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"Could it be you're afraid of what your friends might say
If they knew you believed in God above?
They should realize before they criticize
That God is the only way to love"
Black Sabbath (yes, that Black Sabbath), "After Forever"

Christian Rock is defined by being explicitly Christian. Then there are some works that aren't, but could still fool some people.


These works are seldom about evangelizing. To these musicians, Jesus is like a muse more than someone they are trying to promote in their work. However, some of these have inspired actual Christian Rockers. Sometimes the musicians may actually be Christians, but follow a different type of Christianity to the Evangelical Protestantism that dominates the Christian Rock scene denominationally.

In many cases, it's more a thematic thing than if God or Jesus is actually mentioned, but there is often a clear influence.

It also sometimes happens that a musician who started out in Christian Rock shifts to Not Christian Rock - especially back when the secular music scene had a better demographic than the Christian music scene. Such bands might invoke Jesus Taboo.

This trope is often the result of Faux Symbolism when bands invoke Judeo-Christian motifs solely for show/aesthetic appeal and people take the imagery literally. Also compare Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory, another common explanation for this trope.


Contrast God-Is-Love Songs, which are about God but may appear to be secular tunes. Songs that take an outright negative view of faith are Religion Rant Songs. Subtrope of Ambiguously Christian. If the religious imagery is used to describe love, that's Love Is Like Religion.

Compare the Song of Prayer which addresses God in the lyrics.


  • Filipino rock groups Alamid, and more famously Aegis, did their versions of the Andrei Dionisio gospel song "Hesus", but they're generally not Christian bands for the most part.
  • Aly & A.J. (known as 78violet from 2009 to 2015) originally were rather Christian pop-rock - as shown in songs like "Never Far Behind", which is a song about The Power of Friendship with the line "God is never far behind" in it - however after their debut album they abandoned the religious themes. Until, of course, their nudes got hacked, and after that they dropped all traces of Christianity from their images.
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  • Anberlin is sometimes considered to be Christian rock, but Steve Christian (ironic name) has said that he considers the band's all-Christian faith a lifestyle rather than an influence on their music, hence their large fanbase of nonreligious people. For those who insist, pay close attention to the lyrics of *Fin.
  • The Band often used Christian or Biblical imagery. Their most famous song, "The Weight", is a good example ("I pulled into Nazareth..."), see also "Daniel and the Sacred Harp", others.
    • Robertson drew inspiration from his Martin guitar. Where is the C. F. Martin Co. headquartered? Nazareth, Pennsylvania.
  • Boston is thought of as a generally harmless, but not religious, band, despite having a song called "Higher Power" which contains the line "The world is spinnin', but I'm not afraid", and "Come and save me Lord/Don't let me cross the line", as well as the Serenity Prayer, but it's actually about a concept in Alcoholics Anonymous to help participants deal with their addiction. The opening line "Let me love you/Take me home to your religion for the night" should remove any ideas about the song being religious.
  • Live is sometimes thought of as a Christian band, and Ed Kowalcyk specifically said that "I Alone" was written about the Christian church.
    • Until you listen to the lyrics of "Operation Spirit (The Tyranny of Tradition)": Heard a lot of talk about this Jesus / A man of love, a man of strength / But what a man was two thousand years ago / Means nothing at all to me today
      • This could be Zig-Zagged, as the song actually describes a young man who deliberately embraces the most cynical stances he can, while people around him are trying to make him see the brighter side.
      Heard a lot of talk about my spirit
      Heard a lot of talk about my soul
      But I decided that anxiety and pain
      Were better friends
      So I let it go
    • Also, most Christian rockers don't drop f-bombs in their songs.
    • Ironically, as of 2010, lead vocalist Ed Kowalczyk is now a legit Christian rock musician; songs on his solo debut include "Zion" and "In Your Light" as well as lead single "Grace".
  • Bob Dylan incorporates biblical allusions into a lot of his music, but only the albums recorded during his late-'70s/early'80s "born again" period (Slow Train Coming, Saved, Shot of Love) can really be considered Christian Rock in an overt sense.
  • Despite some of their songs (and the fact that Ace and Peter are Christians), KISS is not religious rock. They are all religious (for instance, Gene Simmons is a fairly serious Jew), but that isn't the focus of their music. "God Gave Rock & Roll To You" was a cover of an Argent song. It's a song about rock and roll, not God, although Christian Rock band Petra also covered the song early in their career.
    • KISS, in fact, was once rumored to be a Satanic band by the Moral Guardians of Christendom. "Knights In Satan's Service", remember?
    • Which is ironic that KISS was demonized (no pun intended) by some members of the church so much despite the fact that they were strictly anti-drugs, among other things.
    • One song, "I Confess", on Carnival Of Souls was cowritten with Christian artist Ken Tamplin.
  • Hirax, an American Thrash Metal band, has been called Christian for songs like "Demon's Evil Forces" where their singer plays God, so to speak with the lines "You will go down, down to the demons, and when you get there, you'll be in Hell" and "You must believe in me my son, I am the Lord God, the Holy One"... They have since denied direct involvement in the Christian music scene, though some of their members are indeed Christians.
  • Bono of U2 is a Christian, and many of his lyrics have Christian subtext. However, they're usually more of the "Jesus Was Way Cool" kind that one would expect given his views on social justice, rather than songs about the power of faith and other such things that are often found in Christian music. However, there is the occasional song that directly addresses faith and the need for redemption with God's help ("When Love Came to Town" explicitly discusses the crucifixion of Christ, and the song "Yahweh" gets its name from the Hebrew name for God — see also "Gloria" and "40").
    • Actually, Adam Clayton's the only odd man out religiously. U2 very nearly broke up early on because Bono, Edge, and Larry all belonged to a small evangelical group with a leader who was urging them to give up music because it wasn't quite "Christian". After a couple days of seriously considering it, they decided God wouldn't have given them this skill if He hadn't meant for them to use it. They put the Christian subtext in as a little nod to the people who want to find it — but it's subtle enough that those who don't want to go there don't have to.
    • It's been observed that when Bono's singing about a woman, he's never just singing about a woman. A lot of the songs have extra meaning if you know your Bible. "In the garden I was playing the tart, I kissed your lips and broke your heart..."
    • More abstract Christian themes find their way into certain songs- "Pride(In The Name Of Love)" is about the Christian ideal of selfless love as the key to enlightenment, while "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" is about the search for God and meaning in a world of ambiguity and doubt.
  • "Kyrie" by Mr. Mister. (Kyrie eleison is Greek for "Lord, have mercy," and is still chanted by most Roman Catholics at Mass.)
    • Some people have taken to thinking of Mr. Mister as a sort of precursor to Creed, since religious imagery is even more prominent in their body of work than the above title would suggest. All of their songs impart some sort of spiritual or philosophical message. You don't have to be Christian or even a believer in God, for instance, to feel tears come to your eyes when you hear the lyrics to "Stand and Deliver" (which, yes, was written for the movie of the same name): "I know in this life/You gotta stand up for what feels right/Each day, and every night."
    • This was also covered by Contemporary Christian singer-songwriter Mark Schultz in 2000 on his "Song Cinema" album.
  • "Show Me The Way" by Styx. It should be noted that the song's writer, Dennis DeYoung, is a devout Roman Catholic.
  • Ultravox might be confused for a Christian band, especially because of "Dear God", and "Hymn" to a lesser extent. "Dear God" is decidedly spiritual (ala U2), but the band itself is not explicitly Christian. In fact, "Answers to Nothing" openly questions religion.
  • Certain songs by Kansas, such as "Dust in the Wind" and "Carry On Wayward Son." The first song is actually about a Platonistic world view, and the second is ambiguous, but never references God or faith directly. The song "Hold On", however, is explicitly about a man's relation to God. "The Wall" can also be interpreted as describing a pivotal moment when the singer is at a spiritual crisis due to his choices in life having "led [him] to a wall"—and deciding whether or not to pass beyond it through faith. Some members of the group have, later on, joined the Christian Rock scene and some of their later albums such as Audio-Visions, Vinyl Confessions, and Drastic Measures contain many Christian songs.
  • To this day, it's argued over whether or not Creed was Christian Rock. Whether they were or weren't seems to depend on whether Scott Stapp happened to think being a Christian was cool or not at the time the issue came up.
    • They kept saying they weren't, because Stapp himself stated that Christian Rock usually follows some sort of agenda, which he said the band didn't have. Not to mention the fact that the song "What's This Life For" features the lyric Goddamn in the outro section, which is something a Christian rock musician wouldn't use.
  • "Spirit in the Sky": Norman Greenbaum, who was raised as an Orthodox Jew, thought it would be fun to write a gospel song, even though he knew nothing about gospel music. Of course, he had no idea that he'd end up as a One-Hit Wonder, with that song as his one hit. The fact that it has the most epic fuzz guitar riff ever recorded didn't hurt, either.
    • And then Bauhaus covered it and made it sound like a funeral dirge.
    • It's been a UK number one hit for another two acts: Doctor and the Medics (vaguely pagan/druidic context) and Gareth Gates and the Kumars (vaguely Hindu context).
    • And it was also covered by the Christian band dc Talk, who changed one of the lyric lines to saying "You know that I'm a sinner, we all sinned, but I have a friend in Jesus", which is in keeping with what St. Paul actually said in Romans 3note .
  • Sufjan Stevens is one of the most prominent Christians in modern indie music, but he doesn't define his work as being exclusively Christian, saying: "I don't think music media is the real forum for theological discussions. I think I've said things and sung about things that probably weren't appropriate for this kind of forum. And I just feel like it's not my work or my place to be making claims and statements, because I often think it's misunderstood." Many of his songs somehow manage to strike a balance between sincere spiritual expression and Narmful God-rock, though Seven Swans could arguably be considered a straightforward Christian album.
  • The members of the Soul/Metal hybrid trio KingsX were all devout Christians, but explicitly resisted the Christian Rock tag. Despite that, the members' religious beliefs and generally clean, vaguely spiritual lyrics led to them being treated as a Christian Rock band, and gaining a fairly large evangelical following. Then Doug Pinnick came out as being gay, and suddenly the band was being condemned from all quarters as heathens and betrayers of their Christian Rock fandom — something they had never sought in the first place.
  • Here's a tricky one—Lordi's "Devil Is a Loser", in which the singer discusses the stupidity and end results of selling one's soul to the Devil. On the one hand it might just be the singer's claim that he is more powerful than the Devil (being as the singer is Mr. Lordi), on the other hand it might have some subtext relating to the Christianity of several of the band members.
  • Power Metal godfathers Helloween, despite their name, have tons of songs praising God ("Save Us" being the most notable example), and several of their bandmembers are Christians. However, their secular songs far outnumber their Christian songs, so they still ultimately fall under the "secular rock" category.
  • "You Raise Me Up" wasn't a Christian song. It's been altered by some groups to end up that way though, and is so prevalent that Josh Groban got lambasted for 'taking out' the Christian lyrics.
    • The song was an adaptation of the "Londonderry Air". There are many different sets of lyrics that have been set to "Londonderry Air", including about a dozen Christian hymns. The oldest lyrics (Confessions of Devorgilla) and the most famous lyrics (Danny Boy) as well as many of the others contain at least a few explicit references to Christianity as well. Christian lyrics were "taken out" in the sense that the lyrics written for the new version of the melody were not religious (but even then, Josh Groban had nothing to do with it, since he didn't write the lyrics or the melody).
  • Franz Schubert's so-called "Ave Maria" wasn't actually first written as a setting for the Latin Hail Mary prayer, but rather as a setting for a canto of Walter Scott's narrative poem The Lady of the Lake, a romance set in medieval Scotland. The original title of the piece is "Ellen's Third Song" or "Hymn to the Virgin"; the original text is a prayer to St. Mary sung by Ellen, a character from Lady of the Lake, in-story.
  • Saving Jane has a couple of songs which, if you listen to them exclusively, could fool you into assuming it is a Christian band.
  • Johnny Yong Bosch's band Eyeshine arose partly from Johnny and a friend playing music in their church band. Their song lyrics could be considered ambiguously romantic or religious for the most part, but rarely were overtly religious, the 2011 album "Xmas" notwithstanding. The intention was that the band's music would have the widest possible appeal. Notably, however, one instrumental track of theirs is titled "Selah". The name comes from a biblical term which shows up several times in the Psalms but is so esoteric that it's not always translated. It's basically a call for the reader to pause and think about the passages preceding it.
  • *NSYNC's "God Must Have Spent a Little More Time on You", later covered by Alabama. There are references to creation, angels, and of course, the Lord Himself in the title.
  • Evanescence's song "Bring Me to Life" topped some Christian singles charts when it was released... only it wasn't. Until the band explicitly denied it, a lot of people thought they were Christian. The band seems to be part of a sub-genre of pop-metal bands with vaguely spiritual lyrics and comprised of entirely Christian members who spend the entirety of every interview they do denying that they're Christian rock (copies of Fallen were pulled from Christian store shelves when Amy Lee used profanity in one of those interviews). This kind of denial is so common that in 1999, a Christian band named Joy Electric released an album called "CHRISTIANsongs" explicitly to subvert the trend.
  • Black Sabbath have some lyrics that most people would consider to be Christian if they weren't by, you know, Black Sabbath. They may be considered one of the Trope Maker bands for Heavy Metal songs about Satan, Hell and The End of the World as We Know It, but if you actually read the lyrics to some of their songs, they look more like fire-and-brimstone sermons than shout outs to the devil.
    • When interviewed for the documentary Metal: a Headbanger's Journey, Geezer Butler admitted the occult symbolism was basically a marketing ploy to sell records. Other interviews suggest Butler wrote the lyrics for "After Forever" specifically to address people who didn't get it.
    • Considering that the song "Black Sabbath" — the first track on their first album, describing a black Mass — literally contains the line "No, no, please God help me," it's hard to contend that the band are in favor of Satanism.
    • And in relation to Black Sabbath being an example, pretty much every song Ronnie James Dio did as a solo artist after leaving Black Sabbath could qualify as either Heavy Mithril or as direct references to Catholic imagery. This even includes his invention of the famous "Metal Horns", derived from an Italian Roman Catholic traditional ward against witchcraft.
    • Tony Iommi, while describing his religious convictions as not really that of the churchgoing type, went on to write a choral work entitled "How Good It Is" — with lyrics inspired by Psalm 133 — for the Birmingham Cathedral, which the Dean of Birmingham expressed her approval.
  • Crowbar has historically had a strong Christian bent in their lyrics (particularly on their later releases), and Kirk Windstein has gone on record as being a Christian along with Tommy Buckley (though closer to Jesus Was Way Cool, as he specifically criticized organized religion and stated that neither he nor Buckley went to church and viewed their relationship with God as a far more personal one). In spite of this, Windstein does not consider them a Christian band.
  • Parodied in this video with Nickelback:
  • Of all metal bands, SLAYER actually has an interesting variation that could potentially make the heads of The Fundamentalist explode en masse a la Scanners...especially hilarious if you know the trope they have bred of being essentially Eviller Than Venom.
    • The song "Silent Scream" on South Of Heaven is based on a a rather infamous anti-abortion video (showing the dismemberment of a fetus by D&X via ultrasound, very graphically focusing on the apparent death throes of the fetus). In fact, the song lyrics pretty much EXACTLY match the plotline of the film and are in part written from the perspective of the fetus being aborted.
    • Of note: "Silent Scream" (the movie) is fairly obscure outside of evangelical and Catholic anti-abortion circles. Tom Araya (who penned the lyrics) is actually a rather devout Catholic. Araya further elaborated in an interview that the reason why his band uses satanic imagery was more for shock value than as an endorsement of Satanism, separating his Catholic devotion from the band: "I'm not one that's going to go, 'This sucks because it's contrary to my beliefs.' To me it's more like 'This is really good stuff. You're going to piss people off with this.'"
  • A few of Pete Townshend's songs, including "Bargain", "Drowned" and "Let My Love Open the Door", could be considered Christian rock... were Townshend not a quasi-Hindu pantheist who follows the teachings of Meher Baba. The latter song, according to Townshend, is explicitly written from God's POV.
    • "Let My Love Open the Door" also plays with this a bit as it's been covered by several explicitly Christian bands, probably most notably the version by the band Luminate, as that version was featured on The Newsroom.
  • Carolina Liar's "Show Me What I'm Looking For" is indistinguishable from Christian Rock, but they've never been confirmed as Christians. The only discordant note in the video is the singer apparently just having slept with a woman. Of course, that might be exactly the type of life he's trying to escape. Or she's his wife.
  • Indie band The Pixies had various Bible related songs which really stacked up to nothing in the wake of their usual incest-themed fun. All of their Bible or Christianity related songs were not really that religious; for example, "Dead" is just about the fact that Uriah died on the toilet, really. Black Francis was raised in the Assemblies of God, well-known for its conservative and evangelical leanings and was surrounded with biblical imagery as a teenager, but he only liked the stories and all the incest (notice that their Christian songs are almost all old testament, the exception being "Come on Pilgrim") rather than the message. As the Pixies wore on, he grew out of his religious phase in favor of aliens and vaguely-New Agey spirituality.
  • Franz Ferdinand drops a fairly large number of references to Jesus, and one song, "The Fallen", is actually addressed to him. It figures, though; lead singer Alex Kapranos was a theology student for a time at the University of Glasgow.
    • The Fallen could also be considered in favor of Jesus himself, but a Take That! at many of his followers.
  • Sticking with Glasgow-based bands, Belle and Sebastian also have a fair number of overtly Christian lyrics: "If you find yourself trapped in love / Say a prayer to the man above", for example - though not always that conventionally. "If You're Feeling Sinister" has a character who is into "S&M and Bible studies, not exactly everybody's cup of tea" (well, maybe not all in one afternoon, no).
  • The song "Let It Be" has such overt religious overtones that it's often sung in churches and by choirs. The Beatles (especially Paul McCartney) deny that this song has any religious meaning, and that references to "Mother Mary" are of Paul's actual mother. The version in Across the Universe (2007) is arranged as a gospel choir piece, being performed at Jojo's son's funeral after he dies during a race riot. That being said, a similar verse can be found in certain translations of Luke 1:38, which gives some credence to the Virgin Mary reference; McCartney would often state in interviews that interpreting the song is all up to the listener.
  • In The Beatles Anthology, Paul McCartney said about the song "The Word" (paraphrasing): "It's sort of like a religious song - the word is Love, but it could be God. It's not, mind you, but it could be."
  • George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord" starts out sounding Christian... until the backing vocals start singing "Hare Krishna". (A lot of George's music is basically Hindu devotional stuff, even when he was with the Beatles.)
  • The Flaming Lips released an album called In a Priest Driven Ambulance that has many references to God and Jesus, although the singer, Wayne Coyne is an atheist. Wayne said, "Oh, it's not a Christian album. We just used the name Jesus in the songs." In any case, the fact that their first album has a song named "Jesus Shootin' Heroin" is clue enough about their not being Christian rock.
  • Most of the songs by Spiritualized use faith as a theme (as you would expect with this band name), and how the singer fails to be saved (notably from substance abuse). He sometimes resorts to begging to an unseen God. Their sound is orchestral and processional. Good examples are
    • "The Straight and the Narrow":
    The trouble with the straight and the narrow is it's so thin I keep sliding of to the side.
    And the devil makes good use of these hands of mine.
    And if Jesus is the straight path that saves then I'm content to live my whole life on the curb.
    On the crossroads of the devil out where I'll count my years.
    • "Feel So Sad":
    Sweet lord I know I hate this lonely life so.
    Lord I know, time goes slow, I feel so alone. Sweet lord.
    Sweet lord is this my fate to live my life in this state.
    Lord I pray I long for a change but it still remains. Sweet lord.
    • And from the same singer's earlier band Spacemen 3:
    I walked with Jesus and he would say
    "Oh you poor child, you ain't comin' to me no way
    You've found Heaven on Earth, gonna burn for your sin"
    But I think I'll be in good company down there with all my friends
    So listen sweet Lord, forgive me my sin
    Cos I can't stand this life without sweet heroin
  • Both the music and lyrics of Dire Straits' "Solid Rock" sound incredibly churchy, but it doesn't have any specific Biblical or God-related references.
    • And then there's "Ticket to Heaven" where the point-of-view character is clearly sincere about his belief, though the song itself is a pretty cynical jab at televangelists.
  • Surprisingly, fans of the Red Hot Chili Peppers try to interpret most of their lyrics as Christian, when it's quite obvious that the music has few remote references to Christianity, with the occasional notable exception.
    • The same goes for "Savior," which is about his dad, even if it sounds a bit more like it's about Superman.
    • The song Shallow Be Thy Game is interesting in that it's condemning religious corruption but acknowledges the existence of an all-loving God.
  • The Neutral Milk Hotel song "The King of Carrot Flowers Part 2" contains the repeated opening line of "I love you, Jesus Christ" (although you never find anything obviously religious in any other Neutral Milk Hotel songs, and they are certainly not what you'd call "Christian rock"). Some fans interpreted it as a joke on Christians or simply just sarcasm on Jeff Mangum's (the songwriter's) part, but when asked about it, he simply explained that it had previously been written for a friend of his, then the meaning of the song changed for him so he rewrote it about Jesus (apparently really meaning it).
  • The seminal folk punk/alternative rock group Violent Femmes have songs that reference God/Jesus/biblical stories in a positive manner, but they also have songs about masturbation, drugs, and murder. Frontman and lyricist Gordon Gano is a Christian, but the other members are not and were initially uncomfortable with performing some of his more religious-themed material.
  • The members of the French electronic band Justice are Christian, with the Christian cross appearing prominently in their logo — but while some of their songs have biblical titles, these songs are instrumental, and their lyrical songs have nothing to do with Christianity (and more about things like bragging about one's ability to get into non-exclusive clubs).
  • All the members of pop-punk band Paramore are Christian, although only a few songs have explicitly religious lyrics. Still, it's important enough to them that Hayley Williams felt the need to apologize on her website for using God's name in vain in one of their songs.
  • A lot of Nick Cave songs have theological themes, as they do allusions to everything else under the sun. Cave's father was an Anglican minister, though it in no way prevents him from performing amazingly scary-ass songs when the situation calls for it.
  • 80's jangle pop group Guadalcanal Diary used Christian and Catholic imagery in their lyrics frequently, but they sang songs from the perspectives of the pious and righteous, as well as the cynical and impious, never truly picking one over the other.
  • After Dave Mustaine's conversion to Christianity circa 2004, he started including Christian elements in a few of his songs, mostly involving the Biblical apocalypse. These tend to be dark enough to make people wonder if Mustaine is serious or if he simply uses the darker prophesies for dark entertainment.
    • The System Has Failed has "The Scorpion," "Truth Be Told," "Of Mice and Men," and "Shadow of Deth."
    • United Abominations has "Never Walk Alone... A Call to Arms" and "Blessed are the Dead,"
    • And way back on his first album he wrote "Looking Down The Cross" which was about as Christian as you could get. He still had the apocalyptic tone in the second half of the song, though. It may not have been as much a 'conversion' as a public admission of his faith.
    • Endgame's title track can be interpreted to be all about the Mark of the Beast.
  • Jethro Tull's Aqualung straddles the fence between Christian Rock and Not Christian Rock - it contains songs about why Ian Anderson lost his respect for the Church of England.
  • John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats is a lapsed Catholic and now occasional churchgoer, but spiritual and religious themes crop up continually in his work, most notably on The Life of the World to Come on which every song was named after, and inspired by or related to, a verse from the Bible.
    • This is particularly funny for regular readers of Decibel Magazine, as one of his "South Pole Dispatch" columns is about him being denied entry into heaven because of a Mercyful Fate tattoo he has.
  • "Where is the Love", by the Black Eyed Peas, which includes the line, "Father Father Father help us, send some guidance from above."
  • Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" tends to be an odd mix between this and Not Satanic Rock. While some devout Christians have tried to make the song out to be Satanic (especially with the purported subliminal messages), some other Christians have opted to take the exact opposite approach, and have interpreted the song to actually have a pro-Christian message.
    • For example, the lines "Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run / There's still time to change the road you're on" might be interpreted as a message about the possibility of repentance and redemption.
    • In addition, Led Zeppelin had also covered two songs by Christian blues musician Blind Willie Johnson - Nobody's Fault But Mine and In My Time of Dying, although some of the more overtly religious lyrics from the former had been changed.
    • Also, several of the band's songs contain references to the works of J.R.R. Tolkien - who was a Christian author and close friend of C.S. Lewis, another Christian author.
  • 16 Horsepower flirts with this trope; it probably helps that nobody much (Christians included) reads all those depressing minor prophets at the back of the Old Testament with their Doomy Dooms of Doom...
    • David Eugene Edwards, the singer and main songrwriter for 16HP, is a very devout Christian. None of the other bandmembers (who occasionally wrote songs) were Christians. This is part of the reason why the band broke up. This trope applies even more to Edwards's later work as Wovenhand.
  • "For The Greater Good of God" by Iron Maiden anyone? Nicko Mcbrain is a born-again Christian so that helps too.
    • Steve Harris has said that the song isn't really pro- or anti-religion. It's just asking questions.
    • "Number of the Beast" while we're at it.
      • Wasn't that song the strawman Moral Guardians used to try to prove metal is satanic? But if you listen to the lyrics's a lot more like a fire-and-brimstone sermon than a Satanic tribute song.
    • "Moonchild" is told by the POV of Satan (who even namedrops: "be the devils own Lucifer's my name").
    • And "Hallowed Be Thy Name". The Other Wiki quotes Steve Harris as saying "having faith, whether it be in religion or whatever, but could that faith fail you at the last second when you need it most?". Make of that what you will.
      • "The Thin Line Between Love and Hate" follows the same line ("I will hope, my soul will fly, and I will live forever").
    • "Heaven Can Wait" can be interpreted as anti-Christian, since it seems to depict God and His angels as benevolent dictators who are going to bestow on you eternal life whether you like it or not.
    • "Brighter than a Thousand Suns" seems pretty Christian too.
      • It is in a way, it's about men threading into God's domain by creating the nuclear bomb, a view that was widely held at the time.
    • Iron Maiden generally uses religion as a theme, but are usually using it from a point-of-view from persons in a period where "everyone" were christian, or questioning it.
  • Norwegian rocker Jorn Lande has so much Christian symbolism in his works at times it's hard to tell whether things like "Behind the Clown" are really stealth Christian songs.
  • Listen closely to Beyoncé's "Halo" sometime. Is it a song about forbidden love no longer denied, or about a past skeptic having a religious experience?
  • Heavy Metal band Lamb of God are occasionally mistaken for a Christian band, for obvious reasons. Once people actually listen to their songs and/or find out that they used to be known as Burn the Priest they will usually reconsider. This trope was played with on their video for "Redneck," where the group is booked for a child's birthday party.
    • Also seen in the video for "Ruin", where they play to a bewildered church congregation.
    • Frontman Randy Blythe admitting to being somewhat of a deist/spiritualist during a Reddit interview should lay to rest any notions of them being a Christian band.
  • Indie rockers The Hold Steady write songs about Catholicism, but they're not considered a Christian rock band. Their albums tend to feature a loosely connected "storyline" and a recurring cast of characters, one of whom is a drug addicted prostitute who is also a born again Christian/Catholic. Frontman Craig Finn is a practicing Catholic, but his more religious-themed lyrics are meant to help tell the story, rather than to preach or proselytize. He also doesn't shy away from writing lyrics about sex, drugs, and teenage rebellion.
    "I guess I heard about original sin, I heard the dude blamed the chick, I heard the chick blamed the snake. I heard they were naked when they got busted, and I heard things ain't been the same since."
  • System of a Down's "Chop Suey!" almost sounds like it could be about the crucifixion, what with its talk of self-righteous suicide and angels deserving to die. And, you know, actually quoting Jesus on the cross. It's actually about the Armenian genocide by the Turkish. Which explains the Jesus-quote:

    Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.
    Father, into your hands...
    Why have you forsaken me?
    In your eyes forsaken me.
    In your heart forsaken me.
    In your thoughts forsaken me.

    • Another, perhaps more obvious interpretation is that the song is about suicide bombers. Especially since the song was originally called "Suicide", as evidenced by the spoken "We're rolling 'Suicide'." in the beginning of the song.
    • The song "Science" condemns hardcore scientism by proclaiming that spiritual belief is every bit as important to understanding the nature of existence. However, it seems to be about spirituality as a whole rather than one specific religion.
  • Subverted with Tori Amos. She tends to write songs with religious references in them, but considering her style, nobody thinks her music is pro-Christian in any way. Take "Icicle" for example; a song about masturbating to Jesus.
  • More than a few people think that Genesis is a Christian band. This is somewhat understandable, especially during the Peter Gabriel era. "Supper's Ready" is largely about the Apocalypse, and ends with the Second Coming of Jesus. And that their first album was called ''From Genesis to Revelation". They also did a song called "Jesus He Knows Me" (it's actually about shady TV evangelists, but still ...)
  • Tony Mills' song "God Called My Name" could easily be on a Stryper album, but he himself was irreligious (though he does believe in God) at the time. Then there's the entire solo album "Freeway To The Afterlife" where he does gospel. He stated recently in an interview he wants to start a Christian Rock project eventually.
  • "Turn! Turn! Turn!" is the King James Version text of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 with only some slight re-arranging and two new lines (the title refrain and the ending line "I swear it's not too late"), but neither the song's writer (Pete Seeger) nor the band responsible for the best-known recording of it (The Byrds) are considered to be Christian artists (or Jewish for that matter). The Byrds did record a couple of Country Gospel covers on their legendary Sweetheart of the Rodeo album, a cover of the Louvin Brothers' "The Christian Life" and Merle Travis' "I Am a Pilgrim" though.
  • Lifehouse at least has Christian members, but their music isn't explicitly Christian and several songs sound pretty spiritual but have been interpreted to be more soft-rockish love songs ("Everything," "Spin," "The First Time," etc.). This gets confusing when they have songs that seem to be explicitly about a romantic relationship ("You and Me" would be pretty difficult to interpret as religious). To be fair lots of openly Christian bands also write romantically oriented songs: Relient K, Delirious?, etc.
  • Human Fortress is a typical power metal band, until they throw a song like "Defenders of the Crown" at you.
    God, sons ask for Thyself to honor Jesus' majesty
    We shall return proud from the sea
    Richard the Lionheart, the leader of the century
    Fought for the cross, for Christianity
  • Avenged Sevenfold has a lot of Christian imagery in some of their songs (referencing the Book of Revelation, and a song called Dear God, along with others like it). However if you listen to (and watch the videos for) songs like Beast and the Harlot, Bat Country, and ironically, A Little Piece of Heaven...
    • Note that the aforementioned "Beast and the Harlot" doesn't just reference Revelation, it's pretty much pulled directly from it and rearranged a bit.
    • And their name itself is likely a reference to the biblical Mark of Cain, with which God said, "Not so; if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over" (in other words, were Cain to be killed, he would be avenged sevenfold).
      • They also have a song about Cain and Abel ("Chapter 4", named for the chapter in Genesis which the story occours.)
    • But, on the other hand, they also recorded a song called "God Hates Us". Furthermore, according to M Shadows, some of the songs from the band's latest album (Hail to the King) are challenging the concept of God and religion.
    • Also, it is interesting to note that Arin Ilejay (the drummer that replaced the late Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan) had played in a Christian band called Confide. However, nothing is known about Arin's current religious beliefs. Synyster Gates had made it clear a few times that he's an atheist. And the other band members appear to have their personal spiritual beliefs. All the members (except for Arin) have, at various times, made it clear that they have no use for organized religion.
  • With the song "Without Faith", which is about how if God's proven to exist, he won't and the Bible reference in their name, it's not surprising Thou Shalt Not often gets mistaken for Christian Rock.
  • Canadian singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn converted to Christianity early in his career, and often incorporates Christian themes in his work, but it's typically done in a subtle and non-overt manner.
  • Some of AFI's lyrics have Christian-inspired imagery... further inspection of their other lyrics show that Davey was only raised Catholic, but is far from what you'd call practicing.
    • At this point, Davey is very much an atheist, is against the concept of religion, and has written many a Religion Rant Song. No one's going to confuse AFI for being a Christian Rock band again. Using religious imagery doesn't make you a religious person.
  • Switchfoot frequently gets the Christian Rock label, but the band itself views itself as being this trope.
    "As a Christian, I have a lot to say within the walls of the church. But also, as a Christian, I've got a lot to say just about life in general."
  • Killswitch Engage has tons of Bible-influenced lyrics, but the band doesn't describe itself as Christian metal.
  • HIM (which may or may not stand for His Infernal Majesty, depending on which interview you believe) is sometimes found listed under Christian music. Perhaps because they have a song titled "The Face of God" which is actually, like the vast majority of their songs, about a very earthly kind of love.
  • Tom Waits's "Way Down In The Hole" (from 1987's Franks Wild Years, later made famous by its use as a theme song for The Wire—in no less than five different versions, including the one by Waits) has lyrics about Jesus and Satan, and has been covered by Christian band The Blind Boys of Alabama (which version is arguably more famous and was, incidentally, the version used for Season 1 of The Wire). The song's existence has less to do with any religious preference on the part of Mr. Waits, but rather his interest in gospel- and blues-influenced folk music and Americana, which has a long-standing tradition of evangelism to it. After all, this is the same man who once opined: "...there ain't no Devil/There's just God when he's drunk."
    • "Jesus Gonna Be Here" seems like a pretty explicitly Christian-themed song at first, but the tone of the lyrics is pretty tongue-in-cheek and it may all be from the point of view of an Unreliable Narrator who isn't as pious as he claims to be. The most obvious sign of it not being meant as a straight ode to salvation is the following passage:
      I got to keep myself faithful
      And you know I've been so good,
      Except for drinkin'
      But He knew that I would...
  • Iron and Wine includes a lot of Christian references in his songs, even overtly referring to God and the Devil at several points. This is especially notable on The Shepherd's Dog and the song "Jesus the Mexican Boy". Despite this, he's definitely not Christian Rock and even diverges from anything resembling the Christian worldview a lot of the time.
  • Collective Soul have gone on record stating that they're not a Christian rock band, but that they have a general spiritual feeling to their songs. It's not helped by the fact that the father of the Roland brothers was a minister and their first big hit, "Shine", features the chorus "Heaven let your light shine down!"
    • The concept of a "collective soul" is more peculiar to Hinduism and Buddhism than to Western religions, anyway.
    • In fact, a lot of Collective Soul's earlier stuff could indeed be confused with (albeit vague) Christian rock, particularly including lines such as "This blessedness of life/sometimes brings me to my knees/I call on thee", and in the same song including the religious imagery "The sky now divides/to bring you back into the fold/welcome home" and "maybe God you've found". On the same album, the song "Giving" is pretty much about God, although one could claim it's about a woman. But who would sing to any woman "Giving me cause so I may yearn/Giving me words so I may learn", "Giving me faith so I'll believe" or "Giving me breath of your mercy"? For that matter, that album's first single, "Precious Declaration", includes the line "I was blind but now I see/salvation has discovered me". The song "Reunion" from their second album is pretty much about going to Heaven, and includes a gospel choir backing them up. Listen to the lyrics on their first album, particularly to songs like "Reach" ("Come on, Gabriel, boy, and blow your horn..." "Can I ask you just to light my way..."). Ed Roland claims this is mostly because his music is influenced by his religious upbringing, so of course religious imagery figures into his songs. But boy, some of those early songs could easily have been performed by Petra or Whiteheart...
    • In more recent years, Ed and a few of the other members of the band have been less cagey about their religious upbringing, both in terms of acknowledging strong ties to Christianity and also hesitating to describe their own lives as "Christian". Both Ed and Dean have talked about their relationship with their father and their modern view of religion, which is a combination of Jesus Was Way Cool and the modern idea of "religious deconstruction"; at best, they are spiritual agnostics and at worst unbelievers. Some songs are in fact explorations of their faith, but as Ed once told his father, he believes in "the separation of Church and Rock n' Roll". At this point, one would have a hard time arguing that they're Christian Rock with lyrics openly talking about getting high, sexual situations and some lyrics that even include profanity, up to and including F-bombs.
  • Audioslave has spiritual overtones in their music, with songs like "Show Me How To Live" and "Last Remaining Light". "Show Me How To Live"'s lyrics are very spiritual in nature with a reference to Jesus's crucifixion:
    Nail in my hand
    From my creator
    You gave me life now
    Show me how to live
  • "Are You Gonna Go My Way" by Lenny Kravitz is a song which basically combines the message of Jesus Christ with an Epic Riff. Kravitz has explicitly stated that the song is about Christ and that "Jesus was a pretty cool guy."
    • "Just put your faith in God and one day you'll see/If you want it, you got it, you just got to believe/Believe in yourself..."
  • Soundgarden could hardly be accused of using religious imagery in their songs...could they? One of their biggest hits, "Black Hole Sun", is about the end of the world. Based on the title, one could think it's about the world being sucked into a black hole and destroyed, but one line says "Heaven, send Hell away/No one sings like you anymore..."
  • OwlCity singer Adam Young specifically identifies as Christian in album notes, and many songs have Christian themes — for example, "Meteor Shower" is a worship song, and songs such as "Tidal Wave" and "Galaxies" specifically mention God and Christian ideas such as grace and faith. But the band typically is not identified as a Christian band. (Young also has covered several hymns.)
  • '80s pop/rock band The Hooters wrote several very spiritual-sounding songs, the most notable of which is their minor hit "All You Zombies", which deals specifically about people rejecting God's authority and salvation and how they are the "zombies" referenced in the song's title. One might think that they're Christian based on that, but Hooters songwriters Eric Bazilian and Rob Hyman (who would later also write the Christian-sounding "One Of Us" [as in, "What if God was one of us?"] for Joan Osborne in the '90s) were both Jewish. They also lampooned 80s televangelism in the song and especially the video for their 1987 song "Satellite".
  • Goo Goo Dolls' 2006 hit "Better Days" starts out talking about what the singer wants for Christmas ("just a chance that maybe we'll find better days"), and later explicitly references "one poor child who saved this world" and "tonight's the night the world begins again." Their breakout hit "Iris" also caused some confusion over whether it was supposed to communicate Christian messages, but the song was written for a movie about angels and closely parallels the experiences of the movie's angel protagonist. Interestingly, as of 2010, the Goo Goo Dolls are touring with legitimately-Christian (though with crossover appeal) group Switchfoot.
  • Several of The Fray's songs can qualify, such as "How To Save a Life" and "You Found Me".
  • Insane Clown Posse's Joker's Card cycle of albums are an allegory for judgement day, Shangri-La for Heaven, Hell's Pit... well, you get the idea. However, only member Violent J is explicitly Christian; Shaggy 2 Dope says that he doesn't follow any religion.
  • Midnight Oil. Australian pub rock band famous for their left-wing activism, but the born-again Christians in the band (including singer Peter Garrett, who is now a politician) pretty much never mentioned it in the context of their work. However, writings about the band (particularly Strict Rules) noted at length the tensions between the Christians and the non-Christians in daily band life.
  • An interesting case: "Jesus Walks", by Kanye West. While the lyrics are overtly Christian, it still has a sound that could appeal to any top 40 radio station.
  • Michael Gira, the admittedly agnostic leader of the notorious art-rock band Swans, often incorporates references to religion into his lyrics, most notably on the evangelist-inspired 1987 concept album Children Of God. Granted, many of the songs are a bit creepy and/or confrontational for devotional music, but Gira himself stated that the title song was intended as an earnest tribute to belief. Which is not to say that it isn't horribly depressing...
  • Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah", which contains many Biblical allusions, including those to Biblical figures such as King David and Samson. There's also its title. However, the song is most widely interpreted as a kind of allegorical break-up song. That hasn't stopped some from singing in church, although sometimes with altered lyrics.
    • Cohen himself was an observant Jew who happened to also be a Buddhist monk. Yes, seriously.
    • There's a fair amount of Catholic imagery in Cohen's lyrics. Which seems odd until you remember that he was from Montreal.
  • Before you ask: Nine Inch Nails is not a reference to Jesus being nailed to the cross.
    • However, the song "Heresy" from The Downward Spiral which sounds like just another Religion Rant Song a first glance, could, in the context of the album, be seen as implying that the narrator's loss of faith is part of what sends him on the titular breakdown.
  • In stark contrast to the stereotypical quasi-Satanic colloquialisms associated with Heavy Metal, "Doomsday For The Deceiver" by Thrash Metal band Flotsam & Jetsam is about the devil getting his just desserts.
    • And the cover of the album it's on depicts Satan being ripped limb from limb by the band's mascot Flotzilla.
  • The sincere-sounding song "Jesus" by the Velvet Underground was written by Lou Reed, a Jew.
  • Florence + the Machine's religiously themed lyrics can be misconstrued into being christian rock. However considering that her music is influenced by gothic art (which had heavy religious themes) this probably isn't the case.
  • Disco group Fan Death's song "Veronica's Veil" is about Saint Veronica told from Veronica's point of view. This is quite odd considering Dadillion Wind Opaine (vocalist of Fan Death) has criticized religion in another song.
  • "The Catalyst" by Linkin Park is a song that can pretty much be described as a desperate prayer to God asking him to save us from all the corrupt war in this world. Also, "What I've Done" is basiclly a song about forgiving your sins. Some members of the band are infact Christian, however they are not a Christian band.
  • Mike Oldfield has put so many Christian-sounding lyrics and themes in his music that he had to be asked in interview if it was intentional. His reponse, in oh so many words, was, "I'm not religious; I'm spiritual."
  • The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus do not describe themselves as a Christian band and are often played on regular rock stations; however, many of their songs, such as "Don't Lose Hope," contain Christian themes. It's even been speculated that "Wake Me Up" is about Christ, not a girl.
  • Crash Test Dummies' early work often contained lyrics which might be seen as Christian, but Brad Roberts, who wrote them, is not. The album God Shuffled His Feet in particular concerns a number of theological themes, but it is the only album where the main theme is such topics. In fact most of the songs are agnostic and either question religion or question subjects which can't be explained by it. Also, there is a song called "Fundies Never Have Fun On Sundays" on their first demo tape and a song on their first album "The Ghosts That Haunt Me" called "Here On Earth" which mentions his grandfather, who led a "good Christian life". Brad Roberts, their singer has also recorded a version of "(What If God Was) One Of Us" which was actually written for him, based on his agnostic lyrics. He did not release it officially because his musical style had moved on since then and he was probably fed up with people not realising his viewpoint.
  • Attack Attack!'s lyrics are full of Christian allegories and themes, including the ones in the video that spawned crabcore, but have stated that not all members of the band are Christian and thus they do not consider themselves a Christian band.
  • Chevelle was mislabeled a Christian band due to the first label they signed with being a mostly Christian label and some vaguely Biblically allusions in their lyrics. This led to a controversy with some bands they shared the stage with on tour at Ozzfest and among fans of Ozzfest who were upset about "religious preaching" being present there when that was never the band's intention and they did everything possible to distance themselves from being considered a Christian band. The brothers are lapsed Catholics.
  • mewithoutYou is a particularly interesting example, as they have no issues being blatantly religious and spiritual in both their lyrics and their interviews...but not in the way most Christians are comfortable with, taking influences not only from the Bible and Christianity, but also Jewish mythology, Sufi Islamic poets and even secular philosophers. The members are Christians,, but view their faith as part of a broader context than the traditional evangelical subculture, making them relatively controversial in those circles (especially the song "Allah, Allah, Allah").
    • This is partially because two of the band's members, Aaron (vocalist) and Michael (guitarist) Weiss were raised in a Sufi household; their father is ethnically Jewish. Both brothers converted to Christianity later in life. Aaron Weiss has stated that mwY is not an evangelical band.
  • Mineral is an interesting case. On the one hand a very good percentage of their lyrics were obvious references to Jesus and God and frequently referenced or even quoted The Bible. On the other hand the band frequently played with secular bands, never associated with the Christian music scene, and never spoke of religion publicly outside of their lyrics.
  • The Metalcore band Across Five Aprils never intended to be a Christian band, but frequently ended up playing with Christian bands and by fluke even at a Christian fest, lending to misconception that they were. This no doubt led to quite a confusion when they released songs with titles like "Tallahassee Is For Hookers".
  • Post-rock group A Silver Mt. Zion has been mistaken for being a Christian band at least once (track 4) simply because of their name. The group does use Judeo-Christian imagery a little here and there, but primary vocalist Efrim Menuck, while Jewish in descent and culture, has claimed to be an atheist on more than once occasion.
    • A Silver Mt. Zion is a spinoff of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, who also fall under this trope. They've sampled preachers, sometimes have religious themes in their music, and have performed in churches, but are most definitely not Christian rock. Menuck isn't the only member of either group of Jewish descent, although it's not entirely clear what their religious beliefs are because many of them are Reclusive Artists.
  • Moving Mountains are occasionally mistaken for a Christian band due to a name that could be a Bible reference and frequent references to the Bible and spirituality in their lyrics, but the band says that they are not heavily religious or a Christian band. They also have used the word "fuck" in their lyrics as well...
  • Despite their name, Aussie psych rockers The Church aren't Christian Rock, tho they've veered tangentially into such territory on rare occasions. "Radiance".
  • In This Moment can be considered this, especially with their song "Ashes". The song is about the Apocalypse, and the bridge (below) even makes a reference to the star Wormwood.
    It is said hail and fire mixed with blood will be thrown down upon the earth
    Darkness fills a third of the land
    And the angels will cry woe
    A star from the heavens is thrown from the sky
    Destroying a third of the seas
    Not only these things but more will come
    It is our fate
    It is the end
  • We Came As Romans has been mistaken for being Christian screamo because some of their songs have an uplifting theme/message in their lyrics.
  • Brand New are definitely not a Christian band, but you could be forgiven for thinking that after listening to "Jesus Christ".
  • Progressive/Industrial Metal band V.A.S.T. could very easily pass for a Christian Rock band, especially what with the song "I'm Dying"'s lyrics; but when you take the rest of their songs into consideration... well, "I didn't want to fuck you, but you're pretty when you're mine" isn't exactly a Christian rock lyric.
  • Flyleaf has some explicitly religious songs, alongside others that are not explicity religious but are easily interpreted that way, but they prefer not to call themselves Christian Rock.
    • Further confusion arrises from the fact that all of the members are Christian.
  • Death/Thrash/Groove metal band The Showdown is an interesting case. Their first album is clearly Christian (all of the songs are bible stories, and the last song is a prayerfully song power ballad about finding rest in Heaven), but after that album, the Christian refrences got more and more subtle (they are still there however). All the members are Christians, but they do not consider themselves a Christian band.
  • Rob Halford told once of a humorous incident in 1977 when he and the other members of Judas Priest were hosted for the night by a convent full of nuns, who (he says) must have assumed that they were a Christian rock band because of their name. (It's actually an old-timey euphemism for "Jesus Christ" used as a swear word, much like "Jiminy Christmas.") He was careful not to let them know that the album the group was just about to record was called Sin After Sin, or that its very first song has as its chorus, "Sacrifice to vice or die by the hand of the Sinner!"
  • This arguably goes back to the very beginnings of rock 'n' roll, with the 1958 folk-rock song "Make Me a Miracle" by Jimmie Rodgers (not the country singer, by the way). The song is probably addressed simply to a girl the narrator pines for, but because it is more somber and much less "pop" than other Silly Love Songs of The '50s, and because it features a chorus of chanting men who sound kind of like Gregorian monks, and because it contains the words "miracle" (of course), "choir," and "chalice," and finally because the person being addressed comes across as having nearly omnipotent power ("You can make a fabulous thing of me...or nothing at all"), it's not hard to imagine that "my love" in the song is God! (In fact, one might hope it is God, because otherwise the final line - "You can make whatever you want of me/Just make me your love" - sounds a bit creepy.) Bottom line, "Make Me a Miracle" is either this or a very early example of Heavy Mithril.
  • When someone remarked upon the spiritual nature of Paul Simon's 2011 album So Beautiful Or So What, with its many references to God and angels, Paul was surprised; he hadn't noticed.
  • Manchester Orchestra, especially on their never-officially-released first album, often make direct references to God, though it swings between cynicism and reverence.
  • "Religion Song (Put Away The Gun)" by Everything Else.
  • Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark are Not Christian Rock (or even Christian Synthpop) but are quite heavily influenced by Andy McCluskey's Catholic upbringing, with the more notable examples being the two songs about St. Joan of Arc from their album Architecture And Morality.
  • WASP has been looking more and more like this with their latest albums, especially "Babylon". But look at their older, scarier material like "Animal (Fuck Like A Beast)" and it's clear WASP is only HELMED by a Christian recently.
  • Twisted Sister fall into this, with songs like "Sin After Sin" and "Burn in Hell" being warnings about sin, "Kill or be Killed" being about the end times (with the last line sung being "burn or save your soul") and "Power and the Glory" being a song in praise of God for a conversion. Although Dee Snyder is a Christian, the band defnitely isn't considered Christian rock.
    • Their song "Out on the Streets" seems to hint at the existence of Heaven toward the end:
    Somewhere, there's a place for me...
    Is this dreaming to be free
  • Similarly, Oingo Boingo's "Just Another Day" also hints a bit at the End Times, describing a mass extinction of humanity following a nuclear war and then describing "a place in the stars...for when you get old." (History's very earliest idea about the afterlife, posited by the ancient Egyptians, is that virtuous souls became stars and lived with the sun god Ra.)
  • Mumford & Sons have songs with very strong Christian subtext but are not explicitly a Christian group. "Roll Away Your Stone", which alludes to the Parable of the Prodigal Son, is probably the most obvious.
    It seems that all my bridges have been burned
    But you say 'That's exactly how this grace thing works'
    It's not the long walk home that will change this heart
    But the welcome I receive with a re-start
    • Marcus Mumford was raised as a Christian, and says he still has his own views about the person of Jesus, but has separated himself from the "culture of Christianity". Some of the imagery has obviously stuck with him though, shown in songs like "Thistle & Weeds" which seems to reference various seed-based parables:
    But plant your hope with good seeds
    Don't cover yourself with thistle and weeds
    Rain down, rain down on me
  • "From a Distance", originally performed by Nanci Griffith and later covered by Bette Midler, has fallen subject to this, and has even been covered by some contemporary Christian singers. This despite the fact that the songs make no specific references to a Christian God — and this tendency has been criticized by other Evangelical Christians, due to the belief that the song goes against basic Christian doctrine (God doesn't watch us "from a distance", He's right next to us).
  • Queen had a song on their first album called "Jesus", which was about, well you guessed it. Freddie Mercury, who wrote the song, was raised Zoroastrian, however.
    • A song that was cut from the first album (but later made it onto the B-side of "Headlong" in 1991, 18 years later) is called "Mad the Swine", and is about a Jesus-like figure that has "come to save" the people. However, this is more of a Crystal Dragon Jesus than an overtly religious song.
    • Innuendo has a song called "All God's People", which sounds like it could be the title of a Christian song but is really a (slightly ironic) gospel-influenced tune about the need for peace and unity.
  • Ronnie Milsap's "What a Difference You've Made in My Life" is often covered by Christian acts despite not being an explicitly Christian song — the lyrics just happen to be open-ended enough that they can be seen as being sung to God. This interpretation may have been helped by the fact that Amy Grant also recorded the song.
  • Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" is also covered by many Christian acts despite not being an explicitly Christian song as well.
  • Thrice is an interesting example. Dustin Kensrue and Teppei Teranishi, the singer and lead guitarist, are both devout Christians, and as such many of the band's lyrics deal heavily with Christian themes (though this is usually done in a way that allows for alternate interpretations as well). However, Eddie and Riley Breckenridge, the bassist and drummer, are not Christians. Most of the band's popularity is within the secular market, which has always been fine with everyone involved—Dustin and Teppei want to reach a wider audience and avoid restrictive labels, while Eddie and Riley want nothing to do with an industry founded on beliefs they don't hold. Still, it's pretty much a given that this subject will be brought up at least once during any interview with the band or one of its members.
    • The Christian influences became much clearer and less veiled in some of their later albums: listen to "Like Moths to Flame", "The Messenger", "Come All You Weary", "The Exile", or "Beggars" and just try to miss the Biblical imagery that suffuses and shapes the songs (basically you have, in order, the story of Peter's denial of Christ, the call of Isaiah, Jesus's call for disciples, St. Paul's preaching on being "in the world but not of it," and Job's dialogue with God).
  • Ariya's album "Кровь за кровь" (Blood for Blood) is mostly this, using Christian themes along with otherwise religious/mystical themes, but featuring a lot of dark lyrics.
  • Singer/Songwriter John Fullbright makes extensive use of Biblical themes (with titles including "Gawd Above," "Jericho," and "Satan and St. Paul"), and has stated that although the inspiration comes from his mother's Bible lessons, he himself isn't particularly religious.
  • Rascal Flatts' "I Won't Let Go", according to one of its co-writers, can be interpreted as Christian-themed. ("I will stand by you / I will help you through / When you've done all you can do / If you can't cope / I will dry your eyes / I will fight your fight / I will hold you tight / And I won't let go")
  • Many of All That Remains' lyrics can be interpreted as addressing a higher power, particularly "Not Alone".
  • And Lizzy Borden also has an example of Not Christian Rock with the song "Rod of Iron"; it's about the Second Coming in Revelation (and specifically Jesus casting the Devil, Death and the Devil's followers into the Lake of Fire after the seven-year reign of the Antichrist on earth).
    • This is doubly hilarious seeing as Lizzy Borden is a theatrical Power Metal artist whom at the time had a stage show based on his Ax-Crazy namesake and who has subsequently done stage shows where he's played both the Devil AND Death.
  • Paul Overstreet did three albums for RCA Records between 1989 and 1992 that were mostly mainstream country — they accounted for ten Top 40 hits on the country charts. Despite having no more Christian content than your average country album (his biggest solo hit, "Daddy's Come Around", was about a formerly deadbeat dad cleaning himself up), his albums charted on the Christian albums chart and netted him three Dove awards for their content. The second and third were produced by Brown Bannister, who is usually a CCM producer, and other CCM names such as Chris Rodriguez, Claire Cloninger, Susan Ashton, and Lisa Bevill contributed.
  • Asia's Aura album was mistaken to be Christian Rock, particularly their cover of the 10cc song "Ready To Go Home".
  • Some of Devin Townsend's material after Strapping Young Lad dissolved can seem like this, especially after he got clean. Some of the songs off of Epicloud contain lyrics that say things like "stay with me lord" or "Jesus is a coming and He wants more," and songs like "True North" and "Grace" talk a lot about what sounds like a spiritual love rather than an earthly one (the latter even uses a gospel chorus).
  • Quiet Company's second album is full of Christian imagery, but is actually about a man who starts to doubt whether or not God exists. Lead singer Taylor Muse described it as a break-up album with religion. The narrator finally decides that it doesn't matter as long as we are happy.
    • From "The Black Sheep And The Shepherd"
    Sometimes I can't believe the things those preachers have the nerve to say to me
    But maybe the things that I'd have to say to them are really just as bad
    Because the only times I ever thought of suicide, I was waiting on the lord to direct my life
    Saying "give me one word and I'll put down the knife and I'll never pick it up again."
    But luckily I held out long enough to see that everybody really makes their own destiny.
    It's a beautiful thing. It's just you and me, exactly where we belong
    And there's nothing inherently wrong with us.
  • The influential metalcore group Zao is an interesting example. Beginning their career in the mid-90's as an overtly Christian hardcore band, they eventually shifted their sound to what would become known as metalcore, and underwent numerous lineup changes throughout the years. As the band gained and lost members, they also began gradually toning down their religious roots, while never quite abandoning them. Because the current incarnation of Zao features both Christian and non-Christian members, they prefer to define themselves as a group of open-minded artists. The lyrics still occasionally contain spiritual undertones, however, and fans still debate over whether they could or should still be considered a Christian band.
  • Kelly Clarkson has quite a few songs praising God. However, most of her songs are about personal matters like breakups and record company politics.
  • Female rapper Missy Elliott is very open about her faith, including at least one Christian song on every album. However, her music (while still sneaking Christian references in here or there) is hardly what you would call "Christian rap".
  • Believe it or not, Modest Mouse has been called a Christian group by some, because of the religious overtones they include in many of their songs. If you read the lyrics for pretty much any song referencing God or The Bible, however, this is clearly not the case. In fact, lead vocalist Isaac Brock has publicly addressed this issue, declaring that he's an atheist with very negative feelings about Christianity.
  • Metal band Blind Guardian has a number of songs with obvious Christian influence. This is likely under the "Jesus as Muse" category given how many of their songs have scifi/fantasy influence as well. Even if one doesn't count an entire album dedicated to The Lord of the Rings, there are songs like "Precious Jerusalem" (about Christ's temptation in the desert), "Sadly Sings Destiny" (about the night before the crucifixion) and "The Martyr" (exactly what it sounds like). This is further exasperated by the fact that Hansi, in a 2005 interview, declared himself a "faithful but very critical Christian." A statement he retracted a few years later.
  • Billy Corgan's work with Zwan had some speculating about his involvement in Christianity, particularly because they've performed songs based on traditional hymns: "Jesus, I / Mary, Star Of The Sea" is a loose adaptation of "Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken", while they've also covered a hymn called "God's Gonna Set This World On Fire". Corgan has said his beliefs include elements of Catholicism (alongside Buddhism and other religions), but hasn't publicly aligned himself with any one faith, identifying Christ as just one of his teachers alongside Buddha. He also seems to drop some subtle religious themes with the Pumpkins from time to time as well.
  • Power metal band Kamelot contains a lot of Christian themes in their music, especially in the Faust-inspired concept albums Epica and The Black Halo, but they are not explicitly Christian. It is believed that religious friction, along with general creative differences, lead to the departure of longtime lead singer Roy Khan, who is a born-again Christian.
  • Early on, The Polyphonic Spree were mistaken for a Christian band (or else a "cult"), partially because of their choral sound and positive lyrics, but probably more because of their image: The group had an unusually large number of members, and in early performances, they'd all be dressed identically in white robes. Lead vocalist Tim DeLaughter has said he wasn't thinking of religious imagery at all when he came up with their onstage look: He wanted some sort of uniform for the band because he thought such a large group of people coming on stage in their street clothes would look too disorganized, and white robes were chosen because they would reflect lights and projections used for their stage show. Since then, they've changed the band's look about once every album - most of these were variations on robes, but while supporting The Fragile Army, they donned all-black, military-inspired uniforms. Oh, and then there's their Christmas album, HolidayDream: Sounds of the Holidays Vol. One, which mostly features covers of secular Christmas Songs, but also features a few explicitly religious ones (namely "Little Drummer Boy", "Silent Night", and "Do You Hear What I Hear?").
  • Alabama 3 use Christian Rock and gospel tropes so much that unattuned listeners might not realise it's actually a Stealth Parody.
  • As I Lay Dying might just be the saddest example of this trope in history. The band, for the longest time, was considered Christian metal, with band members frequently affirming their beliefs in interviews and even encouraging fans to pray after shows. Unfortunately, numerous accounts of legal trouble combined with major bouts of depression led vocalist Tim Lambesis to publicly state that, by the time their most recent album was released, none of the members considered themselves Christians any longer but still kept up the image in order to sell records and avoid alienating the Christian portion of the fanbase. However, guitarist Nick Hipa called Lambesis' claims false and slanderous.
  • The Electric Prunes were a fairly typical psychedelic band from the late 1960s, when they made the rather unusual decision to write "Mass In F Minor", a psychedelic setting of the Latin Mass. Okay. It's best known today for being on the soundtrack of Easy Rider.
  • OneRepublic, while not being a Christian band, has Christian members. References to God and faith appear in some of their songs. The music video for "Counting Stars" also takes place at a Christian Revival in New Orleans.
  • Vampire Weekend's album "Modern Vampires of the City" contains many religious themes. The song "Ya Hey" is about the name Yahweh itself, and other songs bear titles such as "Worship You," "Unbelievers" and "Everlasting Arms."
    • This continues with Father of the Bride. Of course, as Koenig (who writes the vast majority of the band's lyrics) is Jewish and heavily draws on his personal experiences with questioning and reaffirming his faith and pride in his heritage, one could argue that it's not Christian rock, it's Jewish rock.
  • Country Music singer Steve Holy, despite having never actually recorded a religious-themed song, said in an interview with American Country Countdown in 2004 that he often found his album in the Christian music section. Most likely, the people sorting the albums figured that someone with the name "Holy" must be a Christian artist, especially if they're signed to Curb Records, which has a large number of Christian acts.
  • Black Metal band Slechtvalk started off as a very overtly Christian band, and has gradually shifted more and more into this trope as time goes on, with the "spiritual" songs becoming less common and making few (if any) direct references to God. Most of their lyrics now are more typical Viking/Folk metal fare about battle and honor, though the spirituality still shows up from time to time. Interestingly, they've managed to become one of the most renowned bands in the Dutch black metal underground in recent years, in spite of their Christian faith and themes.
  • Post-Hardcore band Hundredth is not Christian, but as their lyrics have a very positive and uplifting and occasionally vaguely religious message (example is "Greater", which seems to be about a distressed and misanthropic person accepting God's love as the only way to improve their life) and they have played with many, they are often mistaken for one - despite the occasional use of the Precision F-Strike.
  • In a similar vein is The Ghost Inside. While not a Christian band and one also prone to Precision F-Strike, they have played with such bands before, Tommy Green of the very decidedly Christian band Sleeping Giant had guest vocals on one of their songsnote  and give their songs titles like "Faith or Forgiveness".
  • Russian rock/metal band Чёрный Кофе (Black Coffee) is often mislabeled as a Christian metal band on various English-speaking websites. They're not quite a Christian band- they do have lyrics about spirituality and nature, however, and consider themselves to be "white metal" (which was used as one of their album titles).
  • The Oh Hellos dance across the line between this and Christian Rock (even if they describe themselves as "eclectic folk-rock"). They frequently include references to The Bible and C. S. Lewis in their music; many of their fans are Christian; however, they don't make their faith completely explicit. Instead, their songs use tropes like Face Your Fears and Fighting from the Inside. But the themes of redemption, sin, and grace are there for anyone who cares to find them.
  • The Christians were sometimes assumed to be Christian Rock because of the name and the fact that their biggest hits were (secular) message songs. But they're actually so named because the group was formed by three brothers: Garry, Russell and Roger Christian.
  • Steve Winwood's "Higher Love" has been covered by at least one Christian artist despite the song itself not being a Christian song.
  • Subverted with Manchester Passion, and the series of similar live specials it spawned; it's the story of Jesus's death and resurrection, except as a Jukebox Musical, bringing such hits as "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now", "I Am The Resurrection" (fittingly sung, until the Title Drop, by Peter), and "Wonderwall" into the equation, thus changing the meaning of all of these songs to a Christian viewpoint.
    • The 2016 Fox version, The Passion similarly used trope examples such as "With Arms Wide Open" and "Bring Me to Life", "Demons", "We Don't Need Another Hero" (performed by Seal. Yes, they did change the lyric " beyond the Thunderdome") and "Unconditionally" as the finale.
  • An example of this applying to a specific song is Labi Siffre's "(Something Inside) So Strong", which is often covered by gospel groups. Siffre is an outspoken atheist and indeed anti-theist, and the song is in part a subtle Religion Rant Song informed by Siffre growing up gay at a time when religiously-inspired homophobia was still rife in Britain.
  • Icon for Hire's singer Ariel is an outspoken Christian, and some of her lyrics deal with Christian themes, but she has also explicitly stated the band should not be considered a Christian band.
  • Melodic Hardcore band Being as an Ocean's frontman Joel Quartuccio is a Christian (to the point of even referring to himself on his Instagram as "God Filled. Hate Free.") and the band has many lyrics referring to God and spirituality, often quoting The Bible and even releasing an entire album called "Dear G-d", but have stated that they are not a Christian band and make their music for people of all beliefs. It's worth noting many of their songs also express some unorthodox theologies, one song is just a recording of a monologue by the non-Christian Gandhi titled "On God" set to music, another seems to reject the concept of Hell and calls for universal salvation.
  • Priestess are probably one of the last bands you would call Christian by any means, but "Trapped in Space & Time" seems to be about something far bigger than a man lamenting that he made a mistake in leaving his lover.
    • And in case you got too comfortable with that, remember their ditty "Castle Dracula", which seems to morph between all three types of Religion Rant Song, but which the band have never actually commented on to clear up any confusion. The signs generally point to them having no religious inclination whatsoever.
    • It should also be noted that many of the other songs on that album (Prior to the Fire) were written about things like favorite movies and anime. So while these two songs seem to offer contradictory comments on religion, it may very well be the case that neither one was written about religion at all.
  • Powerwolf: Despite incorporating Catholic themes into their songs and image, Powerwolf is definitely NOT a Catholic band. Song titles like "Coleus Sanctus", which means "Holy Balls"; "Sanctified With Dynamite", a song about suicide bombing; and "Resurrection by Erection", which is... well, Exactly What It Says on the Tin; should give a good hint.
  • Twenty One Pilots identify as Christian and several of their early songs reference God or faith in some way. However, from the beginning the band has not called themselves as a Christian band, and those more explicit references have progressively diminished. That still hasn't stopped critics and listeners from using Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory with their lyrics, from identifying the character of Blurryface as the devil to understanding every use of the word "you" as referring to God.
  • Some of Dream Theater's songs can fall under this, particularly the ones with lyrics written by John Petrucci or Kevin Moore, though they also have some Religion Rant Songs (though these are more about denouncing religious hypocrisy than they are about denouncing religion as a whole). Erstwhile drummer Mike Portnoy and current keyboardist Jordan Rudess are Jewish, and some of Portnoy's lyrics could be considered to fall under Not Jewish Rock. For one specific example, "The Spirit Carries On" has an uplifting sound and lyrics which, if you don't pay too much attention, can sound like they're about one's faith making them not afraid of death... except that it's part of a Concept Album dealing with the very un-Christian subject of reincarnation.
  • Marvin Gaye was definitely not a Christian rock artist, but "God Is Love" and "Wholy Holy" from What's Going On? could be mistaken for being Christian rock.
  • VNV Nation turns to this trope from time to time. "Nova" in particular sounds like a man who's lost his faith and is begging for a sign from God; it could easily be played on a Christian station and no one would be the wiser. Their remix of Apoptygma Berzerk's "Kathy's Song" begins with a Microsoft Sam-esque voice reading out an extended/modified version of Genesis 1:1, and their song actually titled "Genesis" contains the line "I stand in hope that God will save us from ourselves."
  • The Polish band Kult has a song ("Post") with lyrics based directly on the biblical Temptation of Christ scene, as well as "Brooklynska Rada Zydow" in which the narrator, a pious Jew, praises God for having created the world. However the band itself is most certainly not a Christian band, and in fact several of their songs are highly anti-clerical.
  • A Christian radio station in Winnipeg actually tried to use this as their format for a period. They wanted to downplay their status to appeal to compete with the secular stations, so they promoted themselves as "FREQ 107, Winnipeg's New Rock Alternative", and supposedly remained in compliance with the station's license actually requiring them to play religious music, by defining the category broadly to include such examples of Not Christian Rock. It ended up being an advertiser-alienating premise; religious advertisers were turned off by their secular skew, while mainstream advertisers were reluctant to advertise on a Christian station. Admitting defeat (especially after the CRTC denied them permission to reduce their religious music to 31% of its weekly programming), their new owner played the Total Abandonment card twice; first to a Christian format targeting a younger audience (as a flank to a now-sister station), and then to classical music.
  • Supertramp's "Lord, Is It Mine?", from their album Breakfast in America.
  • The 1980s British indie rock band The Housemartins often seemed like a borderline Christian band. Lead singer Paul Heaton was a devout Christian, and his faith was readily apparent in many of his lyrics. But there were several things that kept the group as a strictly secular act. First was Heaton's famously biting wit; his lyrics were often just as scathingly satirical against Thatcherism or the British class system as they were religious. Heaton and his bandmates were also Marxists, and their politics were just as important to understanding his songwriting and their aesthetic as their Christianity was. Their debut album's liner notes even included the message "Take Jesus, take Marx, take hope" and later pressings added a song called "I'll Be Your Shelter" which ends with a gospel-style coda that praises both Jesus and Marx. Heaton would carry these traits, albeit with the religious aspects downplayed, to his next project The Beautiful South.
  • Virginia pop-rockers Parachute are hardly considered a Christian rock band, but some of their songs do dip into Christian themes, most notably "Something to Believe In."
  • F-Zero GX has a song that sounds uncannily like 90's-era Christian rock, with lyrics such as "When I look at him I see no fear, feel no pain" and "Forever he will be my hero (you'd better believe he knows the way)". But song is not about Jesus - it's about Captain Falcon. As if the man wasn't Memetic Badass enough...
  • Funk Metal band Extreme falls into this quite often. The lead singer and main song write, Gary Cherone, is in fact an outspoken Christian, but they are not a Christian band. Still, several songs have decidedly overt Christian themes. "Watching, Waiting" is about the Crucifixion, the narrator of the song being in awe of it. "Hole Hearted" is about the concept of a God-shaped hole, and how only through Him can the singer find meaning. The three part epic Progressive Rock suite "Everything's Under the Sun" explicitly references the Bible, and is full of Christian themes. "Peace (Saudade)" urges the listener to pray for peace. While most of their songs aren't religious in nature, often the whole theme of an album has some sort of Christian bend. Still, they are never in your face about it.
  • Joakim Brodén is not a religious person, but Sabaton still has some songs with religious imagery, because the songs are about a time period when Christianity was dominant.
  • Bruce Springsteen has a Roman Catholic background, but describes himself as agnostic. But many of his songs evoke themes of grace, faith, mercy and hope. Jesus and Mary appear in a couple of songs, and the astounding "Land of Hope and Dreams" is based on a far older song, "Plenty of Room on the Glory Train". The lyrics emphasize a Christian-like forgiveness of the sin, shame and loss often experienced by his working-class protagonists.
  • Acid folk, a softer, gentler version of Psychedelic Rock, often has quietly Christian themes in the "Jesus as muse" sense.
  • In the late 1960s, Pastor John Rydgren's Silhouette and Brother Jon Rivers' Powerline were weekly radio shows to call young people to Jesus. This was in the era immediately preceding the "Jesus Freak" movement, and prior to the invention of Christian rock. Currently popular Top 40 love songs were played within this context so that phrases of devotion (I love you, I don't know what I'd do without you, etc.) were implied to be addressed to God — Christ — you know?
  • Post-Hardcore band The Color Morale's members are all Christians and have some pretty Christian-influenced lyrical themes making them sometimes mistaken for a Christian band. This is dispelled by the use of the Precision F-Strike in some of their other songs.
  • Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine were not known for spiritual themes, but when they appeared on TV show Top of the Pops to promote their song "After the Watershed", their singer wore a T-shirt saying GOD'S NOT DEAD. NO, HE IS ALIVE.