As an atheist, should I be offended by religious lyrics? I’m not so sure that I am as a rule. However, there’s one song that keeps playing on the music system at work every day that has a strong religious bent, and I get highly agitated every time I hear it. The song is “From a Distance” and I’m not sure which version they play. I could find out as the music system is controlled from my office but it only seems to play when I’m out on the sales floor. That’s also why I don’t change the channel every time the song comes on.
Should I bother, though? I hate it whenever somebody changes the station mid-song just because they don’t like what’s playing, even if I’m in agreement with them. There’s just something jarring when a song is interrupted. At some level my brain has gotten into it. But then again, whenever this happens the song is changed only because of musical taste, and it’s only one or two people that do it anyway. I do think the song is annoying and horrible aside from the offensive words, but I can’t justify to myself changing it for that reason.
I go back to my original question: should I bother getting offended in the first place? Religion offends me, sure. Preaching religion certainly offends me. The fact that somebody believes so strongly that they would write inspirational lyrics saddens me. So, would this song affect me more on the preaching side of the scale, or the inspirational side? Or perhaps it’s not a scale at all.
The main refrain in the song is “God is watching us/From a distance.” Considering there’s security cameras everywhere I could take this to be a metaphor, but I’m going to give the company the benefit of the doubt and believe that they only play it because it’s a popular song. Besides, I don’t think the company that owns the store programs the music—that’s more likely done by a third party. So as it is, I don’t hold anybody playing the song responsible. And I can hardly justify taking out my rage on Julie Gold, the songwriter. So if no person is offending me, can I really worry about a song?
I could just take a more straight-forward, though less thought out, approach. I could just say that because this song bothers me every time that it’s on, and it has for a long time, I can justify changing it. On top of that, I don’t think anybody would really even notice or care. And it’s not like I’m preaching atheism to the rest of the store. I just don’t like a bad pop song preaching at me.
Okay, here’s a middle ground: when I’m in the office and the song comes on, I’ll change it. If I’m not in the office and the song comes on, I won’t bother rushing back to change it. But that won’t stop me from grumbling about it.