Monday, April 19, 2004

back in the day ...

So, every now and then, I dip into my music archives, specifically, the stack of CD's and (gasp!) tapes that I don't listen to anymore, but haven't yet found the strength to sell or give away. The other day, I found a mix tape with some Bad Religion on it. As the name might imply, they espouse (in no uncertain terms!) a worldview completely antagonistic to my own. On the plus side, they play some crunchy punk rock with delicious vocal harmonies. But, despite their penchant for writing fairly smart lyrics that require a sufficiently enriched amount of word power, I think prolonged exposure to their stream of anger and cynicism is a tad unhealthy.

An interesting excerpt:

no control

culture was the seed of proliferation
but it has gotten melded into an inharmonic whole
consciousness has plagued us and we can not shake it
though we think we're in control
questions that besiege us in life
are testament of our helplessness
"there's no vestige of a beginning,
no prospect of an end" (Hutton, 1795)
when we all disintegrate it will all happen again

time is so rock solid in the minds of the hoards but they can't
explain why it should slip away
history and future are the comforts of
our curiosity but here we are
rooted in the present day

if you came to conquer you'll be king for a day
but you too will deteriorate and quickly fade away
and believe these words you hear
when you think your path is clear

we have no control
we do not understand
you have no control
you are not in command!

I think this portrays the atheist's plight with great consistency. Although I would agree with him that, in the grand scheme of the universe, we mortals have no real control over the forward progress of history. But, for him, this results in a bleak hopelessness, "rooted in the present day," which is the extent of our meaning and existence. This life is all that we've got, in his view, and we have no significance compared to the vastness of time. How different is the conclusion I reach, even when agreeing with the premise of having "no control." I can take hope knowing that, although I might have no control, there is One who ultimately has all under His control, and that He is the one that ultimately assigns significance to our lives.

Greg Graffin (Bar Religion's prime lyricist) is at least being consistent, and the result is embittered, rebellious, angry music, which stems (I think) from realizing the utlimate consequences of his beliefs.

Ironically, one of my favorite smart-guy anti-theists is the least consistent with his own beliefs. Neil Peart, of Rush, is one of the smartest lyricists around. His words are often filled with hope and expressions of humans reaching their potential. This seems a bit out of sync with his belief that we ultimately emerged from primordial goo.

But at least he can play a mean drum solo.

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