Philosophy, Film, Politics, Etc.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Musical Interlude: Christian Rock

I'm not sure which is worse, Christian Philosophy or Christian Rock.

Of course, good rock music can be made by Christians and it can support Christian beliefs. And the same can be said for philosophy. But I'm not talking about music or philosophy which is only incidentally Christian.

I'm not going to get deep into any philosophy here. Jon Cogburn, a philosophy professor at Louisiana State University, explains the problem with Christian Philosophy by comparing it to Christian Rock here. While I have nothing to add to Professor Cogburn's warning about Christian Philosophy, I think his analysis of Christian Rock can be improved a tad. So here's my explanation for why Christian Rock deserves ridicule.

Rock music has to be troubling to work properly. It is inherently rebellious and subversive. This is not just an historical coincidence. Rather, it's the way rock grits and groans, provoking anger, lust, melancholy, and desperation; or at the very least, unease. It isn't always about sex and drugs, but there's a reason we associate the three. Good rock music can be life-affirming, but never in a straight-forward, easy way.

The problem with Christian Rock is that it does everything it can to not be troubling. It is the antithesis of rock. It doesn't even wear rock's clothes. It's a cheap Halloween costume version of rock. This has nothing to do with the lyrics. It's the way the songs are played.