Curious Assumptions

I listen to “secular” music. There, I said it. I place “secular” in scare quotes for reasons I won’t get into right now. In any event, it’s interesting to see how people’s (usually well meaning Christians but sometimes nonbelievers as well) minds run wild when they learn this about me. They begin to act as if all I do is listen to music, or at least all the music I do listen to (among the other things I do) is “secular.”

I can’t see why assumptions like this ever pop into anyone’s mind. I generally listen to music in the car. Almost never at home. The earbuds that came with my iPhone have never been opened. The ones that came with my Galaxy S5 were given to my daughter before I even gave her the phone. I have Sony earphones hanging from my desk, but they get plugged in to view media (YouTube, Netflix, etc.). Music just isn’t that big a part of my life, which isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy it, I just don’t have much time for it.

When I do listen to music my taste is varied. Hillsong is in regular rotation in iTunes. So is the 80s on 8 on my XM Radio. And yes, I listen to rap music, mostly from the 90s. I’m not a fan of today’s music in general. Any genre. But that’s another post for another day. In any event, I’ve said all this to say that I think folks overreact at the mere mention is listening to anything “secular” (truth is that most Christians will allow some kind of “secular” music as okay; but it’s only okay when it’s what they like to listen to).

But this isn’t a post presenting an apologetic for “secular” music in general or rap music in particular. It’s not my justification (and I use that word loosely since I’m of the opinion that we tend to justify things that are wrong or that we believe to be wrong) of listening to it. It’s me highlighting what I think are curious assumptions. It’s a weird way to think.



5 thoughts on “Curious Assumptions

  1. If I say, “I smoke cigars”, many people would have a similar reaction. They probably don’t assume that I only smoke a few a year (and I really don’t inhale–but it gets into you one way or another). Although if it were wrong, once a year would be just as bad. But as Spurgeon once told somebody, “If anybody can show me in the Bible the command, ‘Thou shalt not smoke,’ I am ready to keep it”. (As opposed to foul language for example.) I’m confident that there is nothing wrong with it as long as it isn’t frequent enough to harm my physical health or I’m relying on them for the wrong motivations.

    Secular music isn’t automatically bad. Like so many others, I threw all of mine out after I became a Christian. Then later on I was mad at myself for throwing out some good Chicago and Earth, Wind and Fire music. If something falls under the category of Phil 4:8, I don’t see why enjoying the talents God has given people, Christian or not, is a bad thing.Some of it will fall outside of that, but that’s to be expected. There’s Christian music that violates Scripture too.

  2. We must be on different Christian-subculture-planets or something, because just about every Christian I’ve ever known listens to “secular” music….and whereas you seemingly have to justify listening to it, I’ve frequently had to justify NOT listening to it (e.g. “i see nothing wrong with it, i’m not legalistic, blah blah blah). But indeed, curious assumptions. I trust you, my most Calvinist non-Calvinist friend, would agree that “there is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!” :)

  3. Jennifer: Definitely different subcultures. Among Pentecostals “worldly” music is quite taboo. In some circles you will be condemned to hell for listening to it. I was told yesterday that anyone who listens to this music cannot possibly be close to God, even though allegedly this person didn’t believe that listening to the music would send you to hell (which makes me wonder just how far we can be from God and still enter his kingdom). So on and so forth, blah blah blah.

    You’re Kuyper quote is apropos and I agree wholeheartedly. It’s why I make no distinction between the so-called secular and sacred (same with the whole natural/supernatural dichotomy as well). All music, regardless of genre, is God’s. And all creation, regardless of genre, is in need of redemption. The best Christian music is marred by sin (hence the reprehensible theology in so many modern contemporary Christian songs). The worst non-Christian music is equally marred.

    But at the end of the day it’s a matter of knowing what you can handle and being obedient to the will of the God. If God convicted me that I shouldn’t listen to what I listen to then I’d stop in an instant. And I’d never use my freedom as a stumbling block for anyone else, which is to say that I wouldn’t listen to music someone else found scandalous in their presence simply because I’m fine with it. Now that’s sin!

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