An ‘atheist rock’ genre?

I got a request from a reader that I'll just pass on directly to any musically-inclined readers here…

Any chance Pharyngula readers can help? I have been writing and posting songs under the band name Natural Wastage on Soundclick.com (a sort of music version of myspace/facebook, I guess) for a while, and whilst re-installing some songs last month, I was struck by the number of Christian related genres available. Therefore, in mid July I emailed Soundclick and asked

"Looking through the categories I note that while there is Christian Rock, Country and Rap, Contemporary Christian pop and Pop and Urban Gospel, there is no category for atheist music. Can I ask you, initially, to create 'Atheist Rock' as a sub-genre of Rock. This is the category that most of my recent and current music writing falls into". The reply was I got was

"At this time there has not been enough requests for this genre to be added, so we will not be adding it. Thank you for your suggestion though."
Best Regards,
Ally Byrd
SoundClick Staff
support@soundclick.com

What I'd like to ask is whether there are any song writers or performers reading Pharyngula who feel as I do, and if so, would they be prepared to contact Soundclick with a request that they add an Atheist Rock, or Atheist Folk, or whatever, to their list of genres. Please note that I would NOT suggest a blanket, mass emailing by large numbers of people UNLESS, AND ONLY IF they are genuinely prompted by an individual unfulfilled, unrequited need to listen to, or write for, these particular genres. There is absolutely NO reason to suppose Sounclick's response is anything but honest. So let's be honest ourselves.

Hmmm. I can think of a few bands with an atheist sensibility (maybe readers can name more here!), but most of their music, with some exceptions, simply doesn't say anything about gods or jebus or magic spirits dwelling in the trees or whatever. There probably is a dearth of explicitly atheist songs because most are about real subjects, rather than not-real subjects…and you can't just say that any song that doesn't mention a god is an atheist song, or you'd have to call the Beach Boys an atheist band.

But hey, maybe there's a thriving genre out there that I'm missing. If so, let us know about it and try to show Soundclick the light.

More like this

All music that is not terrible Christian rock is atheist rock. Geez.

The thing is, atheists really don't evangelize. I mean sure, we have prominent atheists who write books full of atheist arguments and raise the profile of atheism. But it's not like we have a thing to convert people to where a bunch of rah-rah songs would be the appropriate tool. If anything, we simply try to make people aware that reason rather than superstition is a better way to live life. I can see getting a handful of good songs out there that point out the feeble waste that is religion -- try such standbys as XTC's "Dear God" and Todd Rundgren's "God Said" for that -- but not enough to prompt a whole genre of rock. And songs just bashing Christianity would be a silly waste of artistic effort IMHO.

I'd call Abandoned Pools atheist rock. Especially the song "Lethal Killers."

Well, in "Undertow", Michael Stipe sang "I don't need no heaven, I don't need religion, I am in the place where I should be." Then there are those Rush fellers, if you don't mind a little Objectivism with your denials of superstition.

But I dunno, atheist rock as a genre? Sounds cringingly didactic to me, not to mention a little obsessive in the way that, gasp, religion is. I don't need my lack of faith affirmed in everything I do. Christian contemprary/rock/zydeco is NOT what we want to emulate in any way, shape, or form.

Anyway, I think if I could be said to have any religion, it would be rock 'n' roll. Rock and various other popular musical genres have been sort of elbowing religion out of its former privileged places in culture, and that's fine with me. I say we just declare rock 'n' roll to be atheist music (is that more or less scary that satanic music?).

Maybe songs that sound like gospel or contemporary Christian could be written with sacrilegious lyrics. That might be good atheist rock. I'm thinking of the Persuasions' version of Zappa's "The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ifbgd3tkZ2M

Several songs by Muse deal with losing religious faith or have antireligious themes.

Atheist Rock?

Try Tim Minchin's "If You Open Your Mind Too Far Your Brain Will Fall Out" (Check YouTube, it's there)

Also Dan Hart - especially his album "Santa God and Other Blasphemies". (Available on CD Baby)

By Ubi Dubium (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

atheist rock, hmm, i dont like the idea of that labelling somehow.

when i listen to some stuff by 'autechre' i actually think 'these guys have to be atheist' the musics just to screwey and/or well thought out to have been influenced by any acceptence of any authority, id be suprised if any mind accepting dogma could make such obscenely creative sounds.

By extatyzoma (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

Well, yes, as Martin notes, XTC. Or for that matter, Roxy Music's "More Than This" (I like the music very much but rather dislike the text: sobby romantic "ooh am I not so brave to be facing the awful certainty of ultimate extinction, now be sure to snap that photo from my LEFT dammit").

Ultimately I agree with JDub. I'd hardly turn down the occasional ditty mocking double-wetsuited reverends dying with dildoes rammed up their arses, but really, most bands manage to sing about all sorts of things without referring to anything imaginary (beyond, perhaps, undying teenage love).

Bad Religion is one of my favorite bands, and they certainly have lots of songs with explicitly pro-atheist, anti-dogma lyrics, but I still be Greg Graffin would be annoyed if someone tried to pigeonhole them as an "Atheist Rock" band. What a horrible label!

The thing about the various "Christian _______" music categories is that they are blanket labels that encompass almost entirely craptacular generic music that is only embraced by mindless consumerist drones who will buy anything marketed to them as "Christian." My guess is that most atheists don't want pure shite shoveled their way by the demographics-driven marketing of corporate music powers-that-be. I know I don't.

I nominate John Lennon's 'Imagine.'

Something to keep in mind is that the reason there are all those Christian music subcategories (you left out my favorite, Christian Gangsta Rap) is because Christians, mostly Evangelicals, have a habit of trying to create a Christian simulacrum of popular culture as a way of isolating their kids against worldly or unchristian thinking (or sometimes just thinking). If something is popular with the kids, they make a Christian version of it so their kids won't be tempted to stray from the fold. This is also the reason there exists Christian X-treme sports, Christian energy drinks, and youth pastors with tattoos and soul patches.

These things are self-imposed ghettos and I don't know why you'd want to emulate them.

Beach Boys do have the beautiful "God Only Knows."

Not sure what that counts as.

By Stan Ferguson (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

I dont know of any rock out there, but for Atheist Rap,
buy Greydon Square and Syqnys CD's, they are awesome

Triple Jinx

By Spero Melior (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

I second Muse as a potential atheist band. I've heard the lead singer describe his lyrics as trying to "ask questions" about different issues (such as religious dogma, politics, etc), instead of just giving his opinions. They are an incredibly talented band. My favourite.

Vast vast swaths of all metal subgenres are explicitly atheist and anti-theist. Indeed about 99% of metal music is against Abrahamic religion.

People always seem to forget this.

By Gûm-ishi Ashi Gurum (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

@#22:

Pat Boone forgot this and faced the wrath of Evangelicals for his "In a Metal Mood" album. He's been trying to make amends ever since.

For an old one , how about "Cathedral" By Crosby Stills Nash and Young

Six o' clock
In the morning, I feel pretty good
So I dropped into the luxury of the Lords
Fighting dragons and crossing swords
With the people against the hordes
Who came to conquer.

Seven o'clock
In the morning, here it comes
I taste the warning and I am so amazed
I'm here today, seeing things so clear this way
In the car and on my way
To Stonehenge.

I'm flying in Winchester cathedral
Sunlight pouring through the break of day.
Stumbled through the door and into the chamber;
There's a lady setting flowers on a table covered lace
And a cleaner in the distance finds a cobweb on a face
And a feeling deep inside of me tells me
This can't be the place

I'm flying in Winchester cathedral.
All religion has to have its day
Expressions on the face of the Saviour
Made me say
I can't stay.

Open up the gates of the church and let me out of here!
Too many people have lied in the name of Christ
For anyone to heed the call.
So many people have died in the name of Christ
That I can't believe it all.

And now I'm standing on the grave of a soldier that died in 1799
And the day he died it was a birthday
And I noticed it was mine.
And my head didn't know just who I was
And I went spinning back in time.
And I am high upon the altar
High upon the altar, high.

I'm flying in Winchester cathedral,
It's hard enough to drink the wine.
The air inside just hangs in delusion,
But given time,
I'll be fine.

I'm of the firm belief that the vast majority of contemporary pop music (top 40) is absolute proof of the non-existence of God or any deity.

By Stan Ferguson (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

I'm going to say Pink Floyd.

Freethought Radio Network plays a variety of music everyday.
That young fellow Graydon Square does atheist rap, if thats of any help? Godsmack too, I think, but I can't listen to it.

It's not rock, but José González says that his second album was inspired by The God Delusion. The lyrics are not very explicitly about religion, though, except for "Abram".

And I know Heart's Magic Man is not really about religion, but it works that way too ;)

I'd say that Free Will by Rush is clearly an atheist song.

You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice,
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.
You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill,
I will choose a path that's clear: I will choose free will.

-jcr

By John C. Randolph (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

I can think of Bad Religion and Motorhead off the top of my head right now.

Have a look at these lyrics;

Thou who wouldst make us devils
Thou shalt not poison me
The world hath been persuaded
to believe thy heresy

I spit in the eye of Satan
And I will spit in thine
The devils that surround thee
Liveth only in thine eye

Bad Religion, Bad Religion
I need no gods or devils, I
need no pagan rights
Bad religion, Bad religion
I need no burning crosses to
illuminate my nights
HEY, HEY, You hear me now
You hear me now
HEY, HEY, For thou art Judas
The mark of Cain be on thy brow

Evangelistic Nazis, you cannot frighten me
The name you take in vain shall
judge you for eternity

[ Find more Lyrics at www.mp3lyrics.org/9kan ]
I spit in the eye of Satan
Spit right in your eye too
You are the spooks you're chasing
You know not what you do

Bad religion, Bad religion
I know you lie, I know you lie
Bad religion, Bad religion
Thieves and liars
Cross my heart I hope you die

If there be such a being
Then thou art Anti-christ
Turn men against their children
Turn beauty into vice
I say thy God shall smite thee
He will perceive thy lust
His wrath shall fall upon thee
Thou that betray his thrust

Bad religion, Bad religion
I say that thou art liars, Thy
souls shall not be saved
Bad religion, Bad religion
Here are the days of thunder, The
days that thou hast made

HEY, HEY
Base seducers, I see thy greed
HEY, HEY
I am more fit for glory,
Than any ten of thee

This one's called Bad Religion by Motorhead (although there's also the band bad religion as well)

By Helioprogenus (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

I can think of a few examples of atheist music; Cannibal Corpse with their song "Boiled Christians", KMFDM, NIN, Pigface, Front Line Assembly etc.

Maybe even the bulk of the Beatles stuff. But mostly music is secular and neutral WRT god. Atheist rock would inevitably be in opposition because otherwise it's just rock, right?

By wildcardjack (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

Well, most black metal - at least more recent black metal - is distinctly anti-theist (although some of it does express woo-related views) rather than "satanist". Would be the obvious choice, but I can think of several reasons why I wouldn't suggest it to Soundclick. I guess that in general, a lot of music from the heavier end of the rock spectrum would count as explicitly anti-religious.

The explicit expression of atheist views hasn't really been a very common occurrence throughout the history of music (considering a.o.t. that the church has historically been an important comissioner), although some obvious examples could be cited: Delius' 'A Mass of Life' and Requiem (based on Nietzsche), Richard Strauss' 'Also Sprach Zarathustra' and the 'Alpensinfonie' (which was originally published with the subtitle "the anti-Christian"). Other works which in more subtle ways could be said to express atheist views are Fauré's requiem and Brahms' 'Deutsche Requiem' (both Brahms and Fauré were atheists and deliberately composed said works with their views on religion in mind).

Can the original author of the request please define for me what "atheist rock" is? Is it rock that has a notable atheist agenda, or is it simply rock that is not specifically theist? In the case of the former, I suspect the list of bands to be quite short. For the latter, it seems to me that most rock fits the category. Either way, I think it is a rather silly request.

I simply choose to not listen to Christian music. Unfortunately, this has a side effect: I rarely listen to the lyrics of a song until I've listened to it several times. It isn't unusual for me to like a song, only to find out it is basically a mainstream Christian rock song. I have to bust out the MC Hawking to feel clean again.

The Beach Boys were using "God only knows" as an expression. It's a love song, nothing more. I'm an atheist and I say "Oh God" and "God only knows" from time to time. The latter in the pantheistic sense.

I have a blind friend who ways "I see" all the time.

MC Frontalot has a great song called "Origin of the Species" which makes awesome fun of fundamentalism, but he's considered "nerdcore" (yes, there is such a thing), not atheistic music (if there is such a thing).

I simply choose to not listen to Christian music.

You're missing out on some great work, then. Bach, Mozart, and Handel wrote some beautiful pieces.

-jcr

By John C. Randolph (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

Yeah, I came to the conclusion a while back that if you have to explicitly market yourself as "Christian" it's because the music sucks too much to hit the mainstream. It's not uncommon to hear a song with christian themes on the radio, so it's not as if they have to create this underground culture to spread the word. It's only appealing to people who have made religion the alpha and omega of their lives, and I have no desire to pigeonhole my musical tastes that way.

So, I'll stick to Atheist/Agnostic playlists instead, and will add "Bukowski" and "Ocean Breathes Salty" from Modest Mouse to the mix, as well as "Jesus He Knows Me" from Genesis.

Not so much "atheist" rock but certainly "creationist" rock is Sam Sparro's "Black and Gold". Its pretty catchy too.

The first verse as an example:

If the fish swam out of the ocean
and grew legs and they started walking
and the apes climbed down from the trees
and grew tall and they started talking

By Bride of Shrek OM (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

#22 Gûm-ishi Ashi Gurum:

Not true. Metal is generally anti-establishment, which tends to include religious institutions, but is not necessarily atheist in content. (And I say this as a dyed-in-the-wool metalhead.) A lot of metal, especially power metal, deals with occult or fantasy themes. In most cases it's just storytelling or marketing-via-controversy, but it's hardly explicitly promoting an atheist/non-supernatural worldview. Check out the lyrics to Black Sabbath's "After Forever" for a decidedly pro-Christian stance.

Then we have the black metal scene of the early 90s, which was admittedly explicitly anti-Christian, but tended to embrace criminal behaviours (murder, church-burning) or irrational ideologies (paganism, Nazism).

Most "atheist" bands aren't the ones that promote an ideology of non-religion, because that's no better than the contemporary Christian music (CCM) genres, which combine preachy lyrics with derivative music. Rather, the best "atheist" bands are the ones that make you think or ask you to examine stances critically: Muse, Rush, Tool, Marilyn Manson. In a similar vein, most of the members of my favourite band, Dream Theater, practice some religious faith but in their songs that explore religion ("Voices", "Blind Faith", "The Great Debate") there is an honest lyrical examination of those beliefs (and jaw-dropping musicianship to boot).

By False Prophet (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

I don't think you can have a specific "atheist" music genre. I would categorise music such as XTC's song and others that people have mentioned here as anti-religious certainly, but not atheist. If music is not specifically religious, then the definition is secular, not atheist - and secular music is the vast proportion of all modern music, I would say.

I write music on scientific and astronomical themes (because that's what interests me), but I have never considered calling it "atheist music". It's just music (and some people don't even call it that, but I don't give a monkey's!)

What's the point of trying to stick the label "atheist" on to music anyway? It's just music - you either like it or you don't. I'm actually a big fan of Neal Morse who writes some excellent prog rock, the only trouble being that he tends to sing about his religion all the time. I just try to ignore the constant evangelising he stuffs into every bar. It's good music, that's all that matters to me. The music should stand or fall by its own merits, and shouldn't have to have labels stuck onto it.

By El Herring (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

.. sorry I meant "anti-creationist" rock...what a dick I am.

By Bride of Shrek OM (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

Palomar's "Bury Me Closer" denies an afterlife, FWIW.

Tool

If you want to get your soul to heaven
trust in me now don't you judge or question
You are broken now but faith can heal you
Just do everything I tell you to do
Deaf and blind and dumb and born to follow
what you need is someone strong to guide you
Deaf and blind and dumb and born to follow
let me lay my holy hand a hand upon you

Tex @ 13, Beat me to it:

Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Nah, not enough people requested that song...

By Fernando Magyar (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

Julia Ecklar has some good ones on her "Divine Intervention" CD, http://www.prometheus-music.com/divine.html, probably "The Hand of God" is most appropriate here. I enjoy the whole CD, pretty much, although I have to be in a truly foul mood to listen to it - and doing so makes my mood even worse. Highly recommended, but not for everyone.

Kathy Mar's "My Favorite Sings" CD, http://www.prometheus-music.com/mysings.html, has one track called "The Word of God" which is also very good, but is more from a deist's point of view than that of an atheist. More appropriate from that disk is "Water, Fire, and Smoke" (nice didgeridoo background).

By Hairy Doctor P… (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

I think others have said it before me.

If you're an atheist, don't construct a getto for atheism, but expand with other atheists into the welcome fields of secularism where people meet as people and religion is sidelined.

A few bands that come to mind are: Jane's Addiction ("Had a Dad" and "Ain't no Right"), Dead Kennedys ("Religious Vomit" and "Moral Majority"), Metallica ("The God that Failed"), possibly Nirvana (at the end of "Stay Away" Curt sings "God is gay"), and let's not forget the Sex Pistols ("Anarchy in the UK").

Just for fun, here are the lyrics to "Religious Vomit":

All religions make me wanna throw up
All religions make me sick
All religions make me wanna throw up
All religions suck

They all claim that they have the truth
That they'll set you free
Just give 'em your money and they'll set you free
Free for a fee

They all claim that they have 'the Answer'
When they don't even know the Question
They're just a bunch of liars
They just want your money
They just want your consciousness

chorus:
All religions suck
All religions make me wanna throw up
All religions suck
All religions make me wanna BLEAH

They really make me sick (x5)
They really make me ILL

And "Moral Majority" ends:

Blow it out your ass, Terry Dolan
Blow it out your ass, Phyllis Schafly
Ram it up your cunt, Anita
Cos God must be dead
If you're alive
God must be dead
If you're alive

I will have to third Muse, cause I like them that much.

And theyre one of few bands that even touch on athiestic subjects.

Alphaville has transhumanistic and other similar references. They tend to mix it with a bit of spiritual imagery. Though, transhumanism is next to godliness.

They use the acronym S.M.I^2.L.E., Space Migration, Intelligence Increase, Life Extension from Timothy Leary.

Ascension Day
<<
Do what you want and then die when you want to
We're gonna walk on the blood of the meek
We're gonna sail through the oceans of wonder
We're gonna live in the dreams that we seek
>>

A tragically (mostly) unknown band.

I could imagine Rush or Pink Floyd touching this stuff, but I dont know either of them all that well.

Lennon:

God is a Concept by which
we measure our pain
I'll say it again
God is a Concept by which
we measure our pain
I don't believe in magic
I don't believe in I-ching
I don't believe in Bible
I don't believe in Tarot
I don't believe in Hitler
I don't believe in Jesus
I don't believe in Kennedy
I don't believe in Buddha
I don't believe in Mantra
I don't believe in Gita
I don't believe in Yoga
I don't believe in Kings
I don't believe in Elvis
I don't believe in Zimmerman
I don't believe in Beatles
I just believe in me...and that reality

The dream is over
What can I say?
the Dream is Over
Yesterday
I was the Dreamweaver
But now I'm reborn
I was the Walrus
But now I'm John
and so dear friends
you'll just have to carry on
The Dream is over

By Bjørn Østman (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

See I'm not sure this would work. Most people don't label music "atheist" because they (right or wrongly) assume that any music that isn't "Christian" is Atheist.

I mean, I listen to goth/industrial/synth but also listen to techno/80's/Disco (I've got a good range of tunes). And most people automatically assume (and we know what that word means) that the "goth" music I listen to is Atheist. And that's simply not true.

So while I do understand his point ("If you've Christian Rock, why not Atheist Rock"?), I don't know how well that genre label would do if (by their logic) "anything that isn't Christian is atheist".

toni

By ElectricBarbarella (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

This is one of the dumber ideas I've ever heard.

It's called death metal... I would say a good 90% - 95% of death metal bands are god free: Atheist, Agnostic front, Opeth, Kataklysm, Death, Winds of Plague, Nevermore, Obituary, Nile, Morbid Angel, Deicide, just to name a few.

By Zeke Silva (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

Irene@ #6:
The Hawkman!

I also nominate Peter Gabriel's "Not One of Us"

Bad Religion, of course. They probably have the most outspoken and intelligent lyrics you're likely to find on the subject of religion being less-than-awesome.

Ironically, many Christians interpret their lyrics as being religious in character.

KMFDM is pretty awesome too.

NO FX has atheistic themes in some songs.

I wouldn't say Pink Floyd because of one song, "Us and Them", i still like and listen to their music though.

Wouldnt like an atheist rock classification either. No other groups or even religions than christianity really have these sub-genres, you dont see Jewish rap or Muslim rock etc.

By Cloudwork (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

Plenty of hardcore/punk bands have held the anti-religion mantle over the years. Many of these bands are no longer around, but still good for many listens

Chokehold
Left For Dead
The Swarm
Bad Religion
Fucked Up
Converge
Morning Again
The Power & The Glory

This BANE song always gives me goosebumps:
Struck Down By Me

I'm kinda naive about music genres; does George Hrab play rock? He was on the boat with Myers, fer cryin' out loud -it's gotta be atheist music!

I 'third' the notion that ghetto-ization of music as 'atheist' is a low and unworthy goal. The "frightened of their own shadow" xians want to live in a god-soaked ghetto. Let them.
The rest of us have a much much bigger world to roam in.

As an aside, I would say that xians don't think "unxian" music is 'atheistic' so much as satanic. It's the binary thing. If you aren't wailing about Jebus, you're sucking beelzebub's c--k.

Modest Mouse has a few songs, among them the closest thing they've had to a hit, "Bukawski."

There's always Bad Religion, whose logo is a crossed out cross.

Skinny Puppy, for your Gothic/Industrial tastes.

I'm sure their are others but many simply avoid mystical lyrics.

I'm with the "atheist rock as a category is a bad idea" crowd. However, there are two wonderful songs that served as "atheist anthems" for me personally:

"Heyling" by FC Kahuna
and "This is the Life" by Living Colour

Check 'em out.

By Joe the Ordinary Guy (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

I agree with those who find the genre label "Atheist Rock" a little silly or perhaps misguided, but I still want a band named New Atheist Noise Machine. (We can thank Matt Nisbet in the liner notes.)

Also, we need a punk band called Naked Dromeosaurid, or maybe a synthpop group called Feathered Dromeosaurid — I'd be down with both.

The whole reason Christian pop is so bad is that it's vapid and predictable: every punchline is basically just another goose of the ideology.

Atheism, at least, doesn't have any single identifiable ideology its beholden to, so as a genre it might have a leg up in that regard.

As for an atheist-friendly anthem, I'll take "I'll Follow You Into the Dark" by Deathcab any day of the week.

You're thinking inside the box here: why not label everything that doesn't refer to a higher power as Atheist Music. Everything good, that is--every bit of music where people reach out to and help each other or accept a their tough lives without whining for a magic fix. Start with "Pack up Your Sorrows" sung by Joan Baez and "The Mary Ellen Carter (Rise Again)" by Stan Rogers.

"And you, to whom adversity has dealt the final blow
With smiling bastards lying to you everywhere you go
Turn to, and put out all your strength of arm and heart and brain
And like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again."

As an aside, I would say that xians don't think "unxian" music is 'atheistic' so much as satanic. It's the binary thing. If you aren't wailing about Jebus, you're sucking beelzebub's c--k.

I would take that a bit further (only because I have to deal with Christians a bit more closely than most being an Atheist Homeschooler) and say it isn't so much that they think anything that is not-Christian is atheistic or even satanic, but Pagan (which I've heard) and then they make the cyclical argument that brings them back to being "but if they are Pagan and since Pagan is Satanic, and we all know all Atheists are Satanic Pagans....(drifts off)"...

:)

Basically, labeling the genre of music "Atheist" Rock is sort of a double entendre(sp), a, umm, what's the word--not double negative, ahh shit--just drew a blank on it. I think you get what I mean though.

toni

By ElectricBarbarella (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

Would the band Atheist count? Pretty much of all of extreme metal really.

Funny, I just saw this yesterday at Atheist Movies

Children of a Worthless God by Exodus @ YouTube

Brainwashed into madness,
your children are killers without fear
Manipulate and dominate,
stealing their lives for your hate
Twisted perverted minds,
think as we do or you die
Demagogue, fanatical tyrant
a false prophet seething with lies


I you fear, seeing through your lies
You I fear, raping of innocent minds


Follow us blindly or die like a dog
Blood mixed with sand for this holy war
Your saviors a killer, you die for Allah
You are all children of a worthless god


Propagation of violence
your one god a disease upon man
Execution, crucifixion
the answer for those not in your plan
The penalty for contempt against your god
is death and nothing else
Ignorant infidels
are subhuman and will all burn in hell


I you fear, seeing through your lies
You I fear, raping of innocent minds


Follow us blindly or die like a dog
Blood mixed with sand for this holy war
Your saviors a killer, you die for Allah
You are all children of a worthless god


Smite the perverts and the obstinate
praising the death of the free
United States of Islam
that's what you would like it to be
Violate the unbelievers
praising crimes against man
Human rights mean nothing
Doctrine of death a scourge upon man


I you fear, seeing through your lies
You I fear, raping of innocent minds


Follow us blindly or die like a dog
Blood mixed with sand for this holy war
Your saviors a killer, you die for Allah
You are all children of a worthless god

Remember when the Christians ragged on John Lennon for having the temerity to suggest the Beatles might be more popular than the skyfairy.

If you are into evolution, I think that "Transitional Forms" would be a great name for a band.

Here's another motorhead song called God was never on your side.

If the stars fall down on me,
And the sun refused to shine,
Then may the shackles be undone,
May all the old words cease to rhyme,
If the sky turned into stone,
It will matter not at all,
For there is no heaven in the sky,
Hell does not wait for our downfall!

Let the voice of reason chime,
Let the friars vanish for all time,
God's face is hidden, all unseen,
You can't ask him,
What it all means,
He was never on your side,
God was never on your side,
Let right or wrong alone decide,
God was never on your side.

See ten thousand ministries,
See the holy, righteous dogs,
They claim to heal,
But all they do is steal,
Abuse your faith,
Cheat and rob,

If god is wise,
Why is he still,
When these false prophets,
Call him friend,
Why is he silent,
Is he blind?!
Are we abandoned in the end?

Let the sword of reason shine,
Let us be free of prayer and shrine,
God's face is hidden, turned way,
He never has a word to say,
He was never on your side,
God was never on your side,
Let right or wrong alone decide!
God was never on your side!
No, no, no!

(Guitar solo)

He was never on your side,
God was never on your side,
Never!
Never!
Never!
Never!
Never on your side!
Never on your side!
God was never on your side,
Never on your side...

By Helioprogenus (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

Hairy Doctor Professor @ #50 - Yay for Julia and Kathy! Filk is full of anti-woo, anti-religiosity lyrics. And of course, far too much Trek. Bet there is an entire ChristiFilk genre lurking out there though, but happily I've never had to listen to it.
Jordin Kare's "Parody Violation" might well appeal to many folks here (Jordin really is a rocket scientist) and probably a fair bit of Leslie FIsh's too. Best of all, unlike so many musical genres, Filk is pretty much exclusively performed by people having fun for people having fun and whilst I can't sing I *can* audience with the best of them.

By tim Rowledge (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

Naming lots of bands which could be counted as "atheist rock" is one thing, but before we campaign for the new channel we need to make sure a decent amount of them are willing to be identified as such, or at least would not rather appear in some pre-existing channel. I think it would be counter-productive to have an atheist category there which is all-too-obviously empty.

This is going back a ways but I always considered The song Roll the Bones by Rush to be atheistic leaning

"Well, you can stake that claim --
Good work is the key to good fortune
Winners take that praise
Losers seldom take that blame
If they dont take that game
And sometimes the winner takes nothing
We draw our own designs
But fortune has to make that frame

We go out in the world and take our chances
Fate is just the weight of circumstances
Thats the way that lady luck dances
Roll the bones

Why are we here?
Because were here
Roll the bones
Why does it happen?
Because it happens
Roll the bones

Faith is cold as ice --
Why are little ones born only to suffer
For the want of immunity
Or a bowl of rice?
Well, who would hold a price
On the heads of the innocent children
If theres some immortal power
To control the dice?

We come into the world and take our chances
Fate is just the weight of circumstances
Thats the way that lady luck dances
Roll the bones

Jack -- relax.
Get busy with the facts.
No zodiacs or almanacs,
No maniacs in polyester slacks.
Just the facts.
Gonna kick some gluteus max.
Its a parallax -- you dig?
You move around
The small gets big. its a rig.
Its action -- reaction --
Random interaction.
So whos afraid
Of a little abstraction?
Cant get no satisfaction
From the facts?
You better run, homeboy --
A facts a fact
From nome to rome, boy.

Whats the deal? spin the wheel.
If the dice are hot -- take a shot.
Play your cards. show us what you got --
What youre holding.
If the cards are cold,
Dont go folding.
Lady luck is golden;
She favors the bold. thats cold.
Stop throwing stones --
The night has a thousand saxophones.
So get out there and rock,
And roll the bones.
Get busy!

Man is my age showing.

By Richard from E… (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

I second Rush (Tom Sawyer; "No his mind is not for rent / To any god or government") and John Lennon, and I add Bob Dylan, even though I guess he's folk. With God on Your Side, anyone?

Labeling something atheist rock to counterbalance Christian rock is a terrible idea since "Christian" already means "crappy". Any Christian band that expands its audience beyond youth groups automatically becomes just rock...with songs about Christianity.

By sangfroid (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

There are actually some quite overtly atheist bands in the metal genre, such as Deicide, Atheist, and Cradle of Filth.

I love the Dandy Warhols, and one of their totally excellent songs is "I am a Scientist." Here is an excerpt:

Religiously I'm speaking on the science 'cause
We've gotta live on science alone
I tell you what mathematically I'm having it
I want to live on science alone

Ah, the Dandys never really get too deep, but they know what's what. :)

By KikiMarie (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

Cursive needs to be added to the list too. "The Ugly Organ" and "Happy Hollow" would definitely fit into an 'atheist rock' category.

By Iason Ouabache (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

I'm surprised I didn't see any Rush. Rush is like the most awesome band ever, even if they do have Geddy Lee singing.

By Jimmy Groove (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

I have to go along with the sentiment that defining any genre as "Atheist ___" limits it and/or lessens it. That being said, though, I love to hear the little anti-religion jabs in the music of Ben Folds/Ben Folds Five and Harvey Danger. . .

Bastard Fairies qualifies as "atheist rock" or at least "atheist alternative". They have some videos on Youtube. "We're all Going to Hell" is about the hypocrisy of religious leaders. The refrain is "we're all going to hell" except that it's set to an ever so slightly loopy melody and instrumentation.

"Whatever" is apparently about someone who is willing to espouse "whatever" ... "to get into bed with you" It doesn't come across as particularly flattering to the ideologically-driven.

I know of several riot grrrl bands that, if not explicitly atheist, at least take a dump on Christfascist thinking (L7's "Pretend That We're Dead" comes to mind.)

Last Motorhead post, I promise.

This one's called Don't need religion

Don't need no blind belief
Don't need no comic relief
Don't need to see the scars
Don't need Jesus Christ Superstar
Don't need no Sunday Television
Bet your life you don't need religion

Don't need no time for prayer
Don't save no knee-pads for me up there
If your head's alright, ya don't need binoculars to see the light
Ya don't need no miracle vision
Bet ya life etc.

I don't need no Santa Claus
Don't believe in fairies no more
Don't need to go to confession
I'm already trying to fight depression
Don't need no exorcism
Bet ya life etc.

By Helioprogenus (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

I'm pretty sure Atheist are atheists. *joke*

Awesome technical metal from just down the road in Sarasota. And they're working on a new album.

I don't know Henning Pauly to know what he believes, but with his Frameshift project, he did do a concept album based on Dawkins' "Unweaving the Rainbow". That's got to be at least a little atheist, right?

What has happened to our young folk - don't they teach the classics any more?

Frank Zappa, man!

As one who is even older than Wilkins, I can confirm that Zappa puts the eyebrows on atheism in music. Don't forget "Heavenly Bank Account" with its immortal line, "There's a big difference between kneeling down and bending over."

Remember kidz, Frankie sez:

"Tax the churches.
Tax the fuck out of the churches."

Naming lots of bands which could be counted as "atheist rock" is one thing, but before we campaign for the new channel we need to make sure a decent amount of them are willing to be identified as such, or at least would not rather appear in some pre-existing channel.

This actually brings to mind a couple of true stories, one of which is about Evanescence. They were once identified as a Christian Rock band, but they themselves, never came out and said they were. During an interview, the female lead was asked how she felt about this label and she said she did not like it, felt like it was pigeonholing them into one genre and once the Christian music stations got wind of this, they banned them.

I used to work, as an interviewer for a Christian Goth website and I interviewed both Ronan Harris of VnV Nation and Joey of The Echoing Green. Now VnV is not Christian at all, but as Ronan said "it is about my issues with religion and my own battles with faith", while Joey admitted to being a Christian and playing as such.

Both were deemed "unworthy" from the Christian genre because VnV identifies itself as "goth" (which is bad, mkay) and Joey refused to make all of his songs "Jesus loves me" songs.

No--you/we do not need an Atheist Genre. It's bad news for the musician.

toni

By ElectricBarbarella (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

I'll throw in the "One Day a Lion" EP from Zack de la Rocha's new project One Day a Lion.

By Nick Sullivan_NZ (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

Long time reader...first time poster

I know it's been mentioned once or twice but as far as overt atheism you can't do much better than Greydon Square unless you hate hip hop.

I doubt Rusty Warren was an atheist but I am sure she pissed off a lot of conservative Christians when she sang "Bounce Your Boobies." I like the intro when she talks about the "founding fathers" and mentions John Hancock. "Now there's a name you gotta' love!"

Oh gosh, I've got about 100 LP's I'm selling for my mother and she has 2 Rusty Warren Albums in the mix. They were naughty to say the least. :)

toni

By ElectricBarbarella (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

Rock music is probably the one part of American culture that's framed in an atheist-positive way. Christian music is crap - even a fair share of Christians acknowledge it.

By chancelikely (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

all i know is, when i hear creed, i get stigmata

just about all of punk is atheist if they happen to cover religion instead of politics. and i've seen bad religion mentioned about 100 times, but not pennywise. what gives?

tool isn't atheist. they lean that way, but maynard is a pretty spiritual person. listen to 'sour grapes' on the 'v is for vagina' album by puscifer.

what's puscifer? it's for making babies!

I choose Korn:

"Evolution"

I'm diggin' with my fingertips
I'm ripping at the ground I stand upon
I'm searchin' for fragile bones
(Evolution)
I'm never gonna be refined
Keep tryin' but I won't assimilate
Sure, we have come far in time
(Watch the bow break)

And I'm sorry I don't believe
By the evidence that I see
That there's any hope left for me

It's evolution...
Just evolution...

And I
I do not dare deny
The basic beast inside
It's right here, it's controlling my mind
And why
Do I deserve to die?
I'm dominated by
This animal that's locked up inside

Close up to get a real good view
I'm betting that the species will survive
Hold tight, I'm getting inside you
(Evolution)
And when we're gonna find these bones
They're gonna wanna keep them in a jar
The number one virus caused by
(Procreation)

And the planet may go astray
In a million years they'll say,
those motherfuckers were all deranged

It's evolution...
Just evolution...

And I
I do not dare deny
The basic beast inside
It's right here, it's controlling my mind
And why
Do I deserve to die?
I'm dominated by
This animal that's locked up inside

Take a look around
Nothing much has changed
Take a look around
Nothing much has changed

Take a look around
Take a look around
Take a look around
(Nothing much has changed)
Take a look around
Take a look around
(Nothing much has changed)
Take a look around
Take a look around
(Nothing much has changed)
Take a look around

I
I do not dare deny
The basic beast inside
It's right here, it's controlling my mind
And why
Do I deserve to die?
I'm dominated by
This animal that's locked up inside

Why
Why do I deserve to die?

Creating an 'atheist rock' genre would be no less lame and pathetic than Christian rock. If all or most of your songs are about religion (either Christian or atheist rock), then your music is incredibly shallow.

Cursive. Their album "Happy Hollow" was especially anti-religious.

Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes), with lyrics like "The Bible's blind, the Torah's deaf, the Koran is mute. If you burn them all together you get close to the truth," it wouldn't be a stretch to say religion is not his most favorite phenomenon.

wouldn't this by definition be music about nothing? we already have that, its called elevator music. Seriously though I think the idea is kind of silly. Any music that is not religious in nature is atheistic.

From Bright Eyes:

The Bible's blind, the Torah's deaf, the Qur'an is mute/If you burned them all together you'd be close to the truth

and the Flaming Lips:

Twenty five, twenty six, twenty seven/Who knows baby? Maybe there ain't no heaven/There's just you and me, and maybe it's just as well/'Cuz if there ain't no heaven, maybe there ain't no hell.

and then there's the Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir, which is exactly what it sounds like. Verdi, Brahms and probably Beethoven were all freethinkers, and MCA of the Beatie Boy is a non-theistic Buddhist, if that counts. Bjork is an atheist as well, probably along with most of her Scandinavian colleagues.

Bob Dylan, who somebody mentioned above is not an atheist. He is Jewish, except for about ten minutes in the nineties when he was Christian. He even wrote some gospel songs.

By Alex, FCD (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

I am with many here that this is a bad idea, but some of the greatest anti-religion songs are by Propagandhi
This one's called Haillie Sellasse, Up Your Ass

You speak of Rastafari, but how can you justify belief
In a god that's left you behind?
You've simply filled the gap between the upper and lower class
And your faith merely keeps you in line.
An amalgamation of jewish scripture and christian thought.
What will that get you? Not a fuck of a lot.
Take a look at your promised land.
Your deed is that gun in your hand.
Mt. Zion's a minefield. The West Bank. The Gaza Strip.
Soon to be parking lots for American tourists and fascist cops.
Fuck zionism. Fuck militarism. Fuck americanism.
Fuck nationalism. Fuck religion (repeat many times).

Always brings a smile to my face (but let's stay away from ever calling it atheist rock)

Atheist Rock? Sounds lame. There are only TWO categories of rock: Good and Bad. I would work on being considered as being in the GOOD category.

By Sillysighbean (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

The problem with this idea is that, beyond agreeing that hoogally boogallys don't exist, there is no homogeneous thing that is atheism. Theist in a specific religion all have a set of core views, values, and lifestyle choice in common. Making an atheist music genre gets into the problem of herding cats.

And there's a song from Camelot, "The Seven Deadly Virtues" with lines such as "It's not the Earth the meek inherit, it's the dirt!" and "Purity -- a noble yen -- and very restful every now and then."

As others have said: ZAPPA!! NIN. Tool. Rush. Lennon. REM all come to mind

While reading the thread, Pig Destroyer - Heathen Temple came up on random:
Beliefs must evolve or face extinction
shed dogma like snakeskin
no need for confession or astral projection
I survive on the primal instinct within
even a loving god is still a master
spare me your fear
all these childish superstitions
I've spent decades trying to purge your swill from my system
God is in the mirror not hiding in the skies
this heathen temple will stand tall until the day that I die

I'm also not sure how atheist music can exist without being anti-religion. There are tons of anti-religious metal bands out there.
A good portion tend to focus on anti-christianity (like most Norwegian black metal).

Also note that there is 'unblack metal', which is black metal with christian-theme lyrics.

Obligatory thread-related band name-dropping: Drudkh, Behemoth, Pig Destroyer

Atheism doesn't need a genre. Atheism itself is the belief in lack of god, therefore I would argue any music that does not include the belief of god is secular and atheistic in nature.

We don't believe in god. We don't need to make this into a cultist following..

I was going to mention Hrab, too. Maybe PZ skipped the musical portion of the tour?

You can't eject songs that mention an Almighty from the "Atheist Rock" pool, though, because Randy Newman's ironic ditties definitely belong in there:
God's Song, He Gives Us All His Love, and from his latest album, Harps and Angels. No video, but it's the first song he plays in that concert.

how bout Spoon: "Religion don't mean a thing / it's just another way to be right."

Succinct, to the point, no need to go an about it either way (ahem, I'm looking at you, Oberst). But atheism as a genre is dumb.

Muslim rock is becoming a huge phenomenon in Indonesia. From what I've heard, it's better than Christian rock. Let the apocalyptic Battle of the Bands begin! Jews, Hindus, animists, Taoists, Buddhists... time to learn a few power chords.

#44:

I said vast swaths of metal were atheist.

I said 99% was anti-Abrahamic, there's a difference there, as that would include all polytheistic metal, of which there is PLENTY.

Given your citing of power metal and the prog-metal Dream Theatre, I suspect are leanings are decidedly different.

I listen to mostly black and death; it is silly to associate black with NS and criminal behaviour, because of the tabloid garnering actions of a small percentage of the scene.

There is certainly a lot more explicitly atheist lyrics in those subgenres than you may suspect. Even many bands who sing of Norse mythology are atheist themselves. The first song on Bathory's Twilight of the Gods is explicitly atheist; he then goes on to sing of Norse mythology as if it were real for the rest of the album. Christ, I could stay up all night listing explicitly atheist songs in metal.

If the tone of this post, btw, is bitchy, forgive me. It's just that I've been listening to metal for almost twenty years, so I get irked if someone tells me I'm wrong about something on that count.

Btw, Queensryche used to be my fave band, which I imagine you know and enjoy if you love Dream Theatre.

By Gûm-ishi Ashi Gurum (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

As it's been said already, metal is full of antireligious sentiment, but you'd have to be careful what you label "atheist". Some bands are truly atheist/agnostic and have lyrics reflecting that, while others believe in silly things like Satanism or Paganism. Still others, use satanic or pagan imagery simply to insult religion, but do not practice such things themselves.

Some of my favorite blasphemous/antireligious lyrics are by Lord Worm (Dan Greening) former vocalist of Cryptopsy (back when they were an amazing death metal band and not the sorry shell they are now):

"Swine of the Cross"

Man-made doom bled death from the sky;
to all but a few, salvation was denied
Heavenly father, son and holy ghost,
save your servants (those of us who aren't toast)

The not-yet-dead discovered that to be
a nuclear family means a whole new thing;
All-too-trusting shambling pseudomorphs
put their trust in a man of the cloth

Make them hate you, rotting cleric...
Remember, you are pus of my loins, you are pus

Give voice to your left side, let me in:
I've sown the seeds of your redemption;
In subhumanicide, I am your guide:
seventy-seven times make them die

The sun is shining on a brand new day
Blackened corpses smolder where they were slain;
Self-flagellation prompts him to confess:
Bless me father, for I made this mess

Immolation meant to purify sin wracked souls
Let diseased bodies die; survivors twice lost:
Betrayed in fire, by the Swine of the Cross

"Mutant Christ"

Abominated, tiny god of mine
Overseeing my rest, my lust, my life

Torched in hatred
Loved in Horror sublime
Almost formless
Darkened, and yet you shine

You made me in your image
I deformed yours into mine
Now we're even, O loving god
Equals in my melting eyes

Mutant christ, loving christ
Know me with thine naked eyes
Holy christ, one tenth the size
So unlike the other christs

God-made man (with)
man-made god to adore
Idolatry?
My faith has been restored

Gaze upon me
Bless me, lord, or die
I'll find another little lord to fry

You baked me in this image
so I burned yours into mine
Eye for eye and tooth for tooth
I love you now, O twisted christ

Mutant Christ

1349 - Singer of Strange Songs

I told you about the world
Of how the stuggle for order and peace
and self-important hypocrisy fails
in the face of reality
And how there is no grand scheme
No rest for the living..only death

Chaos and the cold endless void
Is all that awaits..
We are all forgotten
We are all dust
We are all unimportant
We are all dead
No rest for the living..only death

You thought me mad
You wanted me to be like you,
To see the error of my ways..
So you told me things I knew were wrong
You showed me why I would never fit in

Why then, does what I have become surprise you?

Dreamer,
Prophet,
Singer of strange songs

I went my own twisted way
Mocked by the world
Feared by the righteous
But always where I wanted..

Now that all has changed,
And the night is colder

Now that life has shown its true colors

And you..
You are forgotten
You are old
You are unimportant
You are dead

Can you face the real truth?
Can you call me a madman anymore?

Do you regret your selfless life?
The things you could never do,
In fear of what others would think?

Do you see why I became a:
Dreamer,
Prophet,
Singer of strange songs.

By Gûm-ishi Ashi Gurum (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

Well the problem here is that the majority of kids making these punk, metal, whatever songs are not really atheist. There´s a difference between being atheist and just hating god for what ther perceive to be a ***** life, and thus denying him/her. If you hate something you aknowledge its existance right?

By Luis Frettlohr (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

A look at the indie scene turns up plenty of current anti-religious music.

of Montreal's "Gronlandic Edit" is an agnostic song, if not outwardly atheist, with lyrics like "I guess it would be nice / to give my heart to a god / but which one, which one do I choose?" and "The church is filled with losers / psycho or confused / I just want to hold the divine in mind / and forget."

Wilco likewise delivers with "Theologians," who they contend "don't know nothing / about my soul."

Luis:

You know not of what you speak.

First off, metal is a very old genre, formed in 1969 with Black Sabbath. Since then it has flourished into many many subgenres, and a lot of it is interesting, intellectual, groundbreaking, deadly serious, philosophically sophisticated, and DONE BY OLD(ER) PEOPLE!

Yes, some of it is just fun, and some of it is just evil for evil's sake, nothing more. But are you going to tell me that this is the work of a child whose expressions are but angst:

Chant For Eschaton

Fly, fly high my Black Eagle
Let golden thread bind our eyes
May our minds and hearts' blood unite
On your wings carry me over the abyss
Beyond The Reason and across the burning seas
Then, with your claw tear the earth to the halves
And usher me into the secrets of her bowels
Down to the light of the beginning and the end which shimmers
Circle! Round and round my Black Eagle
Let our senses be touched by ultimate pleasure
May the passion of hunting become all-devouring
Slash! Slash with your beak
Remove all gods from my way, and thoughts, and sorrows
And let me trespass the barriers of fear
Scream! Let the whole cosmos tremble
May echoes become my sweetest mantra
Spirit of Freedom! Eternal Wanderer! Joyful Solitude!
Higher and higher towards the stars of Awareness
Let worlds of imagination and fact become one
I'm you and you are me

By Gûm-ishi Ashi Gurum (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

That last song by Behemoth, btw.

By Gûm-ishi Ashi Gurum (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

118, At the risk of being every bit as facile and empty as the point you appeared to think was so profound, I'll call bullshit. One can hate the bullshit spewed in support of any notion of god, an entirely empty set, without having to admit any such belief to the bought-off judges who'll claim that you've tacitly smuggled in a god belief. If you're willing to work that hard to feel smug in your theism, well, whatever gets you through the night.

Neil Peart's lyrics (Rush) definitely influenced me towards questioning religion and the issue of a supreme being during my formative adolescence. 30 years later, they still have relevance for me. Here's another good one:

Witch Hunt

The night is black, without a moon.
The air is thick and still.
The vigilantes gather on
The lonely torchlit hill.

Features distorted in the flickering light,
Faces are twisted and grotesque.
Silent and stern in the sweltering night,
The mob moves like demons possesed.
Quiet in conscience, calm in their right,
Confident their ways are best.

The righteous rise
With burning eyes
Of hatred and ill-will.
Madmen fed on fear and lies
To beat and burn and kill.

They say there are strangers who threaten us,
Our immigrants and infidels.
They say there is strangeness to danger us
In our theatres and bookstore shelves,
That those who know whats best for us
Must rise and save us from ourselves.

Quick to judge,
Quick to anger,
Slow to understand
Ignorance and prejudice
And fear walk hand in hand.

Noel

They Might be Giants seems to have atheist leanings especially in the songs "Bells Are Ringing" and "The Statue Got Me High."
The whole idea of an "Atheist Rock" category would play to into the hands of those who claim atheism is a religion, so in my mind not a good idea.

By Ego, Egoing, Egone (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

Let's not be silly. In the context of art, insulting religious ideas as though they were real does not mean the artist acknowledges its existence. There's a long tradition of literature and poetry with anti-theistic sentiment. Most authors are very aware of the irony of cursing a being one doesn't believe to exist. We are talking about poetry and lyrics here, many of them satirical or metaphorical, not reality-grounded treatises.

"Atheist Rock" strikes me as a totally unnecessary label. The only reason "Christian Music" is marketed as such is because it sucks so badly that they need religion to sell it. Once any Christian band hits it big they do their best to distance themselves from the "Christian Music" label.

Anyway, there's plenty of atheistic/anti-religious songs out there, but it's (thankfully) rare for a band to sing about just one topic like the Jesus freaks do.

That being said, D.O.A. did have an album called Festival of Atheists. And the Crucifucks were obviously anti-religion. Sentiments like that are all over the place in punk and metal and various smaller genres, just not so much in popular music.

Chumbawamba did have "We Don't Go To God's House Anymore" and they were popular briefly, but that popularity was clearly based on one catchy song and not their political message. Unfortunately.

The band Crossbearer is an atheist hardcore band. The lead singer/screamer is actually none other than Richard Spencer.

How about the Thermals? Check out "The body, the blood, the machine".

Senses Fail is a great anti-Christianity/Atheist band. Listen to The Rapture, Can't Be Saved, and The Priest and the Matador.

Exactly. It's called METAPHOR!!!! Many bands, Behemoth is a prime example, cycle through countless deities of countless pantheons, including the demi-god Satan of the Abrahamic pantheon, to stand in poetic juxtaposition to the qualities and mores of the Abrahamic deity and its perverse religions.

Sometimes the Satanic and the pagan and the black is a meditation on other aspects of life, for metal does explore the darker side of things. Sometimes it is but fantastical, but an aesthetic exploration of the concept of pure evil.

Metal's trappings and symbols serve many purposes and plumb different depths. There are so so so many different metal subgenres, so many different approaches to the music, it is just supreme foolishness to cast it all aside as so much juvenile noise.

More Behemoth:

The Sermon to the Hypocrites

O, ye whose future is in other hands!
Foul feeders! Slipped, are ye on your excrement?
Parasites! Having the world lousy,
Imagine ye are of significance to Heaven
I, who enjoy my body
I would rather pack with wolves
Than enter your pest-houses

Sensation... Nutrition... Mastication... Procreation...!
This is your blind-worm cycle
Know ye of nothing further than your own stench?
Heaven is indifferent to your salvation or catastrophe

The sword - trust - not salve - I bring!

Honest was Sodom!
Your theology is a slime - pit of gibberish become ethics
In your world, where ignorance and deceit constitute felicity
Everything ends miserably -
- besmirched with fratricidal blood.

By Gûm-ishi Ashi Gurum (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

Ok, ok, so I obviously entered "Rudh" or "Ruah" in my Firefox text search, or something, since Rush has been mentioned a bunch of times...

Pretty much all hardcore punk is anti-religious; one standout in particular is Aus-Rotten.

Here's the lyrics to "The Promise Keepers":

"Honey, I've made a terrible mistake. I've given you my role, I gave up leading this family, and forced you to take my place. Now I must reclaim my role. I'm not asking you, I'm telling you. You must submit for the survival of our family and our culture. Remember, God wants you to."

Surrender to your rightful keepers do it for our Lord
A life of holy servitude is women's just reward
Have faith in all of our promises surrender yourselves to men
And when you get to heaven, you'll be a servent once again
The promise keepers are on a mission, the conversion of a nation
But only by total submission will women find salvation
They justify spiritual slavery by claiming it's God's will
They're trying to insure oppression through legislative bills

Dave Wardell wants you to do it-surrender-submit
Bill McCartney want you to do it-surrender-submit
Jesus Christ wants you to do it-surrender-submit
God wants you to do it-surrender-submit

We're second only to God when it comes to absolute authority
It's your duty as God fearing christians to help cleanse society
Submit all aspects of your life for us to review
When it's family, business or sexuality we'll tell you what to do
Souls are held for ransom by The Religious Right
Securing what they believe to be the politics of christ
They instill the fear of God by threatening the masses
So their homophobic, anti-woman lobby platform passes

Tony Brown wants you to do it-surrender-submit
Steve Chavis wants you to do it-surrender-submit
Jesus Christ wants you to do it-surrender-submit
God wants you to do it-surrender-submit

"Never have 300,000 men come together throughout history,
except for the purpose of war" We'll start with homosexuality
Then it's women, abortion, sinners and secularism
All are subject to our political and spiritual exorcisms
Stealing away human rights while worshipers applaud
All because they're threatened by the tyranny of God
The only promises these bigoted men will keep
Is the exploitation of a nation of mere sheep

Pat Robertson wants you to do it-surrender-submit
James Kennedy wants you to do it-surrender-submit
Bill Bright wants you to do it-surrender-submit
James Dobson wants you to do it-surrender-submit
Jim Berlucci wants you to do it-surrender-submit
James Ryle wants you to do it-surrender-submit
Jesus Christ wants you to do it-surrender-submit
And your God wants you to do it-surrender-submit

As timely as ever, even if the names have shifted.

By Pope Guilty (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

Morbid Angel - "Blasphemy"

I am the god of gods
Master of the art
I desecrate the chaste
Writhe in the flesh

Blasphemy

Chant the blasphemy
Mockery of the messiah
We curse the holy ghost
Enslaver of the weak
God of lies and greed
God of hypocrisy
We laugh at your bastard child
No god shall come before me

[Chorus:]
Blaspheme the ghost [X3]
Blasphemy of the holy ghost

[Solo: Brunelle]

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law
Rebel against the church
Drink from the chalice of blasphemy
Rise up against the enslaver

(Blasphemy)

[Repeat 2nd verse and chorus]

[Solo: Azagthoth]

[Repeat 2nd chorus]

(Blasphemy)

Personally I prefer unicorn jazz and tooth fairy techno.

Seriously, think about how most people react to Christian rock. Do you really want to invite the same reaction to atheist genres? The whole idea is cringeworthy, imho.

Seems a bit trivial. Besides, music is non-religious by default until you put religious lyrics or hymns into it. Which is ironic I suppose, considering Western Music theory as we know it today was created by composers writing for church. Professional composers did not write secular music until the baroque era I believe and even then it was considered taboo.

By crunchyjell0 (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

Not atheist rock per se, but an interesting take on religion from "Armageddon Days Are Here (Again)" by The The:

But if you think that Jesus Christ is coming
Honey you've got another thing coming
If he ever finds out who's hijacked his name
He'll cut out his heart and turn in his grave

Islam is rising
The Christians mobilizing
The world is on its elbows and knees
It's forgotten the message and worships the creeds

If the real Jesus Christ were to stand up today
He'd be gunned down cold by the CIA
Oh, the lights that now burn brightest behind stained glass
Will cast the darkest shadows upon the human heart
But God didn't build himself that throne
God doesn't live in Israel or Rome
God doesn't belong to the Yankee dollar
God doesn't plant the bombs for Hezbollah
God doesn't even go to church
And God won't send us down to Allah to burn
God will remind us what we already know
That the human race is about to reap what it's sown

Since I really like Tori Amos, P.J. Harvey, Nick Cave, The Vines, Joni Mitchell, and Jethro Tull...I would suppose they all must be something akin to atheistic

By Pattanowski (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

Crash Test Dummies? They never seem to get included in these threads, perhaps because their lyics are a bit less strident than Zappa or Rush.

"God Shuffled His Feet"

After seven days
He was quite tired so God said:
"Let there be a day
Just for picnics, with wine and bread"
He gathered up some people he had made
Created blankets and laid back in the shade

The people sipped their wine
And what with God there, they asked him questions
Like: do you have to eat
Or get your hair cut in heaven?
And if your eye got poked out in this life
Would it be waiting up in heaven with your wife?

God shuffled his feet and glanced around at them;
The people cleared their throats and stared right back at him

So he said:"Once there was a boy
Who woke up with blue hair
To him it was a joy
Until he ran out into the warm air
He thought of how his friends would come to see;
And would they laugh, or had he got some strange disease?

God shuffled his feet and glanced around at them;
The people cleared their throats and stared right back at him

The people sat waiting
Out on their blankets in the garden
But God said nothing
So someone asked him: "I beg your pardon:
I'm not quite clear about what you just spoke
Was that a parable, or a very subtle joke?"

God shuffled his feet and glanced around at them;
The people cleared their throats and stared right back at him

"Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm"

Once there was this kid who
Got into an accident and couldn't come to school
But when he finally came back
His hair had turned from black into bright white
He said that it was from when
The car had smashed so hard

Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm
Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm

Once there was this girl who
Wouldn't go and change with the girls in the change room
But when they finally made her
They saw birthmarks all over her body
She couldn't quite explain it
They'd always just been there

Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm
Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm

But both girl and boy were glad
'Cause one kid had it worse than that

'Cause then there was this boy whose
Parents made him come directly home right after school
And when they went to their church
They shook and lurched all over the church floor
He couldn't quite explain it
They'd always just gone there

Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm
Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm

By Palm Sprangs (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

Ah, few songs get me riled up like Slayer's "Cult" from their Christ Illusion album:

Jesus is pain
Jesus is gore
Jesus is the blood
That's spilled in war
He's everything
He's all things dead
He's pulling on the trigger
Pointed at your head!

Through the fear you're sold into the fraud
Revelation,
Revolution,
I see through your Christ illusion!

"All This Time", by Sting

"All This Time"

I looked out across
The river today
I saw a city in the fog and an old church tower
Where the seagulls play
I saw the sad shire horses walking home
In the sodium light
I saw two priests on the ferry
October geese on a cold winter's night

And all this time, the river flowed
Endlessly to the sea

Two priests came round our house tonight
One young, one old, to offer prayers for the dying
To serve the final rite
One to learn, one to teach
Which was the cold wind blows
Fussing and flapping in priestly black
Like a murder of crows

And all this time, the river flowed
Endlessly to the sea
If I had my way I'd take a boat from the river
And I'd bury the old man,
I'd bury him at sea

Blessed are the poor, for they shall inherit the earth
Better to be poor than a fat man in the eye of a needle
And as these words were spoken I swore I hear
The old man laughing
'What good is a used up world and how could it be
Worth having'

And all this time the river flowed
Endlessly like a silent tear
And all this time the river flowed
Father, if Jesus exists,
Then how come he never lived here

The teachers told us, the Romans built this place
They built a wall and a temple, an edge of the empire
Garrison town,
They lived and they died, they prayed to their gods
But the stone gods did not make a sound
And their empire crumbled, 'til all that was left
Were the stones the workmen found

And all this time the river flowed
In the falling light of a northern sun
If I had my way I'd take a boat from the river
Men go crazy in congregations
But they only get better
One by one
One by one...

By Palm Sprangs (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

Ani "I'm an atheist, for Chrissake!" DiFranco:

what if no one's watching

if my life were a movie
there would be a sunset
and the camera would pan away
but the sky is just a little sister
tagging along behind the buildings
trying to imitate their grey
the little boys are breaking bottles
against the sidewalk
the big boys too
the girls are hanging out at the candy store
pumping quarters into the phone
because they don't want to go home

i think what
what if no one's watching
what if when we're dead
we are just dead
i mean what
what if god ain't looking down
what if he's looking up instead

if my life were a movie
i would light a cigarette
and the smoke would curl
around my face
everything i do would be interesting
i'd play the good guy
in every scene
but i always feel i have to
take a stand
and there's always someone on hand
to hate me for standing there
i always feel i have to open my mouth
and every time i do
i offend someone somewhere

but what
what if no one's watching
what if when we're dead
we are just dead
what if there's no time to lose
what if there's things we gotta do
things that need to be said

you know i can't apologize
for everything i know
i mean you don't have to agree with me
but once you get me going
you better just let me go
we have to be able to criticize
what we love
to say what we have to say
'cause if you're not trying
to make something better
then as far as i'm concerned
you are just in the way

i mean what
what if no one's watching
what if when we're dead
we are just dead
i mean what
what if it's just down here
what if god is just an idea
someone put in your head

© 1992 ani difranco / righteous babe music

By CalGeorge (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

Good call, Pattan --when people are styling the openly religious Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan as "Atheist Rock," they've clearly reduced the definition to "Musicians I Like."

I can't believe nobody's mentioned GWAR yet! What was it that Oderous Urungus said in an interview? Something about how on his planet, priests are specifically bred for sodomy...

There's a band called "The Cosmics", which is sort of instrumental metal,they have put out an instrumental album called "The Cosmic Year.. which follow the themes of space and time of Carl Sagan's Cosmos. Not really atheistic, but it's in the right direction.

One of the best "political metal" bands of the late 80's and early 90's, "Sacred Reich", did an atheistic song called "No Believers" that had lyrics like this...

"What is this lie there is no truth
There is no God there is no proof
They say there is a higher being
He was crucified, torn and bleeding

The Bible is a lie
I defy the lying priest
God doesn't control my life
I choose me own destiny
Religion is for the weak
Your soul will die forever
Get up off your knees
There's no God in heaven"

There's a thrash Metal band called "Atheist" from the 80's. Not too familiar with them though.

"Exodus" has a great song called "Shroud of Urine".

There's a band from (i think) Norway called Spiral Archetect that has an album called "A Skeptics Universe".

Some good Motorhead songs that are similar themed that weren't mentioned above.. "I Don't Believe a Word", "Don't Waste Your Time", and of course, the epic first verse of "Orgasmatron"... check out these crunchy lyrics;

"I am the one, Orgasmatron, the outstretched grasping hand
My image is of agony, my servants rape the land
Obsequious and arrogant, clandestine and vain
Two thousand years of misery, of torture in my name
Hypocrisy made paramount, paranoia the law
My name is called religion, sadistic, sacred whore."

If there was a god, Lemmy would be it.

By More bands, so… (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

Lots of modern punk and hardcore music has strong atheist tendencies/leanings. The clothing company Hexed clothing is a company in the punk/hardcore scene that does atheist/anti-religious clothing (http://www.myspace.com/hexedclothing). Any bands associated with them are atheist, but there are more in the scene than just those. Some suggestions from my library, in no significant order, are Remembering Never, xBishopx, Ramallah, Ambitions (more mellow than the rest), Sage Francis (hip-hop), Blacklisted, Trial, Ceremony, 100 Demons, Full Blown Chaos, Good Clean Fun, Life Long Tragedy. The list goes on; it's definitely out there though.

Stephin Merritt's "The Dead Only Quickly Decay."

It would be swell
to see some folk burn in hell.
But when they go
It's just as pleasant to know that
the dead only quickly decay.
They don't go around being born and reborn
and rising and falling like soufflé.
The dead only quickly decay.

I believe he used it in the audiobook version of "A Series of Unfortunate Events," for obvious reasons.

By Anton Mates (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

@ BA #100. Brian Welch wrote his memoirs, I saw it recently on a table at a Barnes and Noble store. The title is "Save Me From Myself: How I found God, Quit Korn, Kicked Drugs, and Lived to Tell My Story." Check it out.

By Louise Van Court (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

The Flaming Lips definitely are an athiest/humanist band. Many songs on "Yoshimi battles the Pink Robots" deal with the subject matter and so do almost all of the songs on "At War with the Mystics." Check out the lyrics to the songs Do you Realize and All We Have is Now.

By Tom Ringstrom (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

Punk band "Bad Religion" (with a biology professor as vocalist)
Technical Metal band "Atheist"

and honourable mentions for Australian troubadour Paul Kelly, whose last album was an assault on religion (led by the single "God Told Me To" about a terrorist), and Dave Graney and the Lurid Yellow Mist for the anthem "Let's Kill God Again"

Not a favorite by any means, but I do like the sentiment of Robyn Hitchcock's "Evolve":

What you call god/I call evolution
What you call faith/I call pollution

By nicknick bobick (not verified) on 18 Aug 2008 #permalink

Well, it's reggae, and it's was actually written to be pro Rastafari, but Get up. Stand up makes a damn fine atheist anthem.

Kudos for all those who mentioned Motorhead. One of my favourite bands. here is a nice song from Helloween as well :

Mrs. God, am I right
That's your real address
This time, it's you
Ready to confess
Free the masculine world
Cancel their humility

Mrs God, can it be
Can you be a light
One dressed to kill
Walk on, how you bite
This will state and explain
Why men are sometimes stumbling

Mrs God, are you there
Laughing at us is not fair
Mrs God can you see
All that sh*t You've done to me (and us!)

Mrs. God, may I say
This wipe out of my kind
We were so deceived
You'd better left us blind

Mrs God, we are cool
We take it with a smile
But don't be cruel
That's heavy to defy
When for some hundred years
God has always had a beard

Mrs God, are you there
Laughing at us is not fair
Mrs God can you see
All that sh*t you've done to me

Randy Newman's God's Song was mentioned above, but the generally nether-part-kickin' Dana Fuchs Band has a nether-part-kicking awesome version of it, which sadly has disappeared from Youtube.

Bad Religion's been mentioned above: Sinister Rouge, the Answer and God's Love are the three most anti-religious songs I can think of right now.

And there's a gifted fellow called Derek Neibarger: Godless America --- "I'm so sick of superstitious lies / you criticize science and poison young minds / with your Sunday school brainwash and church of the blind / your close-minded hatred and moron's design"

What about Depeche Mode's Blasphemous Rumors? If not atheist, it at least expresses a sentiment that's the next most likely alternative: "I dont want to start any blasphemous rumours / But I think that god's got a sick sense of humor / And when I die I expect to find him laughing".

windy--> saw jose live couple weeks ago, awesome show. highly recommend

Nobody's mentioned The Living End's 'Raise the Alarm'!

It opens with the line, "I may not believe in God, doesn't mean I'm a lesser person." Need I say more?

Lyrics here

Don't know any bands that do all atheist songs but here are a few that mention it.

http://www.myspace.com/steveburnsofficialmyspace

Yeah, the guy from Blues Clues, check out his song The Unbeliever. It's on his MySpace page. The lyrics are:

I could sit around and watch this shit for hours
I could lay down and let it rot my brain
But how can you know? when you don't like information?
We're a shooting star, we are , we are, we are

And all the magic you think you've seen
It's not like knowing, it's not like knowing
And how can you believe what you've seen?
We could be nothing, we could be no more.
We're a shooting star, we are , we are, we are

A hole cut in your head
bags packed and waiting
as the last unbeliever is watching the sky
We're a shooting star, we are , we are, we are

I e-mailed him about this song and he confirmed that the first line was about sitting around watching The 700 Club and the line about shooting stars is a reference to panspermia which he said he thought was a lot more convincing than the idea that we were put here by a magical superhero.

Also definitely check out the Thermals
http://www.myspace.com/thethermals

They've said in interviews that they're not anti-religious but are against religion being used in politics. Good enough for me. Check out their songs Here's Your Future, A Pillar Of Salt and I Might Need You To Kill.

I also know of one atheist country singer, Robbie Fulks. Here's his song God Isn't Real.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YObpZN8Ub_s

Also the band Everclear does a song called Why I Don't Believe In God.

I think this is a bad idea. First;y what would qualify as an atheist rock song? Also, there is such a thing as "christian science" out there so why don't you start calling what you do "Atheist science"? because science is science and rock is rock.

By Jamie Walton (not verified) on 19 Aug 2008 #permalink

I agree with those who think the idea is a bit "off": most music created by non-believers simply deal with other issues than religion, which of course is the way ot should be when life has so much else to offer.

However, if there should be a category in which to collect songs that do deal with the problems of religion from a non-believer/skeptical perspective, I'd like to include "The Last Resort" by The Eagles. The last two verses:

Who will provide the grand design, what is yours and what is mine?
'Cause there is no more new frontier, we have got to make it here.
We satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds
in the name of destiny and in the name of God.

And you can see them there on Sunday morning
stand up and sing about what it's like up there.
They called it paradise, I don't know why.
You call some place paradise - kiss it goodbye

I'm more interested in music. Then I have an interest in musicians that happen to be atheist.

I agree, creating a musical ghetto for atheist performers is a Bad Idea (TM), and will only marginalize them. Stand or fall on your own, without such labels.

"Atheist rock" as a genre makes about as much sense as "atheist worldview" or "atheist ethics". It encourages the notion that, because we have the word "atheism" to label a certain form of religious non-belief, that it is therefore a monolithic "ism" that people subscribe to and "believe in".

I don't see any need for a label such as "atheist rock", since it suggests it's just the opposite of "christian rock". Most bands out there who either are atheists or touch upon atheist themes don't sing about it ALL the time.

"Blasphemous Rumours" and "John The Revelator" by Depeche Mode are quite caustic anti-christian / anti-organized religion songs, but other lyrics suggest they're in the "undefined spiritual" camp.

There's two sorts of music - good and bad. Period. Some of my favourite music is religious - Bach, Verdi etc. I can easily reject the message while listening to the sublime music. On the rock side, if I saw a category 'Atheist music' I'd tend to avoid it. The label 'Christian Rock' says to me the same as bright colouring on a frog says to a predator - nasty, don't even go there, with a side order of 'not good enough to stand alone, so we'll attract the Christians'.

I also have to say Rush, Lennon and Bad Religion. It's not that they evangelize for Reason. As Penn Jilette says of the US constitution, they recognize no religion excet when they aim to deny it. ;)

Lyrics to 'Faithless'

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 beliefs
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
That's faith enough for me

Slightly off-topic, but when I first heard Evanescence (my wife had the album) I listened to the lyrics, and I didn't think Christian Rock.

I did think "Bloody Americans", though.

Don't request an "atheist rock" genre. Instead, request "a theist rock" genre. It'll confuse the bejesus out of 'em.

Is it me, or is the concept of "atheist rock" as retarded as "christian rock"?
Rock music has traditionally been more about rebellion against authority than anything else. As such, there's plenty of rock music about "hail satan", and such. Anti-religious texts come up in a lot of rock music, because religions, and the deities they worship, are the ultimate form of authority.
It's no more atheistic than any other form of rebellion against authority figures.

To reiterate my point, the only reason that "Christian rock" etc. (excluding gospel, which is a legitimate category of music with authentic origins) exist as separate categories is so Christian parents can feel that the music so categorized is safe for their kids to listen to without their kids being exposed to unchristian ideas or becoming possessed by Satan (or for the kids who have internalized The Christian Paranoia, so they themselves can feel safe listening to it).

There is no reason for an "atheist rock" category -- except in the trivial sense of listing, as most people above are doing, songs with an atheist theme, but then you might as well have "sex rock", "drug rock", and "baby baby baby rock" categories too -- since presumably atheist parents and music listeners aren't so paranoid as to want only ideologically vetted music lest they or their kids hear something disagreeable. And even if they were, I don't think rock music poses much of a threat to the atheist ideologue, especially when all the Christian rock is ghettoizing itself safely away.

I'm all for challenging Christian exceptionalism and sense of privilege, but in this case, they can have it.

Bad idea for a blog post ultimately. Seems a lot of posters just see it as an excuse to post their favourite lyrics.

By El Herring (not verified) on 19 Aug 2008 #permalink

Addition to my previous post: All these lyrics posted are anti-religious. They are not atheist. There is not - and cannot be - such a thing as "atheist" music.

There. The Herring has spoken, and I am in infallible mode.

By El Herring (not verified) on 19 Aug 2008 #permalink

I may be dating myself but Teenage Jesus and the Jerks were the bees knees.

@#178:

They used the term "bees knees" in the second decade AD?

Also, who knew Jesus started a band in his parents' garage before turning it into a wood shop?

Actually, El Herring, isn't all music inherently agnostic? As music, it can have no opinion on any god existence. ;)

To reiterate my reiteration, "Christian rock" etc. are not genres (since, after all, they are mere copies of already existing genres), but can be better understood as a ratings system, similar to how movies are given G, PG, R, etc. In this case, anything with a "Christian" in it is G, while everything else is XXX. So again I fail to see the point in an "atheist rock" genre, unless ideological ratings are the goal.

@Pete Rook

Since most, if not all "christian rock" is fucking terrible it seems that christianity has been rather uninspiring as of late.
If song-titles such as "Awesome God" are an indication, it has really hit rock bottom.

Frankly, I'm glad that they have created special sub-genres for Xtian music. It's a refreshing contrast to other spheres of life where they assert or assume that everything has a Christian basis - morality, the United States, etc.

"My theory is that music is good, it's the only religion that delivers the goods. And anybody who wants to hear any kind of music is entitled to hear that music because it's good for you - it makes you feel good. If you like it, go for it. Just because I don't like it doesn't mean anything - it's a matter of personal taste."
Frank Zappa

By Benjamin Franklin (not verified) on 19 Aug 2008 #permalink

Frank Zappa--
Dumb All Over
Heavenly Bank Account
Jesus Thinks You're a Jerk
The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing
(Heck, just about the whole "Broadway the Hardway" album. I'm missing a bunch, I'm sure.)

By forksmuggler (not verified) on 19 Aug 2008 #permalink

True Bob:

from Wikipedia:

... the philosophical view that the truth value of certain claims -- particularly metaphysical claims regarding theology, afterlife or the existence of God, gods, deities, or even ultimate reality -- is unknown...

No, I don't think that applies. Agnosticism is still am opinion. Music that doesn't mention religion has no opinion on the matter, so "agnostic" doesn't really fit.

I think the word that best describes non-religious music is the one that's already defined for it: secular.

So there's religious, anti-religious (as shown by several suggestions here), or secular. That's it. Definitely no atheist music. We don't need any more definitions.

By El Herring (not verified) on 19 Aug 2008 #permalink

"Remember, there's a big difference between kneeling down and bending over."

FZ

By forksmuggler (not verified) on 19 Aug 2008 #permalink

Masks of Eris #158: Depeche Mode's song is absolutely NOT atheist. This proves my point perfectly. Blasphemous Rumours is anti-religious. Nowhere in the song does it say that god doesn't exist, or even that he may not exist - only that he's a sadistic bastard. It's right there in the lyrics you quoted yourself.

By El Herring (not verified) on 19 Aug 2008 #permalink

Yeah. They should add "non-astrologer rock" and "non-farmer pop" subcategories too. All these christian categories are good "do not listen this" indicators, so it's better to keep them.

@Pete Rook:

But it isn't "religiously inspired music", it's secularly inspired religion. Popular Christian music is just aping secular music (again, to keep the little lambs from straying from the fold). "Secularists are playing electric guitars with three chords accompanied by drums, we must do that too, only WITH JESUS!" Like the Simpsons taught us, in Christian rock you just replace all the "baby"s with "Jesus". Apart from gospel or Gregorian chants (or other obscure and not really popular genres), can you name an original Christian music genre?

@182

You do know that Verdi was a freethinker, right?

And "Awesome God"? You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means, Analogy-boy.

By heliobates (not verified) on 19 Aug 2008 #permalink

El Herring, I mean the actual music, the sounds. Fine if not agnostic, but no set of sounds is inherently anything wrt human god-belief.

One Minute Silence FTW!

Basically the ENTIRE "Buy Now, Saved Later" album.

My favourite line from that album (not atheist but unfortunately very true):

" 'One small step' means McDonalds in space "

Recommended listening for all you metalheads: "Holy Man" and "Roof of the World"

jpf: Bach's Cantatas are pretty much a genre in their own right, although Bach's religious convictions are highly questionable. I reckon he was a closet atheist who merely went through the motions to avoid criticism, and the religious music he wrote was purely for financial reasons. I'll probably get attacked for saying that, but who can really know what went on in the mind of someone who died 250 years ago?

For a slice of nauseatingly Xian classical music, how about Elgar's Dream of Gerontius? They don't come more Xian than that. I love Elgar but I have great difficulty in swallowing that piece. I can take Mahler's Resurrection symphony though as I believe it has a totally different message which most people tend to miss. I wrote about it on my Myspace blog a while ago.

By El Herring (not verified) on 19 Aug 2008 #permalink

There is a band called Atheist http://www.officialatheist.com/, and Agnostic Front http://www.agnosticfront.com/ both heavy metal.

For Prog Rockers: Rush, as well as Framshift http://frameshift.progrockrecords.com/ whose new CD is Titled God Delusion and whose 1st cd was Unweaving the Rainbow - both directly inspired by Dawkins. Lastly Magellan http://www.insideout.de/catalog/search_result.php?keywords=Magellan&osC… Being they have no site of thier own.

I'd recommend Opeth, not only because they're by a very long way the best band ever to have walked the Earth, but also because to the sort of people who think metal is the soundtrack of Hell, I imagine an album like Still Life would be the realisation of their every nightmare. It's an epic tale worthy of Homer in the form of an album, and no matter what you've heard before, you will never have heard anything like it.

While the quality of most music is entirely subjective, Deliverance by Opeth is unquestionably the best album ever. It is darkly beautiful beyond words.

There is an intruiging history behind the fairly good band Alter Bridge. They all used to be in Creed, a christian rock band so bad that "even Jesus hated them." After apparently getting pissed off at it, they dropped it like a sack of shit and went to do their own thing. They now have, as far as I can tell, not a hint of christianity to their music. I found them when they played at Download festival this year (unfortunately lumped in on Saturday, when the main stage was otherwise clogged with emo rubbish) - surely one of the least christian events ever.

By Facehammer (not verified) on 19 Aug 2008 #permalink

Frankly, I think soundclick is simply and straight-forwardly discriminating against Atheists. The big tip-off for me being that when I emailed them with the same request as the OP, they gave an entirely different answer which still amounted to "Not gonna happen, ever."

I posted a transcript of the conversation here:
http://miedvied.com/?p=49

I come at this sideways. Instead of a genre of atheistic music, which I connote with rejection/exclusion, I would advocate for a genre of "enlightened or enlightenment music".

I'm going to enjoy listening to all of the ideas and links that are in the comments thread.

I have to agree that overall, the idea of a genre of atheist music of any sort is rather lame. On the other hand, nothing turns me off an artist or group quicker than some sort of quasi-Christian spiritual tendencies, so I tend toward groups that share my views. In high-school, I returned the first Collective Soul CD to the store after one listen through. More recently, I had a similar reaction to The Bravery -- which is sad, because some of their bass lines are a blast to play.

I will agree that Muse is fantastic, though "Thoughts of a Dying Atheist" has always confused me. Are we all that afraid of death?

To add to the growing list, though: Robert Smith of The Cure is an atheist, and the lyrics tend to reflect that worldview.

I'm not generally a fan of Rammstein, but their song "Engel" is cute. And while Oomph! is a little ambiguous, due to their tendency to play with rather gothic themes, "Gott ist ein Popstar" is entertaining.

Also, I'm not sure if Tom Shear of Assemblage 23 is an atheist or not, but his lyrics are among the most intelligent and rational that I've heard. Plus he's astoundingly good at meter.

Bugger. I didn't finish my thought. I was going to propose "rational" music as an alternative to "atheist" music -- it's less limiting. Singing about the sorts of things we don't believe in all the time would get old rather quickly.

A lot of high profile atheists are trying to make a distinction between atheism, which is not believing in gods (only)- and some theist dogma which believes in unsupportable whatevers. Meanwhile theists are trying their hardest to classify atheism as a religion. So here we come adding fuel to their folly by even discussing atheist genre in music.
Atheism is nothing more than not believing in God or gods. There isn't a sub culture here. There isn't any dogma. There isn't anything really except a bunch of rationalists, materialist, and scientist using reason to determine their belief system; however that belief system cannot be described as atheist alone, and certainly not primarily. I strongly resist making atheism into more than it is by having an atheist channel(s). Religion poisons everything.

By Rarus.vir (not verified) on 19 Aug 2008 #permalink

While I think the purpose behind creating an "atheist rock" genre -- that of bringing together music that inspires/connects with non-theists, agnostics, and others -- is laudable, I would argue that better methods already exist through tags/labels in music software plus the crowdsourcing efforts of sites like last.fm (hmm...is there an atheist music group there?), and community forums like this one. I would agree with many of the previous posters: a specific genre would add nothing more than to pigeonhole such music.

Someone already mentioned Spiral Architect's "A Sceptic's Universe" (remember, they're from Europe, so it's with a "c", not a "k" :-), which is a good album, although maybe not that accessible to more mainstream listeners (however, any album with a song titled "Occam's Razor" deserves at least one listen, and "Spinning" is an all-time favourite of mine). I actually discovered the band Scariot through a band member they shared with Spiral Architect. A couple of songs from the 2007 album "Momentum Shift" by Scariot need to be mentioned here, as they put a lot of non-theistic perspectives to some really good music. The song "Noble Quest" is probably the most accessible to average listeners (i.e. not too heavy, and with a really great chorus), and is luckily the strongest statement as well, with lyrics like "Your kingdom is not what I desire...Why go somewhere against my will...Immortality would give life no sense". The entire album can be interpreted as discussing a real shift in momentum within society away from a religious basis for every aspect of our lives, and more towards a secular language for expressing important concepts (even ones like "soul" or "spirit"). It also talks about how language can control/influence our thoughts, as evidenced in the opening track: "Redesign Fear". Very good album, and highly recommended.

Anyway, that's a long enough post for a lurker like me; just an encouragement to keep the music recommendations coming...I've already got about half a dozen bands/songs to check out...I only wish I had more time to listen to everything recommended here!

By Rory Tate (not verified) on 19 Aug 2008 #permalink

El Herring, that was my initial position, too, but I think a distinction could be made between lyrics that are irreligious and those that demonstrate actual disbelief, though that's going to be a very blurry line in a lot of cases.

Take Tool, for example. Maynard's lyrics are definitely often irreligious, but I'm not sure they necessarily make him an atheist. Reznor's lyrics, however, seem to indicate to me that he rejects the existence of invisible men in addition to the institutions that follow them. That's not an endorsement over one band or the other, by the way; it's just that I get a very different impression of the singers' beliefs based on what their lyrics. Their positions are in some ways similar, but in others, quite different.

In any case, I think Rarus.vir hit the nail on the head: we don't need a "not-collecting-stamps" music genre. But I'd still love to see a "Top 100 Irreverent Songs" list, which, really, is what this thread is becoming...

Didn't anybody mention the song that got me through high school? I present Patti Smith's Gloria...

"Jesus died for somebodies sins, not mine." My anthem.

Also a shout-out must be given to the Replacements--can't hardly wait.

"Jesus rides besides me, he smokes and he never buys." What can one say to such charming blasphemy?

Any my, ta da favorite band Hole though I'm sure those religious among us are relieved that Courtney Love is not on their side

From Gutless--
"I don't miss god, but I sure do miss Santa Claus"

And, here's one of my most favorite Flaming Lips songs "Jesus Shooting Heroin" --not a shout out to the religious

Well, I never really understood religions
Except it seems a good reason to kill
Everybody's got their own conceptions
And, you know, they always will
These days are needles under my skin
Jesus shooting heroin

If there are priests at your party
And you're playing cards that are numbered
And you got no reason to think it
Until your chances are uncovered
Tell me that I got to believe in
Jesus shooting heroin

The police in New York City
Chased a boy right through the park
In a case of mistaken identities
They put a bullet through his heart

I met Mary on the corner with the streetlights
She asked me if I'd come up to her room
I told her that I didn't have no money
She said she had to leave pretty soon
I decided that I would go in
Jesus shooting heroin

"If you pray to the holy ghost when you suck your host"

Who could forget Public Image Limited (Johnny Rotten's next band--abbreviated PIL) "Religion?" Those punks weren't real fond of the, uh, whole religious deal. So, Punk was, at its core, I believe, Anti-religious. OF course. Plus, PIL is great noise. "

.... Religion--PIL. .........

Stained glass windows keep the cold outside
While the hypocrites hide inside
With the lies of statues in their minds
Where the Christian religion made them blind
Where they hide
And prey to the God of a bitch spelled backwards is dog
Not for one race, one creed, one world
But for money
Effective
Absurd

Do you pray to the Holy Ghost when you suck your host
Do you read who's dead in the Irish Post
Do you give away the cash you can't afford
On bended knees and pray to lord

Fat pig priest
Sanctimonious smiles
He takes the money
You take the lies
This is religion and Jesus Christ
This is religion cheaply priced
This is bibles full of libel
This is sin in eternal hymn
This is what they've done
This is your religion
The apostles were eleven
Now there's a sod in Heaven

This is religion
There's a liar on the altar
The sermon never falter
This is religion
Your religion

One more (with slightly less grammar errors, perhaps, if those pencils I sacrificed to the grammar gods will do any good--they never do. Think they'd prefer, uh, copies of "Elements of Style?")

Replacements (again)

We'll inherit the earth"

"We'll inherit the earth but we don't want it
It's been ours since birth, what'cha doin' on it?
We'll inherit the earth but we don't want it
Layin' claim at birth, what'cha doin' on it?"

This song showed up in the sorta-christian movie "Saved" as the song sung by the supposedly Christian rock band at the Christian prom. Awesome. Just Awesome.

Have you noticed the undertone of homoeroticism running through some Xtian rock? My boyfriend and I were camping in the wilds of Utah when, wafting over the breeze came the most sincere song I have ever heard, sung by a man with a lovely tenor - "Jesus I love you, Jesus, come unto me, come unto me, Jesus, come unto me." Repeat. Poor thing. Wonder if he was at one of those de-gaying camps where they forbid the boyzz to wear Calvin Klein underwear, or was just, uh, clueless.

John S. Wilkins:

What has happened to our young folk - don't they teach the classics any more?
Frank Zappa, man!

Heh. Throughout the Great Cracker Contretemps, I had Zappa's "Catholic Girls" playing in the background in my head.

Streetlight Manifesto's album "Somewhere in the Between" carries a pretty strong secular humanist theme.

The title track's chorus goes:
"One day you were born,
And that was a good day.
Someday you'll die,
And that is a shame.
But somewhere in the between,
Was a life of which we all dream,
And nothing and no one will ever take that away."

I also liked "Down Down Down to Mephisto's Cafe". If I remember it correctly, it goes something like this:
"Were you there when the phrophecies began?
Do think they really had a master plan?
Or were they merely writing fable stories?

I don't know but it has occurred to me,
The threatened punishment for non-belief
Is only real if they could just convince me.

We're going down, down, down to Mephisto's cafe
Down, down, down to Mephisto's cafe.
The gears will spin and the sinners sin,
But at least we'll give them hell.
And the righteous few will spit on you
So bid them all farewell.
We're going down, down, down to Mephisto's cafe
We're going down (Right?...Right!)"

If you're into really uptempo ska, I suggest you check them out.

I've always been partial to Chicago's Searching as a skeptic's anthem. I'd link the vid but I'm at work.

By Rarus.vir (not verified) on 19 Aug 2008 #permalink

I think the category you're looking for already exists...

...It's called rock. :)

That's why there is a christian rock section to begin with, they wanted to break away from the good stuff to sing about nothing other than their version of God.

Us old guys can remember the 60's when rock was coming into it's own. It was regarded as music of the devil. So yeah Andy, Rock is the percect name. Rock and roll refers to illicit sex, which I believe is uniformly condemed in most religions, at least openly.

By Rarus.vir (not verified) on 19 Aug 2008 #permalink

Azdak #207:

But I'd still love to see a "Top 100 Irreverent Songs" list

Me too. I love making compilations of songs with similar themes.
I made an anti-religion one years ago but it obviously needs updating.

One good obscure one is "God Song" by Robert Wyatt (who actually looks like god nowadays).

There's always "Nothing" by Depeche Mode, although that one's maybe more nihilist than atheist. Great beat, though!

By Julie Stahlhut (not verified) on 19 Aug 2008 #permalink

There's the influencial jazz-death-metal band called Atheist.

http://rateyourmusic.com/artist/atheist

According to Wikipedia: Their second album, Unquestionable Presence, released in 1991, has been regarded by some critics as one of the most influential technical death metal albums of all time.

As with most death metal, the lyrics are kind of hard to hear. But their original name for the band, R.A.V.A.G.E. (Raging Atheists Vowing A Gory End), leave little doubt about where they stand.

This would fit better in an "Atheist Metal" genre. There's enough anti-Christian black metal bands to fill such a genre, though I'm not sure anyone else would want to be assosiated with them.

By Kristian Z (not verified) on 19 Aug 2008 #permalink

@SC, #220:

Silly of them, really. If they'd cancelled the concert on artistic grounds (i.e.: she's terrible), I don't think many (over the age of 12) would have questioned it.

Canada: we gave you Avril and Celine. And we're very sorry.™

One thing I can't believe I didn't mention: Pantera - Fucking Hostile.

"Almost every day
I see the same face
On broken picture tube
It fits the attitude
If you could see yourself
You put you on a shelf
Your verbal masturbate
Promise to nauseate
Today I'll play the part of non-parent
Not make a hundred rules
For you to know about yourself
Not lie and make you believe
Whats evil is making love
And making friends
And meeting God youre own way
The right way

(chorus) to see
To bleed
Cannot be taught
In turn
Youre making us
Fucking hostile

We stand alone

The truth in right and wrong
The boundaries of the law
You seem to miss the point
Arresting for a joint?
You seem to wonder why
Hundreds of people die
Youre writing tickets man
My mom got jumped -- they ran!
Now Ill play a public servant
To serve and protect
By the law and the state
Id bust the punks
That rape steal and murder
And leave you be
If you crossed me
Id shake your hand like a man
Not a god

(chorus)

Come meet your maker, boy
Some things you cant enjoy
Because of heaven/hell
A fucking wives tale
They put it in your head
Then put you in your bed
Hes watching say your prayers
Cause God is everywhere
Now Ill play a man learning priesthood
Whos about to take the ultimate test in life
Id question things because I am human
And call no one my father whos no closer that a stranger

I wont listen

(chorus)"

By Facehammer (not verified) on 19 Aug 2008 #permalink

I don't know if they're actually atheists or not but Epica definitely has some anti-religious themes - particularly on the album The Divine Conspiracy. "Fools of Damnation" in particular comes to mind.

By Ira Wyatt (not verified) on 19 Aug 2008 #permalink

#115:

You're right, I don't listen to much black and death metal except for the really melodic or symphonic stuff like In Flames or Chthonic (or Lux Occulta, if you can even associate them with that scene). Not to slag on your taste at all: I acknowledge most metal is definitely anti-religion, I just take issue with the 99% figure and the notion that anti-religion automatically = atheist. I'll forgive the bitchiness if you forgive my know-it-all tone.

And yes, big Queensryche fan here. Saw them and Dream Theater (with Fates Warning) on one tour; DT and the 'ryche covered The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" jointly for the encore.

By False Prophet (not verified) on 19 Aug 2008 #permalink

Grand Magus is atheistic. As is Falconer, XTC, Avantasia, and arguably Sabaton and TMBG.

Atheist Rock? I don't even like the term atheist - it gives too much credence to the idea of a god. I prefer areligious. Now there is something real to be without. Then when you say Areligious Rock, you can see how it is not a category.

By Don Smith, FCD (not verified) on 19 Aug 2008 #permalink

I Just Want You by Ozzy....

There are no unbeatable odds
There are no believable gods
There are no unnameable names
Shall I say it again, yeah

*cheers*

Frameshift, as mentioned twice above. He did a concept album on Dawkins' "Unweaving the rainbow" and his new album is based on and titled (with permission from Dawkins) "The God Delusion." It's prog rock/metal, and he's had James LaBrie from Dream Theater and Sebastian Bach on his past 2 records.

Even better though, is the next album which will have Magali Luyten (Viris IV, Ayreon) and... DAN SWANO on vocals! Dan's been in Star One, Nightingale, Edge of Sanity, Bloodbath, Katatonia, Second Sky, Unicorn, and has either been involved with or engineered/produced the records of half the Swedish metal scene. I am a HUGE fan of his work, if you couldn't tell...

By malendras (not verified) on 19 Aug 2008 #permalink

Good music stands on its own, while bad music needs people to have some other reason to like it. Good music can be strident in its message, but if it isn't good music, then the stridency could have been better expressed in some other way (a book, poster, art, etc.). Lots of good music that was Christian is remembered because it was good, not because it's Christian. (That status might be questionable for some as well, because in some cases the institutions didn't allow music or wouldn't pay for it to be made if it wasn't Christian, so people who might have written music inspired by secular ideas took what they could from Christianity and fit it to those ideas instead, rather than being truly inspired by them.)

Christian rock sucks in lots of cases not because it's Christian (though it may not be liked for that as well), but because it isn't very good music and is terminally linked to its message. In most cases it's also a pale imitation of the music it wants to be (a replacement for rock for people who require external support for their faith). It seems like a genre of "Atheist Rock" would repeat that mistake - if you require music who's sole purpose (since it likely isn't very good music, or you'd listen to it on that basis) is to support your ideas and to block out competing ideas, your ideas can't be all that strong to begin with.

Curve's "Die Like a Dog" is at the very least anti-religion, "Peace in a world free from religion"

The Sugarcubes' "Deus" is flatly atheist, "Deus does not exist" is repeated often.

I feel their recent response makes a lot more sense:

--- Original Message ---
From: SoundClick Support
To: CAROLYN
Sent: Wednesday, August 20, 2008 4:12 AM
Subject: Re: Antheist category

Hello,

We do not feel there is a need for an Atheist genre, as for one, any non-religious rock would be considered simply "Rock." The only reason for Christian Rock is for the fact that it is primarily focused towards members of the Christian religion, and contains lyrical content that is cleaner and more suitable for Christians (which is not typical of Rock). This is not discrimination on our part, but a general consesus as far as the music industry and musicians are concerned. I also personally feel that it would pigeonhole Atheist artists into a categorization not necessary for their music and beliefs. Sorry, but we have no plans on adding this genre now, or in the future.

Best Regards,
Ally Byrd
SoundClick Staff
support@soundclick.com

--- Original Message ---
From: CAROLYN
To: SoundClick Support
Sent: Wednesday, August 20, 2008 1:01 AM
Subject: Antheist category

Hi, i love your site but would love to see you include a category for atheist rock for example including George Hrab and Greydon Square. Just a suggestion.

Thanks and keep up the good work

By Anonymous Agnostic (not verified) on 20 Aug 2008 #permalink

I use Pandora for most of my music listening (at work, usually), and wish that in designing stations I could eliminate (with one click) the christian music that pops up. I can individually ban songs or artists, but can't do anything with the tags describing music. And you have no idea how long it took to ban all Hannah Montana and friends from my symphonic metal station...

"Hymn 43" from Jethro Tull is pretty anti-religious, although I understand Ian Anderson has some weird spiritualist beliefs. Cool music, though.

Kansas "Dust In The Wind"...

By madcap_freedom (not verified) on 20 Aug 2008 #permalink

Arcade Fire - Intervention.

Been working for the church
While your life falls apart
Singing hallelujah with the fear in your heart
Every spark of friendship and love
Will die without a home
Hear the soldier groan, "We'll go at it alone"
Hear the soldier groan, "We'll go at it alone"

Is there a "Nerd Rock" category? To me, at least, that means smart music. Anything that specifically talked about how religion is bollux would qualify.

Possessed with more fury than he had ever known,
the Lord screamed throughout the heavens
and commanded all to kneel and atone.
Standing in sheer defiance, the destroyer of the human race
stared down the world's creator and shoved his fist in his face.
"All my life I have served, so many gods so many wars,
but though I am food for the gods you will choke on my corpse!"

Enraged, and seething with righteous indignation,
the Lord raised up his hands and laid waste to all creation.

Alone in darkness God vowed to begin again,
but found to his growing horror that his strength was at its end.

Welcome my friend to the only peace you'll ever know.
You know me by many names, Time, Death, Entropy, Kali.
When we were born long ago I was weak and you were strong,
but now the tables are turned and shall be forevermore.

"Blasphemy! I am God. The one who can never die."
But the more he bellowed and blustered the weaker became his cries.

Deny me. I care not of what you do.
Life is yours to do as you will, but alas you've spent it in fear.
All that fighting for what you believed, tell me, did you win or lose?
It makes no difference now. To me you're all the same.

Take my hand, walk with me,
through the place we'll forever be.
In my arms rest peacefully.
Breath your last breath into me.

Cold and dark infinity.

-- Fireaxe

Todd Snider and Jimmy Buffett both have some great anti-religion tunes.

I also sent sound click a request and this is the response i received:

Hello,

We do not feel there is a need for an Atheist genre, as for one, any non-religious rock would be considered simply "Rock." The only reason for Christian Rock is for the fact that it is primarily focused towards members of the Christian religion, and contains lyrical content that is cleaner and more suitable for Christians (which is not typical of Rock). This is not discrimination on our part, but a general consesus as far as the music industry and musicians are concerned. I also personally feel that it would pigeonhole Atheist artists into a categorization not necessary for their music and beliefs. Sorry, but we have no plans on adding this genre now, or in the future.

Best Regards,
Ally Byrd
SoundClick Staff
support@soundclick.com

@152

Korn truly evolved post-Welch.

"Cancel my subscription to the resurrection ..."

- Jim Morrison again, a great line from When the Music's Over (Doors 1967).

Hall of Fame nominee: Zappa ... nice to see so many mentions.

But for sheer achievement in putting an atheist meme into popular culture, you've got to hand it to John Lennon's Imagine.

Common theme: "Those whom the gods love, die young".

By Mr Mojo Risin' (not verified) on 20 Aug 2008 #permalink

Hi all, hey, I scanned sorta quick, BUT I didn't see mega conglomerate of monster rock "METALLICA" anywhere...?
James Hetfield [I beleive] had several great songs bashing believers and gods alike...inspired by his real life dramas of mothers dying with cancer, fathers who abandon their children , deaths etc.
I find it interesting that that Soundclicks' Ally Beard is so certain of her assumption that an "Atheist" rock genre' would be so upsetting and also that she has "spoken" for musicians and artists everywhere! wow, maybe god told her....such an ignorant twit, shoving her opinion upon so many fantastic writers and makers of great music.

Granted, hardcore and punk isn't on everyone's radar, but there are an astounding number of atheist and anti-religion musicians in these fields

off the top of my head:
ceremony
trash talk
rise and fall
pulling teeth
living hell
intregirty
fucked up
all out war
gaza
backstabbers inc
the hope consipracy
catharsis
die young tx
eyehategod
giant
pg99
ringworm
runiner
saviours
suma
these arms are snakes
this is hell
xfilex

Senses Fail

"...We're destined to all die alone
I buried my cross with a rose
I won't kneel at your alter now that I know
It's a table for a magic show

I'm getting up from off my knees
the guilt is gone and I can finally breathe
But there is not a plan for me
You're making my tired ears bleed..."

"...A priest is rushing
To my side
Begins to read me
My last rites
Father you're too late
My faith is weak
So won't you save your
half-hearted speech

I'm the arrow,
Shot straight to hell
From the bow of William Tell
My body lies
Kissing the ground
Like a cross turned upside down

A man bends down and says, "Son
we're gonna get through this one
take my hand and let us pray."
I scream, "Please get the fuck away."..."