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What is a particular creative piece -- a work of art, a book, a movie, a song, a performance, anything -- that has a religious theme or overtones, and yet you can't help but like it or even love it?

I'm thinking of this because on Easter Sunday there will be a live broadcast of Jesus Christ Superstar with a pretty cool cast. Being raised Jewish and being an agnostic, one would think I'd get myself far away from this. But this show has one of Andrew Lloyd Webber's best scores and awesome songs, I've liked it for years, and I'm very much looking forward to the broadcast.

bleurowz 8 Mar 18

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Handel's Messiah which I conducted, in parts, over several xmases. I considered it a celebration of the human spirit, creative genius and expression of emotion. (Dogmatic atheists, don't bother.)

There are several others from several genres but one is The Letter Black, a heavy metal band I had no idea was xian. They too speak to the spirit, of being yourself and overcoming adversity. Lyrically I still see them as more humanistic than theist.


"Hallelujah" - composed by Leonard Cohen and performed by many. It speaks also to faith and hearts crushed and broken.

What I like about "Hallelujah" is its idea that spirituality and sex are not mortal enemies....

@Deveno Life is beautiful. Maybe especially when it wants to crush you.

@Deveno The christian bible is absolutely brimming with lust and violence and murder.and greed and all those SEVEN things. And then the people DOING those things are the heroes!


Monty Pythons ' LIFE OF BRIAN'


"Let It Be" by the Beatles


Amazing Grace on bagpipes. It should never be sung! Back home in Niagara Falls, there was a Canadien Scot who played in the Niagara Gorge. Miss it.

Always gets me...

This was my mom's favorite song. There were 8 of us kids and we'd sing it to her whenever she picked us up from the state home for visits.


I sing in a large concert choir, and we do the old masters - Mozart, Brahms, Verdi, Faure (etc) requiems, Beethoven's Ode to Joy & Missa Solemnis, many Glorias, Stabat Maters, and Magnificats, many Bach cantatas and several Passions. It is about the music, always. The patrons who attend our concerts are not necessarily there for a religious experience - at this point, most of these works are "art" - we create music to create beauty against today's darkness (to paraphrase Leonard Bernstein, who himself wrote a beautiful Mass that is just glorious). Our choir has many different religious viewpoints represented: Buddhist, Jewish, Xian, agnostic, atheist. We come together for community and song.

Sounds lovely. And Leonard Bernstein, a nice Jewish boy, wrote a mass? Awesome.

@bleurowz He did indeed! You'll find numerous versions of it, along with another beautiful work, his Chichester Psalms, on YouTube.


Religion gave man a depth of spirit that enabled many of the great works of art. It provided these artists with inspirations that drove their works to the heights we see spectacularly exhibited during the Renaissance. The force of religion pervaded all the arts up until relatively recently and it continues to do so, only now sublimated into scularized terms.
This is not to deny that religion is a kind of sickness which enslaves man, but it is to suggest that man now needs to create his own meanings, his own inspirations and practices.

cava Level 7 Mar 18, 2018

Imagine what those artists would have created without the religious indoctrination... I argue that they were constrained by the powers at be...

They came up with some bad-ass monsters too! Ahh...imagination...

@JimSherlock1008 Richard Dawkins laments, in "The God Delusion" that "We shall never hear Beethoven's Mesozoic Symphony or Mozart's opera The Expanding Universe and what a shame that we are deprived of Hayden's Evolution Oratorio" (111)
But the churches had the money and the artists had to eat . . .lol

I see it as... Humanity's depth of spirit created religion, a story which inspired many works of art. Now that we have begun to question and rewrite that story, we can look forward to the birth of many more new works of art.


Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen always gets to me.


HAndel's Hallelujah Chorus....especially singing it!
Incidentally the Hallejulah by Cohen is NOT religious in any sense....if anything anti--religious

Thank you for pointing out that "Hallelujah" is not religious. As for the Hallelujah Chorus, I have sung The Messiah many times, and as I have said elsewhere on other threads, it is not about religion for me - it's about the music, and especially about how I feel when I sing. 🙂

AnneWimsey, I'll have to listen more closely to the words of Cohen's Hallelujah

Cohen's Hallelujah is one of my karaoke songs. With utmost respect.


"Morning has broken", Cat Stevens.

love the lyrics and the songs of his


Art for arts sake, it's origin doesn't change the art unlesss to deepen it. Hating art or liking it is still a reaction, which is what art is supposed to evoke...a response. Indifference is the real critique of art. Xstian architecture can be awesome...stained glass...awesome...sistine chapel, amazing...egyptian hieroglyphs, awe inspring....etc, etc, etc....

@Katastrophe1969 I always have to remember that this is only my opinion...the 'blah', which is so very apt...when I hear the beatles, I go 'blah'...and most people become aghast...haha...


"There, but for the grace of God, go I."

I interprete it as an affirmation that if it weren't because of a twist of blind luck, I could be the one suffering.

@atheist I get your point, but your version just doesn't have that ring, that zip, that zing that says 'I'm a mantra worth repeating.'


I love churches and would love one as a house including the windows. I think of good and evil like in the tom and jerry cartoons ie they are within you and not outside forces controling you.

Just brought "Alice's Restaurant" to mind. The song.

sorry, could you explain, please?


I love the songs "Hallelujah" and "Amazing Grace".


I don't own any but I would think rosary beads would be a really therapeutic thing to have on hand for high anxiety days. 🙂

I have a set of catholic rosary beads and a set of anglican rosary beads. They can be therapeutic.

@Stevil Those are for late night anxiety when "I just can't get to sleep"

They can, indeed. Religions use repeated rhythmic movements to induce at least a mild hypnotic state that "opens" the mind, of at least people, to the power of suggestion. This CAN be used for beneficial therapeutics as well as "mind control."

Rosary beads remind me of Buddhist mala beads. They have the same purpose.

@bleurowz cool, bleu, something new. I have to look into Buddhist mala beads.


Faust I love how far a person is willing to go, how much they'd sacrifice. Of course Dracula. I love Skillet even though they're a Christian band. Les miserables

Les Miserables. Brilliant, but where's the religious connection?

@JoelLovell While Victor Hugo was not really an Xian, he might have been considered a Deist. Regardless, from a religious viewpoint, it definitely points to redemption, a key construct in religion, IMHO.

@JoelLovell basically the entire show? From Jean Valjean's meeting the priest and seeking redemption to Javert's conflicting of "oh god why is he a criminal, yet a good guy?"

@LadyAlyxandrea are we all talking about the musical with Hugh Jackman? Coz I am.

@JoelLovell The inability of a man who considered himself righteous to forgive.

@JoelLovell I am. Jean Valjean's motive was entirely religious


I know one thing that has religious overtones that I still find very interesting is the architecture of church buildings. I guess it still remains with me from the time when I was a christian. I just love looking at old church buildings and also the different modern church designs. One church I enjoy visiting is the National Cathedral.

My favorite church is Cathedral of St. John the Divine in NYC. It's awe-inspiring.


Oh, and The Exorcist... Great book and movie -

When I read it, I was dating a woman whose mother would not let me in the house with it - true story...

@Stevil Lol


A Love Supreme - John Coltrane


Hieronymus Bosch's "The Last Judgement." When I first saw it around age 10-11 I was amazed, shocked, frightened and drawn to it. I didn't know who did it, or the title, but whenever I saw prints of it or in books, I would just look at single figures, then sections of it, and the the whole thing (repeat). I found out about 5 years ago the title and artist. Fast foward to a 2 years ago.... 2 week trip to Europe highlighted by a river cruise. By the end, I was sick as a dog, but we still had 3 days I n Vienna and 4 hours before we could check in to our hotel. Randomly picked a museum to check out to burn up some time.. smal museum, but some cool old art but I'm fading fast..stumble into the last room running on fumes... BINGO! There it was, right in front of me. Stayed there for 45 minutes taking it in.. would've been longer but The Boss was sick, too and wasn't invigorated. As close to a "religous moment" I've ever experienced.

MikaB Level 5 Mar 18, 2018

I love when that happens. I had that experience with Van Gogh's "Starry Night" - not a religious piece, but that experience of coming across a favorite work of art in person. Saw it at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and was just blown away.


Neil Diamond’s “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show”

@Stevil I actually looked that up recently and I can't remember the consensus. I don't think of Billy Graham when I listen to it. 🙂


I used to like "The Devil Went Down to Georgia", but Charlie Daniels is quickly becoming the next Duck Dynasty Douche...

You can like a song without admiring the singer of the song.


All of Bach and Mozart’s liturgical music. I don’t care that the purpose or lyrical content is religious. The artists had to eat and we know who had the money. The holy benefactors. The music stands on its own in my view. For me, there are only 2 kinds of music. Good and bad, in every genre.


Dogma. Even though it is completely ridiculous I much enjoyed it.
Life the Universe and Everything bookset. Though really only touching on any religion very marginally.
Exorcist - because holyshitOMG...nononono


I LOVE The Lord of the Rings, both the books and the movies. Tolkien was a huge Christian and there is Christian symbolism throughout the works, but that does not deter me from loving them.



Schubert's Ave Maria.

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