The Amorality of Music

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Sapper Woody, Jul 9, 2012.

  1. Sapper Woody

    Sapper Woody
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    I almost posted this in the music ministry section, but decided that it wasn't about the music ministry, but was just a discussion.

    The claim by some is that music is amoral, that is that music by itself is neither good or bad, and that it is the lyrics that make music good or bad. Well, I discovered something this week, and looked it up, and am wondering what people's thoughts are in this new light.

    Basically, what I discovered is called iDose. It is a binaurel beat. A simplified explanation is that it is music that is played in sterio, and the music in one ear is different than the music in the other. The brain interperets the music as a third wave. This leads the brain to do different things, from relaxation all the way to "tripping out" as if you were on LSD.

    Here are a couple websites to check out:

    http://www.i-dose.us/

    http://www.i-doser.com/

    It has long been held that music can be a mind altering drug. If you don't believe that statement, just ask any teenager who is hooked on big bass beats. If they try to stop, they just can't. It's like any other addiction.

    Also, there's a reason they don't play marching music at day spas, but that restaurants use fast paced music during rush periods.

    http://www.acrwebsite.org/volumes/display.asp?id=11116

    http://articles.cnn.com/2010-04-30/...ws-restaurant-critic-frank-bruni?_s=PM:LIVING

    Ever heard a melody, and without any lyrics, thought, "That is a sad song"? Or, "That is a powerful song"? How about in the old days during silent movies how the piano player would play music, and you'd know if the person was the villain, or the hero by what he played? Also, when the woman was in danger, the music led up to the tension.

    In modern day movies, the music adds to the tension or action in a movie. Music can get your adrenaline going without you even moving so that you are more in to the movie. It can also make you feel more in touch with the characters during a dramatic scene.

    If music can alter your behavior, make you relaxed, make you angry, and even give you lucid dreams and out of body experiences, then it is only logical that music is not amoral. I am not trying to tell anyone what music to listen to. Where to draw the line is part of Christian Liberty. But, to deny that music has a morality, or to say that no music is ungodly, to me is a ludicrous thought given what it can do.
     
  2. mandym

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    There are a lot of things in this world that tempt us to do things. I reject the premise that teens just cannot help but react tot he beat.I reject that notion that music is a mind altering drug.

    While music has its effect on our emotions it does not force our behavior. A rather absurd notion. I would sooner believe in UFO's and Big Foot.
     
  3. agedman

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    The point of the OP is that music is not benign or amoral.

    Music therapy is vital to reaching those who are so bound that all other communications are vain imaginations.

    Music is purposed to touch the heart and geared toward acceptance based on purely emotional conditions and not rational decision making.

    It is well documented that certain combinations and repetitive rhythmic patterns numb the mind and engage basal forms of behaviors. Merely shifting the beat emphasis from the typical 1st and 3rd beats of a four beat march to that of the 2nd and 4th, gives the music a much different body motion to both performers and listeners. The vertical straight marching steps obliged by that of the 1st and 3rd emphasis is completely lost and replaced by far more horizontal hip sway with opposing arm movement obliged by the 2nd and 4th emphasis. The movement is further changed when certain syncopation patterns are applied, and rhythmic patterns of the heart are repeated. More change is evident when the heart patterns turn to the opposite of the heart beat. Add to that the sub base that mimics the rhythmic aspects of the breathing and heart, and it is not unusual to see a person responding in inappropriate behavior patterns.

    That quick look into a single element of music was to demonstrate that it can be used as a "mind altering drug" as exampled by David and King Saul.

    Often believers will meditate to music and find their emotional and even physical state modified.

    If in these few examples it is demonstrated that music has "mind altering factors" the certainly the unregenerate heart listening to Satanic generated music is not going to have their mind, soul, and spirit become more rational and Godly.

    You do bring up a point in the statement "While music has its effect on our emotions it does not force our behavior." However, I am not certain that extrapolation would be in agreement to validate the statement.

    Going back to the example of the unregenerate. The music listened too is provided by evil Satanic hearts and presented to the heart of the unregenerate in such a way as that person will accept all manor of evil language, thoughts, attitudes, and scenes. In effect, the person becomes indoctrinated, "brain washed" and controlled perhaps even possessed of demonic forces and influences presented by the music.

    The obvious question is, then does that person's behavior become modified and perverted by the music? If for instance the music is filled with sexual violence and hate, will the listener who fills their life with that steady indoctrination not be altered?

    Is this then not music "forcing behavior?" Certainly, the person has a choice as to acting out, just as all perverts have a choice to manifest the perversion.

    But there is one difference when comparing music to any other fine arts form. Music touches the heart/emotions before the rational even makes consideration. Even a child will respond with like or not like within a few bars of a tune played without even a rational reason. There is some attractive element (rhythm, tempo, style, mode, timbre, ...) that engages the child far sooner than rational examination of "why."

    Did the demoniac that ran nude, broke chains, and lived in the tombs have control over his behavior?

    Not saying that the demoniac got that way through music, just questioning how the extrapolation of satanic music indoctrination and possession does not result it forced control.
     
  4. Sapper Woody

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    I didn't say that they couldn't help but react to the beat. I said that they become addicted to it. I know firsthand. When I was a teenager, I grew up in a home and church where rock, country, and even CCM was against the rules. I started listening to some music with a heavy bass rythm in it when I started catching a ride with a guy to work. I literally became addicted to it. Anytime I could get away with it, that's what I was listening to. I even tried to stop, but it had a hold on me. Ironically, my music standard isn't as high as what I grew up with, but I still do not listen to things with heavy bass rythms.

    On the same note as that, those heavy bass rythms had a direct effect on my body. When I was listening to it, my heart would literally skip every once in a while. First time it happened, I thought I was going to die; I didn't understand it.
    You do realize that you just contradicted yourself? That's the epitome of a mind altering drug; affecting your emotions. Not to mention the fact that kids are getting high off of certain musical tones.

    http://www.smh.com.au/technology/te...-target-teens-with-idoses-20100813-12231.html

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencet...g-digitally-high-music-download-internet.html

    http://blog.compete.com/2010/07/22/anybody-wanna-get-high-i-dose-today/

    It does not force behavior per se, but inducing a mind altering state is pretty powerful. Alcohol doesn't force behavior, but how many things do people blame on being drunk?

    I am not trying to condemn anyone for listening to any type of music. But, I strongly believe based upon the evidence that music is definitely not amoral. Furthermore, I personally believe that the notion that it is amoral to be absurd. To me, it's blatantly obvious.
     
    #4 Sapper Woody, Jul 9, 2012
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  5. 12strings

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    1. I, like mandym, reject that music CAUSES sinful behavior in and of itself.

    2. Regarding addiction, the human mind is incredibly adept at becoming addicted to almost anything, and if we were to villify everything on which one can be addicted, we would have to cut out hundred's of good things from our lives.

    3. Music CAN alter your emotions, but does not force anyone do to anything they did not already want to do. People at rock concerts want to dance, want to sway thier hips, want to interact sexually. HOWEVER...the fact that music affects emotions does not mean it has inherent morality, but that it has emotional effects. War marches, College theme songs, Jingle-bells, hymn-tunes...they all convey different emotions, but NONE of them are sinful!
    -Music should be used carefully in a way that fits the message, but there are many types of GOOD messages that can be conveyed: Stately hymn tunes matched with text on the majesty of God, light-hearted happy-birthday to your toddler son, and even Hard, driving Rock matched with a text like: "Wake up and see the glory!" (Steven Curtis chapman song about not settling for small wordly satisfactions when God offers his infinite self).
    -I might play some Manhiem Steamroller (Rock instrumental group that does rock versions of classical music...thier version of carol of the bells is great) while I'm doing some house-cleaning, because it gives me a little energy boost. The fact that I shouldn't play that same music the next time I run sound for a funeral doesn't mean the first is IMMORAL.

    4. I like Folk music, blue-grass, Acoustic Rock, Driving Rock, Hymns, Classical and many other types of music. I don't particularly like Hip-hop, rap, modern Country, or death-metal, or 20th century atonal music. BUT... I can see how each of these styles CAN BE REDEEMED and used for good purposes...Perhaps not much use in an actual worship service for a few of them, but I can't say they are inherntly IMMORAL... The reason is that the bible doesn't say they are...and I am not willing to go around calling things sinful that the Bible doesn't.
     
  6. 12strings

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    regarding this i-dose stuff, I had not heard of that...BUT...

    ...I searched it on you-tube and found a teen boy who video-taped himself listening to "gates of hades" in this format...(there are other videos of people being really scared by it, so he wanted to try it). He quit after 4 minutes CUZ HE WAS BORED!!! Doesn't sound like an uncontrollable force to me. He said it got his blood pumping a little bit, but not much else.

    It simply shows that different people react differently to the same music. Play Justin Bieber in a room of teenage girls, with thier parents, and you will see this very clearly...the music has NO EFFECT on middle-aged people! :) (well, repulsion is an effect, I guess)

    Music can scare people, and bring up many other emotions, but it is because we have strong associations with music, and the music brings up thoughts that we already have in our head.

    The National Anthem would not make anyone think of America if they had never heard of america, and known this song to be associated with it.
     
  7. 12strings

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    Here we come to an important issue in this discussion: What EXACTLY is the line between GOOD music and EVIL music? If you maintain that music has morality, there must be a line. Some point to the beat on 2 & 4...what about Rock-music that is in 3/4 or 6/8, or 7/8 for that matter? Is it certain instruments? Is 6 strings more sinful than 88 keys? Is a drum inherently sinful? THERE IS NO BIBLICAL ANSWER TO ANY OF THESE QUESTIONS.

    -Further, The hip-sway method of dancing often seen is modern dancing is, unfortunately something that girls pick-up very early from TV and watching other people...however I don't think the music did it...They learned it by imitation. I have noticed that there is a difference between young girls who have been exposed to things like hanna-montana, and those who have been somewhat sheltered...The sheltered girls don't dance that way, even when there is rock music...they just kind of bounce up and down.


    Displaying that music affects emotions is a far cry from displaying that music has MORAL essence. No one disputes that music affects emotions...but those emotions, like music, can be USED for good or evil. Dark reds and oranges in restaurants make me hungrier...can i blame my gluttony on the color, and consider myself more holy if I avoid those colors because I consider them immoral? NO. Why? Because the Bible doesn't say they are sinful, so neither do I.
     
  8. freeatlast

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    #8 freeatlast, Jul 9, 2012
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  9. Bro. James

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    We are still asking the wrong question regarding things we do in the flesh. The question is not: What is wrong with it? The pointy question is: What is right with it?

    Our problem: We want to offer fleshly offerings. God cannot be worshipped in the flesh--it matters not how we candy coat it.

    We have redefined what a spiritual song might be. Try "Amazing Grace"--acapella. It will put one to the knees--where we need to be to worship God in spirit and in truth.

    We live in an amoral world--the audio/video, including so-called Christian Rock proves this fact. Many ecumenical churches have conformed. New Testament churches are conforming.

    Even so, come Lord Jesus.

    This is an introduction to a sermon.

    Peace,

    Bro. James
     
    #9 Bro. James, Jul 9, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 9, 2012
  10. Sapper Woody

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    Thank you for those links. I plan on reading a lot from that site when I have time tonight. (I just got done with a workout, and need to hit the showers, get chow, give my guys notes, and THEN I can settle in).

    I would like to pose another idea here, so bear with me:
    While good, Godly music feeds the soul, it is a fact that God also expects us to feed the flesh (as in the physical body, not the sin nature). This is proven by the fact that we have to eat to survive. And I don't care what the book says, chicken soup is for the flesh, not the soul.

    With this in mind, I don't believe that a rythm that feeds the flesh is necessarily a bad thing. However, there are some types of music that overly feed the flesh, and in my opinion have no redeeming value to them. Music that makes you agitated or angry, for instance. That is the musical equivalent to cocaine. It will make you agressive. Then there are the "downers", music that makes you feel depressed. I will admit that it is harder for music alone to make you feel depressed than it is for music alone to make you feel angry. Depressing music is mostly in the lyrics.

    Now, we all have admitted that music can affect your emotions. But some don't believe that that alone makes some music bad, or unGodly. But weed affects your emotions in the same way and has no real negative side affects, and I would hazard a guess that most people on here would condemn weed smokers.

    Then we come to the problem of glorifying God in all we do. No matter how hard you try, you cannot scream the demonic screams of death metal and glorify God. I don't care what you say. You can sing hymns like that, and it will still not be glorifying God. The words might be, but the attitude isn't, and can't. Ever tried screaming the words "I love you" to your spouse?

    In the same way, rap is an "in your face" style. It lifts up the rapper. (I am talking about actual rap, not those who call themsaleves rappers and really just talk with a rythm.) Imagine a video of a rapper in full bling rapping the words to "How Great Thou Art" with a scowl on his face, and waving his hands in the camera throwing up "westside" signs. It cannot glorify God. Rap music is, in and of itself, a style of lifting up the rapper and putting everyone else down.

    Finally, let's use this analogy. Let's say that music is indeed amoral, and you can find good rap, good death metal, etc. Well, you could probably find a perfectly good, untouched hamburger in the dumpster behind McDonalds. But would you eat it? So why search through the dumpster of music when you can enjoy fresh music?
     
  11. mandym

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    Same thing

    YOu do not know what you are talking about. I contradicted nothing and a mind altering drug is one that effects the nervous system and chemical balance in the body.

    I grew up listening to the same kind of music and at no point did I enter an altered state.


    Yea...it doesn't do that either.

    Whether music is amoral or not your claims are absurd. I sat and listened to the same garbage in IBC when I was young. Entire sermons were created devoid of any scripture by preachers who were scared to death of the African off beat that would alter your mind and was straight from hell.


    The claim is just as ridiculous now as it was then.
     
  12. 12strings

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    Music is sounds. Vibrations from a vibrating string, vocal chord, or membrane that travels through the air to your ear which translates them into electrical signals to the brain. IT CANNOT FEED THE SOUL! It is a physical phenomenon. God alone can feed the soul!


    The reasons I would condemn weed smokers are (1) because on your FIRST puff of weed, you begin to get high...ie Drunk...The bible condemns drunkenness, & (2) If someone is seeking refuge and security in a drug, they are not seeking that refuge in God. Not seeking God and drunkenness are sins spoken of the bible. Listening to "LOUD CYMBALS" is not...in fact its encouraged and commanded..
    -BTW, weed does not affect your emotions IN THE SAME WAY as music. It's a DIFFERENT way.

    If my wife is leaving the house and our kids are screaming, and she is in a hurry, I might very well scream "I LOVE YOU!" so she can hear me. I don't like crazy screams of death metal any more than you, but there are places in our lives for cries of distress to God (check the psalms)...These could be it, I don't know. Anyway, Death metal screams are really on the periphery of this discussion, since it seems some want to arbitrarily say anything with a back beat or electric guitar is automatically sinful...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvoIF_4N8zY

    Your problem is you are calling Rock Music trash without (1) defining what Rock Music is (2) showing why this style of music is indeed a dumpster, rather than perhaps a mine with lots of dirt, but also quite a few diamonds in the rough.

    It is precisely the desire for "fresh" music that drives and allows us to use multiple varied styles of music to Glorify God by Expressing praise to God, edifying truth to people, love to my wife, happy birthday wishes to my son, and simple enjoyment music while I clean the house or work in the garage.
     
  13. 12strings

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    You may be familiar with Steve Camp. He (10 or more years ago) wrote a 107 theses indicting the CCM industry for straying after worldly things...HOWEVER, his case is not with the music style, but with the heart, theology, and lifestyle of the musicians involved...which is where it should be. You can read the whole thing here:

    http://www.wphafm.org/107Theses.htm

    Notice all the scripture he uses! He does not call for an end to Contemporary Christian music, because the Bible doesn't ban musical styles.

    "Praise the Lord with Loud Cymbals!"
     
  14. 12strings

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    FYI...I'll be at out of town and away from a Computer until Friday...taking a group of Teenagers to a church camp where we will praise God with Loud cymbals, stringed instruments, & subwoofers...I'll try to find this thread again when I get back. So write some good stuff everybody!:smilewinkgrin:
     
  15. Yeshua1

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    jusy wondering if the Lord can redeem ANY musical style to his glory? My understanding is that its not in the "beat" that makes music good/bad, but in its content and message!
     
  16. saturneptune

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    Music can affect moods and motives. The same music can do different things to different people. In my case, at church, I find traditional hymns, special music, and arrangements like Handel's Messiah very inspirational and stirs my soul. There is nothing wrong with contemporary music, Gaither style, or Southern Gospel, but it bores me to tears, so I ignore it.

    On the secular side, I find classical music very relaxing. I stay away from modern music, as the words are almost always filth or trash. My pop music listening is mostly confined to the 50s and 60s, and the light rock. I stay away from the heavy rock or music to take drugs by.

    I enjoy insturmental music, such as Love is Blue, the theme to the Good, Bad and Ugly, and theme from the Lone Ranger, Classical Gas, etc.

    I think music is a gift from God to be used for all sorts of occasions, but mainly to worship Him.

    There is no right or wrong music, this is just my preference. I think any type of music or anything else in life that puts something before the Lord is better left alone.
     
  17. Sapper Woody

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    In my opinion, they aren't on the periphery, because I am not defining a certain type of music. I am simply trying to make a point that says that some music is ungodly. I am not trying to define which ones, as that is between God and the believer.

    FWIW, I enjoy a good electric guitar and appreciate the talent of a good drummer.


    Sorry, You'll have to tell me what the video is. I can't watch streaming videos out here.


    I did not say Rock Music. And I did not say that Rock Music was trash. You misread my analogy, or I didn't explain it thoroughly enough.

    For the sake of discussion, let's take the genre death metal. In death metal, you have screaming in rage, you have cussing, you have people talking about killing others. Each song is a hamburger in this analogy. You might find a good hamburger in the midst of all the trash hamburgers, but you still wouldn't eat it.

    This isn't a mine with dirt and some diamonds. If the good songs are diamonds, the others are death traps.

    I don't see how this adds to the discussion. My point is that there is music out there that is unGodly. Again, what it is is between God and the believer.

    And God will use Godly music to do so. If you are going to pick apart what I said that much, then take it both ways. Obviously, music cannot give us sustanence, and so cannot feed the flesh, either.

    Ok, let's take your definition of a mind altering drug at face value. You said that music affects the emotions.
    Taken from Wikipedia:
    So, what you're saying is that music isn't a mind altering drug, even though it affects emotions, which means that it is affecting the nervous system?

    You grew up listening to binaurel beats? Something that is a relatively recent development? What you need to understand is that this music is not just another form of a dance beat or electronica. It is specific waves of sound played in a specific way so as to scramble the brain when the brain tries to interperet the two separate waves.

    My only actual claim is that there is good music and bad music, and that music is not amoral. If you want to listen to jungle beats, go ahead. It's between you and God, and I'll not condemn you. In fact, the jungle rythm of Toto's "Africa" is actually very appealing to me.

    Again, that's between God and the believer. I have my personal feeling where I believe the line is drawn based upon Biblical principles and common sense. But that's not what this discussion is about.

    And yet again we come to this idea that everything that is sinful has to be explicity stated in the Bible. God did give us the ability to realize what is wrong based upon principles. But again, my point is not to tell you, "Your <insert genre> music is wrong!". It's just to point out that some music is. Like I've said many times before, the line is between you and God.

    Your flaunting your christian liberty notwithstanding, I actually enjoy and employ the use of drums, stringed instruments of all kinds, and use a nice sub to round out the tones. The instruments used make no difference to me. It's the music itself. I can take a guitar, and play a riff from a metal song, or play a hymn, or play Pachelbel's Canon. It's not the instrument, and I hope that no one would honestly think that a particular instrument makes a style evil. It's the music that is played with the instrument.

    Now, granted, the music that is generally accepted as bad steriotypically has those instruments in it, and so those instruments have a bad rep with some people. Me? I like Manheim Steamroller. Love their entire christmas album. In fact, you bringing it up makes me want to listen to it. I also enjoy the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
     
    #17 Sapper Woody, Jul 9, 2012
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  18. OldRegular

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    Very interesting post. Thanks for doing the research. I have said on this Forum that music itself can affect the emotions and I object to certain music in the worship services. It appears that your research confirms that opinion.

    Your comments on music in silent movies is particularly interesting since some movie channels play the old silent movies.
     
  19. OldRegular

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    Sapper Woody

    Reading some of the responses to your OP I see you are getting a lot of nonsensical flack from some folks. I also see that you handle them very well. My respects to you!
     
  20. Bro. James

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    We seem to be having a problem in definitions: amoral, immoral and moral. Our codes of conduct are based on our flesh nature which is totally depraved. God has a moral code for man: Be ye holy as I am holy. Of himself, man can never make that bar. We think we want to keep a code of law without realizing that we cannot of our selves do so. "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God".

    A divine law was given to Israel. They could not keep it. God gave it to them to show they could not keep a law. We have the same problem today--we think we can keep some sort of code to get right with God--a salvation by our works. We also think we can worship God in our flesh. "No es possible". We have difficulty defining the line between flesh and spirit--especially in worship.

    Back to morals--amorality is a lack of moral code. If it feels good do it--as long as it does not infringe on the amorality of others.

    Immorality is an interesting notion--an act contrary to the code of man, not necessarily of God. That which is immoral seems to change with who is inside the beltway. God's code does not change.

    Morality is having a concept of that which is right and that which is wrong. We spent a lot to have the ten commandents carved in stone in various places of law making. Now we want to have such removed--along with prayer and any references to GAOTU. Many of our founding fathers were Deists/Humanists, not necessarily followers of Immanuel.

    We have watered down what true worship of God might be--we are like Cain changing the spiritual to the carnal. Worship has become entertainment. We applaud one another's performances like glee clubs of holiness. God is not looking for entertainment. Most of what we do is of wood, hay and stubble. It will not survive the Bema Seat.

    Be careful what we call a "joyful noise" which is fact is clanging brass and tinkling cymbals.

    The big problem with music is the beat--it has a mesmerizing effect on the whole body. The bump-bump-bump came out of Equatorial Africa to become Rock and Roll, then AC/DC. The entertainment industry is still greatly enriched--God probably does not get 10%.

    The definition of amoral probably does not include the concept of neutrality. But rather it is slanted toward the flesh, which in man's depraved code may seem spiritual.

    Acapella is still the safest position in terms of worship.

    Peace,

    Bro. James
     
    #20 Bro. James, Jul 10, 2012
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