Friday, December 22, 2017

Music Inspired By Other Faiths I Enjoy

As most of you know, I am a Christian. I'm a member of the Presbyterian Church (USA), although given the theological liberalism of much of the PC-USA, ECO is looking more and more interesting. However, that doesn't mean I don't enjoy listening to music inspired by other faiths. Here are some examples:

Given how this is based on Miriam's "Song of the Sea" from the Book of Exodus and Christianity has no validity except as the successor of Judaism, this isn't really "another faith" per se. It's still in Hebrew--"mi chomocha" means "who is like you, Lord?" according to a Jewish friend. The artist is Debbie Friedman, who seems like the Jewish equivalent of a contemporary Christian artist.

This one invokes the Horned God of Wicca, the lord of the hunt, and this one is actually a bit raunchy. The notion of the gods coming down and having their way with mortals is alien to the Abrahamic tradition (before anyone starts, the conception of Jesus was a non-sexual supernatural act--we don't worship Zeus here), but many polytheistic cultures have plenty of demigods. One wonders what it's like to be part of a religious tradition where getting knocked up by a god is a distinct possibility. This song is by S.J. Tucker, who has liked some of my comments on Twitter.

The Norse story of Ragnarok has always been interesting to me, especially since I read the story of Thor and his Mutual Kill with the serpent Jormundgand in James Byron Huggins' novel Leviathan. A pity iTunes doesn't have this, because I'd love to buy it. For the record, this is a Sabaton cover of a song by Amon Amarth, but since Sabaton actually enunciates, it sounds a lot better. There are Christian songs celebrating Jesus's return like Nicole Sponberg's "Hallelujah" or the various versions of "Days of Elijah," so a song celebrating Thor's self-sacrifice in destroying a monstrous world-devouring snake would work too.

This is about ritual magic I think, and given the reference to "so mote it be," perhaps it refers to Wicca. In S.M. Stirling's The Protector's War (I think), a Wiccan priestess thinks to herself "I will have him. So mote be it" or something to that effect upon meeting the man who will eventually become her husband. This is also by S.J. Tucker. Let the record state that the Bible condemns all forms of occultism, not just "black magic," so listen to the song if you wish but don't go doing what's described.

(Also let the record state that the magic in Harry Potter isn't the type of magic the Bible condemns with the exception of divination, which is generally depicted as fraudulent.)

This one is by Manowar. If I were an Asatruar (a practitioner of the Norse religion), I'd be interested in licensing "Loki God of Fire" for religious purposes. It gets the character of Loki right--in most of the Norse myths, he was a trickster but was still a friend of the gods. I suspect the influence of Christianity made him into a more overtly demonic entity, although I'm not sure. Evidence for the worship of Loki in ancient times is scant but it's not nonexistent, but there are some modern Asatruar who worship him. Given my propensity for shocking people, I could imagine going for Loki-ism as a means of seeking attention. :)

Sometimes it's hard to understand what exactly they're saying, but they're invoking the names of various mythological goddesses like Astarte (Semitic), Inanna (Mesopotamian), Kali (Hinduism), Isis (Egyptian), Hecate (Greek), Demeter (Greek), and Diana (Roman). It's my understanding that Wiccans believe that all the gods are aspects of the Horned God and all goddesses are aspects of the Goddess (in one of S.M. Stirling's books the Hebrew God is referred to as the "jealous" aspect), which would allow for deities to be invoked willy-nilly despite being members of different pantheons.

Although I've got a friend who really loves Muslim nasheeds (which might have contributed to his conversion to Sufism), I haven't got any here. I've never listened to them. Perhaps I'll check them out.

Many of these songs are produced by actual musicians. If these are songs you're interested in listening to, I would recommend you purchase them on iTunes. Even though I found most of these on YouTube, I ultimately purchased them so the artist could be paid for their work.

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