A Musical Journey from Christianity to Atheism September 8, 2008

A Musical Journey from Christianity to Atheism

Matthew Terry is a musician who is about to release an EP under the name Fontaine.

One of the songs on that record will soon be released on iTunes — it’s called “This Is Why.” It details Matthew’s personal journey from Christianity to Atheism.

You can listen to the song by clicking here and pressing the Play button.

Just so you can follow along, here are the lyrics:

Could we talk about something else?
Anything at all?
Because it seems like you don’t understand.
Why I’ve chosen this road.
So try to argue with my points
Talk yourself in circles
Try to make sense of this contradiction
Make excuses for god.

I tried so hard
To walk the “path
Of righteousness”
But it broke my heart
To find that god
Wasn’t there

So please believe me, when I say I’m never coming back…

Could you tell me why they starve?
And why the innocent die?
Because you have an answer for everything
The greatest love is the greatest lie
So judge me based on what you’ve heard
Say that I’m going to hell
Tell me it’s all just a matter of faith
Oh how we lie to ourselves.

And I tried so hard
To walk the path
Of righteousness
But it broke my heart
To find that god
Wasn’t there

So please believe it, when I say that this is why…
The greatest love is the greatest lie.

And if by some chance hell exists
May I burn so bright, may I burn so bright
And if by some chance hell exists
May I burn so bright, may I burn so bright
May I burn so bright, may I burn so bright

The first time I listened to this track, I thought it sounded like Christian music. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if other people thought this song was an homage to God if they didn’t pay careful attention to the lyrics. That’s not a bad thing at all.

I’d love to hear more thoughtful songs like this. We need more atheism-themed music in all genres. Matthew tells me he will soon be coming out with more songs with similar themes. I can’t wait.

You can check out his other works here and here. I’ll let you know when the song is downloadable from iTunes.

If you have any thoughts on the song, feel free to leave comments here and let him know.

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  • Well, I know you’re referring primarily to the mainstream when you say these things (“we need more atheist-themed music,” “thoughtful lyrics,” etc.), but I happen to be in a punk band in the Mobile, AL area called Static Martyr that focuses on just such themes. Here’s our Myspace:


    We’re about 50% hardcore (see: scream), and about 50% melodic pop/alternative. I have more of a pop leaning, whereas my co-writer Steven has more of a hardcore leaning.

    But yeah. Just thought I’d mention that.

  • I’m releasing a hip-hop album within the next year or so, with an entire song about being faith-free — which is a much better term than faithless, which implies that we’re somehow incomplete. Atheism is littered in small bits throughout the album. I don’t want to sound like I’m advertising so if anyone’s interested, just click my name to head to my website.

    But yeah, more people definitely need to be creative in spreading the word. 🙂

  • Julie

    There’s a wonderful ska band called Streetlight Manifesto who have some awesome atheist themes! Their newest album, Somewhere in the Between, is the most obviously atheistic. Their song “Down, down, down to Mephisto’s Cafe” is about being an atheist and the song “Somewhere in the Between” is about enjoying your life because there’s nothing after it. Many of the other songs speak out against religion as well. Streetlight Manifesto has awesome sound and meaningful lyrics… they’re amazing!

  • RBH

    I like Kawlinz’s term: “faith-free.” I’m going to steal that!

  • Since we’re recommending bands, NOFX has been known in recent years for a more hostile approach to religion. Not quite the “Friendly Atheist” approach you might be looking for, but a refreshing dip in the Atheism pool all the same for people like me. A couple titles worth mentioning: “You Will Lose Faith,” from 2006’s Wolves In Wolves’ Clothing and “You’re Wrong,” from Never Trust A Hippy. The former actually mocks belief in God, whereas the latter just speaks out against it.

  • Richard Wade

    Matthew, your lyrics and voice are so full of disappointment and sadness I was moved to tears. It sounds like this is so recent that you still have open wounds. I hope you continue to write songs chronicling your journey on this road, and that as the months and years go by you can increasingly sing songs expressing peace of mind and the joy of freedom. I hope you find that.

    Thank you for this courageous, passionate song.

  • Thank you so much Richard. Yeah, the song is by far the most painful from my new recordings. I have been an atheist for about 9 months after taking the agnostic position for a little while. This song is somewhat based off of a fairly recent conversation that I had with my father-in-law (who is a pastor) and is also partly a hypothetical conversation with a Christian. My father-in-law was trying to make sense of an all-loving god and a world filled with pain in suffering. The two cannot be reconciled…

    Thanks for lending your ears!

  • I’m too old and too busy (and too much of a nerd) to hunt down good atheist bands on my own, so thanks to the commenters for sharing! Now I’ll have more to listen to than “Jesus loves me but he sure hates you” by the Austin Lounge Lizards

    I loved Matthew’s song. Definitely worth .99 to download! Reminds me of some of the heartfelt comments to the post about how people came to atheism.

    Every time I hear some stupid religious rant about atheists, I want to tell them to come here and look at that post. I know for me it’s not like I jumped up and said hey, I’d really like to join the most hated group in America. But I don’t say anything. It’s a waste of time and I end up feeling stupid for getting sucked into a grown up version of, “You’re dumb.” “No, you’re dumb.” “No, you’re dumb.”

    It’s very unsatisfying when dumb people don’t admit their dumbness.

  • Matthew,

    Thats a very beautiful song. I really liked it… both the lyrics and the guitar work.

  • The lyrics are decent, though nothing that most atheists haven’t thought and expressed many times before. I hate the music part of it. To my ears, it’s horrible. However, my taste doesn’t fit at all with the mainstream, so this might be likable to average music fans. It might, at least, inspire honest thought and conversation on the topic. Who knows what might crack the closet door an atheist hides behind?

  • DearAntarctica

    Also check out “The Virginian” by Neko Case.

    And these ones, while not being explicitly about religion or the lack of it, fit with the theme:

    Almost all of “Neon Bible” by the Arcade Fire – especially “The Well and the Lighthouse,” “Intervention.”

    “Skeletons and Spirits” and “Now” by a singer named Allison Crowe (I think these are on iTunes?)

    “Sleeping Lessons,” “Saint Simon,” and “Australia” by the Shins

  • Lisa

    The line “and if by some chance hell exists may I burn so bright” gave me goosebumps, and that was just reading the lyrics.

    @DearAntarctica, I second your “Neon Bible” recommendation. I’m also going to throw in “Ring the Bells” by James; it’s a beautiful song, especially the acoustic version.

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