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Weekly Encouragement

The Ongoing Controversy: Christians and Secular Music


The headline itself says it all. Everyone has their opinion about it and no one can find a concrete answer to the question: Should Christians listen to secular music?

I’ve heard the thoughts of many and I am not aware of yours, so I will tell you my own. Just as a disclaimer though, don’t take my word as fact. I am still an imperfect person trying to live in God’s righteousness.

 It is completely understandable why anyone—especially Christians—would refrain from listening to secular music. The profanity is disgusting, the message it promotes terrible and it often degrades the value of people based upon religion, gender, sex, and race. And please, don’t get me started on music videos! Although this is true of most secular music, it isn’t true of all secular music. There are some songs that do have positive messages without the explicit language and videos and I am not referring to the family radio version either. Some of this music includes  songs such as “My Heart Goes On” the theme song from the movie Titanic, “You Are Loved” by Josh Groban, and “If You’re Out There” sung by John Legend. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying all the songs these artists sing are good to listen to, but I don’t see the harm in listening to these specific songs.

Some may argue that listening to these types of songs doesn’t uplift God—and they’d be correct—but neither does playing basketball and football, going to Six Flags, and an array of other things we might do. The songs mentioned above, specifically “You Are Loved” and “If You’re Out There”, promotes an uplifting message. They promote a sense of hope and happiness if you actually listen to the lyrics. “My Heart Goes On” is a love song, not necessarily directed towards God but to a person whom that individual loves. Yet, even if we read Song of Solomon we see that the husband professes his love to his wife beautifully and poetically.

However, once again this is only an opinion. My opinion at that. The purpose of this post isn’t to raise an uproar from people who firmly believe otherwise. Remember, you can agree to disagree and agree to understand someone and still keep your own preferences.

So my question to you is: what do you think? Is all secular music bad? Should we only listen to Christian music? I’m not “comment hungry” but especially on a sensitive topic such as this I would really love to hear your thoughts. Trust me, I won’t get offended. However, whether you agree or disagree, I’d appreciate if you’d explain why. This way, I can understand you better. Feel free to reply to others comments also. Thank you.



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20 Responses

  1. DOMINIQUE

    YES!!! I agree with you 100%! When i tell people that i still listen to secular music, they believe I am referring to the booty-shaking, sex-driven, drug-promoting music, but i am not. I am referring the songs such as these that promote love and uplifting. I do still listen to "SECULAR" music as Christians would call it because I dont believe that every single song that doesnt say "GOD" or "JESUS" in it is bad. Its the lyrics of the particular song that need to be paid attention to.

  2. joshuaf1987

    Just because the music is positive doesn't mean we should listen to it, its a difference between positive and righteousness, its a difference between positive and Jesus. We also need to stop thinking about ourselves when its somethin out there that could mislead someone. Its a selfish trait when one listens to somethin an not think about anybody else but themselves. Luke 9:23 where Jesus says we must deny OURSELVES, take up the cross and follow him. We must let go of the things of this world, not saying we will be able to do that right away, all at once, but we need to make the necessary sacrifices and stop giving things the benefit of a doubt, because then, we limit ourselves to a limitless God in Christ Jesus. Also, just because a Christian doesn't listen to Secular Music doesn't mean they have to stop other things like basketball, TV, etc. That stuff will follow along down the road. I feel its definately a problem when Christians try to hold up another Christian to a standard that they won't even attempt to try an do themselves because they make excuses for Sin like Christ dying on the cross never happened. I have plenty of scripture on why we shouldn't listen to Secular Music….

    1. Whoah this blog is great. I really like studying your articles. Stay up the good work! You recognize, lots of persons are looking around for this information. You could help them greatly.

  3. Ashley

    @Dominique I know I agree. Not all that crazy type of music. Something positive and uplifting. And even so, I play piano so of course, I play instrumentals. Not all of it is Christian instrumentals, to be honest, I learned playing secular music such as "Mary Had a Little Lamb", "Abc's", and so forth. So, I am curious what people think of that? God does give us interpretation and discernment, but since the Bible doesn't say specifically "thou shall not listen to secular music", a lot of it is opinionated on people's interpretation of scripture and has to be prayed about.

  4. Ashley

    @Joshua What's the difference between positive and righteousness? And by positive music, I've heard some songs that promote the end to war and so forth, that's positive. After all, we should be getting along anyway. Or even the national anthem, that's secular. So if there isn't anything misleading I don't see how it can be deemed wrong.

    I also wasn't saying to give up sports and such, I was just making a point. That's all. Nothing big. I agree with yo though on we shouldn't require others to do something we wouldn't do ourselves. That's just ridiculous. Although, I'm not sure I mentioned that? And I am a firm believe that Christ indeed, did die on the cross and rose. To believe otherwise wouldn't even make me a Christian.

  5. Jasmine

    I agree with you, Ashley. I couldn't have said it better myself. I choose not to listen to a lot of secular music, not because it's secular, but because of the content that's in the music. I don't believe everything that's secular is bad, and I don't believe everything that is religious is good. There is nothing wrong with listening to love songs–and I'm not referring to sexual songs, because it seems as though now-a-days people confuse love with sex. If a Christian thinks it's bad to listen to love songs because they're not referring to God, then they must think it's wrong to express their love for their spouses and loved ones, who, too, aren't God. God is love, and He created love. He created us to love, not just Him, but also our family, friends, neighbors, even our enemies. For someone who would totally dismiss all secular music, inlcuding positive, because they feel it's wrong simply because it's secular, should also refrain from secular activites, such as sports, shopping, or even holding secular conversations. Sometimes I think Christians take things too far out of religion. But to each his own.

    I went through a period where I dismissed all secular music. It lasted for several months, and then, I started listening to it again, because I like variety. I'm not the type to limit myself to one genre of music. Plus, I believe Gospel is the message, not the genre. So, I believe there can be Gospel secular songs. If you listen to some of the lyrics in secular songs, you can see that the message is biblical (not most songs, but some). And some songs, such as "Love" by Musiq Soulchild, you can replace the word "love" with "God" and it makes perfect sense. God is love by the way.

  6. Ashley

    @Jasmine You made some valid points: not all secular music is bad and not all Christian music is good. In a lot of secular songs you do hear love being portrayed as sex and that just isn't it. I think people hear a few songs, or even the majority of secular music and then stereotype the rest. I was saying the same in the article how Song of Solomon (Songs) shows love between a husband and wife just like you mentioned in your comment.

    I did the same as you in abstaining from secular music. I started listening to various types of Christian, and afterward, filtered and changed the type of secular music I listened to. I listed to positive music and got rid of the rest. But like you said "to each his own".

  7. pastpresentandeverything

    First of all, I want to thank Ashley for giving me the opportunity of my thoughts about this. I finally get to express this issue and hopefully this will be squashed.

    I am a Christian. I also listen to secular music. However, I haven't been listening to a lot of music lately because I have been real busy with blog ideas, sermons, reading books, and of course reading scripture. Me listening to secular music has nothing to do with my salvation whatsoever.

    The biggest issue on this "secular music issue" is legalism. That is like saying "Christians can't watch PG-13 movies," or "we are not allowed to dance." THAT IS SILLY. Says who?

    The biggest problem isn't the secular music issue, the biggest problem is the heart issue. Steps to remember about this whole issue
    1) Christianity is not a religion. It never has and it never will be.
    2) We are free to do whatever we want BUT
    3) If the Holy Spirit convicts you that you don't watch that movie, or you can't listen to that song DO NOT LISTEN TO IT.

    What about issues that are happening today that we need to mention. What about Japan? What about the countless lives that died because of the earthquake. Have you forgotten about that? Or a little closer to home how about the unemployment rate in the United States. Or, even closer to home, how about the fact that there is people in the church that are cheating on their husbands/wives or steal money from the church or look down on others or HAVE NO RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHERS AND JUST THE PEOPLE THAT YOU TALK TO ON A REGULAR BASIS. Is that loving your neighbor? Oh wait, music is so important.

    Collasions 2:14 – by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.

    One of my favorite verses. Legalism is dead. Sure, even after posting this there will be some people who will continue to put up stuff that is 100% against secular music. Don't get me wrong, I listen to Christian music too (with good theology), I am just against legalism and I am against Christianesse.

    By the way, if you like raggae one of my favorite raggae songs is called Love Is – Jah Cure. Such a good song. Keep positive everyone, and talk to people that you don't normally talk to.

  8. Amanda Daubenmeyer

    I agree with you, Ashley. I mostly listen to Christian because I want to. I love worshiping God through music. I do listen to secular music sometimes, but not anything that I would be convicted by. Even when I listen to secular songs I find myself thinking about God and worshiping Him through them.

  9. Ashley

    @Matt I like your "Christians can't watch PG-13 movies" statement. I think some people just take things to the utmost extreme; however we all are entitled to free will.

    If the Holy Spirit convicts us and tells us not to listen to a certain song, watch a certain movie–anything we may do–then you're right, we shouldn't do it. This is why we have to pay attention to what God instructs us to do.

    I agree that there are bigger issues to focus on, but we also must not forget the details. It is the smaller things that make the bigger picture as cliche as it may sound.

    Some issues will always be issues though, until the end of the world. Despite how much we argue or don't argue, share opinions, and gain new insight, they will never be solved. It is my feeling that this topic will remain in that category. Whenever people are allowed to express their opinion of something and there isn't a concrete factor to deem it right or wrong, it will always be an issue, unless it eventually dies down. But, at this present moment music seems like it will continue to thrive and so will the people listening to it.

  10. Ashley

    @Amanda Yes, as long as the music we listen to is upright and of good merit. We shouldn't listen to music that will pour negativity into our lives. There are so many lyrics out there that promote great things and inspire people to do better.

  11. Dominique

    @Jasmine EXACTLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! QUOTE: "There is nothing wrong with listening to love songs–and I'm not referring to sexual songs, because it seems as though now-a-days people confuse love with sex. If a Christian thinks it's bad to listen to love songs because they're not referring to God, then they must think it's wrong to express their love for their spouses and loved ones, who, too, aren't God. God is love, and He created love."

    People are so holy they forget that whole aspect of God being "Love"…

    I am total agreeance with you

  12. Joseph Scott

    Nice subject. Thank you Ashley for bringing this up.

    First, let me point out that "Christian" music is not just one genre. There's the 'classical' hymn's, the 'soft rock', and dc Talk changed things forever with "Jesus Freak". Modern Christian music is in every genre from Country to Rap to Metal. Not many will like them ALL! So, understanding the fact that everyone has different tastes in music, no matter what the message, makes me wonder why people get so upset over music to begin with.

    It's the same with movies, video games, tv shows or food! Everyone's different in their opinion and preference. There is no set "right" or "wrong" until you ask the question, "what's the message?" Secular love songs that speak about actual love (not lust) does not go against the Word of God. Movies that don't mention God or Jesus aren't automatically "evil". However, I think it's important that we don't become consumed by these things and therefore, make them an idol.

    I agree that most of this controversy is rooted in legalism. We are free to do all things, but that doesn't mean all things are beneficial!

    I also agree that we should always follow the Holy Spirit's convictions because that's the only way we'll know God's will. Please understand though that the Holy Spirit doesn't convict everyone the same way! I know Christians who have been convicted to not eat meat because of the cruel death the animal suffered, while others eat meat like there's no tomorrow!

    To each his own is right, but let's leave judgement up to the real judge.

  13. Ashley

    @Joseph Scott I agree with you Joseph. Christian music is not just one genre. There are several kinds and people either choose to listen to several or a specific kind.

    One of the biggest issues is that individuals stereotype all songs based upon the knowledge they have on a few.

    And I like the point that you made in stating movies that do not mention God and Christ are not always "evil". It is the message they promote and the way it is promoted that determines that.

  14. Lajit Poet

    I agree my friend!!!! I think that people often get caught up on the concept of "glorifying" God and what it is or isn't limited too. I believe a song can have a message that is of God's nature without being about God specifically. What I mean is a person who doesn't believe in Jesus or does can make a song about loving all people. That song may be considered "secular" but in my opinion its of God's message because it promotes a Love for all. I think a better way to state it is we shouldn't feed into our spirits music that does not reside in God's message/ or promote what He wouldn't. I believe regardless of source the truth is the truth and that's what should be valued.

    GOOD JOB ON THIS ONE!

  15. Ashley Ormon

    "A song can have a message that is of God's nature without being about God specifically."

    You summed it all up in one sentence! Just because it doesn't say "God" and "Jesus" doesn't mean it's wrong. As long as it's promoting what God wants us to do, or something of merit, it should be valued.

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