I seem to have a love-hate relationship with religion, no matter what religion it is. I visit temples every year during the Lunar New Year, and can sing to some Christian/Catholic hymns from what I learned in primary school. And yet I’m an atheist. I guess I do understand the concerns of religious people. If one is an atheist, one seems to lack that crucial core that determines the meaning of one’s life. Once in a while I feel that my life seems to run on and on without a purpose, and people who have read one of my Sunday articles in the past would know that I hold a pretty pessimistic attitude towards life. I’ve been rather comfortable with this view for the most part, that we shouldn’t be seeking or chasing a furtive promise of reward, but to make our every moment count instead. And yet, one can get weary from making meaning for oneself, and wish that someone is out there to watch us try and know the efforts we put in to live each day.
Religion would, I think, be a good solution to that, but the simple fact of the matter that hinders my entering into any religious community is that I simply don’t believe. I don’t believe a god exists, or that there is really anything in this world who will help you except yourself. And so there is an evident clash. I want to believe, but I just don’t. And I don’t think it’s respectful to join a religion for my own personal benefit, with no intention to serve an entity that doesn’t exist. And so I must find some other means to enlighten myself.
But in the meantime, I do listen to my hymns, and in the modern age, whoever said hymns cannot sound good? Contemporary religious music is an up and coming category of music, and they are just as legit as their secular counterparts. We have Christian rock bands, idol groups, R&B, and the only difference is that they specialise in religious lyrics. And some of our English singers such as Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan dabbled once in a while in Christian music. I believe I listened to a song by something known as Jars of Clay, but I’ve forgotten what it sounded like. It sounded normal, is all I can say. Normal and English. I can imagine it getting fashionable among the English-speaking community.
There was this thing that I’ve been trying to search, but my memory eludes me. I believe there is a musical group out there (not sure if it’s Linkin Park or something else) where their musical direction changed after their exposure to religion, and it was interesting because a certain portion of their fans hated their music after that, whereas they gained a new fanbase as well. I don’t think it was Linkin Park, as search results didn’t bring up much about them. Or the source I heard it from could be telling blatant lies. But what would you say? Would you stop liking a band after its tone changes from religious exposure? What happens if their musicality is the same but the words change then? Listening to foreign music often, maybe it doesn’t affect me as much. But I’d be interested to hear from fans of English songs.