Sunday, 17 February 2013

Christian Music in a “Secular” World

Mumford and Sons...arguably one of the most successful bands at the moment. Christian? Non-Christian? What do they sing for? Who do they sing for? These were questions that plagued me for a long while and ultimately led me to this blog post.

All those who know me are well aware of my M&S fanaticism. The majority of their songs have undeniable Christian undertones, which got me thinking...Why have no other Christian bands really exploded onto the music scene? And I’m not talking about just the Christian music scene, but the secular one. For the past 2 weeks I’ve been wrestling with the question “Is Christian music just not as good as secular music?” I must confess that for the past 3 months my playlist has consisted of The Lumineers, Mumford and Sons, The Beatles, AC/DC, Rise Against and Haste the Day. I know what band probably stood out for some here: AC/DC...I’ve heard many people ask how I, as a Christian, could listen to such a band. Granted, some of their lyrics are more than horrible, but am I less of a Christian for listening in awe to the guitar riff in “Highway to Hell”? Again, another sensitive topic, perhaps for another day...

The point that I am trying to make (in a very roundabout way) is: The Christian music scene has good quality bands, making good quality music...look no further than Red, Skillet, Thousand Foot Krutch etc. But why aren’t they as popular as Nickelback for instance? Is it because they are labelled “Christian” and thus appeal to a much smaller audience? A few years ago it was stated that Switchfoot would focus on the “secular” music industry, but stressed that they were not renouncing their faith in anyway. They were apparently focusing on preaching to the unsaved. A few weeks after this transition, their single “Dark Horses” hit the top of the rock charts in South Africa and stayed there for four weeks! It makes one wonder if their Christian label is what hindered their mainstream success in the first place – that they WERE actually playing quality music, but people just weren’t interested in listening to a Christian band?

Would Rihanna, Beyoncé, Florence and the Machine or The Lumineers be as famous if they were openly Christian? What is it that is holding Christian bands from mainstream audiences? I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve heard Skillet or Red on the radio – some songs you wouldn’t even guess were why don’t they play them?!?! How do Christian bands escape this label and reach a larger audience?

I am not going to lie, I don’t have any answers to the questions I am posing. I’m just frustrated that the Christian music scene has some amazing bands (even just from a purely musical point of view) but they are being ignored by the majority of people due to their Christian label. Many people love Mumford and Sons...Christian or Non-Christian, it doesn’t matter! They are being loved for their amazing musical ability!
I personally believe that far too much Christian music lags behind secular music, in terms of both quality and originality. I’m not trying to be overly critical, but asking these questions isn’t a bad thing. As stated earlier, I know I’ve asked more questions than I’ve answered, so please, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section.

Here at Rocking it Christian Style we are on the constant lookout for quality Christian bands coming onto the scene. Matthew Mole and Nakhane Toure are two, new, local South African examples of solo artists who have an incredible talent. Be sure to keep a close eye on this blog for events, album reviews and amazing songs from both new and old!

Look out for our review of Disciple’s “O God Save Us All” this Wednesday, 20 February 2013.

Peace and love everyone

NB: Please read the followup post "Christian Music in a 'Secular' World v2.0" views have changed somewhat since writing the above post!:p


  1. Nice post, definitely seems like a blog worth following! Hopefully you'll write a follow up post that answers some of the questions posed.

  2. Hi Jalex
    In my opinion, we as humans, are drawn to the secular, as it appears to fulfil our desires. When people think of Christian music, they think the song is one-sided, and not 'cool'. The 'cool' thing will always be, and I'm sure has always been the rebellious thing. People generally don't like to follow rules and prefer to satisfy their immediate desires to fulfilling long-term aspirations. To connect this to music, artists such as Drake, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift etc. sing about their immediate desires and this has a crowd-pleasing quality. I think it is fair to assume that people in general view christianity, and religion as a whole, as a long-term concept, that doesn't have to been addressed immediately. Christian music probably, and sadly, will never be 'cool' but that's not its goal, its goal is to spread an important message to the people out there. The youth of this generation is under-educated and over-sexualised which does not present a good market for Christian music.

    As to whether or not Christians should listen to secular music, especially AC/DC, that can only be answered by reading the Bible.

    Thank you for reading this.



    1. Hi Edwin

      Thank you so much for the response! We've been waiting eagerly for someone to share their thoughts and were slowly losing hope.

      It's true, I was listening to the "Top 10" songs on a secular radio station yesterday, and I'm not lying to you when i say that each and every song had some reference to either sex or alcohol. It really is sad that this is what people WANT to listen to!?

      Thanx again for the comment! We really appreciate it!

    2. I love what I just read.

  3. Hi Jalex! Some of what Edwin pointed out are undeniably agreeable, but different people have different beliefs. Don't you think that this is another aspect why Christian music artists, though have great musicality, aren’t as popular as the secular ones? Christian music conveys a message that will either make you believe or exalt. If people don't believe in what the Christian artists are saying, then why would they bother listening to it, right? I believe that you can't appreciate something you don’t really believe in, don't you think so? If ever Christian artists went mainstream, does that mean they're denouncing their faith and beliefs? I don't think so. In fact, it's even a good thing 'cause they're spreading a message that people won't usually be open to know about. And through them, they're slowly educating people that these certain faiths exist.

    Dalene Croff

  4. Hi jalex im sory if this sounds a bit cynical but the music industry is likely to continue to use sex and booze and drugs as unfortunately that is what sells because as the western culture has strived for freedom it is constantly glorifying sex
    , alcohol and to a slightly lesser degree drug it gets ingroung in society as it is always there in music, tv, film, games and other media and I dont see an end to it I think the only way christian music making it in the mainstream is buy making amazingly good music with subtle hidden messages throughout the music that gets people thinking for themselves rather than going full on in your face christian as then if the song and music are good and ideally catchy enuf then it can get huge and the hidden messages will reach more people than a outright Christian song that the secular population shun as it is Christian


    Did you ever notice that secularists accept historical writings as fact, unless they are about God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Spirit.

    Have you ever heard a secularist proclaim that the following men did not live and that they were not who historians said they were?
    Confucius 551-479 B.C.
    Plato 427-347 B.C.
    Alexander the Great 356-323 B.C.
    Julius Caesar 100-44 B.C.
    Socrates 469-399 B.C.
    Buddha 563-483 B.C.
    Ludwig van Beethoven 1770-1827
    Homer 700-800 B.C.
    Isaac Newton 1642-1727
    Galileo Galilei 1564-1642
    Leonardo da Vinci 1452-1519
    Marco Polo 1254-1324
    John Locke 1632-1704
    George Washington 1732-1799
    Abraham Lincoln 1809-1865

    Secularists do not question the historical fact, that these men lived and died. They do not deny the role these men played in history. They believe this, by faith, that the historical accounts are accurate.

    Secularists do deny the historical accuracy of the Bible and all other accounts that proclaim Jesus as the Son of God. They deny the historical accounts of God the Father resurrecting Jesus from the grave.

    THE RESULTS OF A SELECTIVE VIEW OF HISTORICAL FACTS.(2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.)




  6. I agree with the statement that music offered by christian bands is equally good as that of secular music. It is a stupidity to compare both of these kinds of music. Music is just a way to express spiritual devotion whether it is towards God or any other one.