The Perfect Songs for Atheists? October 2, 2011

The Perfect Songs for Atheists?

It’s reader Jessica‘s birthday (Happy birthday!) and her boyfriend made her a nice mix CD of atheist-themed songs! I know, I know, you’re surprise that anyone still makes mix CDs… whatever. It’s sweet.

Here’s the playlist:

1 The Great Disappointment – AFI
2 Theologians – Wilco
3 Won’t Somebody (Acoustic) – Bad Religion
4 What if No One’s Watching – Ani DiFranco
5 Evangeline – Matthew Sweet
6 Best God In Show – NoFX
7 The Answer – Bad Religion
8 The Harder They Come – Jimmy Cliff
9 Atheists Don’t Have No Songs – Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers
10 Philosophy – Ben Folds
11 From a Balance Beam – Bright Eyes
12 There Goes God – Crowded House
13 Imagine – John Lennon
14 The Absence of God – Rilo Kiley
15 Death or Glory – The Clash
16 Blasphemy (The Victimless Crime) – NoFX
17 Holy War – Matthew Sweet
18 Only the Good Die Young – Billy Joel
19 Only Rain – Bad Religion
20 Losing My Religion – R.E.M.
21 Road To Nowhere – Talking Heads

I know we have atheist rappers and whatnot nowadays, but it’s easy to forget there are quite a lot of secular-leaning mainstream songs. What would you have added to that list?

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  • My go-to songs:

    First Aid Kit – “Hard Believer”

    Frank Turner – “Glory Hallelujah”

    Also really liking “Hard to Be” by David Bazan right now:

  • Shake

    I would add ‘Judith’ by A Perfect Circle

  • Nice selection! I’d definitely put Rush in there, especially Faithless: “I have my own moral compass to steer by. A guiding star beats a spirit in the sky.”

  • Anonymous

    Surely EVERY Atheist mix-tape MUST have Dear God by XTC:

  • Kevin Ayers “Observations”

    Kevin Ayers “Guru Banana”
    Roger Waters “What God Wants”

  • Anonymous

    Imagine is just, well, imagine. And losing my religion is a phrase that means the same as coming to the end of your rope. 

  • Vic Chesnutt “It Is What It Is”

    Although I realize that none of my suggestions are “mainstream”; I guess I’m just an atheist hipster cat.

  • Percival

    Your God is Dead to Me Now –

  • Anonymous

    Yep, Judith is a great one. Probably a few other good ones from Maynard’s catalog as well. Tool’s ‘Opiate’ and ‘Euology’ would probably work as well as APC’s ‘Magdalena.’  In addition, ‘Heresy’ from NIN has always been my favorite godless song.

  • Only memories are our friends. – Heintje  (my religious fam has liked this one since very young, but recently one of them shared it on facebook, and I noticed it’s themes resembled Blackout -by Muse.)

    St. Peter’s Cathedral -Death Cab for Cutie

  • Hobova

    Sky Pilot Eric Burden and the Animals

  • Matt

    Artillery – “Don’t Believe”
    Artillery – “Damned Religion”
    Black Sabbath – “TV Crimes”
    Deicide – “How Can You Call Yourself A God?”
    Dismember – “Where No Ghost Is Holy”
    Heathen – “Pray For Death”
    Heathen – “Hypnotized”
    Heathen – “Opiate Of The Masses”
    Heathen – “Heathen’s Song”
    Kreator – “Blind Faith”
    Motorhead – “(Don’t Need) Religion”
    Motorhead – “Bad Religion”
    Motorhead – “I Don’t Believe A Word”
    Motorhead – “God Was Never On Your Side”
    Slayer – “Jesus Saves”

  • Yup, it’s a southern phrase.  You pissed someone off so much they, “lost their religion.”

  • “Ghost of a Chance” by Rush

  • Alice

    Dear God by XTC is essential to this list.

  • Burnin’ Hell – John Lee Hooker & Canned Heat  I can’t find it without the studio banter in front. 🙁 the actual song starts a minute and a half in.

  • Thomas Foss

    “Free Will” by Rush, along with XTC’s “Dear God” and John Lennon’s “Imagine” were major parts of my own journey out of religion. I’d also include something by Tim Minchin–the Gnu Atheist part of me would say “Good Book” or “Sam’s Mom,” but “Storm” or “Not Perfect” would be good too. I’ve always heard They Might Be Giants’ “Which Describes How You’re Feeling” as a glib indictment of religion, and their “Science is Real” or “Put it to the Test” would be good as well. 

  • Thomas Foss

    “Free Will” by Rush, along with XTC’s “Dear God” and John Lennon’s “Imagine” were major parts of my own journey out of religion. I’d also include something by Tim Minchin–the Gnu Atheist part of me would say “Good Book” or “Sam’s Mom,” but “Storm” or “Not Perfect” would be good too. I’ve always heard They Might Be Giants’ “Which Describes How You’re Feeling” as a glib indictment of religion, and their “Science is Real” or “Put it to the Test” would be good as well. 

  • Not mainstream, but Neko Case has a song from one of her early albums (a country album no less!) that has great atheist lyrics, called “The Virginian” (“She fell away, she fell away, she fell away from the side of the Lord,/and she was free to do what she wanted/with clouds of her own/na na na na”).

    And then there is a very bluesy song by William Elliott Whitmore that is well worth downloading, “One Man’s Shame” – “The parish will perish/by death’s cruel hand/and finish the job that fate began/All that static in the attic,/that’s just an old drunk ghost/His chains are rattlin’ but his end is close/Ain’t no hell below and ain’t no heaven above/I came for the drinks but I stayed for the love.”

  • Not mainstream, but Neko Case has a song from one of her early albums (a country album no less!) that has great atheist lyrics, called “The Virginian” (“She fell away, she fell away, she fell away from the side of the Lord,/and she was free to do what she wanted/with clouds of her own/na na na na”).

    And then there is a very bluesy song by William Elliott Whitmore that is well worth downloading, “One Man’s Shame” – “The parish will perish/by death’s cruel hand/and finish the job that fate began/All that static in the attic,/that’s just an old drunk ghost/His chains are rattlin’ but his end is close/Ain’t no hell below and ain’t no heaven above/I came for the drinks but I stayed for the love.”

  • Patrick Connors

    Amebix: No Gods No Masters

    Botch – “God Vs. Religion”Botch – “St Matthew Returns to the Womb”

    Crass – “Asylum”Dead Kennedys – “Moral Majority”Dead Kennedys – “Religious Vomit”

    The Proletariat – “Religion is the Opium of the Masses”

  • Anonymous

    “Dear God” is definitely the most notable absence.  I’d also like to humbly submit “The Pride of Creation,” by Edguy.

  • Ryan

    Fair to Midland “Musical Chairs”

    Not so much atheist as ‘strongly questioning of religion’ but probably a good one for the list nonetheless (since quite a few of these songs, save NIN/APC/Tool, lean into more mainstream/pop territory).

  • AndrewFoxMusic

    I would’ve added “Disco Institute” by Andrew Fox. I loved it when you posted that!

    Totally Not Someone Who Is Andrew Fox

  • beckyg

    I would have made that #1!

  • beckyg

    I would have made that #1!

  • Kevin Bates

    Future of the Left – “The Hope that House Built”

  • Drew M.

    When I’m in “angry atheist” mode, I find RPM’s “Goddamnit” to be cathartic.

    Entire song is NSFW, but the worst word in the linked clip is “goddamnit.”

  • TDB

    I Will Follow You Into The Dark – Death Cab For Cutie

  • Spencer

    Anything by Atheist, because, well, they’re called Atheist. Can’t get much more atheist-y than that.

  • Came here to say just this.  Maynard has a good selection of atheist songs.  Also “Rev 22:20” is a good one for the list.  (Puscifer – Rev 22:20)

  • Hjarnsynk

    Nine Inch Nails – Heresy
    Marilyn Manson – The Reflecting God

  • Vhyrrimyr

    This list really needs some more Rush… Ghost of a Chance, Faithless, and The Way the Wind Blows, among others.

    Ghost of a Chance:
    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 of 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…

    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

    Way the Wind Blows:
    Now it’s come to this
    It’s like we’re back in the dark ages
    From the middle east to the middle west
    It’s a world of superstition

  • meerkat

    the format ” the first sinle (you know me)” and “oceans”
    really anything by the band fun.
    brand new “limousine” has some really cool religious stuff in it.

  • Anonymous

    As  Motörhead and XTC area already cited, i would like to add “Super Theory of Super Everything” from Gogol Bordello,

  • Cicada

    ‘Have You Fallen Out of Love?’ or ‘Man of the Moment’ by Paul Dempsey.
    ‘All the Things that Aren’t Good About Scientology’ by Something for Kate.

  • Anonymous

    Many songs by Marilyn Manson, Slayer, Black Sabbath and  Bad Religion.

  • Go back and take a listen to “Drive” by Incubus.

  • Paul

    Propagandhi – “Fuck Religion”
    Mission of Burma – “New Nails”
    The Flaming Lips – “Do You Realize?”  (At least by my interpretation anyway…)
    The Damned – “Anti-Pope”

  • Bryan Elliott

    Bad Religion’s “You” is essentially exampling absurd the idea of afterlife, so I think that counts.

  • Jrood1986

    These are all great suggestions.

    AFI has a few other somewhat atheistic songs: “Smile” , “Let It Be Broke”, “Sacrilege” , “God Called In Sick Today”, ” The Prayer Position” all come to mind.

  • Jackie

    Another vote for “Dear God” by XTC and “I Will Follow You into the Dark” by Death Cab for Cutie.  I’d also add “Human” by Rod Stewart and “Belief” by John Mayer.

  • Jesse P.

    I’ll second that David Bazan with Curse your Branches:
    That entire album is good and his other music and collaborations are worth checking out, especially to understand where he is coming from.

  • Anonymous

    Man, any atheist mix without any Rush is no atheist mix.  “Roll the Bones,” “Faithless,” and more.  And of course, “Dear God,” by XTC.

  • Anonymous

    Man, any atheist mix without any Rush is no atheist mix.  “Roll the Bones,” “Faithless,” and more.  And of course, “Dear God,” by XTC.

  • Michael
  • Michael
  • Dave Bentley

    The best atheist song I’ve ever heard…
    Frank Turner – Glory Hallelujah

  • Anonymous

    Those 3 in your first sentence are the top 3 on my Protest list (anti religion and anti politics songs).  I’ll have to check out the rest you mention!

  • NYMetsNo1

    You forgot “Cult” and “Hate Worldwide” by Slayer, and “Real World” by Gamma Ray

  • Gamma Ray – “Real World”
    Slayer – “Cult”
    Slayer – “Hate Worldwide”

  • Anonymous

    “Roll the Bones” by Rush… “Why are we here?  Because we’re here.  Roll the Bones.”

  • Maybe this has been mentioned, and I missed it?  “Cathedral,” by Crosby, Stills and Nash.  A favorite around my house!

  • DicePlayGod

    God Shuffled His Feet, Crash Test Dummies

  • Tim Minchin’s “Thankyou God”, “White Wine in the Sun” (best Xmas song, particularly for the southern hemisphere) and “Not Perfect”

  • Robyn Hitchcock “Ye Sleeping Knights of Jesus”

    Robyn Hitchcock “That’s Fantastic, Mother Church!”

  • Gotta thank Hemant for introducing me to this gem by Bo Burnham

  • does “If You Open Your Mind Too Much Your Brain Will Fall Out (Take My Wife)” count too?

  • Rina_vicious

    Faith alone – bad religion

  • Tom Oski

    Two, that immediately jump to mind are Depeche Mode’s “Blasphemous Rumours” and
    Gary Numan’s  “A Question of Faith.” But if you don’t mind the blatant plug, there’s also a track from my band Pop Smear called “In Heaven.” You can check it out (along with a bunch of semi-amusing atheist quotes) here:

  • Rich Wilson

    “God Delusion” by Markella Hatziano.  Sadly it has been pulled from youtube.

  • “Harvest of Souls” by IQ would be my addition – but it would take up 24 minutes of the disc!

  • Lou

    “The God that Failed” – Metallica
    “Counterfeit God” Black Label Society
    Actually many BLS songs are fairly anti-religious.

  • Poolio

    Lots of good Rush songs already mentioned, but no mention yet of “Brought Up to Believe” or “The Big Wheel” which are also really overt atheist songs.

  • Poolio

    Lots of good Rush songs already mentioned, but no mention yet of “Brought Up to Believe” or “The Big Wheel” which are also really overt atheist songs.

  • Rich Wilson

    For good reason- Geddy Lee is an atheist

  • rupi capra

    Andy White {with Billy Bragg and Sinead O’Connor} – “Religious Persuasion”

  • Stephanie

    Heresy by Nine Inch Nails
    “Your god is dead.
    And no one cares
    If there is a hell,
    I will see you there’
    haha love Trent! 🙂

  • Bluebury

    Woop woop!  Thanks for the birthday wish, Hemant!
    Looks like my boyfriend is going to make me a few more CDs with all of these suggestions!  


    PS- I know the mix-cds are totally jr high.  I l0ve them though!!

  • Jennie

    That’s the one that immediately came to mind for me too!

  • The Captain

    WOW! I thought I was the only person who owned Heathen albums.

  • Koritzermarie

    My boyfriend and I have an “Atheism” playlist. 

    Imagine- John Lennon
    Dust In The Wind- Kansas
    I Will Follow You Into The Dark- Death Cab for Cutie
    St. Peter’s Cathedral- Death Cab for Cutie
    The Bad Touch- Bloodhound Gang
    Future- Colony 5
    Evolution- Korn
    God’s Army- Smile Empty Soul
    The Freaks Are Coming- Smile Empty Soul
    Jesus Is the Manager at Walmart- Smile Empty Soul
    My Imaginary Friend- Reel Big Fish

  • MartyM

    Greydon Square is a great atheist rapper.

  • Dennis R

    “Halo” by Porcupine Tree.
    “Biomech” and “Accelerated Evolution” by Allegaeon
    “Disciple” by Slayer

  • Christopher

    “It Ain’t Necessarily So” by George & Ira Gershwin.

  • Dan W

    In case nobody’s mentioned it before, there’s “God Thinks” by Voltaire.

  • Dan Crane

    There were 2 songs that immediately sprung to mind:

    God Thinks by Voltaire
    Listen to Reason by Bryan Steeksma – it is the Atheist Experience’s theme song after all.

  • P. J. Reed

    I always feel weird looking at other people making lists of songs, because it makes me realize that most of the music I listen to doesn’t have lyrics… and the songs with lyrics are usually in foreign languages.

  • GodVlogger

    Hasa Diga Eebowai (from the musical, The Book of Mormon). 

    I Ain’t Afraid  (Holly Near)

    Why Don’t Bees Go to Heaven (Ronnie Williams)

    Keep Your Jesus Off My Penis (Eric Schwartz)

  • Briansawilddowner

    Atheist Anthem by Leftover Crack

    Dear God by XTC
    Science And Honor by The Phenomenauts
    Materialist by Bad Religion
    God by Tori Amos
    Father Lucifer by Tori Amos
    I Ain’t Afraid by Holly Near
    God Isn’t Real by Robbie Fulks
    Vatican Rag by Tom Lehrer

    I’m sure i’ll think of a few others later

  • OregoniAn

    Big fan of Motorhead and a few other groups listed here. But I’m surprised no one has mentioned Frank Zappa yet? “Dumb All Over” is one of the best anti christian songs ever written. Just google the lyrics, have a laugh.. Until you realize how serious it really is..  He also wrote “Heavenly Bank Account”,  “Jesus Thinks You’re A Jerk”.. Quite the intellectual – and quite the atheist.. I miss him.

  • Some songs (just seven :p) and the main themes/lyrics:

    “Follow in the Cry” by After ForeverFear is the doom, doom of us all
    Instead of exterminating the weed
    We allow it to overgrow our functionI embrace you, accept my soul
    I shall make my life subordinate to you
    Live like your rules and laws prescribe
    and follow you wherever I goHang this heretic who’s indulged in unchaste thoughts
    Silence him such as the laws of the vellums prescribe
    Pusillanimous massacres the order of the day
    On behalf of power-hungry fundamentalists Behind your facade hides an indomitablelust for power and tyrannyTaking advantage of your pendencies
    “Yield to Temptation” by After ForeverThe anathema’s driving millions
    together in the pustules of our earth
    Greed and self-denial the cause ofunimpeded desecration of the truth
    Captive in the shackles of this indoctrinationdepraved souls wished to be pureDelight in deformity the last convulsionsare building up a bridge to a new eraThe assumption of a faded suppositionNever shall I be a marionette !

    “Cry for the Moon” by Epica is largely about the rape and torture of children at the hands of Catholic priests.Virginity has been stolen at very young ages
    And the extinguisher loses its immunity
    Morbid abuse of power in the garden of edenWhere the apple gets a youthful face
    The song also conveys the message that religion is in opposition to common sense and that the stories within holy books are fairytales.Follow your common sense
    You cannot hide yourself
    behind a fairytale forever and ever
    Only by revealing the whole truth can we disclose
    The soul of this bulwark forever and everForever and ever
    While religious leaders teach people to be moral individuals, they often are hypocrites.Indoctrinated minds so very oftenContain sick thoughtsAnd commit most of the evil they preach againstDon’t try to convince me with messages from GodYou accuse us of sins committed by yourselvesIt’s easy to condemn without looking in the mirrorBehind the scenes opens reality

    “Death of a Dream” by Epica is a song about a religious person who discovered that she has been manipulated and lied to by religion.I followed your rulesA willing foolBranded by shameMy soul suffers from your hostile waysI bear so many scars, hit me hardTime to change we have to rearrangeFor this has gone too far, way too far
    The song sends a strong message that religion breeds ignorance and is dishonest.You created this world
    Where honesty is not allowed
    You created this world
    Where ignorance is being taught

    You created this world
    Where I am all, you’ll never be
    You’ve been drilling these
    Such falsely-based philosophies in meYou created yourself
    Based on nothing else but lies
    You created yourself
    Where all your aspiration diedOnce the person in the song finds that her beliefs lacked merit and there is no good reason to believe in any gods, she breaks from from religion and continues living.The curtain has fallen
    There’s no one behind
    Corrected one mistake
    But I am still around

    Our fight is over
    My scars will leave a stain
    You thought that it was all easy
    But I will still remainYour time is over
    I’m taking what’s mine
    You thought that you could keep me
    Under your thumb and mind

    “Living a Lie” sends a strong message against prayer and religion.Hope is a desert running dry
    Deep inside
    You refuse to face the facts
    But pray for life
    Find salvations in distress
    We will wait
    For the day you’ll break out and
    And we wait for the day
    To discover there’s no way
    I can’t wait at this rate
    It’s too little and too late
    To live this lie
    “The Truth Beneath the Rose” by Within Temptation is a song about the crusades in which a believer, the singer of the song, admits being fooled by leaders who endorsed holy wars.Give me strength to face the truth
    The doubt within my soul
    No longer I can justify
    The bloodshed in his nameI believed it would justify the meansIt had a hold over meBlinded to seeThe cruelty of the beastHere is the darkest side of me(Forgive me my sins)The veil of my dreamsDeceived all I have seenForgive me for what I have been(Forgive me my sins)Pray for me ’cause I have lost my faith in holy warsIs paradise denied to me ’cause I can’t take no more?

    “And When He Falleth” is a song mainly about the problem of evil that features audible spoken words from “The Masque of the Red Death.”

    “‘Tis the Divine Comedy -“‘Tis the Divine Tragedy -The fool and the mocking court;The fool and the mocking court;Fool, kneel now, and ring thy bells!Fool, kneel now, and ring thy bells!We hold the Earth fro Heaven away.”Make us guffaw at thy futile follies,Yet for our blunders – Oh, in shame;Earth beareth no balm for mistakes -We hold the Earth fro Hell away.”

    [Male Voice]That cross you wear around your neck;is it only a decoration, or are you atrue Christian believer?[Female Voice]Yes, I believe – truly.Then I want you to remove it at once!- and never to wear it within this castleagain! Do you know how a falcon is trained mydear? Her eyes are sewn shut. Blinded temporarilyshe suffers the whims of her God patiently, untilher will is submerged and she learns to serve -as your God taught and blinded you withcrosses.You had me take off my cross because itoffended….It offended no-one. No – it simply appearsto me to be discourteous to… to wearthe symbol of a deity long dead.My ancestors tried to find it. And to openthe door that seperates us from our Creator.But you need no doors to find God.If you believe….Believe?! If you believe you are…gullible.Can you look around this world and believein the goodness of a god who rules it?Famine, Pestilence, War, Disease and Death!They rule this world.There is also love and life and hope.Very little hope I assure you. No. If a godof love and life ever did exist…he is longsince dead. Someone…something rules in hisplace.[sung:]”Believe? In a deity long dead? -I would rather be a pagan suckléd in creeds outworn;Whith faärytales fill’d up in head;Thoughts of the Book stillborn.””Shadow of annoyance -Ne’er come hither!…And when He falleth, He falleth like Lucifer,Ne’er to ascend again…”

  • Guymac

    Certainly on the skeptical side, if not overtly atheist: Ozzy’s I Don’t Know and Over the Mountain….

  • Hicap13

    Also, “Before the Earth was Round” by OKGo

  • Matt

    Coven – “Blessed is the Black”
    Death – “Spiritual Healing”
    Entombed – “The Truth Beyond”
    Sacred Reich – “No Belivers”

  • Matt

    Heathen is easily one of my favorite bands, it’s a shame how few people listen to them.

  • RTH

    Randy Newman’s “God’s Song.”

  • Mitch Gibson

    “Addicted” by Bliss N Eso.
    – A great hip-hop song about questioning religion, politics, tradition etc…

  • Soup

    Man, yeah. The first time I heard that song I was in junior high and it made me realize I didn’t have to pretend to be religious anymore.

  • “I am the voice inside your head, and I control you” – Mr Self Destruct

  • “I am the voice inside your head, and I control you” – Mr Self Destruct

  • Robert L.

    These songs by Sage Francis (indie rapper) from his latest album Li(f)e would fit right in:
    Three Sheets To The WindI Was ZeroLove The Lie
    The Best of Times

  • Robert L.

    That is horrible formatting. Again:

    Three Sheets To The Wind,
    I Was Zero,
    Love The Lie,
    The Best of Times

  • Send me your Money – Suicidal Tendencies

  • Anonymous

    “God said” – Anthony David

    The song is great, and the video is simply awesome. It’s like an atheist wish-list. Hell, it even has a close-up of the cover of the God Delusion!

  • Sleepytime Gorilla Museum – A Hymn to the Morning Star

    “..Two thousand years of guilt and fear .. The greatest lie ever told..”

  • pat

    Abigail Williams- In Death Comes the Great Silence

    NOFX- I’m Going to Hell for this One

  • And I’d subtract Imagine by John Lennon and in its place I’d put God by John Lennon

  • Anonymous

    Yes, the first two I thought of were “Hasa Diga Eebowai” and”Why Don’t Bees go to Heaven”.   And I have to add to that everything that Tim Minchin has ever written. 

  • I feel like there should be a bunch of Modest Mouse songs that need to go on this list but “One Chance” is the only one that comes to mind right now.

  • Mai

    I can’t believe no-one’s mentioned  “Breaking Up With God” by The Ark.

    Oh, and if someone makes a Spotify list of the songs mentioned in the comments, please post a link! 🙂

  • Definitely Rush, and I don’t think it’s just Neil Peart’s influence. He writes most of the lyrics, but on the last tour the band played Free Will, Faithless, and BU2B (Brought Up To Believe) back to back, and Geddy pointed out to the audience that they all had the same theme. In the recent documentary, Alex can be seen reading God Is Not Great.

  • David

    How about “In Heaven there is No Beer” ? 

    Not really an atheist themed song, but pretty good reason not to desire heaven!  🙂

  • Anonymous

    Unfortunately, R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion” is not about religion.  In the south, we have a saying, “losing my religion,” which equates to “at my wits end.”

    I actually wrote a paper on this in college.  It was one of 2 A’s I got in my English classes.

  • My Rule of thumb for life : Needs more Bad Religion.

    “How is the soup? It needs more Bad Religion.”
    “What did you think of that book? It needs more Bad Religion.””Why are you not wearing pants? It needs more. . .”Ok, so It does not work for everything, however I think : Bad Religion “American Jesus” is a classic and needs to be on the list.

  • bill

    Firstly, PWND by the Mae Shi
    Also, Religious Vomit by the Dead Kennedys.

    But seriously, the Mae Shi are crazy/awesome

  • Mark Sparrow

    Remember the little red headed girl from the nintendo movie The Wizard from the 80’s?

    Well now she’s a beautiful and talented singing atheist.

    Jenny Lewis – Born Secular:
    Jenny Lewis – The Charging Sky:

  • Rlai

    Some slightly less than atheist songs that nonetheless challenge the idea of religion:

    Vatican Rag – Tom Lehrer (a must for all ex-Catholics)
    If God Was A Woman – Richie Sambora
    The Rebel Jesus – Jackson Browne & The Chieftans

  • Leena Holtta

    There’s a really awesome Finnish song that’s perfect for atheists called “Jeesus tulee” (which means “Jesus comes”) 😀 It’s amazing 😀 Unfortunately I can’t find an English translation, and I’m too lazy to start translating it today 😀

  • Anonymous

    There are plenty more from Voltaire, like “Dead” and “Hell in a handbasket”.

  • Alexis

    The Austin Lounge Lizards: Jesus Loves Me (But He Can’t Stand You)

  • Forrest Cahoon

    Ok so this is supposedly “for kids” but I love They Might Be Giants’ “Science is Real”

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

    Oh wow… that is an excellent song… thank you!!!

  • Hey all!

    In general, I think the best ‘atheist’ songs are the ones that have existentialist themes, rather than anti-religious themes. Not that I dislike those songs, I just think the other songs tend to be be better – Bright Eyes, for instance, have a good sense of “Well, we’re gonna die, and there’s no heaven – now what?” Another great band is Quiet Company, who wrote an explicitly atheist album recently, which came out yesterday – you can listen to it for free here:

  • Anonymous

    Almost forgot:  “Rock Me Sexy Jesus” from the movie Hamlet 2.  Such a fun song!!

  • Anonymous

    LOOOL, that was awesome!

  • Trailrunr30

    If an atheist can get away with it … AMEN! I was surprised it was not mentioned. My top two are Dear God by XTC and, by a head and shoulder, God Said by Anthony David.

  • runner29

    Atheist’s Christmas carol by Vienna Teng

  • Allenthailand

    Tech N9ne’s sone “Show Me a God” hasn’t been mentioned yet – but it shows someone who is clearly on the path to Atheism, if he’s not actually there yet.  There’s also a goofy 2012 reference, but it seems there is a minimum woo content rule for serious lyrical rappers.

  • “Walkabout” by The Fixx. Shamelessly 80s – is that a problem? (Who you looking at? You looking at me?)

  • Anonymous

    I love that song, especially as sung by Sarah McLachlan, but I really see it as being written by a believer who’s angry at God or someone who is, at the very least, an agnostic–not by an atheist who’s beyond all that.

  • Mitch Gresko

    Definitely not a mainstream song, and I’m pretty far down the comments, so I doubt anyone will notice this, but Amon Amarth has a song called “Slaves of Fear” that isn’t even remotely subtle about religion. 

  • Eschmidt

    “God is not Great” George Hrab – you can find the album Trebuchet at cdbaby

  • Anonymous

    Hurt – Talking to God
    Hurt – Rapture
    Frightened Rabbit – Head Rolls Off

    And I second XTC’s “Dear God” and Rush’s “Free Will”

  • Tate

    I sing My Imaginary Friend with my christian dad all the time. I love the irony.

  • Tate

    My favorite atheist song is I Won’t Say the Lord’s Prayer by The Wonder Years.  It has tons of great lines, my favorite being “If we’re all just christians or lions, I think I’d rather be on the side with sharper teeth.”

  • I just found Emily Davis today – because she has a bunch of Bad Religion acoustic covers on YouTube –

    She also has 2 original albums on Bandcamp, including one song titled “Sagan’s Song”!

  • I think this music video by D.O.A. was posted on here several months ago:

  • Joan

    In addition to Randy Newman’s “God’s Song,” which RTH already mentioned, there’s Randy Newman’s “Get On The Glory Train” from his version of “Faust.”

    (Please listen to the whole thing, as the other foot does drop.  It’s worth it.)

    I also like Andy Corwin’s “Agnostic Gospel Song”

  • Neil

    OH HELLS YES!  You forgot my favorite, The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing”.  That one, “Dumb All Over”, and “Heavenly Bank Account” are consecutive tracks on his 1981 album “You Are What You Is”.   The lyrics for all three songs are BRUTALLY freaking honest, yet still funny, in a way only Tim Minchin has done sonce.  He was one of the first to just lay the truth out there all pink and naked. 

    For others, even if you don’t like Zappa’s style, check out the lyrics…good stuff.

  • Anonymous

     I always thought “losing my religion” was southern slang for “going insane”, which is the opposite of what it should mean…

  • Powerpoppat

    D.O.A.  “That’s Why I Am An Atheist”

    NoFX  “You’re Wrong”

  • Powerpoppat
  • Powerpoppat

    Tried to post this myself…..

  • Heisenberg


  • Carrie Halker

    Ditto “Follow You Into the Dark” and “St. Peter’s Cathedral” by Death Cab For Cutie.  Also from their new album, “Unobstructed Views”:

    There’s no eye in the skyJust our loveNo unobstructed viewNo perfect truthsJust our love

  • Guest1

    Streetlight Manifesto – Down, Down, Down to Mephisto’s Cafe.  Actually their whole album “Somewhere in the Between” is very thoughtful and anti-religion. 

  • Bill the Splut

    The song no one’s ever heard of, Alberto y Los Trios Paranoia’s “God is Mad”:

    “For if there is a god,
    Why must he be sane?
    He probably a raving fruitcake
    Out of his tiny brain.”

  • Os Mutantes “Balada do Louco” would be perfect for this.

  • Also, Bob Marley “Get Up Stand Up” comes to mind; not sure how’d he feel about me using the song in this way, since he was pretty religious, you know, with the Rastafari thing. I’d imagined he’d be a bit more pissed about Vanilla Ice covering “Buffalo Soldier” and Johnny Cash covering “Redemption Song”

  • Eghobart

    The Witness Song by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.  It’s about a man and a woman visiting a Lourdes style shrine.  Worth including for the bit at the end that goes “And I said, ‘Are you healed?’/And she said, ‘Well, are you healed?’/And I said, ‘Yes, I’m healed.’/And she said, ‘Oh yes, I’m healed then too.’/And I said, ‘Babe you are a liar, babe you are a liar, babe you are a liar, too.”

  • You missed out on “No Religion” by Mustasch, and “Glory Hallelujah” by Frank Turner. Great pieces of music right there! 😉

  • Brittany

    Sacrilege by AFI is also good.

  • So many comments and not one mention of East Jesus Nowhere

  • Sulris Campbell

    the god that failed — metallica
    heaven and hell — black sabbath

  • August

    “Losing My Religion” isn’t about atheism.  The title is a common colloquialism in the South for swearing.

  • Anonymous

    There are other great songs, but I thought your list was very good.

    I think I’ll make that CD.

  • Genesis: “Jesus He Knows Me”, for those ex-Christian atheists with a taste for bitter irony.

  • Rich Wilson

    Oh, and for the comic interlude

  • Shiloh Madsen

    Working on it now. The link is: spotify:user:mydknight:playlist:3Jl0uG5D2REEsivU731nOO

  • I can’t believe that Modest Mouse didn’t make the list.  The lead singer/songwriter is an open atheist, and a good number of their songs reflect his athiestic position. 

    Ocean Breathes Salty:
    “For your sake I hope heaven and hell are really there, but I wouldn’t hold
    my breath.You wasted life, why wouldn’t you waste death? ”
    Third Planet:
    “The 3rd Planet is sure that they’re being watched by an eye in the sky that
    can’t be stoppedWhen you get to the promise land your gonna shake that eye’s

    “If God controls the land and disease, keeps a watchful eye on me, If
    he’s really so damn mighty, my problem is I can’t see, well who would
    wanna be? Who would wanna be such a control freak? ”

    I know others have refrences as wel, but this was all I could come up with off the top of my head.

  • Anonymous

    Also, Freewill 🙂

  • John R. Butler, “Hand of the Almighty”
    Don’t be turned off by the first few lines; give it until the chorus before making up your mind.

  • A metal song with a positive message by one of my favorite bands Suicide Silence:

  • “Dear God” by X-Fusion
    There’s so much processing of the vocals that I can’t really tell what it’s about, but it does quote two good rants by Al Pacino from “Devil’s Advocate”.

  • I’d, personally, have to add “Believe in Nothing” by Nevermore. Fantastic song.

  • dbre

    While I haven’t heard many of the songs on this list, I doubt any can touch Christ Jesus by Deer Tick as far as my particular music taste goes.

    Deer Tick – Christ Jesus

  • dbre

    That was supposed to be a link. I guess I’m not doing it right.

  • How about, ‘Is That All There Is’ by Peggy Lee

  • Pureone

    just page through the death/black/whatever metal catalog. Among those is Nile and the song “Kafir”. they throw a middle eastern slant on the music and words.  starts out  With the “there is no god but god” , then shorten it by the last two words.

  • Tez Skanza

    I know it’s been mentioned but I want to add support:

    “I will choose a path that’s clear
    I will choose free will. ”

  • Anonymous

    I’m pretty sure that Tom Waits’ “Dirt in the Ground” is atheistic. At the very least, it makes the argument that after we die, nothing happens.

  • Michael Appleman

    Its basically losing your temper.

  • Erich Y.

    I would add the song “Undertow” by R.E.M. to this list.

  • Wayne Foot

    No God – Darkest Hour

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