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Atheist Hymns

Related threads:
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carigeen@eircom.net 02 Nov 99 - 08:11 AM
alison 02 Nov 99 - 08:15 AM
alison 02 Nov 99 - 08:26 AM
RWilhelm 02 Nov 99 - 09:20 AM
Chet 02 Nov 99 - 11:02 AM
Liz the Squeak 02 Nov 99 - 11:40 AM
KathWestra 02 Nov 99 - 01:37 PM
Tom on Comfort 02 Nov 99 - 10:26 PM
margaret 03 Nov 99 - 07:11 PM
GUEST,Here's an atheist parody hymn 31 Mar 10 - 06:22 PM
Young Buchan 31 Mar 10 - 06:35 PM
McGrath of Harlow 31 Mar 10 - 07:28 PM
GUEST,Ray 01 Apr 10 - 05:07 AM
Young Buchan 01 Apr 10 - 05:25 AM
theleveller 01 Apr 10 - 06:04 AM
Carol 01 Apr 10 - 06:23 AM
The Borchester Echo 01 Apr 10 - 06:35 AM
IanC 01 Apr 10 - 06:46 AM
Carol 01 Apr 10 - 06:46 AM
Valmai Goodyear 01 Apr 10 - 06:49 AM
greg stephens 01 Apr 10 - 06:53 AM
autoharpbob 01 Apr 10 - 07:36 AM
Young Buchan 01 Apr 10 - 07:49 AM
mikesamwild 01 Apr 10 - 08:00 AM
Bryn Pugh 01 Apr 10 - 08:09 AM
mikesamwild 01 Apr 10 - 08:36 AM
john f weldon 01 Apr 10 - 09:12 AM
Acorn4 01 Apr 10 - 02:41 PM
frogprince 01 Apr 10 - 07:54 PM
Joe_F 01 Apr 10 - 10:07 PM
Wesley S 01 Apr 10 - 10:55 PM
iancarterb 02 Apr 10 - 12:35 AM
Amergin 03 Apr 10 - 05:12 PM
Stringsinger 03 Apr 10 - 06:30 PM
Amergin 03 Apr 10 - 06:59 PM
GUEST,Chris P 04 Apr 10 - 10:11 AM
Amergin 04 Apr 10 - 11:28 AM
john f weldon 04 Apr 10 - 01:08 PM
GUEST,Chris P 04 Apr 10 - 04:20 PM
Chris Partington 04 Apr 10 - 05:12 PM
Joe Offer 04 Apr 10 - 07:19 PM
Joe_F 04 Apr 10 - 09:06 PM
Art Thieme 04 Apr 10 - 09:31 PM
Uncle_DaveO 04 Apr 10 - 09:34 PM
Joe Offer 05 Apr 10 - 02:09 AM
Stringsinger 05 Apr 10 - 12:39 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 05 Apr 10 - 12:44 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Apr 10 - 12:54 PM
Joe_F 05 Apr 10 - 05:53 PM
mikesamwild 07 Apr 10 - 06:37 AM
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Subject: Atheist Hymms
From: carigeen@eircom.net
Date: 02 Nov 99 - 08:11 AM

Hi all,

I was at a nephew's wedding in New York some time ago. The couple had, very bravely, declared themselves atheists and insisted on a totally non-religious ceremony.

The ceremony seemed to lack something in the musical line though. I tried to come up with some non-theist hymns but memory failed me and all I could recall was the 'Internationale'! As it was a distinctly yuppie occasion that one was better avoided!

Has anyone any brilliant ideas for the next time?

/ Carigeen


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymms
From: alison
Date: 02 Nov 99 - 08:15 AM

The music doesn't have to be atheist...... there are plenty of good love songs out there that can be used that have no religious connoctations.... search the forum for "Irish wedding", "Celtic wedding" type stuff... we've had threads on both... lots of great suggestions...

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymms
From: alison
Date: 02 Nov 99 - 08:26 AM

a filter search for wedding (set date to 1 year).. gets a heap of threads... heres a few to get you started...

Folksongs appropriate for a wedding

a folkie (sort of) wedding

Celtic wedding songs

wedding tunes

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymms
From: RWilhelm
Date: 02 Nov 99 - 09:20 AM

I once wrote an atheist spiritual called "I'm Goin' to a Hole in the Ground." I don't think it would work for a wedding.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymms
From: Chet
Date: 02 Nov 99 - 11:02 AM

I'd love to hear "I'm goin' to a hole in the ground". Please post.

Chet


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymms
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 02 Nov 99 - 11:40 AM

Have a look again at some of those supposedly Christian hymns.... they ain't so Christian as you'd think! Take the Holly and the Ivy, definately a song about tree worship, take out Jesus and insert a different name, you have a hymn to the Goddess. Same with most of the Catholic hymns to Mary, change the name(and that isn't always necessary) you have a hymn to the Goddess. Christians have always been good at taking stuff from other religions and filing the serial numbers off.

If you don't like that sort of thing, then there is a hymn in Songs of Praise (anyone brought up in a Church of England school will be familiar with that one) called 'When a knight won his spurs', it mentions knights, dragons, truth, strength,charger (big war horses), giants, ogres, darkness, castles and adventure. Not a great deal there about any god, only truth, and surely that is all that matters? If you believe that what you believe is the truth, then there is no need for anything else.

And yes, I'm Christian!! (although my priest calls me the token Pagan and my Pagan friends call me the token Christian.....)


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymms
From: KathWestra
Date: 02 Nov 99 - 01:37 PM

There are some very hymnlike songs that don't mention God, Jesus, or any other particular deity. One that comes immediately to mind is "How Can I Keep From Singing", which feels very spiritual to me and offers the great hymn-singing satisfaction of singing with others in lush harmony. I'm sure it's on the DT.
Kath


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymms
From: Tom on Comfort
Date: 02 Nov 99 - 10:26 PM

Kath, "How Can I Keep from Singing" is a great choice. I'd also suggest Si Kahn's "What Will I Leave Behind?" or Utah Phillip's "Hymn" Or "What a Wonderful World" by George Weiss & Bob Thiele, popularized by Louis Armstrong. I bet we come up with a bunch more, too.

(Maybe they're not in-yer-face athiestic, just universal & don't bother with mentioning deities, thankyouverymuch...

Cheers, Tom


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymms
From: margaret
Date: 03 Nov 99 - 07:11 PM

i guess it's more of an agnostic hymn, but iris dement's "let the mystery be" is a great song that proclaims belief in love and living life accordingly, despite not knowing where we'll all end up in the final analysis. i never thought about it for a wedding, but i sure have thought it'd make a great, happy song at a funeral. another great one for a funeral that i'd consider a philosophical rather than theological hymn is gillian welch's "i'm not afraid to die," very serene and beautiful. probably not appropriate for a wedding, though! margaret


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymms
From: GUEST,Here's an atheist parody hymn
Date: 31 Mar 10 - 06:22 PM

Sung to the tune of "I'll fly away" a Christian hymn.

When I die and my life is over I'll rot away.
6 feet down underneath the clover I'll rot away.
I'll rot away how gory,I'll rot away.
When I die I won't go in the sky
I'll just rot away!


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymms
From: Young Buchan
Date: 31 Mar 10 - 06:35 PM

Have a look at http://www.workingclasslit.com/?q=socialist_hymns/book
(sorry, I'm a Blueclicky-atheist!)
It is a page by page scan of the ILP's Labour and Socialist Hymns. A few of them do mention God, but most don't.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymms
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 31 Mar 10 - 07:28 PM

I can't quite see how supposedly pagan hymns could be particularly relevant to atheist celebrations.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: GUEST,Ray
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 05:07 AM

Not so much the hymns themselves but the music. Ralph Vaughan Williams, who wrote numerous hymn tunes was a self professed atheist. Personally, I don't like the term "atheist". I don't play the banjo but banjo players don't have a specific term for me!


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Young Buchan
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 05:25 AM

The correct term for someone who can play the banjo but doesn't is Great Hero and World Benefactor.

As to what constitutes atheism I recall that Dylan Thomas once said of his father that it wasn't so much that he was an atheist as that he didn't like God - when the weather was bad he would shake his fist at the sky and shout 'It's raining again, damn him!"


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: theleveller
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 06:04 AM

'When a knight won his spurs'

When Martin Simpson did his superb version live he used introduce it by saying that he had taken any reference to god out of it because he didn't want to sing about anyone who talked on equal terms with George Bush.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Carol
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 06:23 AM

How about Hard Times by Stephen Foster, only kidding. How can I keep from singing must be 'top of the list', then Blessed Quietness, and Where are we bound by Sy Khan or even Amazing Graced at a push, after all it's all about a lady.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 06:35 AM

Chris Wood: "Come Down Jehovah"


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: IanC
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 06:46 AM

Glad That I Live Am I is totallly non-theist. In "Songs Of Praise".

:-)


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Carol
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 06:46 AM

That was good, perhaps not for a wedding more like for a funeral, anyhow I'm going to learn it.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 06:49 AM

Coope Boyes & Simpson's 'Unison in Harmony'and 'Bringing in the Sheaves'.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: greg stephens
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 06:53 AM

"How Can I kep from Singing" always turns up in these sort of lists as a great non-God spiritual type of song. It should be remembered that was not the intention of its original creator, it was written as a very Christian hymn. Someone very cleverly filletd out the bones of Godliness, and left it very atheist, back in the 60's I think. It was done very well, most of these sort of rewrites are like modern language versions of the bible...rubbish, for the most part. But this has actually improved the song and made it very succesfully universal. That's what I think, anyway.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: autoharpbob
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 07:36 AM

Not Atheist, but I like "Zen Gospel Singing" written by Mark Graham, as sung by Bryan Bowers on "By Heart"

"And now I'm a Buddhist, chant my mantra's each day
But I miss the hymn singing in the good Gospel way"

...... its Zen Gospel singing - just Om, Om sweet Om."


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Subject: ADD: When Wilt Thou Save the People (Elliott)
From: Young Buchan
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 07:49 AM

There's a hymn by Ebenezer Elliott which even as an atheist I rather like since though it mentions God its main line seems to be giving him a good telling off.

WHEN WILT THOU SAVE THE PEOPLE
(Ebenezer Elliott)

When wilt thou save the people
O God of mercy when?
The people, Lord, the people
Not thrones and crowns but men?
God save the people - thine are they,
Let them not pass like weeds away:
Their heritage, a sunless day.
God save the people

Shall crime bring crime forever
Strength aiding still the strong?
Is it thy will, o Father,
That men shall toil for wrong?
'No' say the mountains, 'no' the skies;
Men's clouded sun shall brightly rise
And songs be heard instead of sighs.
God save the people.

Words: Ebenezer Elliott, 1850
Music: Kendal

Meter: 76 76 88 85


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: mikesamwild
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 08:00 AM

As a kid in Manchester in the 40s we went to a Socialist Sunday school and sang songs that were anthemic like England Arise by the writer and activist Edward Carpenter who lived near Sheffield . A green , gay, socialist, feminist before his time. It was one of the tunes at my Dad's and Mum's funerals


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 08:09 AM

If you were to look, you'll find this in any christian hymn book, but I have always thought of it a a paean (sp. ?) of praise to the All Father. There ain't a single reference to jesus, god, or any other bugger. I intend to have this sung,

once I have croaked, at the cremmy :

Be thou my vision, thou, lord of my heart :
Let nowt be all else to me, save that thou art.
Thou, my best thought in the day or the night -
In waking or sleeping, my treasure thou art.

The "middle verses" you can keep for me :

High King of Heaven, with victory won -
Let me reach heaven's gate, heaven's bright sun.
Heart of my own heart whatever befall -
Still be thou my vision, thou, ruler of all.

So mote it be.


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Subject: ADD: England Arise (Edward Carpenter)
From: mikesamwild
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 08:36 AM

ENGLAND ARISE
Edward Carpenter (1844 - 1929)

1. England, arise! The long, long night is over,
Faint in the East behold the dawn appear,
Out of your evil dream of toil and sorrow –
Arise, O England, for the day is here!
From your fields and hills,
Hark! The answer swells –
Arise, O England, for the day is here!

2. People of England! All your valleys call you,
High in the rising sun the lark sings clear,
Will you dream on, let shameful slumber thrall you?
Will you disown your native land so dear?
Shall it die unheard –
That sweet pleading word?
Arise, O England, for the day is here!

3. Over your face a web of lies is woven,
Laws that are falsehoods pin you to the ground,
Labor is mocked, its just reward is stolen,
On its bent back sits Idleness encrowned.
How long, while you sleep,
Your harvest shall it reap?
Arise, O England, for the day is here!

4. Forth, then, ye heroes, patriots and lovers!
Comrades of danger, poverty and scorn!
Mighty in faith of Freedom, thy great Mother!
Giants refreshed in Joy's new rising morn!
Come and swell the song,
Silent now so long;
England is risen, and the day is here!


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: john f weldon
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 09:12 AM

After a bout with pneumonia, I felt the need to write a gospel song. Tough, since I have no beliefs. This is what I came up with.

old rugged hammer


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Acorn4
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 02:41 PM

"Jerusalem" might do as William Blake, who wrote the words, was verging on atheism.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: frogprince
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 07:54 PM

I've never heard David Tamalevich (sp?) say whether this was actually intended as atheistic, but I would say it can be taken that way. On the other hand, while it's certainly anti-fundamentalist, I don't find it really anti-Christian.

Ours is a simple faith
Life is a short embrace
Heaven is in this place
Every day

Hope is the ground we till
Make each day what you will
Thankful for dreams fulfilled
Every day

No room in this heart for fear
No judgement day drawing near
Trust that inner voice you hear
Every day

Life's not a goal or race
Its about heart and faith
And living a life of grace
Every day

Ours is a simple faith
Life is a short embrace
Heaven is in this place
Every day

Hope is the ground we till
Make each day what you will
Thankful for dreams fulfilled
Every day

Trust is an open hand
Making an honest stand
Rooted here in the land
Every day

Living the mystery
Seeking the harmony
Here between you and me
Every day

Ours is a simple faith
Life is a short embrace
Heaven is in this place
Every day

Hope is the ground we till
Make each day what you will
Thankful for dreams fulfilled
Every day

-----------


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Joe_F
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 10:07 PM

No JP has signed a certificate.
No one said blessings or broke a glass.
You clothes are the same as on the day we met,
And there is no rice on the grass.
Don't stare at your plate when the food is all gone --
Put it up to wash with the rest.
Our love will go on, or it won't go on,
If not in the east, the west.

-- Bertolt Brecht, freely translated by me.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Wesley S
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 10:55 PM

Susan Werner has a great recording called "The Gospel Truth". It's gospel for agnostics. Here's a review that will tell you more.


Susan Werner review


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: iancarterb
Date: 02 Apr 10 - 12:35 AM

An acquaintance from Suquamish, WA, a comedian and songwriter named Mike Neun, wrote a splendid agnostic hymn which I NEVER wrote down, and I foolishly gave the CD to a cousin. The chorus is, of course:

I don't know, I don't know,
To tell you the truth, I don't know.

so probably not an ideal wedding song:)
I haven't seen Mike for a few years, but I'll hunt and try to recover this very funny song.
   Carter


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Amergin
Date: 03 Apr 10 - 05:12 PM

We Don't go To God's House Anymore


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Stringsinger
Date: 03 Apr 10 - 06:30 PM

I have to keep reminding people that Atheism is NOT a religion. Hence, any love song works or any song about Peace or human values. There can't be an atheist hymn because it's
oxymoronic. (Please look it up).

Any reference to "heaven" has to be taken in a religious context. The same is true for any mention of god.

Keep it secular and happy!


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Amergin
Date: 03 Apr 10 - 06:59 PM

It may not be a religion...however certain people have taken it to that extreme, and turned atheism into an organised religion....you do realise there are churches where atheists go and congregate, right?


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: GUEST,Chris P
Date: 04 Apr 10 - 10:11 AM

Well that's a new one on me, Amergin. Sounds like a rumour. Of course, in the Middle Ages, people who didn't partake of the dominant religion, or any, were also supposed to get up to their own strange rites, dancing naked in circles in the woods and being pagan and sacrificing babies and stuff. Where is it nowadays and what do we worship when there?


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Amergin
Date: 04 Apr 10 - 11:28 AM

Well you should check out this magical tool called a search engine.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: john f weldon
Date: 04 Apr 10 - 01:08 PM

Maybe he means those godless Unitarians.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: GUEST,Chris P
Date: 04 Apr 10 - 04:20 PM

"Well you should check out this magical tool called a search engine."

Wow! I have seen and I believe! I've never heard of that over this side of the water, it seems such an unlikely concept.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Chris Partington
Date: 04 Apr 10 - 05:12 PM

Actually I take that back, having looked a little closer at what Google really threw up. There seem to be only three separate organisations that are referenced when Googling for "atheist church", out of 3,250,000 hits for atheist + church, i.e. The First Church of Atheism, The Church of Atheism, and The First Atheist Church of True Science, none of which appears to have any solidity beyond an old website and a plea for other people to join them, which hasn't happened, because it's a stupid idea.
Then there are all the other 3,249,997 hits containing the words "atheist" and "church", which consist of the religious complaining about atheists. And commentators and journalists remarking on how absurd atheists are, having churches and all. Which they don't. Even in California.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Apr 10 - 07:19 PM

I've always thought of the Washington Ethical Society as the atheist equivalent of a church. They deal with ethics and ideals and social activism from a non-theistic point of view - and they often have plaid host for musical gatherings of the Folklore Society of Greater Washington (FSGW).

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Joe_F
Date: 04 Apr 10 - 09:06 PM

jfw: Unitarians are not necessarily godless. According to Prof. Whitehead, their creed is that there is *at most* one god.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Art Thieme
Date: 04 Apr 10 - 09:31 PM

There is a song I sang and recorded. Some say it is religious, but to me it is only about inclusiveness. The Master Of The
Sheepfold


It's in the DT and some threads have discussed it.

Chorus is)

Oh, the master guards the sheepfold bin
And he wants to know is my sheep brung in
And he's calling, calling,
Calling softly----softly calling
For them all to come gathering in.

The shepherd in the song has room for all. It is a practical statement of the absolute desirability of including all in the group--no matter what the differences are.

In my life I must constantly deal with so many religious folks who are very certain of their RULES and dogmas---to the extent that they do real harm (I think) to those they shun because of their differences from the big group. At 68, I'd rather look for ways to make it work out--and learn from others.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 04 Apr 10 - 09:34 PM

Seems to me people lose track of what is meant by "hymns", "carols", and "a spiritual".   

Hymns are, by definition, religious songs of praise to some entity, in our culture a god. If it's an atheist occasion, a hymn would be entirely out of place, don't you think?

A carol is a folk or folk-type song (not amounting to a hymn), associated with a particular holiday.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 Apr 10 - 02:09 AM

As a Catholic Christian, I see Jesus Christ as the incarnation of all that is good - peace, generosity, compassion, and hope. Many people don't believe in Jesus Christ or in a God, but if they also believe in peace, generosity, compassion, and hope - aren't we in some ways brothers and sisters in faith?

Does that make sense, a God who is the embodiment of goodness, instead of a God of doctrine and law? And if we don't choose to see goodness as God, can't we share something with those who share our ideals but not necessarily our beliefs? I think that Lift Every Voice and Sing embodies many of our shared ideals - but it gets theistic in the third verse.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Stringsinger
Date: 05 Apr 10 - 12:39 PM

There are no churches where atheists go to congregate. Not true! There are more and more meetup groups for atheists to discuss their world views. You can't make a religion out of atheism no matter how hard you try. It won't work. That's Orwellian.

I think the theistic part of "Lift Every Voice" weakens its message but that's my opinion.
What we can share is the fact that you don't have to believe in a god to be good person with ethical and moral standards. I don't see any god that has been presented as an embodiment of goodness, certainly not from the bible.

That said, I think it's possible for Freethinkers to work with religious people on advancing social issues. I don't think it requires faith to work for peace and justice but that these are ideals worth achieving. It is not valid to think of atheists or freethinkers to be "brothers in faith". But we can work together to achieve a better world.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 05 Apr 10 - 12:44 PM

It would seem to be as difficult to find representative music for pantheism, atheism's polar opposite. I surely haven't encountered any. It is probably time for a composer to step forward.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Apr 10 - 12:54 PM

...There ain't a single reference to jesus..

There is, and you quote it, Bryn: "High King of Heaven, with victory won


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: Joe_F
Date: 05 Apr 10 - 05:53 PM

Buddhism and Confucianism usually count as religions, but have no gods.

If I were a Supreme Court justice (God forbid), I would opine that the various schools of psychiatry are religions within the meaning of the First Amendment, and that the government has no right to persecute or establish any of them.


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Subject: RE: Atheist Hymns
From: mikesamwild
Date: 07 Apr 10 - 06:37 AM

Is Lord of the Dance religious. I mean the song not Michael Flatley's thing. Didn't Lord Shiva dance ?

The tune is Simple Gifts I think from the Shakers, but I don't know what Sydney carter believed , wan't he a Marxist?


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