The Influence of Questionable Music and Lyrics

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The Influence of Questionable Music and Lyrics

Post by email » Wed Oct 06, 2010 10:23 am

So I recently became christian again, but I have a question on how God views music and different types. I've never heard of it being a sin to listen to certain songs, but I am curious.

I love a few songs just because of how they sound, but the lyrics are what make me wonder. Below are listed some song titles and lyric excerpts:

Paths of Possession - Darklands
"Come, welcome to darklands!
Regions of darkness, untouched by God
miles of nothing to practice my art,
pain! I'm in charge of, Pain!"

Bastards of a Lying Breed:
"Bastards of a lying breed,
you've ruled us for so long
Truth to you are lies to me,
and your right is so wrong!"

See, I never got into gospel music, and I don't like Christian rock, so that was not an alternative for me. I wanted to know if certain songs can be looked down on by God. (Note, I don't care what mankind thinks, I just want to make sure I'm not on a fast track to hell because of music).

Also I listen to a lot of Viking rock, where it sometimes calls out to the Gods and Goddesses. Is it OK to sing and listen to all these examples of songs and things as long as you don't believe in what it is saying? I understand that God knows our intentions, so if even if I listened to a song like "Bring me the head of Christ" or "Sacriligious Scorn" just because I like the sound of it, isnt that ok as long as I dont believe in the message conveyed?
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Questionable Music

Post by m273p15c » Wed Oct 06, 2010 12:36 pm

This is a very good question. Thanks for asking!

For background, I also enjoy rock. I learned to play guitar, when I was young, and I have always enjoyed music with lots of loud guitars. So, I have had to struggle with this question also, which means I have several things to share. I pray you find them spiritually helpful

Being a Christian is not easy. In one sense, it brings so many blessings, both in this life and the one to come, and it helps us to avoid so many heartaches, both in this life and the one to come, that it's "burden" is much "lighter" than the alternative (Matthew 11:28-30). However, temptations abound, and in the moment, it is often easier to succumb to sin, even though we may regret it and suffer more later. In this sense, the way of sin is easier and catches more people, because of our "lusts" for "passing pleasures" (Matthew 7:13-14; James 1:12-15; Hebrews 11:25). So, the Bible naturally has much to say on the topic of overcoming sin, and some of the verses touch on your very question:
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy -- meditate on these things. (Philippians 4:8)
Why is it important meditate, dwell, and think on good things?
Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (I Corinthians 15:33)
It is so easy to fool ourselves by saying, "It doesn't affect me!" But, this verse is like God tapping us on the head, telling us, "No, I am talking to you." We are gradually, subtly, but surely affected and compromised by what we see and hear. If we think otherwise, we are only fooling ourselves and setting ourselves up for torturous struggle and inevitable failure.

There are two forms of speaking of God that are condemned: blasphemy and vain usage (Colossians 3:8). Even if we do not mean to blaspheme, when we use God's name in such songs, we are still guilty of using it "in vain", that is, without seriousness, meaning, or regard. It's just flying out of our mouth like any other common word. Too many people do that today. For example, "Oh my God" has been used so much and become so meaningless, it's now an acronym (OMG)! I doubt anyone, who uses that phrase, is seriously invoking God's name, pleading to God for help and salvation in that instant. So, even if you do not mean it, you become guilty of using "the name of the Lord thy God in vain", when you sing some of those songs you mentioned (Exodus 20:7; Psalm 139:20; Proverbs 30:9; Colossians 3:8).

So, what are we to do? I have thrown away a lot of albums in my time. Most of my music is digital, so I have deleted a lot of tracks too. Unfortunately, I buy some songs hoping and thinking they will be good, only having to delete it later, once I realize what the song is advocating. If a song is sexual or blasphemous, I remove it from my playlist. I know you are thinking, "Well, that accounts for all of rock and roll!" And, that's about right. I have a small playlist of about 300 songs that don't push me in an unholy direction. I listen to these when I am exercising or working. A lot of my music has no lyrics (Joe Satriani, for example). Other songs have been edited, "cleaned up". If I listen to borderline music, over time I can sense a difference in myself. My thoughts are more easily drawn away. I am more easily tempted, and life becomes more of a spiritual struggle. It's feeding the carnal side of me. However, if I fill my head with holy stimulus, then many temptations disappear or at least become much easier to sidestep.

For some time, I have spent my daily commute listening to good gospel sermons. I can't tell you how much that helps. Not only do I learn more about God and His word, but I grow spiritually stronger and am even better equipped to teach myself. The key is to find and listen to good gospel sermons, where God's Word is taught accurately, humbly, wisely, and with helpful application. These have been my favorite, although you may find others you like better on this web-site:

I would encourage you to avoid Christian rock, because it will create another problem for you. You can read more here:


Lastly, the purpose and appeal of good gospel music is not the "music". It's the words!
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. (Colossians 3:16-17)
If you find some good gospel music - not for entertainment or for passing time - but music that contains words that are spiritually instructive, reinforcing, or an expression of your personal thanks, then you will find music you will want to hear repeatedly. There is a lot of overly simplistic, highly emotional, even empty "gospel music". (Like rock, the "feeling" disappears almost as soon as you turn the music off.) It borders on the "vain repetitions" used in prayer, which the Lord condemns (Matthew 6:7-8). That will not help you, but music that teaches you godly things or that expresses your own heart, you will enjoy singing those, and they will help to transform you. You will begin to grow in surprising and subtle but refreshing ways.

A good test is what I call the "Psalm test". Imagine a song was stripped of all of its music, rhythm and rhyme. Imagine that someone found the song and translated it into another language, hundreds of years after your time (just like David's Psalms). Would you want that song to represent you? Would you advocate someone wrapping new music around those words, singing them repeatedly, filling their hearts and minds with the words? Would you want your children and grandchildren to sing those songs? Of course, this test does not prove anything. It's just a way of helping us see what we already know but are reluctant to accept.

I pray you find these thoughts and verses helpful. I would encourage you to read and think about each one. Ask yourself if you believe God and the Bible, and if you do, then do what it says. That's how we "walk by faith" (II Corinthians 5:7).

If you have additional thoughts or concerns, I would be glad to hear them. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

May God help us to have a sincere love of truth,

May God help us to love truth sincerely and supremely (II Thessalonians 2:11-12)

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