Monday, August 25, 2014


Brad Paisley did a song about race that raised a bit of a kerfuffle. He's also got one about atheism. (Or agnosticism, as he puts it.) Or he thinks he has.

As one country source puts it,
The lyrics are written from the point of view of a non-believer, but Paisley himself was raised in the Southern Baptist tradition and still attends church. (Taste of Country)
And here's Paisley himself in an article on Faith Gateway:
The song is written from the point of view of someone baffled by people of faith. ... Most puzzling to the skeptic in the song is not the faith itself, but the actions that such faith produces. Things such as mission trips to dangerous regions, baptism, hospital visits to strangers, sobriety, forgiveness of atrocities, talk of heaven, etc., all must look insane to someone who is agnostic.
But the lyrics really don't catch what atheists think about Christians. And frankly, his insistence that only Christians do "good works" is annoying (though not nearly as annoying as characterizing nonbelievers as "poor lost soul[s] like me" ripe for conversion). The line in the song is about sitting "by the bedside of a stranger in a cold hospital room", but the source for it? A dying cousin for whom "[t]here weren't five minutes of intensive care that there weren't at least two church members at the hospital, around the clock." Not exactly strangers.

But let's not lose track of the song's denouement: Pascal's wager, conversion of "a poor lost soul", and "If I ever really needed help, well you know who I’d call" (because of course other atheists/agnostics/skeptics wouldn't help him out).

So I doubt that the "new backlash from religious conservatives" Paisley is "expecting" (according to Charisma News, anyway) will be as strong as all that. After all, this is as pro-Christian a "skeptic" song as you could find.

Those crazy Christians, I was gonna sleep in today
But the church bells woke me up and they’re a half a mile away
Those crazy Christians, dressed up drivin’ down my street
Get their weekly dose of guilt before they head to Applebee’s

They pray before they eat and they pray before they snore
They pray before a football game and every time they score
Every untimely passing, every dear departed soul
Is just another good excuse to bake a casserole

Those crazy Christians, go and jump on some airplane
And fly to Africa or Haiti, risk their lives in Jesus’ name
No, they ain’t the late night party kind
They curse the devil’s whiskey while they drink the Savior’s wine

A famous TV preacher has a big affair and then
One tearful confession and he’s born again again
Someone yells hallelujah and they shout and clap and sing
It’s like they can’t wait to forgive someone for just about anything
Those crazy Christians

Instead of being outside on this sunny afternoon
They’re by the bedside of a stranger in a cold hospital room
And every now and then they meet a poor lost soul like me
Who’s not quite sure just who or what or how he ought to be
They march him down the aisle and then the next thing that you know
They dunk him in the water and here comes another one of those crazy Christians

They look to heaven their whole life
And I think what if they’re wrong but what if they’re right
You know it’s funny, much as I’m baffled by it all
If I ever really needed help, well you know who I’d call
Is those crazy Christians

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