You don’t exactly have to be a devout atheist to find some of the standard practices in Religion appalling or unappealing. A lot of people prefer to think for ourselves, and personally I can’t stand a lot of what was rammed down my throat by the cult of Catholicism that was decided to be my religion as a youth. So, just in time for the resurrection of Jesus Christ, I’ve decided to share ten of my favourite songs of a not-so-holy sentiment.
Slayer – God Hates Us All
Thrash isn’t just and angry and fast, it’s also discerning and critical. Slayer proved this with their signature “fuck the system” attitude. This time the attitude is being fired against the big bearded man in the sky, not because he doesn’t exist, but because he hates us all! (Drones since the dawn of time/Compelled to live your sheltered lives/Not once has anyone ever seen/Such a rise of pure hypocrisy)
Schlong – It Sucks To Be Fucked By Jesus
Punk is nothing if not a vehicle to combine profanity, revered religious figures, Ska beats, and a couple of bars of “Eye Of The Tiger” put in for irony. Well, Punk is a lot of things, but it’s that thing too.
Frank Turner – Glory Hallelujah
While a lot of other choices on this list are angry and embody a hyper-violent attack on Religion, Frank Turner took his personal atheist views and turned them into a pleasant folk song. Frank simply offers the idea of a lack of a holy presence and encourages the people of Earth to move on from it together. (There is no God/So clap you hands together/There is no God/No Heaven and no Hell/There is no God/We’re all in this together/There is no God/So ring that victory bell)
Danzig – Bringer Of Death
I was tempted to just list “The entire works of Danzig” as his best anti-religious cut. Danzig’s whole discography has featured lyrics and artwork centred on challenging the theology of Christianity. He often writes about God and Satan and occasionally writes as though he were The Devil himself. I’ve decided to include “Bringer Of Death” not just for its badass, Danzig-style riff, but for its direct challenge of God’s intentions (See the Devil kiss the hand of god/See the Devil crying tears of blood/See the Devil bite the hand of Christ/And know the Devil is the work of God)
Tom Waits – God’s Away On Business
Here the ever-cynical and glorious Tom Waits challenges not the concept of God, but those who make themselves into false prophets to profit from Evil. I’ve also heard some folks say this is a critique of the Enron scandal specifically. (There’s a leak, There’s a leak in the boiler room/The Poor, The Lame, The Blind/Who are the ones that we keep in charge?/Killers, Thieves and Lawyers)
Nirvana – Ain’t It A Shame
Nirvana knew how to take a simple string of lyrics and make them sting with irony and sarcasm. (Ain’t it a shame to go fishing on a Sunday?) deteriorates into (Ain’t it a shame to beat your wife on a Sunday?). Isn’t it a shame when we don’t obey God’s day of rest?
The Dandy Warhols – I Am A Scientist
It doesn’t always have to be an attack on Religion: in this case The Dandy Warhols are just dead-set against illogical thinking. (Religiously I’m speaking on the science ’cause we gotta live on science alone)
Marilyn Manson – The Fight Song
Marilyn may not be the most relevant these days, but there is no questioning the impact he had on challenging the norms of society and the religions we supposedly hold dear. Bred out of his tumultuous experience of attending a Christian boarding school as a child, Manson certainly did not hold back (But, I’m not a slave to a god that doesn’t exist/I’m not a slave to a world that doesn’t give a shit)
XTC – Dear God
This is most likely one of the creepier songs on the list. It’s presented as an open letter that lead singer Andy Partridge has written to the Lord. What’s most haunting is the opening: a child’s voice simply saying (I can’t Believe in You).
Bad Religion – God’s Love
What’s a list of anti-reliougs songs without some Bad Religion? Punk pioneer and Professor Greg Graffin expresses his feelings on the work we live in, and questions how there could be so much pain and suffering if we are all indeed under God’s love. (Tell Me, Tell me: Where is the love/In a careless creation/When there is no “above”)
It’s a tough thing to criticize someone’s most beloved and personal beliefs. And if you are indeed religious or hold a personal spot for God in your life, then more power to you. The idea here was to highlight the intelligent, critical and curious thoughts that many of us, including the artists in this list, might personally hold. What is challenged the most here is the idea of God or Religion being “Status Quo”, the only right choice, the scapegoat to fuel wars or hatred. It isn’t a polite or easy debate, but we all have a right to be heard, and some wish to be heard through music. Have a happy Easter weekend everyone.