

  • The Unbrainwashed

    @ Andrew C:

    D&D? Really? Please elaborate.

  • Darryl

    What is the sound of shit being played well?

  • What is the purpose of a meaningless insult with no spelling mistakes? You think it’s shit. I think you’re an ignoramus. Are you? Learn the difference.

    I thought the name of the lumberjack made me look of Public Enemy lyrics in a different light. 8)

  • The album is indeed fun to hear and has evocative lyrics.

    A nice contrast to Iron Maiden’s latest, which seems to have some three gospel songs stealthily added.

  • Cool video, I’d love to see a higher rez version. Some of the words were hard to read.

  • J

    Cool, nice to see pro-atheist bands around. Streetlight Manifesto is another… check them out! I’ve loved them for years, and when their new album came out this year with lyrics that almost perfectly explained what I was thinking about religion, I loved them even more. “Down to Mephisto’s Cafe” is the most obviously atheist song, but many others have more subtle references to nonreligion.

  • Thanks! For a moment there, I thought you’d posted about Rush Limbaugh and religion…that’s a nauseating read!

    For a bit more Rush-related atheism, read Roadshow by Neil Peart, the drummer/lyricist.

    It’s about his motorcycle tours of North America and Europe during Rush’s 2004 tour, with quite a bit of irreligion along the way…

  • Paul

    MonolithTMA, there’s a higher-res version on Neil Peart’s website.

    Rush is amazing. 🙂

  • Awesome! Thanks Paul!

  • Interesting. And very pretty. But I agree with Pseudonym — it’s somewhat inaccurate. For one thing, it overlooks the degree to which different religious traditions sometimes intertwine and fuse.

    Still, it makes some points worth making — namely, how many different religions there are, and how subject to change they are. Looked at from an outside perspective, it makes it that much harder to think that one of them somehow got it right.

  • RNB

    Another Rand-om quote from the Peart:

    There are those who think that life Has nothing left to chance
    With a host of holy horrors To direct our aimless dance

    A planet of playthings We dance on the strings
    Of powers we cannot perceive
    The stars aren’t aligned Or the gods are malign
    Blame is better to give than receive

    You can choose from phantom fears And kindness that can kill
    I will choose a path that’s clear I will choose free will

  • Scott

    My wife and I are going to see Rush this Saturday! Yay!

  • Scott, I am envious! I saw them last summer…three hours of incredible musicianship!!

    RNB: How ’bout

    I don’t have faith in faith
    I don’t believe in belief.
    You can call me faithless.

    But I still cling to hope
    And I believe in love
    And that’s faith enough for me.

    Snakes and Arrows

  • Paul

    I don’t believe in destiny
    Or the guiding hand of fate
    I don’t believe in forever
    Or love as a mystical state
    I don’t believe in the stars or the planets
    Or angels watching from above
    But I believe there’s a ghost of a chance we can find someone to love
    And make it last…

    “Ghost of a Chance”
    Roll the Bones

  • Pseudonym


    Looked at from an outside perspective, it makes it that much harder to think that one of them somehow got it right.

    Precisely, although to be fair, most religions in the world don’t claim a monopoly on truth in the sense that 20th Century US Christian Evangelicalism, Wahhabist Islam or Scientology does.

  • Darryl

    What is the purpose of a meaningless insult with no spelling mistakes? You think it’s shit. I think you’re an ignoramus. Are you? Learn the difference.

    I gave my opinion of what I heard. What you mean I have no idea.

  • Mike

    Some good music, but also a revelation of tortured souls. Lyrically, the have their own answers to faith, then the next moment cry out for the lack of it. A continuance of their ongoing search for meaning. Athiestically inclined, yet weak in their argument, insecure in their positions. Sometimes the easiest way out is not having to answer to a higher power. And, they don’t. But they don’t seem at ease with it. They find an open door, but the room within is dark. Rush is not inclined to step in.

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