I like to listen to different types of music from gospel to classic R&B to heavy metal, all with uplifting lyrics (I don’t like depressing music lol). What I was wondering is does anyone think there are certain types of music that christians shouldn’t listen to? I don’t listen to anything that has demonic lyrics or sexual lyrics because of past addictions. I feel music is to be treated like movies or any other type of media in the sense that it’s different for everyone and what is hindering you you should take out your life. Even if something is not a sin it doesn’t automatically make it good. But I wanted other opinions as well.
Hi, @Luna! We’ve just lately had a similar discussion here on Connect, and I thought you’d be interested to read the thread.
I think you’ve hit the nail on the head, so to speak, by focusing on lyrics rather than genres of music. Off the top of my head, I don’t think there’s a specific type of music that Christians shouldn’t listen to, though we need to be aware of how even instrumental music affects us. As I’m sure you’ve found out music can take us places in our imaginations and affect our bodies and moods in both helpful and unhelpful ways.
Would love to hear some more thoughts from the @Interested_in_Arts group!
@Luna, love your question and the topic, and could go on at length but will try to be brief with two observations. The first is rather general but I think applicable: if the music (style, genre, lyrics) becomes an idol it’s obviously a problem – having more love for it than for God. Dare I say this might even happen for some with “Christian” music? The danger is in the person’s heart-attitude towards the music, not necessarily in the music itself. As you point out, you are wise enough to avoid music that stirs old addictions.
Which leads me to my second observation about he lyrics specifically. If you can access it online, read Alice Cooper’s (yes, THAT Alice Cooper) foreword to Mark Joseph’s book “Rock Gets Religion”. In it, Alice advises us to think about “what that artist is selling. Everybody is preaching something.” Here he’s referring to any music artist, but obviously that can be expanded to encompass many things.
That is a good guideline for me, as one of my favorite genres is progressive rock (“Prog”) which in its late 1960’s - early 1970’s origin is nihilistic, though there are many Christian Prog groups these days. Even though I like the style of music and really don’t listen much to the vocals or sing along, I know that the lyrcs can get in there and fester if I’m not careful. Music is an easy avenue for bad thinking, even bad theology when it comes to that.
But it’s also a great apologetic and evangelistic tool when it becomes the basis for conversation with others. Challenge them to think about the lyrics they’ve memorized. What do they mean? Do they really agree with them?
Would love to pursue it more, but I know thee’s so much more for everyone to read elsewhere, so I’ll stop here. Thanks again for pursuing this topic.
This is a topic near and dear to me. Im a metal head of the gore/industrial/thrash genres. I grew up in a home with a mother that would probably literally kill me or someone else if forced to listen to that type of music for too long whereas i myself find it incredibly relaxing after a difficult day at work. one thing I have learned in my adult life that it is always important to be mindful of those around you. I would never play that music around my wife or mother but when its me and my brothers or certain ones of my 5 children i crank it up to 11 so to speak. I would never play it for the children at my church for the reason that there are parents that i am pretty sure would not approve and as the childrens pastor that is not a fight that is worthy of happening or needs to happen.
On the other side of things i try and be very careful of who i am listening to as not only the lyrics but the image that the band portrays says a lot to the world viewing from the outside. Alice Cooper being aforementioned is one that i myself chose not to listen to because of the image he sells. He claimed conversion and I am not the judge of that but then still tours and dresses as part of his previous life. I also went through this decision with Brian Welch. Previously a member of Korn. he released a book and quit the band too start his own “Christian” band. That was cool and i enjoyed the music he released but after a few years he changed and went back on tour with Korn. I cannot judge where his heart is but the image that portrays to the rest of the world is that you can claim to be a christian and that doesnt require any life change. Much of the metal world struggles with this grey area and I have no problem with a band like POD touring with Marylin Manson bringing the light into some of the darkest and most depraved places on earth, but once you actually take part in that culture and just become another band on stage or even play as a part of those evil bands are you actually bringing that light any more? In the world not of it has a very fine line sometimes and even well meaning individuals or bands can end up on the wrong side without careful and prayerful consideration of your every move.
@CroaMagna I felt the same about Brian Welch as well. I listen more so to bands like killswich engage and 80s metal. I guess I’m wondering more so within myself if I can trust my convictions. Especially if I lived a life full of condemnation lol
I think I’m having trouble being able to tell the difference between feeling guilty and feeling convicted about something. Because of that I’m not sure about my judgement on music and how much it actually influences my thinking.
That would be a question for an accountability partner of sorts. Someone who is able to understand and be completely honest with you. There are organizations like triple x church and such that use men and women to go back into the very world they were freed from to try and share the light in a world that while incredibly intoxicating is also incredibly evil. they do it with very strict accountability and control. While this situation is not that extreme it is the same principle. If you feel that you cannot trust yourself and do not have that type of outside support around you then it is not a world you should enter for fear of losing yourself to the world. As hard as it is its better to pluck out your eye that to let it cause you to sin.
@Luna that’s a great question. I’ve asked a similar question on another thread. I can only speak of my personal experience. I used to be a drummer in a Heavy Metal band, and to me, if I went on and still listened to music that I listened to before I was saved, where is the change for people to see? How is that music going to help me grow in my walk with Christ? I have to be able to crucify my desire to listen to that kind of music. Now, not all metal bands are bad to listen too. There are a number of popular Christian metal bands. To name a few
Demon Hunter (personally they’re the best Christian metal band I’ve listened too)
Brian “Head” Welch (Yes, the guy from Korn, I recommend listening to the album “Save Me From Myself”)
I haven’t listened to that genre of music since God knows when, though. I had to make a decision of whether I wanted to grow in my walk or not. I listen to stricly Christian music only now. We have to make time to worship God and grow in our relationship with him, right? And let’s face it, metal isn’t exactly worship music.
To a seperate point I will make. Now, can we use different genres of music to glorify God? Absolutely!
Going back to my original point. My recommendation, and from the impact and great change/growth I’ve seen in others walks/relationship with God. I would listen to just worship music until you’re spiritually strong. We have the freewill to listen to whatever music we want, but is it going to help us grow? To me, that is the ultimate question here to ask. For me, transitioning to listening to just worship music was a step out of my comfort zone, but I had to ask myself “Do I want more from my relationship with God?” I ultimately had to ask myself “Listen to the music I want and not grow in my walk, or step out of my comfort zone and grow like I never thought possible in my walk with Christ?”
Be willing to step out of your comfort zone, in fact we’re called to by the Lord himself. “Deny yourself, pick up your cross, and follow me.” This walk isn’t easy and no one ever said it would be, but like my Pastor says, “This is what seperates the Men from the Boys.”
Here is a video of an interview with Dave Mustaine (Metallica/Megadeth) who became a Christian and talks about Heavy Metal and Satanic Forces at work within music.
Hope this helps. God bless!
That’s kind of a fallacious argument though not completely without merit. I suppose the root of our differing opinions would stem from our backgrounds. I grew up in white metal where the music is not inherently bad. All black metal by virtue of its very definition is evil. If this was your original exposure and therefore what you were conditioned to believe about that sound than I can see where you are coming from. I was raised where the lyrics of many of the bands you mentioned as well as others are far more sound and spiritually genuine than most of what they call worship in the average church today. I would put it this way as well, can demonic forces work from within music? Absolutely but as music is a vessel the vessel is not inherently good or bad but made so by what it contains.
This is an interesting question, @Luna. Kathleen has already shared a good discussion thread on music. You might enjoy these two thoughts on conscience, since you mentioned you are wondering on the discernments of your heart. Thanks for asking this question!
Depends on the person and there Relationship with Music, for me at least i found myself using it to Deliberately Manipulate my Feelings, Thoughts and Current Situation…wich isn’t always Bad…but at some point “Coming from a Past Drug Addict” you find yourself unable, unwilling or have a tougher time to be Active in some Areas in your Life without Hearing that Beat or that Lyric or that Voice.
At that point your Dependand on Music.
Also im 100% sure that there were and still are times in my life were Music and Lyrics Conflicted with what Jesus had in mind for me at that Moment…were i was supposed to be.
Ecclesiastes 3:4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
To throw my penny in here… I think there’s two ways we can listen to music: actively and passively. By listening passively I mean that we don’t question anything and absorb the ideals, the emotions, the worldview etc. It’s the easiest approach to take, and the approach taken by the overwhelming majority of music listeners. Many use music to be entertained and to relax. The influence can be subconscious and this is where it is good for us to be aware of what’s going on
Approaching music “actively” is something I only came across when training as a classical musician and learning about composition. The process of asking questions of the music was something I was taught to do rather than doing it naturally. I now enjoy doing this very much, though I know not everyone is like me!
On becoming a Christian I enjoyed how careful attention was paid to the music sung in church, though disappointed by the lack of attention that was paid to music outside the church. (another opinion for another time)
The idea of “actively” listening to music can be explored further: rather than just accepting the message of the music for what it is for example, you can then make it personal - how does this impact how I think/my worldview/how I treat others etc? This kind of active listening can teach you so much about how our society functions - one pop song can show us our culture’s sexual ethics, it’s views on love, on the importance of image, money, on social action, views on hedonism, all in 5 minutes or less.
How much is music an influence? For better or for worse, as much as we let it be. How much more can we speak into the lives of others from understanding them through the music they listen to? I imagine a lot, I don’t know if there’s a way to quantify it!