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Do religion and music mix? 
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Post Do religion and music mix?

This is to deflate the discussion about the Christian Doom Alliance. Obviously, some people think religion and music mix fine, while others abhor the thought of mixing the two.

This is a heavy topic, so please do try to keep things civil, so we won't have to close this baby.

Here goes nothing...

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Thu Jul 12, 2007 11:43 am
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Personally, I do think that both can mix well, and after all it has already been done with enough genius before (Haendell's The Messiah, gregorian chants, soufi chants, etc...).

This is all a question of what you like as a message in your music, just like the mix of politics and music. Do you prefer average love songs, party songs, songs about social conciousness or songs with a theological/metaphysical level/message of any kind?

I don't especially look ONLY for music with a religious message not more that I look for, say, music with a "I love you Baby, Baby I love you" one. To be more precise, I don't like preachy preaching message of any kind (like I've said in the "politics & Music" thread), but despite that, that doesn't stop myself to listening to Count Raven, even if I do sometimes find the lyrics a bit ridiculous I must say :laugh:

As far as we accept that music can display a political message (of any kind), then why not could this be the same for religion? Some could argue that this could let the door opened for fanatics, but there's already NSBM existing and a lot of people listening to it use the argument "yeah, but I don't support the message, only the music interest me"
Well then OK, so it's the same for any kind of religious music I suppose : you're not forced to agree with the message, as long as you enjoy what's played.

So in short : I don't go advocating that all music should be religious (far from that, even : as far as it goes, I'll still prefer to listen to Motörhead talking about alcohol, parties and rock n roll than suddendly go Born Again :p ), but I don't see what's wrong if some bands decide to explain their Faith through it :;):

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Thu Jul 12, 2007 12:09 pm
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Hmm, for me it's okay if bands / musicians incorporate some of their religious convictions in their music, but it must not be overdone, i.e. I couldn't get any enjoyment from the lyrics of the Paramaecium-debut which deal exclusively with the New Testament. No emotion, passion or identification transported here. I also dislike religious motives if used in a too striking way or in too high amount, but this is a personal thing; no problem with musicians who dedicate their whole musical work to religious beliefs, but it's not for me then. It makes no difference if it's about Christian, Semitic, Pagan, Satanic or whatever beliefs as I'm not interested in either of them... Generally, I like those more who are well grounded and refer to emotions, thoughts and down-to-earth experiences instead of basking in metaphysical ideas. It's of more relevance for me and I can refer to the conveyed emotions more easily. But, as I said, I don't mind those who prioritise differently.

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Thu Jul 12, 2007 12:12 pm
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can't music itself be a sort of religious experience? and if so, how can you argue against incorporating religion in music? doomson, i would be willing to bet that if i went through your cd's, id find plenty of death/black metal bands that "overdid" it with the satanism thing. lets call a spade a spade, you arent against religion in music, you are against judeo-christianity in music.


Thu Jul 12, 2007 1:23 pm
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I guess it doesn't bother me if there are religious overtones but like somebody already said it should not be overdone. Thats what got me out of black metal somewhat the tired use of satanism in it.

I am a fan of lyrics dealing with personal issues and emotions...you know...stuff I can relate to a bit more.

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Thu Jul 12, 2007 2:24 pm
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Music is art and as far as I'm concerned there are no boundaries concerning art. Hence religion (or politics) can be mixed within the artform music.
It's up to the listener if he appreciates the music mixed with religion.


Thu Jul 12, 2007 2:30 pm
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Why not, music can mix with any topic... religion is a strong subject to many people, so it makes full sense that it inspires music, as it has been happening centuries ago.

I honestly don't see what's the big deal. Why do some people get so anal («open-minded» is what they normally call themselves) about religious themes in music. I don't care. As an example, I find Place of Skull's Love through blood an awsome album, one of my favourite doom recordigs in fact, and don't really care if the lyrics are so obviously of christian inspiration. Being an atheist myself I can relate to them in other ways.


Thu Jul 12, 2007 3:12 pm
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The religion in music is just in the lyrics, which I find less important in music.


Thu Jul 12, 2007 5:12 pm
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Acid wrote:
Being an atheist myself I can relate to them in other ways.


That's what a lot of people don't do or not even try to do. They overlook the lyrics thinking it is just for belivers or overlook the band at all.


Thu Jul 12, 2007 6:17 pm
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For me, as long as the religious ideas aren't being preachy, then i have no problem with it. Touniquet, Paramaecium, King's X, Avenged Sevenfold (yea, so shoot me, haha), and anything that has religious themes while not being preachy is fine to me.

It's when artists start preaching their beliefs, religious or otherwise, that i think it just doesn't work.

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Thu Jul 12, 2007 6:30 pm
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Well, it depends also on how they preach : you can't deny that when Nusrat Fateh Ali Kan start to sing praises, it's just perfectly tuned...or maybe it's just that he had an fantastic voice and that few people understand ourdu :laugh:

On the other hand, when Acheron or Stryper start their show, it's pretty much bloody ridiculous.

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Fri Jul 13, 2007 6:32 am
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persist wrote:
can't music itself be a sort of religious experience? and if so, how can you argue against incorporating religion in music? doomson, i would be willing to bet that if i went through your cd's, id find plenty of death/black metal bands that "overdid" it with the satanism thing. lets call a spade a spade, you arent against religion in music, you are against judeo-christianity in music.


Uh?
Maybe I should stop posting here, as it seems to be an unreasonably excessive demand for most people not to misunderstand my point. Honestly, it starts to get annoying and insulting and my patience is close to its end if everything I say is twisted afterwards. I've had enough of those insolent allegations. :angry:

You would lose your bet, persist; I don't own more than about 8 CDs from the Black- and Death Metal-field each and the only CD in my collection I can think of that even mentions the word "Satan" has long since been sorted out and listed in my trade list. I can't take this kind of lyrical direction seriously, and besides, I generally find extreme metal to be rather restricted and there's not so much to discover for me, even though there are exceptions.

Sonic Architect wrote:
I am a fan of lyrics dealing with personal issues and emotions...you know...stuff I can relate to a bit more.


Dito. This is the major reason why I'm not too fond of lyrics with religious contents, which DOES NOT mean that I don't accept or tolerate them. I'm fine with people who can relate to those beliefs or who can ignore the lyrics, but for me personally, there's no identification whatsoever. I actually like some music incorporating Christian motives (and I have far more sympathy for Christian motives than for Satanic ones, as 95% of the latter are purely ridiculous and cannot be taken seriously), but as I said before (do I always have to repeat myself?!), to not annoy me it shouldn't be overdone or come off as preaching, as some others said.

As an example: I love the song "Mercy Of Maria" by Midnight Choir. It's pretty much about loneliness, isolation and the unfulfilled yearning for security and love. It is deeply moving as I can relate to the lyrical themes quite well and the emotions are carried very intensely through the vocals and lyrics. Then there's lines such as "At the mercy of Maria may I lay my aching head / at the mercy of Maria may I find my resting place"; well, personally I wouldn't seek solace in ideas of this kind, but I can really empathise the motivation for this sort of devout ejaculation and I can understand the desperate hope behind these words even though I don't feel it myself exactly the same way. Then, as a counter-example, there's this Paramaecium-album which tells me the story of Jesus' life and death which has been cudded millions of times before and just starts to get annoying. I can't find any emotional potential in the music and nothing particularly interesting about the lyrics, and for me music gains a much higher meaning if I can identify with it.

I think Pim wrote a good and precise bottom line for all of this.

Just one short final note: If you think my post is too long, keep it for yourself or just don't read it.

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Fri Jul 13, 2007 8:07 am
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Doomson wrote:
persist wrote:
can't music itself be a sort of religious experience? and if so, how can you argue against incorporating religion in music? doomson, i would be willing to bet that if i went through your cd's, id find plenty of death/black metal bands that "overdid" it with the satanism thing. lets call a spade a spade, you arent against religion in music, you are against judeo-christianity in music.


Uh?
Maybe I should stop posting here, as it seems to be an unreasonably excessive demand for most people not to misunderstand my point. Honestly, it starts to get annoying and insulting and my patience is close to its end if everything I say is twisted afterwards. I've had enough of those insolent allegations. :angry:

You would lose your bet, persist; I don't own more than about 8 CDs from the Black- and Death Metal-field each and the only CD in my collection I can think of that even mentions the word "Satan" has long since been sorted out and listed in my trade list. I can't take this kind of lyrical direction seriously, and besides, I generally find extreme metal to be rather restricted and there's not so much to discover for me, even though there are exceptions.


what did i misunderstand in your post? i certainly didn't mean to insult you. clearly, i have never gone through your cd collection, but might i ask what sort of lyrical direction you prefer? lyrics seem to be very important to you. my point is that i doubt that you (or most of the other people objecting to trog) would protest nearly as much over an overtly satanic thread. im not defending trog, nor saying that i agree with anything or everything he does, but i think we need to be honest. don't say that you object to religion in music (if everyone on here objected to religion in music there would hardly be a need for a religion sub-forum in a doom metal community) say that you object to christianity in music. it's clear to me that that is what everyone means.


Fri Jul 13, 2007 1:46 pm
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I think that religion and music can go together, but I think that there are two different ways in which they go together. There is music that is primarily written to be performed during a religious ceremony (for example the various requiem masses) and there is music that is primarily written for the music but with religious lyrics (most black metal falls into this category). In general, music that has primarily a religious and less a musical function is less interesting than music for which it's the other way round. Now the example of the requiem masses actually contradicts that statement, since in general, even though written for a religious ceremony, they are also written for mourning and are often some of the better works available. At the same time, if one takes a composer like Bach who has written many religious pieces as well as many musical pieces, one sees that the pieces written purely for the music are far more interesting than those written primarily for use in religious ceremonies.
On another note, why is it that most religious music is either Christian or Satanic? (at least that's what I gather from the music I have) Now I have a few things that are associated with other religions, such as the Norse pantheon, Judaism, and Buddhism, but it's very little compared to those other two.

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Fri Jul 13, 2007 5:35 pm
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the stranger wrote:
Acid wrote:
Being an atheist myself I can relate to them in other ways.


That's what a lot of people don't do or not even try to do. They overlook the lyrics thinking it is just for belivers or overlook the band at all.


yes, it's kind of like not being able to appreciate the architecture of a medieval cathedral because it has a religious inspiration. That's just poor.

and people seem to forget that religion might be an inspiration in music, but it's never the only thing there is to say about it.


Fri Jul 13, 2007 5:51 pm
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Music and religion as always been together since medieval times, but since the beginning of the proliferation of atheist ideas in the XIX century, and of course since positivist ideas music (especialliy in classic music) become less religious. When we pass to normal kinds of music, not classical music, we see religion being worked and used in very different ways. We have in psychadelic years a kind of new religious music, but as you can understand with an impact of ideas that are not related to judeo-christian though. In other side we have the beggining of anti-religious music. we have that in Jethro Tull - Aqualung, and in other by that time. Since the 80's. we see in rock and heavy metal, and other related genres omf metal the beginning of a truly new religious music, religious upside-down. I believe satanic music it is still a religious music. Anyone agree with me? The ideolotry of satan is a new religious thougth even we think it is against religion, but is not. And why it is religious? because it simply is an inverse mistic or it created an inverted parody of christian liturgy, but it is still an liturgy and a mistical thought. It is not atheitic in it essence. Religion is not only the good, and evil is not contrary to religion. Its only a mere perspective of beliving in something else that is beyond human. Atheist thought is human in it essence, satanic religious thought is not human in it essence. Do you understand what i'm trying to say? If you want that i simplify it, i can do it. But when we come to doom there is nothing about religion in it essence. It is philosophical, it deserves to be understood in it complete essence, but it is not religious. So in it essence it is not related to religion, and in this point i want to emphasize that doom, and especially funeral doom, is not atheist because it is not interested in humanity, neither it is nihilitic, but it is not religious in it essence. Funeral doom must be undertand in metaphisical and aesthetical way, but it never should be related to religion or to religious themes, there is no place to that.
What do you think about that?


Fri Jul 13, 2007 5:52 pm
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silencioeterno wrote:
But when we come to doom there is nothing about religion in it essence.


oh, the «essence» argument. :laugh:

You can interpret things the way you want to, but you also can't ignore that a musician being religious might want to make music inspired by his beliefs. And yes, that actually happens in doom, since is became a genre. Recognize this?
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Fri Jul 13, 2007 5:59 pm
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Personally, I find nothing inherently wrong with mixing religion and music, save a rather restrictive template when writing lyrics. In my opinion, I think bands that ultimately rely on religious imagery and theology(with a few exceptions) exclusively do so as a means to obscure a lack of imagination and/or their collective mediocrity. In the case of the latter, religion is used as a shield against criticism, and allows the band to securely ride the coattails of a widely practiced religion and gain a level of acceptance unavailable to more secular outfits, or at very least in far less time.

Bands who used religious themes in our beloved genre in the past( e.g. Paramaecium, Trouble, etc.) opted to allow their Doom to speak for itself. Sure, they espoused religion, but it wasn't used as a primary selling point. They achieved success without using their music as a billboard.

In the case of the organization being questioned at the moment, I think the global Doom community is small enough as it is, and fragmenting it based on religious preferences is counterproductive and divisional. We can accomplish far more as a unified collective.

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Last edited by StarlitSanctum on Fri Jul 13, 2007 9:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Fri Jul 13, 2007 6:29 pm
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totally agree with everything you said in this post.


Fri Jul 13, 2007 7:47 pm
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I've always thought that lyrics are, on the whole, unimportant to a song. After all, it's the music we listen to, and if the lyrics of a good song were changed, would the music be any different? I think not. I only ever think of good lyrics as a bonus to a song, though it may not make the song itself good.
Seeing as how religion can really only enter music through lyrics, it doesn't have much of a presence for me in music at all.

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Fri Jul 13, 2007 11:35 pm
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