'I'm Not Quite an Atheist, and It Worries Me'

In an interview, David Bowie talks about becoming a family man and the role spirituality plays in his music.

PurpleKU77

09/16/2005 09:23:17 PM

David Bowie is God.

flutterbyelife

08/11/2005 12:31:13 AM

Music of all kinds touches different people in different ways. The thing about music is, that if you can let yourself go to it, and be in the moment enough to feel the spiritual rhythm of the music, then you feel connected. There is a "divine" voice within music, it is just a matter of finding the voice that speaks to you. There is no more of a feeling of "oneness," and complete connectedness to "divinity" then dancing at a concert, and really "feeling" the music and looking around and seeing everyone else dance too and knowing that you all are experiencing the same thing, in that moment! I have had "spiritual" experiences at shows from Bluegrass, Rock, Metal, Country, etc. It's all about your prospective and how open you're willing to be.

flutterbyelife

08/11/2005 12:12:15 AM

I think some people are really missing the point; not only of the article, but of life as well. Every being has a personnal relationship to the "higher power," "God," "Energy," "Mother Earth," "Universe," whatever you want to label our interconnected life energy. We do not have the language to fully express our experiences and connections we make to "It," however, that is not to say that we do not make the same connections! We just make them in different ways. Some people hum, some chant, some stay silent. Some people worship once a week, yet others repeat the names of their favored deity all day long. It does not matter how you get their, what matters is that you get their!

truegod

08/07/2005 11:07:57 AM

I agree that religion is the enemy, but I'd say revealed religion in particular. Which is why the Deist founding fathers left mention of any religion out of the founding documents, save the references in the Declaration which are clearly deist to begin with. It is today's form of fundamentalism that is the cause of much death, greed, and suffering.

kbrecht

08/07/2005 10:29:09 AM

Bono is right. "Religion" is the enemy of God. "Religion" is man's search for his/her creator or source. True Christianity is The Creator (source) revealing Himself to his creation and showing His creation the way back to Himself, the way back to "real" life , through Jesus.

SearchinMa

08/04/2005 12:56:11 PM

How is it that one can be moved to tears by a piece that is in a foreign language? I have been deeply moved by all types of music from Bluegrass to Classical, whether instrumental or vocal. I am going to sound like Linus, but as long as it is sincere, all music is inspired. Music can't be blamed for making people commit suicide, obviously they were deeply disturbed already. When John Lennon made that "more popular than Jesus" comment, I remember my mother commenting: "he's RIGHT." We were a church going family and this comment surprised us. She said "if the Beatles came to town on a Sunday, most people would go see them and not go to church." We kids agreed with that! Then she went on, "Sadly enough, I think if Jesus himself showed up I think more people would want to see the Beatles." This was during the height of Beatlemania, and John Lennon was putting things in perspective. He said he could have used golf, or whatever. He wasn't saying they were greater.

kahfess

08/04/2005 10:17:55 AM

Music certainly can have a spiritual link to our subconscious as well as our conscious minds. As a composer and recording artist it is heart moving to compose something that I feel strongly about and then have a listener tell you what you were feeling at the time of composing that piece. Victories, love, peacefulness, contentment can all come through in the music. But on the flip side of that you have anger, negativity and pure darkness that can also come through the music. For these reasons I believe the artist should be very careful in which types of music they put out into the world. As we should also be watchful of what types of music we allow to come into our ears. Just my thoughts on it anyway. :-)

Heretic_for_Christ

08/02/2005 11:49:42 PM

Lest anyone think that mid-20th century folk singers invented antiwar songs, listen to two late songs by Gustav Mahler -- Die Tambourgsell (The Drummer Boy) and Wo die shonen trompeten blasen (Where the shining trumpets are blowing). They are tragic, unforgettable, deeply moving songs that will stay with you forever. They may be included in recordings of Mahler's numerous orchestral songs.

LuluMortice

08/02/2005 10:42:56 PM

Don't forget the wonderful music of Yes and Jon Anderson (who also co-wrote with Vangelis Donna Summer's hit State of Independence). A number of artists like Sally and Terry Oldfield are now specialising in spiritual music as a natural development of their talents. And of course Jeff Buckley's music too...

earthytype

08/02/2005 10:35:36 AM

I am amazed that so many of you don’t see the spirituality inherent in Rock and Roll music. Perhaps it is because my beliefs are Earth centered, but I find the rhythmic beat to be all engulfing. Many time have I listened to Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Journey or Dave Matthews (to name just a very few) and found myself deep in an ecstatic state. Sometimes I don’t even recall the drive to work, as I have been lost deep in the natural, earthen sounds of rock and roll. As a mystic, anything that allows my spirit to soar is spiritual. And as a Pagan, I like those sounds best which mimic the natural rhythms of life and nature. For me, they are most often found in Rock with its rawness and sensuality (which is naturally then spiritual). I enjoy classical and especially the blues, but can count on my favorite rock sounds to elevate me on a regular basis. It’s in the beat, Man!

akbusch

08/02/2005 09:58:59 AM

I feel the same way, more so, actually, about the blues. That genre, especially the pre-WWII "country" blues of the old master (Robert Johnson, Son House, Skip James, Charley Patton, etc.), is about the most emotionally direct there is. The late great Nehemiah "Skip" James once said, "The blues ain't nothin' new. You read the Psalms in the Bible and hear a man cryin' out to God, he's cryin' the blues." The mystery and power of that music is that in "cryin' the blues", people find hope. You might say that about singing in general: As long as we can sing, there's hope!

akbusch

08/02/2005 09:53:52 AM

Interesting discussion. I have gotten more tolerant of country music lately, and I've always loved "classic" country--we're talking Hank Sr., the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, Bill Monroe, the Stanley Brothers, Sun Record-era Johnny Cash, etc. Those songs were very spiritual, IMO, in that they were raw in their expressions of angst and hope, especially Hank Sr. You have to look hard and long to find a more primal expression of alienation than "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" and "Lost Highway".

watsy

08/02/2005 08:42:06 AM

Thanks for the kind words of friendship, Fromoz. Two of my children needed my help with their problems last night, but I did pretty well despite them. I love country music, but I don't listen to that slow, twangy, depressing stuff. I prefer female artists who have a lot of energy and who are empowering.(Shania Twain, Martina McBride, Erika Jo, etc). Sometimes the only difference between Rock(the old stuff), Pop, and Country(the new stuff) is the way the artists dress and how they label themselves. Music made by The Eagles and Don Henley could easily be country music today. Do you define a "physical presence" by what you can see? I think of Spirit as a presence, but I think that I may give it more emotional, intelligent,& creative attributes than you. I don't know. You are right. It's much easier to experience than to find the words to explain.

watsy

08/02/2005 08:30:04 AM

Children experience awe very easily. Maybe, as Fromoz pointed out, that's why Jesus told us to come to him as children to find the Kingdom. I think that you are thinking of genetic differences within our brains? I was thinking more about differences within our spirit. We have spirit within, why can't my spirit be moved by the sight of flowers and others be moved by David Bowie's music? I guess the way that we look at it depends if we think we're children of God, or children of our parents. Or, both.

nnmns

08/02/2005 12:28:39 AM

"Do you think that people experience God differently because of differences within them?" Yes, absolutely. I don't recall the details but apparently there's a gene or more related to awe, which seems to be related to belief in a god. While I occasionally experience awe, and seek out some places it's likely to happen, it doesn't happen to me a lot. Others, I think, can do it with ease. Some experience it with a funny shaped cheese sandwich. So I'd say our gods are within us and since we are all different our gods are different. But certainly songs can plug into something moving that’s inside us. And different people experience that differently. I have a friend who goes nuts over classical music and sees nothing in the blues, while I’m pretty much the reverse. Training? Genes? Surely before long we’ll know.

tiger542

08/02/2005 12:08:51 AM

How many of you know the power behind the lyrics? I for one know as I have written many songs/lyrics and still do. Many of them have brought tears to my own eyes. I thank God for the talent He has given me. I have the gift to bless others with it.

fromoz

08/01/2005 05:00:17 PM

Rock music certainly creates a "high" in listeners, and perhaps because of that arousal (that once saw rock music banned by Christians in many places) is now the very reason for Christian Rock becoming so popular? Rock music is perhaps perceived in a slightly higher esteem in my country after the release of a report that showed people who listened to country music were more prone to suicide, perhaps because of the negativity of many of the lyrics. I'm sorry Watsy that you haven't been sleeping well. I'll be thinking of you as I go about my daily activities. I'm not sure how other people experience "God". Certainly I believe that "God" is "Spirit" and not a physical presence. I "see" "God" all around me. I believe the journey to be with "God" is one that can't be described, and is therefore one that we must take alone without attachments, and for me, the best description of someone taking that journey is the Beatles "Fool on a Hill".

watsy

08/01/2005 04:28:06 PM

Are we saying the same thing, Fromoz?

watsy

08/01/2005 04:26:40 PM

The world's full of distractions. I've had a few bad nights of sleep, and I can't concentrate on what these rock stars are trying to say. I would agree with Fromoz that God is to be experienced. Do you think that people experience God differently because of differences within them? There aren't too many times that I've felt that rock music has enabled me to experience God. Classical music always makes me wish that I had a cot nearby so that I could sleep. I think that spirituality is being conscious of the experiences that leave you awakened to God, and not letting world distractions keep you from doing those things. I would agree that talking about spirituality is a distraction from experiencing Spirit.

akbusch

08/01/2005 04:04:37 PM

Godisaheretic, I think you may have a point there about negativity in rock music. Perhaps that's why it gets so many people's attention when a rock star/musician comes out with some kind of more-or-less positive or spiritual stand on something, e.g. Dylan's "Christian period" ("Slow Train Coming"--one of his best, "Saved" and "Shot of Love").

fromoz

08/01/2005 03:51:02 PM

Surely rock stars talking about spirituality are distractions? Words fail, "God" can only be experienced, and that can only happen by letting-go of the things of lust, dust, rust and spirituality?

godisaheretic

08/01/2005 02:24:58 PM

H4C and akbusch... Beethoven rocks more than anyone in the article... the creativity in rock music is often inspired by negativity... to me, much of the amazing music of the 19th century feels divinely inspired...

l_o_v_e

08/01/2005 02:23:51 PM

Everyone here comes to discuss and share and read about theirs and others views of God,religion etc. Why would a rock stars opinion be any less relevant than Joe or Jane Doe's opinion? I believe each individuals opinion and right to their opinion is valid and when everyone can see this and allow we are all of equal value(including our opinions)then finally we will become an inclusive, peaceful society. love

godisaheretic

08/01/2005 02:11:11 PM

fromoz, rock on... ya think God has to listen to lots of pop music? re: "fools"... some (many? most?) rock stars are fools for the wrong things... it is the wise person who becomes a fool for the Kingdom of God... faith hope love joy peace...

watsy

08/01/2005 01:22:30 PM

Fromoz, Are you saying what I think you're saying?

akbusch

08/01/2005 12:20:16 PM

I'm with you, H4C, on your list. All music is, in a sense, spiritual, because it is at some level an expression of creativity, which I believe is one of the key elements, if not THE key element, in us having been created in the image of the Creator. Also, music, like any art, is an attempt to express the heart/soul, and an attempt to connect with others. I so envy DeCurtis, having the opportunity to interview Johnny Cash. Wow!

Heretic_for_Christ

08/01/2005 10:40:53 AM

baggins, For once, we agree! But that matter, why should we care what ANYONE else - celebrity or anonymous - thinks about religion? We can consider the thoughts of celebrities not because they are famous but just because we are willing to consider other thoughts in general; but ultimately, we believe what we believe, and that concerns no one but ourselves and God.

b-baggins

08/01/2005 10:13:49 AM

Regarding the article: Who cares. I'm getting so tired of celebrity worship. It doesn't take a lot of brains or insight to be a rock star, so why should I care what you think about religion?

Heretic_for_Christ

08/01/2005 09:31:21 AM

I like some popular music, but I am moved beyond words by classical compositions for the liturgy. Long-time B-netters know that I have little use for church doctrine or ritual, but one thing Christianity has produced is some awesome artistic expressions. The world would be a vastly poorer place without works like Bach's St. Matthew Passion, Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, Rossini's Stabat Mater, Bruckner's Te Deum, Verdi's Requiem, Rachmaninov's Vespers, and Janacek's Glagolitic Mass, to name but a very few.

thefish

07/31/2005 11:40:19 PM

fromoz....right on, dude! Peace <

barblee

07/31/2005 12:33:47 PM

Sounds like Mr. Bowie is searching and hopefully he will find God. A man in his position would be a powerful tool for God to use to witness to a huge following....I pray God fills Mr. Bowie's heart with a hunger for the truth.

JSTR808

07/30/2005 05:51:25 PM

Ironically, Phillip Glass really moves me, and there arn't lyrics to his music. I imagine the angels being similar in their symphonic praise to Abba.

costrel

07/30/2005 03:48:38 PM

"Rock lyrics enlightened and challenged me..." Paul Rauschenbush says. Funny... to me, compared to the complexity of modern and contemporary poetry, modern music lyrics seem so terribly elementary and childish. Does Pastor Paul read outstanding poets like Plath, Sexton, Heaney, Ted Hughes, etc. etc. etc. etc.? Or try D. H. Lawrence's "The Ship of Death" or Eliot's "The Hollow Men" and "The Wasteland" or Plath's "Medusa" or "Mystic" for a little enlightenment and challenge.

fromoz

07/30/2005 03:21:11 PM

I love the Beatles "Fool on a Hill". Jesus taught that we need to be like children to find the Kingdom, and it seems to me that the "fool" has found it, or is getting close. I also love "Simple Ben", out of the soundtrack to "Morning of the Earth" As God is within and without, it's not surprising that God is so much a part of our daily lives, including popular music.

Bravo88

07/30/2005 01:37:23 PM

I like quite a few of U2's songs; one of my favorites being "Pride"; I also consider John Denver an amazing singer and songwriter; some of the songs that John wrote are magical. One of my favorites is "Looking For Space" which was featured in a Magnum P.I. episode. Eric Clapton has also recorded some really good spiritual songs. I think his recording of "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" was probably his best spiritual.

Henrietta22

07/30/2005 12:56:34 PM

David Bowie has found that life happens to us when we're striving for something else. You sound like a happy, grounded man with a great family, keep seeking.

protestant_irish

07/30/2005 08:19:17 AM

Jes, sometime a child can bring us back to innocent. what is sad is how innocent it never last for long. Green day song wake up when sepmber end.

JSTR808

07/30/2005 01:39:48 AM

Without excess, being spiritually moved by a person, what they create, or how they write is beautiful in itself. I'm just as moved by some of Bono's lyrics as I am from some of the things my children tell me. Life is full of wonderful people, and we've entertained angels I've heard. Blessings, Jes

protestant_irish

07/29/2005 08:42:48 PM

I fully agree that music can be faith in a sense, but I feel John Lennon went to far with his comment back than. I respect Hariosn for trying to find faith in meaning of life and you can not mock someone for that.

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