Secular spirituality

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Secular spirituality

Postby SierraLea » Tue Mar 05, 2013 3:33 pm

I love listening to music, and a lot of the times it reminds me about certain aspects of God, Christianity, or something along those lines. I thought I could share those with anyone who wanted to read.

My first one is Citizen Soldier by 3 doors down. This song reminds me a lot about the Catholic teaching about guardian angels, that they're waiting to help when things get too tough for us. It also reminded me about how we can help each other through hard times by praying for each other.

Post and tell me if you would like another song or one with a particular meaning.
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Re: Secular spirituality

Postby Davidizer13 » Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:17 pm

Honestly, I think "secular" music can be a lot more honest about Christianity and faith than Christian music can - with a Christian label, you're selling to a particular audience within the Christian bubble, who, unfortunately, tend to get very upset if anyone within that bubble does anything to shake it up or to state things differently than what's approved by those who would benefit from maintaining it. What it boils down to, is that a lot of Christian media self-censors itself, avoids the deepest issues in favor of bland "we love God, yes we do" type stuff, in order to increase sales or just to avoid controversy, despite the Bible itself containing a lot of these topics that are taboo within the subculture. The fact that the difference between "Christian" music and "secular" music is based on what record label the band's on, rather than what the band's actually saying, speaks volumes to me.

That said, the album The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me by Brand New has a lot of Christianity woven into it, drawn from the lead singer's upbringing (I think he's agnostic now?). The biggest example is the song Jesus Christ, a prayer where the singer's just pouring out his worries about the future, depression, death, eventually trying to make a deal with Jesus and realizing nobody's going to measure up in the end. Then you've got The Archers' Bows Have Broken, which I think is about hypocrisy, it's this very emotional, angry response to the classic "bible-thumper" approach, loudly accusing it of being against the God they're claiming to represent while insisting that the singer's god isn't like that - he seems to suggest that maybe they're just using God as a cover to shout at the people they don't like, trying to coat their failure to live up to Jesus' standards in a holy aura. "Who do you carry the torch for, my young man? Do you believe in anything? Do you carry it around just to burn things down?" There's lots of other pieces and references, but those two songs are really the standouts of the album, which is incredible and you should probably buy.

A lot of the new-folk stuff that's popped up in the last few years, like Mumford and Sons, Dry the River, etc., etc., have lots of imagery and ideas pulled from Christianity. Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon reminds me a lot of Ecclesiastes, pointing out all the meaningless things in the world that we put up with daily, not realizing that they're quietly, steadily driving us insane.
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Re: Secular spirituality

Postby Mr. SmartyPants » Thu Mar 07, 2013 11:58 pm

As a good friend of mine once said, meWithoutyou is about a Christian trying to deal with the fact that God may not exist, whereas Modest Mouse is about an atheist dealing with the fact that God may exist.

I love meWithoutyou because they're not explicit with their Christianity. There's a lot of elements of Sufi Islam, existentialism, and other spiritualities in their lyrics. But it all works well with me. I feel like meWithoutyou is more in-tune to my spirituality than any other Christian artist ever because I have never come across any other musician so similar to my spiritual beliefs.
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Re: Secular spirituality

Postby Xeno » Fri Mar 08, 2013 1:11 am

David pointed out one of my biggest issues with "Christian music" from when I was still a Christian. A lot of it is incredibly generic and just the same stuff. Not to say all of it is, but a great deal is. "Secular music' (read: anything not on a "Christian label") is thusly allowed to be more loose with what it can do and say with it's lyrics. So it's only natural that one would find parallels to religious faith in music that isn't specifically religious. The unfortunate issue with this is that once parallels become overt enough in a certain bands music, take Thrice for example, you get camps trying to claim the band a Christian or not. Certain songs very clearly are about faith (Image of the Invisible) and could probably be used in a church/youth service (Of Dust and Nations), and others absolutely don't belong anywhere near a religious setting (Kill me Quickly).

So to make some point that "secular music can be spiritual Image" is kind of weird.
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Re: Secular spirituality

Postby goldenspines » Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:42 am

Xeno wrote: So to make some point that "secular music can be spiritual Image" is kind of weird.
Though you can't deny that to some extent it's not weird as much as surprising that someone is making that point. I mean, this may come as a shock (or not?), but secular music can be spiritual not something that "everyone knows". Unless we're all elitist snobs here. XD; I remember being surprised when I found out that a lot of openings to anime had some themes that related to spirituality and some basic Christian ideas. It was interesting, but unexpected. Every day in life is a new adventure where you learn new things! (or something) Not to mention each person is going to get something different out of every song, but that opens a whole new line of discussion.
Thus, Sierra's post is not too far fetched or weird coming from the mindset of "I didn't grow up hearing secular music all my life, so this is a new and cool thing for me." It's like seeing the same artwork from the same artists in one little art museum and then going to the MET or the Louvre and seeing every single type of artist you can think of (and even that's not all of them). But you can't really say "It's weird that you didn't know cool bigger art museums were." because they honestly didn't until they went to see it. To make that big of a jump (and in music, it kind of is. The Christian music market is relatively small compared to all the other markets in music combined) is going to be shocking more than anything.


Personally, I encourage Christians to reach outside their comfort zone of "Christian media" and find that God exists everywhere, not just in your local Christian bookstore.
Fortunately or unfortunately, I know a lot of people who just won't listen to music outside of Christian music (and sometimes to the extreme or not seeing movies that are not "Christian"). Because Christian media is "safe" (define it as you will, because each person has a different definition). I cannot judge on whether that's the right way to think about things or not. But mainly, you are not less of a person because of it. See Romans 14.
But I think living like this can be a stopping point for you and your relationship with God. You won't go any farther because you don't see the big picture, etc. I once heard an opinion from a pastor that Christianity is not a safe religion. Though, it can be made "safe" and people can live in their safe Christian bubbles for the rest of their lives, but I think they would be missing out on the opportunities/blessings/pretty much a lot of stuff a relationship with God has to offer (which is basically what Christianity is). Because let's be honest, you can't do much for anyone else or even yourself if you're stuck in your own bubble of safety. XD;


tl;dr I basically agree with David and Xeno on their observations.
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Re: Secular spirituality

Postby SierraLea » Fri Mar 08, 2013 2:17 pm

When did this turn into a debate forum?
This thread is just a place for us to share where we found God in songs that aren't labeled "Christian". We don't have to discuss the concepts.
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Re: Secular spirituality

Postby mechana2015 » Fri Mar 08, 2013 3:23 pm

But if people seem to want to discuss the concepts, and I wouldn't discourage that. The whole music industry discussion is an interesting one to have and you hear about a lot of great bands when you dialog about things like this that you might not normally hear about. meWithoutYou, Thrice and Brand New are all interesting bands, and they're a pretty good sampling of the sort of music that's exemplified by the first band that really broadsided me with spiritual themes by a band that's in a secular setting, U2. Especially the songs Pride, Where the Streets Have No Name, and beautiful day, but particularly Pride.

Or were you just expecting people to ask you for songs and not give any response or dialog in return?
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Re: Secular spirituality

Postby Xeno » Fri Mar 08, 2013 4:08 pm

SierraLea wrote:When did this turn into a debate forum?
This thread is just a place for us to share where we found God in songs that aren't labeled "Christian". We don't have to discuss the concepts.

Who is debating? And why must threads be restricted to the lowest common denominator? Preventing discussion of concepts is stifling to people. Allow conversation to flow so long as it is within forum rules. No need to be upset that this turned into a real thread.
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Re: Secular spirituality

Postby K. Ayato » Fri Mar 08, 2013 4:22 pm

Ditto on what mech shared about U2. Another band that has some songs that could be vertically-centered (at least in my opinion) would be Lifehouse. Some songs that come to mind for me are "Broken" and"Easier to Be".
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Re: Secular spirituality

Postby Lynna » Fri Mar 08, 2013 5:52 pm

SierraLea wrote:My first one is Citizen Soldier by 3 doors down. This song reminds me a lot about the Catholic teaching about guardian angels, that they're waiting to help when things get too tough for us. It also reminded me about how we can help each other through hard times by praying for each other.

Citizen Soldier always reminded me of Jesus. It's an awesome song :)
There are lots of Secular Songs that have really struck a chord with me spiritually. The first one I can thing of is "You Found Me" by Kelly Clarkson.
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Re: Secular spirituality

Postby SierraLea » Sat Mar 09, 2013 9:14 am

This may surprise some of you, but I think Shattered by Trading Tomorrow is also a great spiritual song. I especially think that about the refrain, where it says "His love will conquer." That just sounds like Jesus.

About the discussions, sorry. This just isn't what I was expecting.
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Re: Secular spirituality

Postby Vilo159 » Sat Mar 09, 2013 10:55 pm

Dream Theater, which is in no way a Christian band, has some songs that I consider spiritual in nature. Most of there music deals with various serious problems in life, and there are a few where the solution they come to is to look to a higher power. But I'm probably wrong, because half the time I don't know what the lyrics mean in the first time, or they don't make much sense. This is just me.

I also have an odd tenancy to see some form of spirituality in almost anything that ends in a morally good decision, so some of their songs that I see spirituality in really have nothing spiritual about them.

I don't know. This is just my perspective.

Some of their songs that I see some spirituality in:
Another Day
The Answer Lies Within
The Best Of Times (really just a great, touching song)
Hollow Years
The Spirit Carries On (actually about reincarnation, but it's easy to overlook that part)
Solitary Shell (actually about autism, but it fits the theme kinda. It's good.)
Take Away My Pain
Wither (about writer's block, but I liken it to relying on God)
I Walk Beside You
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Re: Secular spirituality

Postby rocklobster » Sun Mar 10, 2013 6:19 am

I concur with KAyato. For awhile, I actually thought Lifehouse was a Christian rock band. I was surprised to find out they were secular.
Anyway, I'm surprised no one's mentioned Collective Soul yet. Songs like "Shine" and "The World I Know" are great examples of this band's spiritual side.
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Re: Secular spirituality

Postby Sheenar » Sun Mar 10, 2013 8:09 am

Lifehouse is on a secular label, yes --but they are a band made up of Christians. Same with Switchfoot and others. I can see how their faith influences many of their songs.

http://www.crossrhythms.co.uk/articles/music/Lifehouse_The_Californian_pop_rockers_who_are_kings_of_crossover/8015/p1/

U2 and Creed are other bands that come to mind with spiritual themes in some of their songs.
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Re: Secular spirituality

Postby Davidizer13 » Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:03 pm

And bands like Lifehouse come back to the same point: at what point does a band become Christian and not just Christians who play in a band? From what I've seen, the distinction doesn't seem to be about lyrical content, but in what record company they're signed with. I could get all my Christian friends together and make songs that loudly and repeatedly state that Jesus is the son of God and the ransom for sinners, but if we don't have a contract with Tooth and Nail, we're not considered "Christian." By the same token, you'll be hard pressed to find writers like Dostoyevsky, Hugo or even St. Augustine in Christian bookstores, despite their loud proclamation of Christian themes, which again leads me to believe that it's not about the message or quality, it's about who's getting the money from it.
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Re: Secular spirituality

Postby Xeno » Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:36 am

Not to mention the amount of Christians per capita compared to non-Christians. It's not like the music industry is some atypical thing where almost no one has any idea what Christianity is. Like the face of the general populace, I'd venture to say that most musicians are probably Christian, they probably just just don't reflect it in their music, or don't reflect it well. Which again leads to the "Christians in a Band" thing, which is different from a "Christian Band" because of the label they're on.

For an example, and I don't know the personal faiths of any of these people, so this just just an example, lets say Eric Clapton is a devout Presbyterian. Everyone in his band is also an aherent to one Christian denomination or another. Would knowing this suddenly make Eric Clapton and his band a Christian band/band of Christians in everyone's eyes? Or would they continue to just be who they are?

Conversely, take the band UnderOath (signed to Tooth & Nail). They're considered both a Christian band and a band of Christians by some. They have one or two songs (as of the last album I've heard of theirs) that speak expressly of Jesus. The rest of their stuff has pretty much absolutely nothing to do with god, or faith, or anything like this at all. Yet they get to be a Christian band because of their label and a couple of songs spread out over several albums...or is it because the members are all Christians?

At some point the determining factor for what makes these bands is going to have to be settled upon.

Goldenspines wrote:Though you can't deny that to some extent it's not weird as much as surprising that someone is making that point. I mean, this may come as a shock (or not?), but secular music can be spiritual not something that "everyone knows".

Right, the point I was trying to convey though was that I find it odd that someone is trying to make an obvious point out of it. I've grown up with music and always paid a lot of attention to it and saw parallels, but I didn't try to force connections between Chumbawumba and Christianity, even though if I really wanted to I could probably write up a post on how their song "Tub Thumping" has some religious themes in it.
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Re: Secular spirituality

Postby Lynna » Wed Mar 13, 2013 5:28 pm

SierraLea wrote:This may surprise some of you, but I think Shattered by Trading Tomorrow is also a great spiritual song. I especially think that about the refrain, where it says "His love will conquer." That just sounds like Jesus.

About the discussions, sorry. This just isn't what I was expecting.


You mean Trading Yesterday, now known as The Age of Information. They are an example of "A band with Christians in it", however, it is generally accepted that Shattered specifically is about Jesus.
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Re: Secular spirituality

Postby SierraLea » Sat Mar 16, 2013 6:44 pm

If You're Not The One is a song that isn't strictly religious in any way, but is a beautiful example of what Marriage is supposed to represent. I love that romance song!
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Re: Secular spirituality

Postby Sammy Boy » Sat Mar 23, 2013 4:19 am

And I had thought I was the only one that read spirituality into secular music...

Songs that make me think of spiritual themes are:
- Unknown (Lifehouse)
- Analogue (a-ha)
- The Swing of Things (a-ha)

There are also some mandopop and cantopop songs, but I don't know how to type them here. :)
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Re: Secular spirituality

Postby shooraijin » Sat Mar 23, 2013 9:10 am

I have a collection of songs in an "Unintentional Witness" playlist, but it's mostly because I find the probably accidental parallels amusing, not because I seriously believe they were constructed with any manner of spiritual thought (although in one case, I suspect the lyricist wrote it in that fashion as a light satire).
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Re: Secular spirituality

Postby SierraLea » Sat Apr 06, 2013 11:34 am

If you watch this all the way to the end, it definitely makes me think of what comes after.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtNYA4pAGjI
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Re: Secular spirituality

Postby SierraLea » Tue Apr 09, 2013 1:28 pm

This song isn't purely religious, but it does have some crucial themes.
Outcast from Kerrie Roberts
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfJ2-N5EGRY
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Re: Secular spirituality

Postby SierraLea » Sun May 05, 2013 10:05 pm

Okay, this is a manga not a song but I see some seriously Jesus-like qualities from Rikuro in Tsubasa; Those With Wings. Especially in the last volume.
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Re: Secular spirituality

Postby SierraLea » Mon Aug 12, 2013 6:26 pm

Surprise! This thread isn't dead yet!

The first opening theme of Attack on Titan speaks to how the current culture has somewhat forced Christian teachings back into the churches. It's also how I feel about what we need to do, fight our way out of our own temptations and struggles so we can conquer the world outside ourselves. Here are the lyrics with my comentary, and a link to the music.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OkpRK2_gVs

Unknown are the names of the flowers that have been trampled.
Birds have fallen to the earth and long for the wind.(this is like all those who fought before us, especially the martyrs)
Prayers won’t solve anything
Only the will to fight can change the here and now!(Faith calls for deeds!)
O pigs who laugh at the resolve to walk over corpses to move forward,
Livestock complacency? False prosperity? (People who live for this world, not realizing that they will one day lose it all.)
Give us the freedom of starving, dying wolves!
The humiliation of being caged is what triggers us to fight back
We hunters slaughter prey beyond the castle walls,
Consumed with surging bloodlust,
As our crimson bows and arrows pierce scarlet holes into the twilight.(and let in His light)

I'm sorry if I went a little overboard with this song, I just thought it was really cool and didn't want you guys to misunderstand what I was trying to say.
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Re: Secular spirituality

Postby Ante Bellum » Mon Aug 12, 2013 7:29 pm

SierraLea wrote:The first opening theme of Attack on Titan speaks to how the current culture has somewhat forced Christian teachings back into the churches.


No, it doesn't.
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Re: Secular spirituality

Postby SierraLea » Mon Aug 12, 2013 10:13 pm

Perhaps not to you, but it does to me. I respect that you have that opinion. Care to explain?
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Re: Secular spirituality

Postby Ante Bellum » Tue Aug 13, 2013 12:38 am

It's about being stuck behind fifty meter walls because there are titans on the outside who want to eat you, and you aren't content with just staying there because there's a huge outside world with marvels you only read about in books, even if it means being unsafe. In the series, the main characters (specifically, Armin and Eren) want to see the world outside the walls. There's nothing remotely Christian about the song or the series, so any perceived connection is just reading into it too much.
You also missed the first lyrics: "They are the food and we are the hunters." That, along with a few other lines, don't fit into your interpretation at all.
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Re: Secular spirituality

Postby Yuki-Anne » Tue Aug 13, 2013 3:44 am

Wait, are we talking about the anime where the kid watches a giant break his mother in half and eat her? Gorily?

Because I'm just gonna say... that was freaking nasty, and I'd prefer not to associate it with my faith in any way, but that's just me...

Also, about the Christian music vs. secular music thing, I agree with Davidizer and Xeno. Most Christian music really bothers me because it's cookie cutter and it doesn't say anything that challenges me or even really speaks to me most of the time.

"Spin" and "Breathing" by Lifehouse are my favorite spiritual nonspiritual songs.
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Re: Secular spirituality

Postby Mr. SmartyPants » Tue Aug 13, 2013 9:30 pm

Eh. It's all about reader-interpretation anyway...
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Re: Secular spirituality

Postby SierraLea » Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:05 pm

Do you guys ever listen to Christian Radio stations? There's a lot of music on those that, in my opinion, aren't generic and/or say the same thing as everything else. For example,
We As Human. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4aEpdpR ... 1377147917
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