Secular Music

I wrote parts of this article back in Sep 2006, thought to share it with you guys:

I looked at the top ten songs on a radio station in my country (Power 98) then, and their lyrics:

1) Rihanna - "Unfaithful"
"And I know that he knows I'm unfaithful, And it kills him inside, To know that I am happy with some other guy..."

2) Nelly Furtado - "Promiscuous"
"Promiscuous Girl, Wherever you are, I’m all alone, And its you that I want... Promiscuous Boy, I'm calling your name, But you're driving me crazy, The way you're making me wait..."

4) The Pussycat Dolls - "Buttons"
"I'm telling you loosen up my buttons baby... I'm a sexy mama... Come on baby, loosen up my buttons babe, Loosen up my buttons babe, Baby, won't you loosen up my buttons babe..."

5) Shakira - "Hips Don't Lie"
"You make a woman go mad, So be wise and keep on, Reading the signs of my body... You know my hips don't lie... All the attraction, the tension... Oh boy, I can see your body moving... My will and self restraint, Have come to fail now, fail now..."

10) Paris Hilton - "Stars are Blind"
"If you show me real love baby, I'll show you mine, I can make you nice and naughty, Baby i'm perfect for you It could get physical, oh no, no no"

Notice that half of the top ten songs are all about the promiscuous, unfaithful, 'pick-me-up' kind of sex, something that God does not condone. Furthermore, 4 of the 5 top songs are on this topic.

I also looked for songs with meaningful lyrics, and found just one about counting your blessings when you're in trouble:

7) Hoobastank - "If I Were You"
"You seem to find the dark, when everything is bright... If I Were You, the first thing I'd do, is thank the stars for all that I have..."


Many of us love music, and listen to secular songs, from 'top-ten' pop songs to heavy metal and jazz. However, a lot of the stuff out there isn't too healthy, from the examples given above. We may be attracted to a particular song because it has a great guitar riff, or a nice jingle, but if the message it portrays is not in line with what we as Christians believe, listening to it may alter our perception of right and wrong, away from what God dictated in His Word. We may, for example, think that promiscuity is cool because the music associated with it is cool.

One example comes to mind. I chanced across some really cool guitaring by a band called 'Dragonforce', and thought to explore their music. Furthermore, they were going to have a concert in my country. Fortunately, I had the sense to check out their lyrics (you can never hear what they're really singing, the music is so loud, and the guitaring is way cooler), and it turned out to be quite satanic, with song titles like "Invocation of Apocalyptic Evil".

On the other hand, I became interested in Tommy Emmanuel's (a talented acoustic guitarist) music last year. Turns out (at least what I found on the net) that he is a devout Christian, and somehow his music, although instrumental, is infused with his gentle and kind personality, and makes you feel that you can be a better person.

Hence, we must be very careful in choosing the things we listen to. I'm not advocating that secular music per se is wrong, because I believe that God gives us music to enjoy, and also because secular music is one platform we can use to build bridges to non-believers. So examine the lyrics of the songs you listen to, and read up on the bands' & artists' backgrounds.


Parker said...

Yeah! you're 100% right. The same thing that happened to you with Dragonforce (they're still awesome) happened to me with Opeth.

GabonMx said...

K has rigth, i lestend some secular music but i choose music talking about love and happynes, other music talk about, girls, sex, and other bad things, we need to choose rigth the secular music to listend

Anonymous said...

Nice blog Ken. We should use discernment when we choose what music to listen to. I believe we should only listen to music that is gloryfing to God. Some christians even go as far as to say that all music is worship...its just a matter of who its worshiping.

Joe said...

tommy emmanuel is a christian? hmm thats interesting.

Jbt said...

yeah i had to do something like this for my Bible class and i found that there was only one song on the top 10 list that week that did not talk about sex but was still about living rich and famous.
Not to mention its not just the music that is played on the radios these days, but also through t.v. and advertisments. And as guitar players most of the adverisements that are aimed towards us portray the idea of sex drugs and rock and roll kind of thing, and have half naked woman on them... it sucks! but its awesome that you brought this up!

kenny said...

Neat.. do you have any notes or powerpoint slides to go along with your class? If so maybe you could share some stuff with us, thanks!

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I gotta disagree with you guys. Secular music is fine as long as the message doesn't invade your views as a Christian.

Take the music by The Beatles, for example; they're secular. Most of them were druggies. They said they were going to be more popular than Jesus himself. John Lennon was famous for his " I don't believe in God " lines, and YET; Christian bands take famous chord progressions, "G,D,Em,C" ( Lord I lift your name on high, Blessed be your name ) and apply to Christian songs. This chord progression was first popularized by Wild World. ( Sorry, can't remember the artist right now... )

Anyways. We have lots to learn from secular music. Not everyone likes the Christian worship style music.

Alan said...

God revealed to me shortly after Irecieved Jesus as my lord and savior, that what I was listening to was wrong and that I needed to change what I was hearing . Music is a ministry ,yes , What are you singing for? Who are you singing to? Everything has a purpose be it good or evil. Our place as christians is to discern what is right, and hold Gods values high .Be the example to the world , testify what God has done for you . I have found that there are many styles of music that worship Jesus. God created us with eye & ear gates, use your mind as the guard to what you allow in your heart.Listen to yourself , others can tell what you have put in there .

Justin said...

It all goes back to the old concept we all learned at a young age: garbage in garbage out. Whatever we take in whether it be what we listen, watch, or even read, affects how we live our lives whether we want to believe/accept it or not. A lot of secular music sounds great, the harmonies, chord progressions, guitar riffs, etc are great, but why are they great? God knows music, but so does Satan. Before he fell he was the absolute definition of music in heaven, he knows what he's doing. Your life is affected by one of two beings, God or Satan. How you live your life and what you choose to do determines which of these two rules you.

Derrick said...

Personally in my opinion, secular music affects our Christian lives from following God, because of its contents, no matter what kind of music, whether it is love song, ballads, alternative, rnb, etc., These kind of music are "very deceiving" and have "rebel lyrics", "breakup relationships" and stuff, because all of its contents (the lyrics) focus on the "world", and not to "God". As Christians, we ought to "separate" from what the world could offer to us because "Christians" are called "Overcomers" because the Lord Jesus Christ have overcome the "world", take note that "Christians" are called "Followers of Christ". If that's the case, can we follow Christ by listening to secular or "worldly" music? Jesus is "holy" and strictly not of this world. However, we are not perfect just like Christ, so don't think i fully follow Christ cos while walking with Christ, i have many convictions too, even to this kind of topic. But we, Christians, should have this conviction: we are not Christians just by words, but by deeds. The time we are saved by grace, we sing not to this world anymore, we sing praises to God now. "WE CANNOT AGREE IN BOTH SIDES!" FOR THAT'S BEING FAIR between the world and the kingdom of heaven. cos the world is different from heaven. stay to this conviction: Proverbs 26:25 - When he speaketh "FAIR", believe him not: for there are "SEVEN ABOMINATIONS" in his heart. Repent. May God give you wisdom and knowledge for your understanding. God bless you.

Max Miller said...

Nice insight Bro!
I was wondering if I could put up this article on my blog for others to see and read.

Thank you!

Josh said...

I agree with this post. Lukewarm people will always make excuses of why they listen to things that are not always "bad" but def do not bring me closer in my relationship with Christ nor do they glorify him. But lukewarm people will always call you or anyone with this opinion a "fanatic" or "religious" .... Nuff said

God is the creator of music...the devil is trying to steal it away...he was a thief from the beginning...all glory to God

read Amos5:21-24 NIV OR THE MESSAGE, God abhors secular music it is like clanging symbols to Him it is unpleasing to Him!! so how can we say we r all inn if we idol something God hates!