Wildcard Wednesday: An Atheist’s View of Southern Gospel

I was doing my normal web surfing tonight, and I stumbled upon this blog post from an atheist named Bruce. He talked mostly about a hate email he got from a Christian that told him she was “glad that you are an atheist and out of all church” and “So glad for that place called HELL” because “you are going to in the dark place where no one can see your ugly face again.”

I was shocked. Are there really Christians that think like that?! With Christian examples like that, I can see why someone might turn to atheism. Not that I agree with Bruce’s decision to become an atheist, but I honestly can see why he might have made that choice.

But that’s not why I’m writing this post. The part that caught my attention in the Google search was his views on Southern Gospel music:

I may disagree with every aspect of their belief system but they are kind people who sincerely want to be the “good” Christian that is hard to find these days. Some may object and say, but Bruce you think the supernatural Jesus is a myth. How can you accept people who believe in things that are a myth?

Simple. As I type this post, I am listening to Southern Gospel music on Spotify. (drives my wife crazy, btw) I don’t believe the “message” of the songs but there is something about this kind of music that appeals to me at a visceral level. I suspect if atheists start doing 4 part harmony Stamps-Baxter music, I will love it too.

I find some sort of emotional benefit from listening to this “style” of music. I view the religious beliefs of others in the same way. If they get some benefit from believing in God and worshiping God,even of I think that God does not exist, who am I to condemn and ridicule them. There are atheists and agnostics who still attend church because they get an emotional, psychological, or social benefit from it. Each to their own, I say.

Do you know anyone who can relate to this?

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4 thoughts on “Wildcard Wednesday: An Atheist’s View of Southern Gospel

  1. I can understand why he’s hooked on the music, its irresistible. Sometimes I listen to country music, not because I agree with all the lyrics but because I like the style. So I guess I can relate to that.

    The hate email no doubt came from a member of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church.

  2. And yet, I sense something pernicious in his “If it acts like an emotional security blanket for you, who am I to argue you out of it?” mentality. True, there’s poison in the militant missionary atheist attitude as well (“I have to save these deluded people from their imaginary fairytales at all costs”), but this is almost a little more sinister. I watched a documentary called _Expelled_ that featured interviews with Christians and atheists on both sides of the intelligent design debate (including quite a few people within the movement whom we actually know personally, so it was kind of cool to see them up on the big screen), and the creepiest atheist, by far, was P. Z. Meyers. He said that Christian faith is “like knitting” in that it’s something harmless and comforting that gives people a good feeling.

    Right. The faith of our fathers. Just like knitting.

  3. I had a relative who was a die-hard athiest. He also died after a two-year battle with cancer. He made it VERY clear that he wanted NO part of faith, religion, God, church, or anything at his funeral – so much so that it nearly ruined his final weeks with members of his family. Any mention of God or religion was banned 100% from his funeral, no matter what.

    Having said that, he loved watching the Gaither Gospel Hour on TNN. He borrowed my DVD of the Cathedrals Farewell Celebration. He LOVED southern gospel music. He wouldn’t be caught dead in any religious fashion (quite literally), but he loved SG music. Probably for many of the same reasons that Bruce above does.

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