Tag Archives: heaven

Frank Turner Isn’t a Subtle Atheist

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Frank Turner
Image credit: Wikipedia Commons

It’s not a secret that many musicians have given up on religion. From the outwardly atheist band, Bad Religion, to Bjork, plenty of prominent artists have confessed their lack of belief. Others, such as Macklemore and Green Day, include lyrics in their songs that condemn the actions or beliefs of the religious.

Yesterday, Denver alternative-rock radio station 93.3 hosted its annual “Kegs & Eggs” St. Patrick’s Day celebration, which features an early-morning rock concert and – you guessed it – beer and eggs. Among the artists performing at this year’s event was Frank Turner, whose song “If Ever I Stray” has earned him rapidly increasing popularity in the past few months.

I wasn’t able to attend the live event, but 93.3 aired the concert live on its station. Turner performed a song that I had never heard, “Glory Hallelujah.”

Brothers and sisters, have you heard the news?
The storm has lifted and there’s nothing to lose,
So swap your confirmation for your dancing shoes,
Because there never was no God.
Step out of the darkness and onto the streets,
Forget about the fast, let’s have a carnival feast,
Raise up your lowered head to hear the liberation beat,
Because there never was no God.

There is no God,
So clap your hands together,
There is no God,
No heaven and no hell.
There is no God,
We’re all in this together,
There is no God,
So ring that victory bell.

No cowering in the dark before these overbearing priests,
Not waiting until we die until we restitute the meek,
No blaming all our failings on imaginary beasts,
Because there never was no God.
No fighting over land your distant fathers told you of,
Not spilling blood for those who have never spread a drop of blood,
No finger pointing justified by fairies up above,
Because there never was no God.

There is no God,
So clap your hands together,
There is no God,
No heaven and no hell.
There is no God,
We’re all in this together,
There is no God,
So ring that victory bell.

And I know you’re scared of dieing man and I am too,
But just pretending it’s not happening isn’t gonna see us through,
So just accept that there’s an end game and we haven’t got much time,
And then in the here and now we can try and do things right.
Forget about the crazy things that people have believed,
And think of wondrous things that normal people have achieved,
‘Cos I’ve known beauty in the stillness of cathedrals in the day,
I sang Glory Hallelujah! Won’t you wash my sins away?
But now I’m singing my refrain and this is what I say,
I say there never was no God.

There is no God,
So clap your hands together,
There is no God,
No heaven and no hell.
There is no God,
We’re all in this together,
There is no God,
So ring that victory bell.

It’s nice to see atheism nonchalantly becoming part of pop culture. Turner’s song is an uplifting anthem for nonbelievers. Here’s hoping it resonates with those who felt they were alone in their atheism.

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Forcing the Issue

Sarah Chantal Parro, blogger at Evangelical Outpost, has a solution for the inherit monotony of religion: Just force it.

Do you ever feel too tired, or too busy, or too lazy to pray? Do you sometimes feel like you’d rather sleep in than go to church? Or do you ever find that you’re in church, but your heart really isn’t? I am guilty on all counts. For whatever reason, my personal spirituality is the most difficult for me to maintain.

Might it be that deep down she sees the pointlessness of it all?

When it comes to most important things in life, I think “easy” is overrated; at least, I think it’s dangerous to believe that if something is right or worth doing it will always be easy.

What Parro doesn’t seem to realize is that religion is the easy path to take. Life is wrought with difficult questions – some that we may never be able to answer. Filling in those gaps with a convenient invisible solution is just plain lazy. If Parro isn’t finding fulfillment in the mundane routine of a religious life, I’d suggest thinking outside the church for answers.

Parro continues:

My husband once put it this way: “I have to remind myself that when I don’t want to pray, that’s the part of me that wants to go to hell.”

I think we’ve found the root of poor Parro’s problems. Nothing motivates a person to repeat that which they might otherwise question like the threat of physical torment. And that is precisely the service that the concept of Hell offers. “Sure, tithing and praying and attending church and fasting seems pretty silly to a rational adult, but remember that if you forget to do any of these things you will burn for eternity.”

I hope that one day Parro stops beating the dead horse of her faith, but such is the destiny of the person who refuses to think independently.

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“Heaven Just Gained Another Angel”

Posting from my phone here, so I’ll make this one brief.

We see this saying a lot when people die (which has been painfully frequently as of late). To me it’s a curious statement…one I find desperately hypocritical.

Here’s the thing: in life, we are quick to pass judgement on our fellow humans. Nobody is ever good enough. This behavior is hyperactive in religion; especially in religions for which faith is the utmost of human virtues.

These religious people are constantly told (and telling each other) that nothing that they do is good enough. No amount of charity or goodwill can save them from the wrath of their god unless they truly believe.

Often, their criteria for belief is abnormally strict. You have to believe the right way. People of different faiths are eager to condemn those who don’t share their viewpoints, even when these people are their friends.

I’ve asked a few of my religious friends what they think will happen to me when I die. Many of them don’t shy away from responding that I’ll likely end up in Hell unless I redeem myself through faith. They also don’t balk at the idea of their friends of separate faiths spending eternity in the grips of Satan.

So why are they so sure that the recently deceased are in Heaven? After so much doubt and condemnation during the living hours, why are the religious so quick to confidently predict the whereabouts of the departed?

To me, this demonstrates the real purpose religion serves for most people. It’s a matter of comfort and convenience rather than a conviction of knowledge. Religious belief, like many beliefs concocted by our complex brains, serves to make sense of what is around us in a way our brains can manage.

Religion is not the result of divine inspiration or divine revelation; it is the trickery of our brains as they try to appease their foolish possessors.

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