Thanks For the Memories

When I first heard this song on the radio I was delighted since it seemed to talk about leaving God. It's more of a song for gay/bi-sexual people, I think, which is cool too. In any case I predict with the rise of atheism we'll have more top songs that speak out against the God delusion, especially since nonbelief is on the rise among the young. I look forward to it.


Joseph said...

I don't know if this is entirely appropriate or not, but one of my favorite bands is Alice in Chains (Seattle Grunge). I started listening to them through the "gateway" of Christian Rock. One of their songs challenged me to think about the problem of suffering:

Dear God, how have you been then?
I'm not fine, fuck pretending
All of this death your sending
Best throw some free heart mending
Invite you in my heart, then
When done, my sins forgiven?
This God of mine relaxes
World dies I still pay taxes

Can I be as my God am
Can you be as God am
Can I be as my God am
God of all my God am

So Lord, I see you grinnin
Must be grand always winning
How proud are you being able
To gather faith from fable

Can I be as my God am
Can you be as God am
Can I be as my God am
God of all my God am
God am
My God am
God am

All the respect I'm giving
Shared strength acquired by living
All blooming life you're feeding
Can't hide sick ones you're weeding

Can I be as my God am

There is a play on words here: God am = God damn

GordonBlood said...

I cant help John but think of the French revolution in the way you speak, so confident and bombastic that religion will die away. This sort of rhetoric has been going on for centuries and was certainly very confidently proposed in the 60s, as im sure you well know. Psychologically it makes perfect sense though, people love to predict success even if it is certainly less than uncertain to say the least.

Joseph said...

If I may interject, your comment about the confident prediction of success made me think of programs like Jack Van Impe's or John Hagge's--they are so certain that we are living on the edge of The Great Trib and the Rapture. They interpret world events (it doesn't matter which) as signs that the end is near (very near). This seems to be the default opinion on eschatology these days among evangelicals.

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

The fact is that Western Europe is already a 'post-Christian' society, and, despite -- perhaps because of -- the noisiness and political activism of religious conservatives and evangelicals, we are rapidly moving in that direction. Yes, there may continue to be lip-service paid the Christianity -- as was true for a period of time in Western Europe as well.

But conservative Christianity is losing all the battles. Look at the social issues. Divorce is no longer shameful but is seen as an unfortunate necessity in many cases. Marriage is viewed as an equal partnership, not one where the wife is subservient to the husband.

The battle against 'fornication' is lost. (It was about 40 years ago that Barnard expelled a student for living with her boyfriend. Now, in most states a landlord who refused to rent to an unmarried couple would be sued.)

The battles against 'racial mixing' -- which we forget was once a strong argument in many conservative churches -- is so far lost that Christians hide how important it once was to them.

And in the 'final battle' over gay rights, even the Brownbacks and Santorums have openly gay staff members, the Republican Governor of Florida is all but openly gay, Larry Craig was condemned for hypocrisy, not cruising (and some people wrote in symapthy to his being put in the position where he needed to seek such outlets because of the homophobia of his constituents). Gay bashing is no longer a 'rite of passage' for youths but a punishable -- and punished -- crime. And the debate has devolved into an argument over gay marriage, and even there the percentage of Americans favoring it has risen steadily to where the question is a toss-up.

The Haggfards, the Falwells, the Kennedys, the Robertsons have become the targets of jokes -- and how many other public figures have not recieved the 'nil nisi bonum' exemption when they died.

No, Gordon, it is a losing battle.

Shygetz said...

A gay Republican?

Surely you jest, sir...

GordonBlood said...

Frankly ive never thought Christianity should inject itself within the political realm, period. Christian morality is for Christians, period. As for the Falwells and everyone else you list they have brought those jokes on themselves. A Christian has no problem reconciling the fact that person's like yourselves will lose the faith and that people inside the faith will be hypocrites, its pretty clear scripturally (If one of the disciples stopped following Christ I should be too bothered that people stop doing so 2000 years later in a grossly materialistic society. As for what you say Joseph I dont understand your point. Yes there are people like that... so? Isaic Newton dealt with the same type of people centuries ago. As for "religious conservatives and evangelicals" I think that is more a hypocrisy issue than anything else, though I live in Canada which is a very different setting. Its pretty clear to me that the churches that seem to be losing members these days are the ones who refuse out of pure arrogance to recognize that the earth is 5 billion years old or that the bible is not meant, as a text, to provide perfect history. Of course, most Americans arent Christians to begin with. Many just hold intellectually to a pascals wager sort of faith, which of course is not a Christian faith at all. This is true also I imagine with many preachers, certainly arguments ive seen on this site showed a clear lack of serious religious thought. Thats not to say that other arguments were intellectually stimulating but others were simply emotional baggage.

Joseph said...

Gordon, sorry for not making myself clearer. I was making more of a side observation than a point, based on what you said about people's confident projections on the future.

Anonymous said...

GordonBlood, your first comment reminds me of your first comment here. You really need to read what I say in order to respond properly to it. I did not predict or say anything about whether religion would die, nor am I confident that it will. I predicted there would be more top songs against the God delusion. Please, while in school take a critical thinking class, okay?

Anonymous said...

especially since nonbelief is on the rise among the young. I look forward to it.

What are you referring to? Songs or non-belief?

Anonymous said...

Jennifer, if you break the whole sentence down, I'm speaking about "songs..." "top songs." Maybe an English class would help, eh?

Anonymous said...

If you really wanted to be technical about proper English, your topic sentence was not in the right place. Your opening sentence is not subject of your sentence, or if it is the rest of your paragraph does not support it.

Anyway...I'm not here to tear you down.

I'm confused on your position as others may be. On the one hand you say you are open to the views of others and then you seem to glory in the seeming success of an anti-God ideology with some strong put downs toward believers. Believers who are not causing harm to anyone.

Joseph said...

As I alluded to in my first comment (though I wasn't all that clear), there are many popular songs that question God. By popular I mean that they make a good showing on the Billboard charts and get rotation on modern rock stations.

When I was much younger, I remember writing tracts against much of the music that I now listen to, condemning it as Satanic. I was convinced that this music was instrumental (no pun intended) in the hands of the Devil to lead young people towards drugs, sex, rebellion, and even (gasp!) demon possession. Bands like ACDC, Black Sabbath, and later Ozzy Ozbourne, helped to pave the way for todays songs questioning God and Christian ideology. Many of them played right into their critics hands and hammed up accusations of back masking in the 70's and 80's. By the 90's, though, anti-religious songs were practically mainstream. The Seattle Grunge (Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam) scene frequently explored themes of disappointment with conventional Christian answers to life's problems.

Today, the bands, sounds, and lyrics once side-lined as underground are widely listened to, thanks to iTunes and the wide acceptance of alternative music. I was shocked, for example, to learn that both Ozzy and ACDC had a huge following among young kids in high school. This has made it easier for bands like Fall Out Boy ("Thanks for the Memories"), My Chemical Romance, AFI, Taking Back Sunday, Lost Prophets, etc, etc, to voice similar kinds of messages.

Anonymous said...

Jennifer if you cannot understand a simple sentence or paragraph, how do you have any expectations that you can understand the Bible? The same skills are required.

FYI I am as open as you are to opposing views. Are YOU closed minded on these issues? Neither am I. And yet we argue our points, don't we? Cheers.

Lee Randolph said...

Did I just see you backpedal on Josephs observation on your view and then point the finger at "those Christians"?

Lee Randolph said...

Hi John,
my compliments on your taste in music. I have two of their albums.

I think art is a reflection of life. heard that before? I think that art is successful if people appreciate it. I think that people aren't shaped so much by what they perceive at the moment but what they've stored away from the past. Its a grain of sand on a heap of attitude. I think that if anti-religious music become hits, then it could be that the music is just really good or it could be that people already agree with the message.


Hi Joseph,
I like those bands, always have, new and old. I was an original fan of the ramones.

Bands like ACDC, Black Sabbath, and later Ozzy Ozbourne, helped to pave the way for todays songs questioning God and Christian ideology.
In an episode of The Osbournes sharon wanted to have balloons rain down on the stage and crowd, Ozzy reminded her that he "was the Prince of F*cking Darkness" and it didn't fit with his image. So, he's the devil. ;-)

Joseph said...

"So, he's the devil. ;-)"

lol...THIS is what we've been afraid of all these years?

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

I thank you for the music suggestions, and will be checking out several of the bands, ain't YouTube wonderful. But wasn't the first anti-God song John Lennon's "Imagine"? (Other songs challenged ideas and conformity, and the early rock music scene challenged Christianity by introducing Eastern (and frequently psuedo-Eastern) mysticism, but I can't remember any specifically atheistic song before we heard "Imagine there's no heaven. It's easy if you try..."

If I'm wrong, please jog my memory. (Oh, and have to mention the Jim Morrison rant at the opening of "Riders on the Storm" -- 'You cannot petition God in Prayer')

And remember, about some of the earlier references, particularly with the metal groups, that a lot of them deliberately chose a persona that would 'shock the parents' and win them fans. Lennon and Morrison were being deliberate in what they said, as, I'd expect are the later groups that Joseph mentions. The metal groups, maybe.

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

Jennifer: In two short sentences you managed to 'push my buttons' four times. (They were addressed to John, but I'd like to answer them as they refer to me.)

"On the one hand you say you are open to the views of others and then you seem to glory in the seeming success of an anti-God ideology with some strong put downs toward believers. Believers who are not causing harm to anyone."

Now I certainly do 'glory in the success' of atheism. But let me jump on four of your words or phrases.

"anti-God" I am not "anti-God" because you can't be against a non-existent thing. This is why so many atheists overuse the "Santa Claus" or "unicorn" analogy. I am not 'anti-unicorn.' If people were going around arguing that unicorns existed and had an effect on people's lives, I would be 'anti-belief in unicorns,' but that is a subtly different position.

"ideology" It's a word I don't like because it usually has a negative connotation, implying the blind following of certain previously decided ideas whatever the evidence, which is, of course, precisely what I oppose.

However, taking it in its most 'innocuous' meaning, as 'way of thinking,' the idelogy whose success I celebrate is not 'anti-God' or 'anti-religion' but 'pro-evidence,' 'pro-science' (and equally so 'pro-history' since it demands understanding how an idea got started and why people came to believe it was true) and 'pro-investigation.' To sum it up simply, it's 'evidence first, conclusions second,' unlike the 'force the evidence to fit the conclusion' ideology of many believers.

If the ideology results in anti-religious conclusions, that's just because there is absolutely no evidence than religion is true, and a lot of evidence that it is false.

"Open to the views of others" Well, I'll certainly listen to almost anyone not authenticall certifiable, because I am, as a humanist, curious as to how people think. I am also open to any evidence or new arguments that someone wants to bring to the table on almost any topic. (The exceptions are minor. Homeopathy, astrology, and perpetual motion machines are so obviously fraudulent that you better bring incredibly earth-shaking evidence to get my attention. As a mortal being my time is limited, and some things aren't worth spending it on.)

But I've been an atheist for 45 years, and I've been 'open to the views of others' for all that time. I like to think I still am -- to someone who has something new to bring to the table. (After all, I'm willing to read the Qur'an, the Avesta, and the Book of Mormon as well as the Bible, and love studying the history of the different religions.) The trouble is that, by now, most of the arguments I hear are the 'same old same old.' Either they start from provably false premises like Biblical infallibility or Creationism or the 'fulfillment of prophecy,' or they are variants of the 'prime mover' argument, or they don't distinguish between 'a God' and 'their God,' or they use the classic circular reasoning of 'the Bible is true because it is the word of God and we know it is the word of God because the Bible say it is and the Bible wouldn't lie because it is the word of God' merry-go-round. So I'm more likely to listen to an argument that isn't one I've heard a hundred times a year -- usually in the exact same terms.

But the most serious 'button pushing' is "Believers who are not causing harm to anyone." Because believers, particularly Christians, and particularly conservative Christians ARE causing harm. And I'm not just talking about the homophobia and past racism they have fostered, or the danger to the Constitution that the 'Christian Nation' crowd fosters.

Beklievers are harming themselves and their children. I can think of nothing that has caused more psychological pain and damage -- to the point that I am occasionally surprised at the number of people who do escape relatively unscathed -- the the Christian "quadruple whammy' of
a) teaching people to ignore evidence, reasoning, and investigation because it might 'endanger their faith';
b) teaching people the lie that they are, by nature, depraved and wicked;
c) teaching the lie that pride is a sin rather than a virtue;
and d) teaching people the insane rules of Christian sexual morality -- which, as I've said repeatedly, not just causes absurd guilt, but keeps them from learning a truly sensible and ethical sexual morality.

"Not hurting anyone?" Sorry, but if I believed that was true, I wouldn't be writing here.
It's not.

Joseph said...

Prup, you're right: John Lennon was one of the earliest proponents of a non-theistic world view. The bands I started with may reveal something about my age and the music that was influential on me (first as an opponent of it, then as a listener).

Mark Plus said...

Gordonblood complains about how we sound "so confident and bombastic that religion will die away."

Look at the empirical evidence:

Why the Gods Are Not Winning

New Generation Expresses its Skepticism and Frustration with Christianity

The trend away from religion has even gotten underway in Muslim societies, as evidenced by declining birthrates.

Anonymous said...

This is short so I apologize for the curtness of the response, but I've been wanting to answer you and just have limited time.

By anti-god, it could also be said anti-idea-of-god.

I didn't mean any negative connotation by "ideology", just the formation of an idea.

About hurting people...yes, there are those who claim to follow Christ who hurt people and there are some people who are hurt because of the sensitive nature of the social experience. I do not believe that Jesus encouraged violence or hurting people emotionally or physically.

I think it's obvious that there is a time for violence, but historically Christians have been peaceful...and PLEASE do not get me started on the Crusades! Who was Karl Marx talking about when he said this:
"Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people."

Shygetz said...

Who was Karl Marx talking about when he said this:

He was talking about the poor. He argued that religion offers false promises to the poor that partially alleviates their suffering without fixing the cause of their suffering. Marx thought that losing religion would help motivate the poor and downtrodden to address the root causes of their problems.

Jam said...

I think It is funny how you speak of God as something in your comments...does that mean God exists?