Christian Rock Critics, Beware!

No, this is not a personal threat - it is an exhortation. This apologetics essay is different from most of the other pages, because it doesn't address a specific critics assertion. In a way, I hope this helps the critics! I hope it helps them to be more factual, and to do better research - to know their subject and present factual information. There is nothing more frustrating for me, as the member of a congregation, than to hear a pastor spouting off ignorance in the pulpit - thus dishonoring Christ. He does NOT need ignorance preached as fact, or for ignorance to have authority. I listened, apalled, one time as a preacher in one of the largest Baptist churches and past president of the Southern Baptist convention was using astronomy to illustrate a characteristic of God. His sermon had nothing to do with the Biblical account of Creation, that is not what I am talking about. He systematically over the course of 5 to 10 minutes made scientific blunder after blunder, mispronounced the names of stars, etc. He sounded like a country hick! Every person in the place that knew anything about astronomy was intensely embarrased for him!

A true story ---

I once dated a very serious minded Christian girl. One date we went on was to a rock music seminar at a church way off in the boonies in Houston. I have no idea what the church was, or who the speaker was. I only know it was in the 1980 to 81 timeframe. The speaker was evidently quite well known - there were over 1000 people there.

At the time, I knew there was such a thing as Christian rock, but the really wonderful Christian station in Houston - KFMK - had gone off the air, not to return as KSBJ until years later. I was therefore listening to secular music, which had prompted my date to suggest this conference. I listened, politely, and was becoming convinced. It was incredibly annoying to me, however, that the speaker giving the seminar had a little portable radio and you couldn't really hear the examples of lyrics in the songs he played.

The speaker lost my respect completely, however, when he began to talk about the song "Don't Fear the Reaper" by Blue Oyster Cult. I was very familiar with this selection of music. It has HORRIBLE lyrics that I would not recommend to any teenager - even back in that period of my life. To my disgust - this man knew NOTHING about the song. He began by saying it was a song that encourages drug use, and got the title WRONG! He called it "Don't Fear the REEFER" - thinking it was about marijuana! In actuality, the song is much worse than that - it encourages young people to commit SUICIDE, with the title referring to the grim REAPER. The lyrics tell the young person that there is nothing to fear from death (the reaper), it even talks about how Romeo and Juliet are now together in eternity. Yet the presenter not only did not know what the song said, he actually made up his own meaning.

I felt like leaping up and flaming him off the stage for abject stupidity - but of course I did not do that on a date with a girl I really liked. I sat and listened glumly to the rest of his presentation, thinking all the time what a buffoon he was.

The point of this story is: KNOW YOUR MATERIAL! I purposely haven't read too much of the other apologetics pages, wishing for the Holy Spirit to give me fresh, un-biased revelations. I know, though, that the other apologetics writers were able to find several factual blunders in your material. In the name of Jesus - get the blunders off your page so you don't hold Christ up to ridicule!

In later years, I founded a chapter of the American Family Association. I gave a rock music seminar myself - but I did a few things differently from the buffoon I listened to years before:

On backwards masking - BE VERY CAREFUL!!!! There have been very few documented cases of backwards masking in secular rock - I heard a radio expose on a Christian station one time, where the examples were not very good at all - I didn't hear what they thought they were hearing in half the cases, and in other cases it was very distorted and didn't sound anything like an intentional insertion. My suspicions were confirmed beyond any doubt when they played an example from Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven". Though not generally understood, as best as I can tell - it is one of the most passionate anti-drug songs ever written! Unfortunately, it is full of New Age symbolism so I cannot recommend it. But the Christian station insisted that there was a backwards masked message promoting marijuana. What rubbish! Why would they be expressing anti-drug sentiments forward and pro-drug backwards. That is stupid!

Phonemes - the building blocks of human speech - often produce random and totally unpredictable results when ordered in reverse order. If I cared to waste my time chasing straw men, I could probably dredge up example after example of how secular songs talk about Jesus. The thing that bothers me is that anybody who has wasted their time looking for backwards masking has heard just as many Christian themes as satanic or drug themes backwards. They just haven't been honest about it.

Bottom line - if you are going to talk about backwards masking, stick to the well known examples of those artists who clearly meant to do it!

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