Is it the Music, or the "Mental Association" that is evil?

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Brett Valentine, Aug 5, 2002.

  1. Brett Valentine

    Brett Valentine
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    While I haven't been convinced about styles of music being evil, I am wholly convinced that the mental association I have with, say, a style of music, or anything determines whether it "facilitates the tendency to sin" in me.

    For that matter, the Bible is clear and specific on this point.

    Your views?

    Brett
     
  2. Aaron

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    What do you mean by "mental association"? Do you mean the moods and emotions that are elicited, or are you talking about certain mental "pictures"?

    [ August 05, 2002, 11:46 AM: Message edited by: Aaron ]
     
  3. Odemus

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    The 'feeling' that music elicits is not associative.As far as I can tell the feeling is as natural as any response to stimuli.
     
  4. Odemus

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    I think the question is can music elicit sinful desire?I just don't see how that is possible without associative thinking.I have never experienced such a thing and have yet to meet someone who has.

    Have you Aaron?
     
  5. Odemus

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    I am genuinely curious to speak with anyone willing to say that music has elicited sinful desire in them.

    If there is such a person willing to come forward for the sake of bringing truth to this discussion please provide the piece of music and the sinful desire it aroused in you.
     
  6. DHK

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    Let me reword the question in this way:
    Can the Holy Spirit take a tune previously associated with carnal music, and use it for the glory of God?

    Let me relate a story. Most of you have heard of the tune to "My Darling, Clementine," I hope. Another generation used to sing "Found a Peanut," to the same tune. Can't say they were spiritually uplifting songs; maybe nothing wrong with them; but if they are not of the Spirit they are of the flesh. The same tune was used by a missionary in a third world country many years ago to put the words of Psalm 150 (in another language) to music.

    Now when I here that tune, I think of Psalm 150 more than I would of the former tunes. In this case the mental association with the music turned out to be good. But that has not always been the case.
    DHK
     
  7. Bro. Curtis

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    The first time I heard Limp Bizcuit(sp?), I wanted to break things.

    In movies, the music is a powerful tool in conveying emotion. Why...? Because music is emotional. That's biblical, also.(1Samuel 16:14-23)

    After 30 years of playing music, I would have to say that the music gives the mental association, not the other way around.

    Music is not neutral.
     
  8. Brett Valentine

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    Okay, first of all, I admit I don't have all the answers and would not claim to.

    Moods and emotions are "common to the human experience" and in and of themselves may not be not sinful. For example, you can lust for people, things, but also the things of God.

    Also, Jesus in the Olivet Discourse told us that if we harbor anger at a person, we are just as guilty of murder as if we carried it out, but we are also told (I can't remember where right now) that we can be angry and yet not sin, and I think Jesus modeled this when He cleared the temple of the money changers.

    So if this may be established, then it is what our emotions are applied to and our response because of them.

    Now, music can (and does) elicit emotions. That is true, and we cannot give an definitive answer as to why other than ". . .because God made us and music that way." Yet it may not necessarily generate only the emotions intended if heard without any common point of reference (say someone from a different culture, including a different generation) or simply knowing the "accompanying programme."

    As for "mental pictures" and associations, well, that's where a lot of the "battle" is fought for us, isn't it.

    I wasn't going to give my view yet, but I guess I might as well. Please bear with me as this is most likely to get a bit long. . .

    Now, there are some "mental associations" that are unavoidable in our culture. . . when you hear the music and the rhythm to "the Stripper," even at a football or basketball game (if you are over a certain age) can you tell me you are only thinking of a very skilled cornerback or guard??? Or are you thining of the shaving creme comercial with Joe Namath and that blonde woman who spoke the only lines in that commercial? Or if you're old enough, do you even associate it with the old burlesque strippers?

    If you are below a certain age, you might, maybe, possibly avoid those direct references, but it still get's used in that context, sitcoms, cartoons, etc.

    From the above, you might think I stand firmly in Aaron's camp. Okay, think of Bugs Bunny and that "lilting clarinet" that screams "sexy." But on the other hand, that same lilting clarinet, in Gershwin's "Raphsody in Blue" is absolutely beautiful. A different context, and different mental associations.

    Now let's look at that beat, that simple "CHUNN cha CHUNN cha CHUNN cha CHUNN." With all those strong associations to sexual references, the assumption would be that this rhythm is permanently marked. On the other hand, Genesis' "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway" has a piece (you can't really call it a "song") that uses that rhythm in a section that is dramatically vivid and portrays an increasingly suspenseful scene that suggests the hero facing danger in some sort of action film.

    My point is, even I, who have all those above associations (definitely dating myself) with that beat, can listen to that music without once thinking about Joe Namath and the blonde lady, burlesque, or even Bugs Bunny&lt;grin&gt;.

    My conclusion is that the "mental association" causes the problems (and they can be attached to music, food, a place, a person, even a feeling). Yet the same music can support multiple, and yet unrelated associations . So it becomes more a matter of context.

    Karl Orff's "Carmina Burana" is all about "rites of spring, etc." yet when I first heard the piece in its entirety, before looking at the translation, I had absolutely no reference to that aspect of it. It was simply a pretty powerful piece of music (sorry for the alliteration. . .).

    Handel: "For Unto Us a Child is Born." Always for me, that is uplifting, yet for Handel and others who might of heard the original song, they also carried the association of a love song: "No, I'll Not Leave You Jealous Love." THat's the approximate title/lyric for his original song.

    Brett

    [ August 06, 2002, 10:20 AM: Message edited by: Brett Valentine ]
     
  9. Odemus

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    That band has an obvious violent message.The sin is in the words.

    My challenge is to anyone who thinks they can prove that just music alone (without lyrics) can be sinful.
     
  10. Bro. Curtis

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    You can argue about music being sinful, I have seen good points made from both stances. But I am convinced that it is not neutral. It conveys emotions, with or without words.
     
  11. onevoice

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    As Dr. Ralph Sexton Jr. preaches. . Music is the "World's Greatest Evangelist" reaching people for both the for Christ AND Satan. Many rock artists admit to praying to Satan (or other false gods) to bless their music. Two things to think about.:

    1. What kind of music do you think Jesus would be listening to?

    2. Remember the little song "oh be careful little ears what you hear".

    ;)
     
  12. Aaron

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    Hello one voice,

    I'm sure you can't have only 13 posts to your credit having joined 18 months ago! You probably had some posts that were lost in one of the major technical difficulties experienced by the BB in the past.

    Anyway, is this your first post in the Music Forum? Hope to see more.

    [ August 10, 2002, 11:54 AM: Message edited by: Aaron ]
     
  13. Odemus

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    No emotion is evil.
     
  14. Odemus

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    Music can't make you want to commit adultery or fornicate.That sin is in the heart.

    Music can't make you hate people.That sin is in your heart.

    Music can convey emotion, but it can't put a desire to sin in you.
     
  15. just-want-peace

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    To the best of my knowledge, there is no "incident/situation" to tie to, but my son-in-law used to play in a Christian Band, and I could NOT listen to the "music" without feeling a rage build up in me.
    As far as I know the words were "uplifting",(really couldn't understand them :D ), but the thumping of the beat slowly built up a rage in me that just wanted to lash out at something/someone! :mad:
    Know the feeling well!! :mad:

    Now I do not fully grasp the methodology involved here, but I do know that, at least for me, music DOES evoke feelings/emotions that have no known basis for influencing me! I therefore refuse to listen to any that begins to affect me mentally/emotionally, unless those moods are positive.
    Now if you want to put some words like "I'll Fly Away", "This World Is Not My Home", "The King Is Coming", or "Because He Lives", I'll be on a high in no time flat!! :D :D
     
  16. Craig Shepherd

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    I define good music as having a proper balance. Psalms 68:25 says "The singers went before, the players on instruments followed after; among them were the damsels playing with timbrels." I take that as God's plan for music. The melody is dominate, with harmony secondary, and rhythym in the background.
     
  17. Aaron

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    Hello Craig Shepherd! Welcome to the Music Forum.

    A very interesting application indeed. I would be interested in knowing if there is support for that in other sources?
     

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