More Musicians Embrace Godlessness September 28, 2009

More Musicians Embrace Godlessness

Yesterday, I mentioned that Jazz bassist Ben Allison recently outed himself as an atheist. Apparently, he’s not the only musician taking that path.

The band A.F.I. (A Fire Inside) has a new album coming out tomorrow titled “Crash Love.”

One song on the album is titled “Sacrilege” and the lyrics allude to a pro-atheist stance:

How could you recognize
and cherish hysteric fairy tales.
They’ve come to life.
Now sit by and listen…
the whole world wails.

How is it divine
when it’s flawed design?
Fill the cracks with faith I can’t find.

Oh please believe I’m doing just fine.
For what’s deceased I shall never grieve.
Just let your faith die.

Did I say “allude to”? I meant they come right out and say it: religious beliefs are absurd and we’d all be better off without the superstition.

Meanwhile, David Bazan was the frontman for (as the submitter put it) “one of the few historical non-sucky Christian bands” Pedro the Lion. But his faith is slipping, too.

His new solo album, “Curse Your Branches,” came out earlier this month.

According to the LA Times review, he’s come a long way since his Christian days:

Bazan built an intensely devoted following inside the Christian community during his decade-long run with Pedro, asking tough questions of religion from the perspective of a thoughtful believer. Here, though, the doubt that Bazan has always scratched at takes a firmer, more certain form: “I clung to miracles I have not seen,” he admits in “Bearing Witness,” “From ancient autographs I cannot read.”

The past tense there is crucial: “Curse Your Branches” documents Bazan’s coming to terms with his newfound agnosticism , a change of heart he credits in “When We Fell” to his inability to accept “the threat of hell hanging over my head like a halo.” (“In what medieval kingdom does justice work this way?” he wonders later in that song.)

How exciting!

Now, we just need one of these artists to make it big enough so they can sing these lyrics on TV or at an awards show.

Speaking of which, can we have a Grammy category for Best Contemporary Atheist Album? Kathy Griffin could present it…

(Thanks to Jay and David for the links!)

"The way republican politics are going these days, that means the winner is worse than ..."

It’s Moving Day for the Friendly ..."
"It would have been more convincing if he used then rather than than."

It’s Moving Day for the Friendly ..."

Browse Our Archives

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Dan

    Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley (and solo work) has some pretty intense atheist lyrics:

    Born Secular:

    “I was born secular
    And inconsolable
    I heard that he walked
    He walked the earth

    God goes
    Where he wants
    And who knows
    Where he is not

    Not in me

    It’s the way
    Mothers greet their sons
    When it’s a moment too late
    It’s the law of the land
    But sometimes the dam just breaks

    God works in mysterious ways
    And god gives
    And then he takes away

    From me”

    Absense Of God:

    “The absence of God will bring you comfort, baby
    And planning’s for the poor so let’s pretend that we’re rich”


    “My mama is an atheist
    If i stay out late she don’t get pissed “

    Raise Up With Fists:

    “It’s hard to believe your prophets
    When they’re asking you to change things
    With their suspect lives, we look the other way
    Are you really that pure, sir?
    Thought I saw you in Vegas
    It was not pretty, but she was (not your wife)”

    The Charging Sky:

    And it’s a surefire bet I’m gonna die
    So I’m taking up praying on Sunday nights
    And it’s not that I believe in your almight
    But I might as well as insurance or bail
    Cause institution’s like a big bright lie
    And it blinds you into fear and consuming and fight
    And you’ve been in the desert underneath the charging sky
    It’s just you and God
    But what if God’s not there?
    But his name is on your dollar bill
    Which just became cab fare”

  • Justen

    Jay Brannan ( has a song called “Goddamned” that alludes to an atheist stance.

    Here’s a sample of the lyrics:

    “Cause virgins don’t have babies
    And water isn’t wine
    And there’s a holy spirit maybe
    But she would never rent a room with walls built by mankind
    Mary and Mohammed
    Are screaming through the clouds
    For you to lay your goddamned arms down
    Rip your bigot roots up from the earth and salt the goddamned ground

    Zeus was afraid of his girlfriend
    So he swallowed her in bed
    Then he bore forth Athena
    When they cracked open his head
    Her brother tried to rape her
    Athena got away
    And when his seed hit the ground
    The grass gave birth that day
    Now we all freely admit
    This story’s clearly bullshit
    No one would lay down their life
    Or start a war for it
    So throw your stones and pray
    You’ll be rewarded someday
    I hope it all goes your way
    But something tells me
    No one’s coming to save you
    No one’s coming to save you
    No one’s coming to save you
    Save yourselves
    From turning earth into hell”

  • Revyloution

    Don’t forget Neil Peart! The drummer/lyricist of Rush was thought to be an atheist. He put all rumors to rest with this song from the Snakes and Arrows album:

    I’ve got my own moral compass to steer by
    A guiding star beats a spirit in the sky
    And all the preaching voices –
    Empty vessels of dreams so loud
    As they move among the crowd
    Fools and thieves are well disguised
    In the temple and market place

    Like a stone in the river
    Against the floods of spring
    I will quietly resist

    Like the willows in the wind
    Or the cliffs along the ocean
    I will quietly resist

    I don’t have faith in faith
    I don’t believe in belief
    You can call me faithless
    You can call me faithless
    But I still cling to hope
    And I believe in love
    And that’s faith enough for me
    And that’s faith enough for me

    I’ve got my own spirit level for balance
    To tell if my choice is leading up or down
    And all the shouting voices
    Try to throw me off my course
    Some by sermon, some by force
    Fools and thieves are dangerous
    In the temple and market place

    Like a forest bows to winter
    Beneath the deep white silence
    I will quietly resist

    I don’t have faith in faith
    I don’t believe in belief
    You can call me faithless
    You can call me faithless
    But I still cling to hope
    And I believe in love
    And that’s faith enough for me
    And that’s faith enough for me

    Like a flower in the desert
    That only blooms at night
    I will quietly resist

    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
    And that’s faith enough for me

    And that’s faith enough for me

    I guess he still calls himself a ‘linear thinking agnostic’, but thats just a pedantic argument. If youre not a theist, youre an atheist. This middle ground bs is just political correctness gone awry. Either you collect stamps or you don’t.

  • Add The Living End to the list

  • dan

    i still think they might be giants deserve a shout-out for their new kids song “science is real:”

  • Attention Rush fans, if you haven’t seen the video for “Malignant Narcissism,” check it out.

  • John Paley

    Check out Epica, a Dutch female-fronted-metal band. Many of their songs are critical of religion, the ’embrace that smothers’. “Cry for the Moon” is an excellent example.

  • If wikipedia is anything to go by (hah!) we already have all the good ones.

  • Wait. Pedro the Lion was a Christian band?? This is from their song Foregone Conclusions:

    You were too busy steering the conversation toward the Lord
    To hear the voice of the spirit begging you to shut the fuck up.
    You thought it must be the devil trying to make you go astray;
    Besides, it could not have been the Lord
    Because you don’t believe He talks that way.

    … I mean, we’re talking about a band with a song called Rapture that is a somewhat erotic depiction of a guy having an affair, building up to an orgasm:

    This feels so good…
    Just barely moving…
    The tension building…
    Our bodies working…
    To Reach the goal…

    Oh my sweet rapture
    I hear Jesus and the angels singing
    Calling me to enter the promise land.

    Talk about blasphemous.

  • Hannah C.

    I love that more and more bands are writing lyrics about their Atheism. It reminds me that I am not alone, and that I am not a bad person. And, to put it frankly, that kicks ass. =]

  • Mike G

    A long list of Atheist songs and artists. Thought I would share.

  • ChameleonDave

    No one has quoted John Lennon??

  • How about Jello Biafra, lead singer of The Dead Kennedys, and Lard?

    Right on down to this song satirizing televangelists:

  • Ken in Aubrun

    Dont forget the legendary Bad Religion. Close to probably three-forths of their songs in a twenty plus year career are critical religion.


    Hey all –

    A little self-promotion… the above is a link to a free download of my album entitled “religion and science are enemies.” No lyrics, but the intent is there 🙂 Electronic dub & psybient.

  • Hells yeah! AFI reference. Cookies for Hemant….but to be technical, they’ve had non-religious-themed songs for quite some time now. Just listen to “Black Sails In The Sunset.” The song “God Called In Sick Today” comes to mind.

  • muggle

    Gilbert O’Sullivan’s pretty clear:

    “But as if to knock me down,
    Reality came around
    And without so much as a mere touch,
    Cut me into little pieces
    Leaving me to doubt,
    Talk about God and His mercy
    If He really does exist
    Why did He desert me.
    In my hour of need,
    I truly am indeed,
    Alone again, naturally.”

    One of my favorites and there are so many, many more that I love.

    A one liner I truly love is:

    “Dog eat dog
    Every day
    On our fellow man we prey”

    From Offspring’s “Genocide”

    And Godsmack got me through when I was being harrassed on the job.

    And, of course, there’s also “Drive” and “Imagine”.

  • Claudette

    I am shaking and crying with joy right now. Because I love music and I love music that really speaks to me and skepticism. Jenny Lewis’/Rilo Kiley’s music is A+!

    Jenny Lewis’ first solo album “Rabbit Fur Coat” (chill, she’s a vegan) is absolutely fantastic. It’s got a lot of great secular songs, but she’s not ripping religion. She’s being honest and does so beautifully. I highly recommend it!

    Neon Bible is the second album by the Arcade Fire and it’s got a lot of great secular themes.

    Like I said, I’m shaking and crying with joy thinking about how much secular music has changed my life. (Much more than people arguing back and forth about the ontological argument). I love music with depth that touches on issues of atheism even if they don’t come right out and scream “I HATE RELIGION” or “GOD SUCKS” or something lame like that.

    I’ve ALWAYS ALWAYS loved Incubus’ song “drive” (heck, I love a lot of their music). The lyrics about choosing water over wine and holding the wheel and driving always seemed like a tongue in cheek rejection of Christianity. Lyrics:

    “So if I decide to waiver my
    chance to be one of the hive
    Will I choose water over wine
    and hold my own and drive?”

    It’s a great song. Also, one last song that I have to post the lyrics to. It’s by Of Montreal and it’s called “Gronlandic Edit” (if you like trippy, fun music then you just might love this band)

    “I guess it would be nice to give my heart to a god
    But which one, which one do I choose?
    All the churches fill with losers, psycho or confused
    I just want to hold the divine in mind
    And forget all of the beauty’s wasted

    Let’s fall back to earth and do something pleasant
    We fell back to earth like gravity’s bitches
    (Physics makes us all its bitches)”

  • Claudette

    One more comment … Has anyone listened to They Might Be Giants’ latest album “Here Comes Science.” Yes, it’s for children, but I’ve learned quite a few things from it and the songs are A LOT of fun (and informative). It’s great. It’s not an atheist album. It’s pro-science. I HIGHLY recommend this album for parents and big kids and science lovers and pretty much everyone.

    Lyrics from the first song “Science is real”:

    “Science is real
    From the Big Bang to DNA
    Science is real
    From evolution to the Milky Way
    I like the stories
    About angels, unicorns and elves
    Now I like the stories
    As much as anybody else
    But when I’m seeking knowledge
    Either simple or abstract
    The facts are with science

    Seriously, I love this album and I love listening to grown folks sing children’s music! Lyrics for “Meet The Elements”:

    “Hey, who let in all these elephants?
    Did you know that elephants are made of elements?
    Elephants are mostly made of four elements
    And every living thing is mostly made of four elements
    Plants, bugs, birds, fish, bacteria and men
    Are mostly carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen”

    Okay, I’m done. I could quote lyrics forever.

  • David

    This is my favorite song so far on Bazan’s Curse Your Braches: It’s actually got a great, pop anthem upbeat sound.

    With the threat of hell hanging over my head like a halo
    I was made to believe in a couple of beautiful truths
    That eventually had the effect of completely unraveling
    The powerful curse put on me by you

    When you set the table
    When you chose the scale
    Did you write a riddle that you knew they would fail
    Did you make them tremble
    So they would tell the tale
    Did you push us when we fell

    If my mother cries when I tell her what I discovered
    Then I hope she remembers she taught me to follow my heart
    And if you bully her like you done me with fear of damnation
    Then I hope she can see you
    for what you are

    When you set the table
    When you chose the scale
    Did you write a riddle that you knew they would fail
    Did you make them tremble
    So they would tell the tale
    Did you push us when we fell

    What am I afraid of?
    Who did I betray?
    In what medieval kingdom does justice work that way?
    If you knew what would happen
    And you made us just the same
    Then you my Lord can take the blame

    More about Bazan here. Great article.

  • Well, this is good – the last thing we need is to encourage people to believe in religious fairy tales.

  • Rocket0023

    A Camp – Colonia – Bear on the Beach:

    Imaginary gods could never save you
    But I didn’t want to tell her, I didn’t want to tell her..

  • Doubting Thomas

    Does this mean that musicians are going to stop thanking God when they win a music award?

  • muggle

    One can hope, Doubting Thomas. One can hope.

    I was sick when I posted this. (That’s where I’ve been the last couple of days, down with bronchitis and a sinus infection.)

    That’s the only excuse I have for overlooking another of my all-time fav’s, REM’s “Losing my Religion”. Yeah, I know they recanted and said it wasn’t about that but I’m not buying that. I mean, have you seen the video. I think they were just running scared of the nutters.

    Also, my only excuse for not giving Incubus (thank you, Claudette, and, yep, we get the same thing from the lyrics) and John Lennon credit above for “Drive” and “Imagine”.

    Oh, and Claudette, I’ll have to check out that album for my six year old grandson.

    And there’s also Blood, Sweat and Tears “And When I Die” which is a great tongue in cheek mockery of the fear of hell and judgment.

    God, there’s just too many. This is, really, nothing new.

  • Anonymous

    If I may submit: The Lamb Most Lost. (The Death Bed Conversion)

error: Content is protected !!