I'm an atheist, so why does some religious music move me so much?

by nicolaou 42 Replies latest jw friends

  • nicolaou

    I often find myself playing George Harrison's 'My Sweet Lord' while I'm at my PC and I can't help but resonate with his genuine, heartfelt devotion, his appeal to Christ or Krishna. The way he opens and pours out his heart to his 'Lord' is inspiring.

    A while back, I went to a catholic church to see two friends renew their wedding vows. There was a smart, mature lady who sang 'Ave Maria'. I almost choked, it was so beautiful. She raised her face up and filled the air with crystal clear song and praise. It was as if she reached up into heaven and, for a moment, was actually there with god.

    Why is this? Why, even though I am convinced of the non-existence of god and anything spiritual do I still get moved by some religious music?

  • Scully

    Music is meant to evoke emotions. You've just proved that it works.

  • oldflame

    Scully is right to a point but I also believe that God gave us a conscience. The Holy Spirit works through our conscience and it could be that is what you are receiving.

  • Satanus

    It doesn't prove that there is a god. I think it's the pureness, the selflessness, the love, the adoration, or just the abundance of positive vibes of the singer/composer. As well, what they are focussing on is considered by them to be all things positive. In that way, jesus or krishna or athena or whoever serves as a useful icon for upliftment. If you allow it, or work on it, those kinds of songs can bring on exctasy. Come christmas, i may go to a chatholic church to listen to the choir, making sure first of all, that i have the proper mental attitude, ie, have smoked some 'erb.


  • bebu

    "The call of God can never be understood absolutely or explained externally; it is a call that can only be perceived and understood internally by our true inner-nature. The call of God is like the call of the sea— no one hears it except the person who has the nature of the sea in him." --Oswald Chambers

    Maybe it is something like 'deep calling to deep'... and you are finding out that you are 'deeper' than you thought?


  • Mysterious

    The feelings are real even if the sentiments are not what you would agree with. I pride myself on my emotive poetry, being able to cause someone to experience the emotion of the words and it seems to me that is what a lot of religious music is all about.

  • TresHappy

    I remember some of the Kingdum Melodies used to make me cry. Now they make me cry but for a whole different set of reasons!

  • Golf

    nic, I told this story once, and as usual, you get your negative remarks from certain posters. A female agnostic came to believe in God 'after' pushing out her first child from her body. What moved her?


  • Jeffro

    It proves absolutely nothing about whether god exists. And it doesn't even necessarily indicate "the pureness, the selflessness, the love, the adoration" or any other thing resembly sincerity on the part of the singer.

    It's a bit like what Robbie Williams satyrically imparts about the recording industry in the song "Come Undone": Do another interview / Sing a bunch of lies / Tell about celebrities that I despise / And sing love songs / We sing love songs / So sincere

    There is no requirement for sincerity, and much less need for supernatural backing, to write a song, be it religious, a love song, or whatever, for it to be able to 'move' someone. It just has to have whatever rhythm, tempo and sentiment that is required to evoke whatever feelings are intended.

  • LittleToe

    What I find especially interesting about you experience, Nic, is that you haven't necessarily got any investment or memory triggers that would make such songs meaningful to you. It resonates with your heart.

    This is one reason why I suggest that religion can sometimes be a tool to spirituality (and I'm not limiting that concept to "god-bothering"). IMHO there is something distinctly "other-worldly" about it, especially communal worship and song, that transports us in a way somewhat different than mere escapism.

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