Searched the group for a topic on this, but didn't see anything. I've heard a greatly ranging opinion from Christians of all sorts, but what do you gents feel about contemporary music? (As in not contemporary Christian) I've heard plenty of "It's fine as long as it doesn't cause you to sin"'s and plenty of "It doesn't focus on God and is therefore a sin. What do you guys think?
I think you should listen to as much music as you can, of any and all kinds, non-religious and religious alike, including and especially music of religions not your own.
I'd say the same about the books you read, the art you experience, the philosophies you ponder, etc.
I don't understand how music can cause you to sin?
I just went back and listened to one of my mix CDs from college. I was seriously taken aback by how I had Christian songs juxtaposed with really, really dirty hip-hop songs. I couldn't even listen to the lyrics. That being said, there are some "secular" bands I really enjoy today (O.A.R., the Killers, Phoenix, etc.). These bands don't cause me to sin, they don't promote anti-Christian ideals (for the most part), and I think they're fine. Just remember Paul's words, "All things are are permissible for me, but not all things are beneficial."
Different music means exposure to different ideas, which is risky if your goal is to stay in line all your life.
Also, music leads to dancing - dancing leads to sex - sex leads to holding hands.
Music is different from poetry.
Regarding both: "It doesn't focus on God, and is therefore a sin" is a false way to organize the Christian life. Sports, novels, woodworking, fishing, hunting, camping all don't "focus on God" per se. Nor does walking in wheat fields or resting by a well or attending a wedding reception or resting - yet Christ did all these things. The Christian must learn to honor God with his leisure. There are ways of making leisure inherently dishonoring to God - cheating at sports, carving Satanic symbols, hunting with no concern for safety or ecology. But ordinary leisure activities done in ordinary ways can be honoring to God. If nothing else, they rest the mind so it can worship God explicitly.
Is it possible for poetry and music to be corrupted to be inherently dishonoring to God? Yes. For poetry, that is, lyrics, I think the same rules applied to other speech apply to poetry set to music, though the music may add an additional context not applied to spoken speech. You might not hang out with people who speak with the words of some songs, but the fact they're in music may mitigate the issue. It may make you less likely to repeat the words in your speech, and it may make a worthwhile artistic statement. I remember Tom Wolfe saying he was just being realistic with all the bad language in "I am Charlotte Simmons"; leaving it out would have made the novel less timely and less interesting. So, too, I can see this applying to lyrics, though that requires being able to recognize the artistry.
As for the actual music, I do believe, but only on moral authority, that there is such a thing as bad rhythms and bad intervals. I know several people who have gone on musical fasts, like people who go on gluten fasts, listening only to certain composers or certain genres for a month or 2, with similar results. Their minds are clearer, they're happier, they pray more and "better." I have tried, but there's so much music in the ordinary American consumer life - at church, at the mall, in ads on television. Still, it was said of almost all music before him but very little after Handel, "I should be sorry if I only entertained them. I wanted to make them better."
"As for the actual music, I do believe, but only on moral authority, that there is such a thing as bad rhythms and bad intervals."
What do you mean by 'moral authority'?
Bad rhythm can be more offensive than vulgarity.
When I took music in college, we spent the first 2 weeks discussing evil rhythms, because everyone knew about them and they're simpler to grasp. Only later did we get to the evil ratio. Anyone know what piano keys best represent it? I actually missed the key week of music class.
Not a particular key, the tritone (augmented fourth) was the Diabolus in Musica.
I think that was Kant's term. No, it was "moral certainty," I suppose the principles that lead to "moral certainty" are "moral authorities."
Basically, really good men, living and dead, have reasoned out the proposition from first principles, and I trust their conclusion, because I trust them, because I know them to be really good men.
I'd say it's a mistake to trust your artistic taste with others simply because they are good and reasoned.
Syncopation and tritones sound great with the right context.
"If it sounds good, it is good."