Friday, September 9, 2011

Is rock music evil?

Photo by xtinelabbe

Thats the question many ask among conservative christian circles (I say "conservative" as a point of fact and not as "point the finger") I like to think of myself as conservative lol.

This piece is written as a quick overview to begin a further discussion on the topic.

I too asked the question "Is rock music evil?" when I saw the amount of damage it can have on people and looking at its roots. My wife and I finished reading a book by Jeff Godwin and in this book he evaluates many bands and their fruit. He also drifts into talking about the music in general (christian also) and its negative elements. Well, for a start I appreciated how this book caused me to reassess many bands and to check who and what I listen to. I however strongly disagree with how far this book takes the "evils" of rock music.

As for his arguments which you can find in more detail in his book, he used a very broad brush and lacked specifics. He claims that rock music is bad because:
1. It evolved from voodoo beats from Africa and therefore anything with a voodoo beat is wrong
2. It influences society negatively
3. It influences plants negatively... the logic follows that since plants don't like it then it is bad for us.
4. It is of the world. He quotes the book of James where he says that if you are a friend of the world then you are an enemy of God.
5. The music is rebellious and creates chemical imbalances
6. Regarding using rock music as an evangelistic tool, he likens "doing" christian rock music to becoming a fornicator, to become like a fornicator so that we can reach the fornicators.

Well, those are some that I can think of off the top of my head.
Where do I start? I had hoped he would bring some more technical reasons why the music rhythms are wrong but he didn't enlighten us.

I probably would reply to reason 1. By asking "what about the Polynesian drum beats?"
Why can't have rock come from there? What's the deal with assuming that because beat music was used for voodoo it all of a sudden makes it wrong?
I don't follow. Criminals use guns for crime, hunters use guns for game. What's the difference? Intent. Music is a tool; a sad piece of music can create an atmosphere that is not good in a certain context. A sad piece of music can also be very useful to portray a story or likewise in a good context.

2. Although there is a lot of truth in this, rock music has done a lot of good also. I know it has done me good in my life and helped pull me through some tough times, listening to MercyMe, Switchfoot and Petra etc.

3. The whole plant thing is totally irrelevant let alone the fact that I doubt this is even true. Because plants may dislike rock music does not mean that it is wrong for people to like it. Plants aren't people and people aren't plants.

4. Heavy implication here. According to the writer of this book anyone who approves rock music is not saved... an enemy of God. We need to ask what the "world" is in the Bible. I don't think it is cultural music, it is sin. And God spells out quite plainly in scripture what is sin and what isn't. Paul does warn us however that all things are lawful for us to do but not all things are helpful. 1 Cor 6:11-13.

5. Although I would agree to a point that different styles of music influence us in different ways. Jazz can be quite sensual, Rock is gutsy, classical is peaceful (sometimes depressing). Each is for its own occasion. To suggest that rock music is wrong because it causes imbalances is simply ridiculous, I am sorry to have to say it. If I want to have a romantic evening with my wife, I will put on romantic music. If it is sensual then why is it wrong? I go to the beach to enjoy the sun, the waves, the sand. It makes me feel happier than I would at home; it gives me a chemical "imbalance". I don't think chemical imbalances are wrong, each is for its own occasion.

6. Where in God's Word is any type of music referred to as on the same par as fornicating? I refer back to number 4. Paul became a Jew to the Jews and a Gentile to the Gentiles; Yet he always preached the same acts of sin to all people. Music is not listed as one of those sins. Unless all their music back then was used for "holy" purposes... I doubt it.

Well, there are a few thoughts thrown together. I will be interested in anyone's thoughts.