Songs for Atheists

Sarah Bowman
Sarah Bowman, Writer & Researcher, volunteer at Atheist Secular Humanism

John Lennon’s Imagine there’s no heaven comes immediately to mind. You’ll see many of the lyrics are similar to Christian visions of world peace. He sees it through socialism; Christians idealize that the Church takes care of its needy via hospitals, schools, and orphanages. But what if the “brotherhood of man” was such that it necessitated no orphanages and schools and hospitals? As we know, in some countries orphanages are pretty much a thing of the past, and many people acquire elementary schooling at home. The very rich can often be cared for by private doctors at home, too; in any case hospitals for the well-to-do are a phenomena of recent centuries.

My favourite “atheist song” is Steve Martin’s “Atheists Don’t Have No Songs.” It underscores a real dilemma of atheism; many of us come from religious communities where beautiful music is part and parcel of life. When we are forced by conviction of conscience to leave religion, we lose not only the community but find to our dismay that there are precious few songs made specifically to express our feelings, struggles, and view of reality. There seem to be more academics than artists, poets, and song-writers in the atheist community. Let me clarify, by “atheist” I mean people who lack belief in god or gods; people who believe in God but don’t go to church (who don’t participate in organized religion) are not atheist in this definition.

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2 thoughts on “Songs for Atheists

  1. I’m not too sure about the song as a whole being atheistic, however Fury by Muse is an amazing song in my opinion. The chorus goes ‘and we’ll pray that there’s no God to punish us and make a fuss’ and I challenge anyone to say there isn’t as much passion in his voice as there is in any religious song during the 25 or so seconds he spends singing that specific line!

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    1. I won’t challenge you. I tried listening to a YouTube of the song but I can’t make out the words. I identify with the sentiment, though. I would substitute the word “pray” with “trust.” I don’t pray but, as I’ve often said, I think if God is who the Bible and Christians say he is, then he won’t condemn anyone for leaving religion for the sake of truth and personal integrity in response to deeply-felt convictions.

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