Don’t know exactly where this should go. But for some reason, this is something that has been on my mind a lot, lately.
I’m not religious. I don’t believe in the existence of supernatural entities. It’s just a matter of belief and you have no choice over what you believe or don’t believe, so I don’t have opinions about religious people for their religiosity. Like everything else, some beautiful things and some atrocities are done in the name of religion. However, I find myself inexplicably drawn to the beauty of religion.
One of my first experiences with the beauty of religion was through Adam raised a Cain. There was some powerful imagery on that song that I could relate to. I was able to see that religious stories will often focus on eternal issues and can be beautiful metaphors.
By the time I read Steinbeck’s East of Eden, I was completely convinced. There was something there. I think there’s an extreme kind of beauty in defining and questioning one’s relation with a supreme being no one really can be sure exists but so many people believe their lives should be led according to this being’s wills. It gives room for stories about human nature that can be relevant and beautiful today.
You can extract the divinity from Jesus and create a song like Jesus was an Only Son. You can use a known metaphor and use it brilliantly in a movie like the brilliant “Mother!”. You can sing about Jesus Christ as if you were singing about Jesse James like Woody Guthrie did. You can write lyrics like “My Jesus your gracious love and mercy / Tonight I’m sorry could not fill my heart / Like one good rifle / And the name of who I ought to kill”.
One of my favourite bands are 16 Horsepower. I don’t think they have one song that is not religious. David Eugene Edwards, the singer and lyricist, is deeply religious and the way he explores his belief is (it was, the band is no longer active) something that inspires me.
Bruce, of course, uses religious imagery. Sometimes it’s just too on the nose and I don’t like it, but when it really fits the character and helps tell story, there are few things more beautiful.