Exactly What It Says on the Tin, this is a song that attacks religion or religious figures. There are various subtropes, though they often overlap:
1. The God Is Evil/Rage Against the Heavens song consists of attacks on a deity that is actually believed in (though not necessarily by the singer) and objected to. A subset of these are angry versions of Have You Seen My God?, or demands that the deity explain what they think they're playing at, and/or whether they're really what they say they are. Parodies that are a Take That! at a deity itself also land here. As do pretty much all musical examples of God Is Flawed. "You don't exist!" as a Take That! and "if there is a God, s/he's a bastard" themes also fall under this heading.
2. The Author Filibuster Religion Is Wrong/Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions rant song is about calling out religion as a pernicious influence, or based on false beliefs, or both. Like the first, this one need not imply atheism, though it often does, and is compatible with Jesus Was Way Cool type sentiments towards particular deities/religious figures, while attacking The Knights Templar, the Church Militant, the Path of Inspiration, what its singers perceive as a Religion of Evil, or similar things. This one may also come in calmer versions. Parodies that are a Take That! at a religion as a whole or at its followers usually land here.
3. The Calling Out The Leaders rant song includes songs about losing faith in prophets/gurus/religious leaders and/or specific Take Thats at a specific leader of a Path of Inspiration or perceived Con Man or Scam Religion or Knight Templar or Moral Guardian, whether or not this also extends to losing faith in the relevant deity/deities or religion. Parodies that are a Take That! at a leader or a specific subgroup within a religion (e.g. a Con Man or a group of Moral Guardians) are here, no matter how much followers of said religion might insist they are Type 1.
These are commonly — but not always! — Goth, Heavy Metal or Punk songs.
The opposite, of course, is Christian Rock, although it certainly isn't impossible for a Christian band to pull out the third kind, or one of the other two if it's aimed at another religion than their own. Not to be confused with Not Christian Rock, which is for songs that are only ambiguously about religion.
- Leonard Bernstein's Mass has a few Type 1 examples, the angriest being "Non Credo" and "Dona Nobis Pacem", though even they don't imply God Is Evil.
- Virtually any song from Fireaxe's album Food for the Gods. Take your pick, there are about 50 of them.
- Loudness's "Racing The Wind" is an angry type 1. Arguably their 2010 song "King of Pain" is as well, because it has two possible interpretations — being a Take That! at a Corrupt Corporate Executive or President Evil or some such, or being a Take That! at, if not God, at a popular interpretation of "God".
- NOFX's Idiots Are Taking Over is clearly a Type 1. It derides America in general, but specifically cites the nation's decline being due to "faith... being fancied over reason," resulting in "God-fearing pregnant nationalists" propagating "how-to-get-ahead religions."
- Tori Amos: "God." ("God, sometimes you don't come through / do you need a woman to look after you?")
- XTC's "Dear God," from Skylarking a mix of 1 and 2 that basically calls God out on his numerous failures, says the Bible was written by "us crazy humans" and ends up by saying "I can't / won't believe in you."
- Zilch's "Easy Jesus" is a Type 1, 2, and 3. (yes, it manages to be in all of these categories.)
- A Perfect Circle's "Judith" is a scathing denouncement of Maynard Keenan's mother keeping her faith in the wake of her paralysis.
- "Blasphemous Rumors" by Depeche Mode.
- "Personal Jesus" may be a type 1, a type 2, or a type 3, depending on the interpretation. Word of God (yeah, we know) apparently favors type 2. Johnny Cash's version seems closer to a subversion of type 1, or possibly 3, and either way makes it sound like a straight(ish) God Is Love Song rather than a Take That! at one. It also manages to sound like it's an original the Depeche Mode version is the cover of, partly due to the piano riff. Marilyn Manson's cover takes the Depeche Mode version and adds 100% more bitterness.
- "Personal Jesus" may not be a Religion Rant Song at all, more like a Blasphemous Boast song.
- Simple phone sex is another, somewhat, popular interpretation of "Personal Jesus". Which might make it a type II, as it would, arguably, equate religiosity to an act deemed desperate, or perverse.
- Marilyn Manson's album Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death), or at least, almost all of it. Also, the first song of his he liked, and the first one on his first album (not counting him reciting the Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory boat poem from hell), "Cake And Sodomy", which he wrote after seeing cable TV for the first time, watching a man masturbate and have a 1-800 number to call and give money, and a TV preacher preach and have a 1-800 number to call and give money. Others pop up in other albums.
- "Heresy" by Nine Inch Nails is definitely this with lyrics like "His perfect kingdom of killing, suffering, and pain / Demands devotion, atrocities done in his name" and a rousing chorus of "Your God is dead, and no one cares." Whether the song represents Trent Reznor's actual feelings or those of the album's "main character" is debatable, but the song's internal meaning is clear.
- Word of God is that it was written in reaction to conservative Christians who had claimed that AIDS is divine punishment for promiscuity and homosexuality.
- "Ruiner", which appears later on in the same album is essentially a follow-up to "Heresy", except due to its position later on in the Concept Album, is actually addressed to God itself. That said, it isn't as obvious that this is a Religion Rant Song unless you've read the lyrics to "Heresy".
- "Terrible Lie" is a less abstract, more personal variant, although without reading the lyrics booklet it can be hard to tell that each verse actually begins with a distorted voice yelling "Hey, God!" (mostly because it's superimposed with the loud guitar stabs).
- The Sugarcubes' "Deus" probably counts, although by the time the supposedly non-existent deity has apparently got into the bath with Einar, your guess is as good as anyone's. And no, Björk's parts of the song do not help clear up matters.
- The Jesus and Mary Chain has "Reverence".
- "Prayer" by Disturbed was most heavily inspired by 9/11 and the problems in the world at the time of its writing, carrying themes of the tribulation and hardship piling up like some sadistic test. The overall idea is "It's gotten so bad that I've stopped caring, so go ahead and kill me, I dare you! You'll never sway me from my defiance of you, you petty bastard."
- The gruesome parody of the 23rd Psalm in Pink Floyd's "Sheep" from Animals
- The lyrics are ambiguously just anti-authoritarianism than being anti-religion specifically.
- "Dreadnaught" by Machinae Supremacy's lyrics boil down to "God Is Evil and He wants your nation to Take Over the World."
- "Remnant (March of the Undead, pt IV)" criticizes the idea that God is benevolent despite doing nothing to stop evil.
- Possibly the least angry type 1: Matthew Sweet's "Divine Intervention" pulls a Holding Out for a Hero in the chorus, questions God's benevolence ("I look around / And all I see is destruction"), and basically sums up its entire message with "I cannot understand my God / I don't know why it gets to me".
- If any Rush song comes closest to being Type I, it would be "Faithless" or "Sweet Miracle."
- Alice in Chains' "God Am".
- Andrew Jackson Jihad's "Rejoice."
- "God Help Me" by Emilie Autumn is about losing faith in God.
- YMMV on that, though, as the lyrics suggest more of a lost faith in the world around the singer or a lost faith in one person in particular.
- "Tomorrow Wendy" by Andy Prieboy (and covered by Concrete Blonde) is about a woman who's dying of AIDS, and is a furious rant against God's inability to do anything to help (sample lyrics: "I told the priest / Don't count on any second coming / God got his ass kicked / The first time he came down here slumming"). One of the saddest, angriest songs ever written.
- "God's Song (That's Why I Love Mankind)" by Randy Newman. Maybe. The song depicts a deity that is utterly unsympathetic to mankind's suffering due to the atrocities we visit upon one another, and does nothing to help. However, as with any Newman song it is difficult to tell whether he is being facetious. (It's also worth noting that another song on the album, "Old Man," explicitly disavows the idea of God and an afterlife, but it does not qualify as a Religion Rant Song).
- "Godsaid" by Todd Rundgren. "Beloved Infidel" might also qualify.
- "Adonai" by Hurt goes from Have You Seen My God? to outright calling God out.
I call it real tough love / Unless you love to pick your bodies up
- Bastion's soundtrack has the bonus song "The Pantheon (ain't gonna catch you)". Sung by the narrator, Rucks, about how the gods aren't going to help you. The jury's out on whether he's right, but invoking the gods in the game does cause various negative effects...
Gods ain't gonna help you, son / You'll be sorry for what you've done / Them gods gonna hurt you, son / When you play with a loaded gun.
They ain't gonna catch ya / When ya fall / You'll be pleadin' / While you're bleedin'.
- "Where's God" by the Insane Clown Posse may have things that can qualify for each type, this song fits more along this type. It's about how even though they may still believe in God, they wonder why God allows horrible things to occur to innocent people and how evil people can get away with those things.
- "The Sound of Crying" by Prefab Sprout suggests that God is somewhat neglecting his duties. Prefab Sprout (and more specifically songwriter Paddy McAloon) touch on religious themes quite often, but usually avert this trope (sometimes quite strongly), so this particular song is rather unusual in their canon.
- "Big Sky" from The Kinks' album, The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society is a Third Person perspective about "Big Sky looks down on all the people who look up to the Big Sky". The song, especially the later choral version is partly sarcastic and sincere about the idea of religious belief, featuring lines like "Big Sky feels bad about the children who scream and cry / But the Big Sky doesn't let it get him down" and most importantly, "And When I feel that the world is too much for me / I think about the Big Sky and nothing matters much to me".
- "Reality Asylum" by Crass, one of the most blasphemous songs ever created where Jesus and God are seen as evil.
- "Oh Lord (Wake the Dead)" by Voltaire is about a guy calling out God for all the evil in the world both big (murderers, thieves, and crooked televangelists) and small (people who are rude and nasty to the narrator), and daring Him to bring about Armageddon.
- Bon Jovi's "Hey God" is a uncompromising calling out of the titular deity for falling down on the job.
- Nerina Pallot's "Everybody's Gone to War" has a similar sentiment.
If God's on our side then God is a joker, asleep on the job his children fall over.
- Jack Off Jill's "Losing His Touch."
- Garbage's "Subhuman."
Kill the new religion
No inhibition, no alibi
Televised confession, a true obsession
It's all new lies
- "Godwhacker" by Steely Dan is an odd example- it's about a group of professional bounty hunters that kill gods, only now the populace has gotten so fed up with God himself that a bounty has been put out on Him. They seem to have no issues taking up the job, of course, as they have killed lesser gods before- even though the lyrics imply that succeeding in this task may bring about the end of the world.
- Elton John's "If There's a God in Heaven (What's He Waiting For?)", as implied by the title, asks why, if God exists, he would allow war, starvation, and other forms of suffering to occur.
- In Wolfsheim's "Once in a Lifetime", Peter Heppner's character calls out God for taking his wife and unborn son in a hurricane, as he prepares to take his own life.
- "Rip" by Gary Numan. "I'll rip the skin from God's face. I'll say I'm searching for the truth. I steal the light from heavens gates, if it can guide me to you."
- The Chemistry of Common Life by Fucked Up is an entire album themed around this concept. It's a mixture of types 1 and 2, alternating between describing God as cruel and neglectful of humanity, and bashing those who foolishly believe in God.
It's hard enough being born in the first place/what's the point of ever being born again ("Son the Father")Yeah that God above us? He doesn't love us. ("Days of Last")
- Madonna's "Oh Father", which is not only a rant against her abusive father, but also against God the Father, as she was raised without her mother in a strict Catholic home. Near the end, though, she sings:
Maybe someday,When I look back, I'll be able to sayYou didn't mean to be cruel;Somebody hurt You too.
- Shakira is pretty relentless about God's cruelty in "How Do You Do?". However, it is framed as more of an honest conversation, and ultimately she forgives Him.
- A somewhat gentle version in "Glory Hallelujah" by Frank Turner, which can be be summed up as, "Good news - Hell isn't real!"
- Every single song by Deicide, assuming it's not one of the other two Types. Glen Benton didn't name his band after a word meaning "the killing of a god" (or carve a freaking inverted cross into his forehead) for nothing.
- Abney Park's "Virus" is a Type 2 that makes Christianity sound like, well, a virus that turns people into zombies.
- "Stigmata Martyr" counts too, about Jesus being controlled by his followers.
- Arch-Enemy can be found here.
- Bad Religion (naturally) has "Requiem for Dissent," which is a low-key Type 2.
- Of course, this trope is basically BR's bread and butter, even though the bandmembers' actual views of religion are decidedly more charitable than many think.
- Jethro Tull's "Wind-Up" from Aqualung is a Type 2, especially against indoctrination of children.
- Connor Oberst's "When the president talks to God" (type 2, by way of Take That!, George W. Bush).
- Chilean Funk Rock band Chancho en Piedra has Funkybarítico
''I hate this prudish troop that believes that they are perfect
Who swears that their sect is the only correct
And do not tell me what, and do not tell me what
Their imaginary friend will tell me what to do
- The Dead Kennedys: "Religious vomit", aka "All religions suck" from the album "In God We Trust, Inc." Type 2, at least, and about as subtle as you'd expect.
- "God Rest Ye, Unitarians" is pretty clearly Type 2.
- An increasingly favorite subject of The Used, who were raised in an abusive, oppressive Mormon community. Their lead singer, Bert McCracken left the church experimented with a variety of religions before deciding that none of them worked and is now an atheist who believ;es that we as a society have moved beyond a need for religion . Songs relating to this include "Liar Liar (Burn in Hell)", "On the Cross" and "Make Believe".
- AFI's "Sacrilege".
Oh please believe
I'm doing just fine
For what's deceased I shall never grieve
Just let your faith die
I feel I've been abandoned. Do I alone see disgrace
As I watch these mad dogmatics govern our entire race?
- Jill Sobule, "Letting Go of God" - Type 2ish, but very amicable. Written to accompany Julia Sweeney's one woman show of the same name. Both the show and the song focus much more on Sweeney's own search for her own beliefs than any sort of anger or resentment.
Sweeney (to her image of God): "It's not you; it's me."
- "God Said" from Leonard Bernstein's Mass is more of a Type 2 example.
God made us the boss.
God gave us the cross.
We turned it into a sword.
To spread the Word of the Lord.
We use His holy decrees.
To do whatever we please. (Yeah!)
And it was good! (Yeah!)
And it was good! (Yeah!)
And it was goddamn good!!!
- MC Hawking, "What We Need More of is Science" and "Fuck the Creationists" - Type 2.
- It''s worth pointing out that while MC Hawking was meant to be somewhat of a parody, Stephen Hawking himself has given his approval of the act AND his more recent statements on religion seem to fall in line somewhat with these songs.
- Sam Philips "I need love" (non-atheist type 2: "I need God, not the political church", later covered by Sixpence None the Richer)
- Public Image Ltd.: "Religion I" from Public Image First Issue, "Religion II" (from the same album), "Annalisa" (type 2). The two former are inspired by Lydon's anger at the handling of his mother's request for last rites. The latter is based on a true story that also inspired The Exorcism of Emily Rose. That film is sympathetic towards the exorcists. Lydon's view, meanwhile:
Think I'm proud to be your enemy
Take your hands off of me
You're worse than the thing that possessed me.
- Bring Me the Horizon's The House of Wolves is this, with lines like "I'll bow to your king when he shows himself", but it really shows in their song Crooked Young:
- Just a dozen steps and twenty-eight days!It's a miracle, I'll be born againWith the lord as my shepard, I will find a way!FUCK YOUR FAITH!!! No ones gonna save you!
- "Still a Lie" - Type 2.
- Tim Minchin has done quite a few of these, including "If You Open Your Mind Too Much, Your Brain Will Fall Out" (Type 2), "Pope Song" (Type 3) and "Ten Foot Cock and a Few Hundred Virgins" (A mixture of all three).
- "Thank You God (For Fixing the Cataracts of Sam's Mum" is probably the ultimate example of Type 2.
- Tori Amos again: "Crucify" (type 2), "Icicle" (type 2/3 with side of Take That! by way of A Date with Rosie Palms)
- Billy Talent's "Kingdom of Zod" is a particularly brutal variant.
- Violet UK 's "Sex and Religion" is either a type 2 calling out religion as merely another form of sexual masochism or a type 3 Take That! at a religious con artist that ensnared the songwriter's friend into a cult.
- The theme of Epica's The Divine Conspiracy. Unless it's not (someone confirm?)
- Not The Divine Conspiracy specifically but Mark Jansen has always loved this trope even when he was with After Forever.
- Tom Lehrer: "Vatican Rag", which pokes fun at Catholic Dogma and the Second Vatican Council's attempts at reform.
- Spitting Image: "Atheist Choir" and "My God Is Bigger Than Your God"
- The latter also seems to be telling the agnostics and atheists off for fighting back and making the situation worse, instead of just getting on with things.
- Bayside's "Have Fun Storming the Castle", although the title is a Shout-Out to The Princess Bride.
- Sportin' Life's big number, "It Ain't Necessarily So", from Porgy and Bess.
- Basically every song by industrial band Vigilante falls under here.
- Most of Cryptopsy songs are about this.
- Voltaire's song "God Thinks" is a Take That! against all those who are "self-righteous, judgmental, first to throw the stone/using his name, for your own agenda."
- "Shallow Be Thy Game" by Red Hot Chili Peppers is a take that at organized religion in general, but mainly the Catholic church. It's a non-atheist example though, as it does contain the lyric "Your hell is something scary, I prefer a loving God".
- Subverted in that the band have practised religions other than Christianity. The song "Falling Into Grace" is essentially a love song but sounds similar to Hindu meditation and even has "om" in it. The band have a guru on tour and Anthony practices Kabbalah Meditation (an offshoot of Judaism).
- The Fall's "Hey Luciani" is an odd(ish) example, as you'd expect, being pro-John Paul I and accusing the Church of being corrupt and killing him off.
- Probably Aiden's favorite subject. "Hysteria" is probably the most direct of them.
- Los Campesinos!! don't really hold anything back on this front. See the "I learned more from toilet stalls" lyric in "We've Got Your Back (Documented Minor Emotional Breakdown #2)" .
- John Lennon's "Imagine" is about as non-angry a Type 2 example as you can get, as it's mainly a song about peace, with religion and the wars fought over it being a primary obstacle to that peace. Of course, the song seems to imply that all war would vanish if religion (and certain other social forces) did, making Lennon a bit of an Idealist.
- The aptly titled "God" from John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band says that "God is a concept by which we measure our pain." and that "I just believe in me, Yoko and me."
- Metallica's "The God That Failed" is a Type 2 rail against blind faith, with the lyrics and song material inspired by James Hetfield's anguish about the circumstances surrounding the death of his mother, who refused medical treatment of her cancer and solely relied on the belief that God would heal her.
- At the Gates is all over this trope.
- The In Flames song "Goliaths Disarm their Davids" is about trying to free oneself from religion, calling it "a mess of psychotic chaos that once I mistook myself."
- Also, Zombie Inc, about, among other things, Mary.
- Dark Tranquillity has "The Treason Wall" and "The Lesser Faith". "The Lesser Faith" is aimed at religious people who don't justify their faith, "The Treason Wall" saying that it only causes conflict.
- Machinae Supremacy has "Violator", which is a Take That! towards blind faith and the society it creates.
- "A View From the End of the World" has another Take That! which not-so-subtly claims that if there were no religion, there would be no wars and much more technological progress.
- Franz Ferdinand gives us the interesting example of "The Fallen", which is actually addressed to Jesus Christ; he's apparently back and the speaker's happy to see him. As Alex Kapranos (who read Theology at the University of Glasgow for a year) would have it, Jesus Was Way Cool, and were he alive to day, would be hanging with the poor and downtrodden, and not the self-declared Christians drinking champagne and riding in limousines. (In other words, the last Christian died on the Cross, and Christ is so unlike the Christians).
- FearFactory did several of these. For example "Christploitation".
- Rush has several songs that protest organized religion and superstitions without being atheistic. Freewill protests the concepts of predestination and astrology. Totem pokes fun at various practices of various organized religions. Compare with Prime Mover, which is a Deist song that mentions something (likely someone) behind the scenes in the universe (setting clouds in motion) while allowing humans autonomy.
- Frank Zappa: About a third of You Are What You Is is either a 2 or a 3:
We can't be dumb if we're just following God's orders. He put it right in this book here that he made us all to be just like Him. So if we're dumb, then God is dumb, and maybe a little ugly on the side.
- "Dumb All Over". Clearly giving a Take That! to all religion, so mostly Type 2, with a little Type 1 on the side.
Some take the Bible for what it's worth
- "The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing", It's all right there in the title. Type 2.
When it says that the meek shall inherit the Earth
But I Heard that some Sheik just bought New Jersey last week
And you suckers ain't gettin' nothing.
- Amon Amarth's "Slaves Of Fear", "Bastards of a Lying Breed" and "Annihilation of Hammerfest", about Thor reclaiming Mjolnir from the "unbearded men" (Christians).
- Gamma Ray has "Real World".
- Týr most of By the Light of the Northern Star, it being a album about pagans fighting Christianization in the Faroe Islands, but especially the titular song, which contains the line "May the mighty Mjolnir nail the bleeding/And naked Nazarene upon the pagan planks/Pound in the painful nails now and hang him high and dry"
- Everything by Fleshgod Apocalypse.
- Exodus' "Shroud Of Urine" and "Children Of A Worthless God"
- "Burn Your Crosses" is actually a Subversion according to Joakim Brodén (who claims to support no ideology in his songs). It's actually a song about a man about to die burned at the stake in the Spanish Inquisition, and the song is his Dying Speech "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner.
- "In the Name of God" is a "The Villain Sucks" Song aimed at Islamic terror groups like Al Qaeda. Specifically it was aimed at Osama Bin Laden, who was still at large when the song was written. The lyrics point out the hypocrisy of the terror groups claiming their missions to be holy and just all while cowardly massacring innocent people.
- The band has songs which portray religion a lot more positively, such as "The Carolean's Prayer", which discusses the way Swedish Lutheranism unified the country and its army. The bridge has a Swedish translation of the "Lord's Prayer" being used as a Battlecry.
- Motörhead's "(Don't Need) Religion"
- "Religion Song (Put Away The Gun)" by Everything Else.
- Much of God Hates Us All and Christ Illusion by Slayer, functioning as Kerry King Tracts which, surprisingly, are voiced by a Catholic, frontman Tom Araya. The follow-up, 2009's World Painted Blood, toned this down a lot more, avoiding the subject of religion outside of one or two songs. Their material in The '80s did talk about religion too, but from a Rock Me, Asmodeus! standpoint.
- Hurt's "Rapture" and "Talking to God".
- Crosby, Stills, Nash's "Cathedral".
- Robbie Fulks' "God Isn't Real".
- The Proletariat's "Religion Is The Opium Of The Masses".
- Roy Harper's "The Spirit Lives" is solidly in Type 2 territory: "And you can put me down for what I've said/But goodness only lives where God is dead." His later song "If" is more subtle, and straddles Types 2 and 3, with more muted criticisms of religious doctrines, and more pointed skewerings of religious leaders.
- Samael's "The Cross" is a mix of Type 2 and Type 3, specifically against Christianity: "harvest of love and light, dictated by war and hate, supported by those who hide. It lives in your mind, whatever you may say, whoever you may pray; Christianity worldwide.
- Vader's "Helleluyah (god is dead)".
- The bands belonging to the Arabic Anti-Islamic League naturally feature quite a few of these, most evident in Seeds of Iblis' "No Islam".
- Much of Dismember's "The god that never was" album, most notably the eponymous song, "Blood for Paradise" and "Where no ghost is holy", which proclaims all religions adversary.
- Elton John's "Religion" does not portray religion as bad, just rather absurd.
- Jacques Brel 's music fits in this trope too. He wrote several songs poking fun at Corrupt Church and makes blasphemous boasts that God doesn't exist.
- As does Georges Brassens.
- Spanish Folk/Power Metal band Mägo de Oz has Fiesta Pagana (Pagan Festival), and the Concept Album Gaia II: La Voz Dormida (Gaia II: The Sleeping Voice) which culminates with La Cantata del Diablo (The Devil's Cantata), a 21 minutes long song about a Sinister Minister and his burning of an aztec woman, and ending with a Type 1 spoken word bit accusing God of abandoning mankind.
- Thrash Metal band Sacred Reich's ultrafast (the fastest in their discography, complete with rapid fire vocal delivery) song "No Believers" is a blunt example. Just check out the rather un-subtle chorus.
The bible is a lie, I defy the lying priestGod don't control my life, I choose my own destinyReligion's for the weak, your soul will die foreverGet up off your knees, cause there's no god in heaven!
- "The Idea" from Dirk Wears White Sox by Adam and the Ants:
I could be religious if...You didn't have to kneel downI could be religious if...A god would say "hello"I could be religious if...An angel touched my shoulder
- Crystal Castles' "Wrath Of God." The deliberate distortion of Alice's vocals makes this difficult to classify, but the lyrics that can be deciphered indicate a Type 2.
- Green Day's "East Jesus Nowhere", which was written as an anti-religion song in the wake of bassist Mike Dirnt going to a church to see a friend's child being baptized. He was disgusted by the hypocrisy of the church and asked singer/lead guitarist/frontman Billie Joe Armstrong to write a song against religion.
- Disturbed's "Sacred Lie", a protest against religious wars.
- Electric Hellfire Club, um... well, their entire library covers all 3 categories on this page multiple times over(their cover of a U2's "Sunday Bloody Sunday" on a tribute album even rewrote minor lyrics to come off as antichrist in tone), though for a specific example, "Hypochristian" goes out of its way to call fundamentalist Christians a bunch of sinners and hypocrites who will likely burn in Hell for the things they do.
- "Turtles All the Way Down" by Sturgill Simpson is a downplayed example. The song is mainly about how the singer has had several religious and drug-related experiences, and concluded that fighting over beliefs is pointless ("So don't waste your mind on nursery rhymes / Or fairy tales of blood and wine / It's turtles all the way down the line /So to each their own til' we go home").
- God Module's "Extinct" is a song about how Man the Animal cannot advance as long as he still clings to religion, about how God, the afterlife and the soul do not exist, and about how this life is all that we have.
- Cannibal Corpse's When Death Replaces Life is an interesting example, purely because their lyrics are mostly just over-the-top violence and gore and then you have this song, criticising religion.
- "It Ain't Necessarily So" from Porgy and Bess, a mock sermon in which the show's villain expresses skepticism about stories from the Bible.
- "Godhead" by Nitzer Ebb.
I guess we can think that god has gone bad
- Jonna Lee of iamamiwhoami has "Samaritan":
I don't believe in a god, let's leave religion out of all thisI don't remember promising my life and soul to bring you all blissIf I am what you say, I expect to be hanging from a wooden crossWhen all this is done, it's done
- Leonard Bernstein: "Things Get Broken," the Celebrant's BSoD Song, is more or less Type 3.
- Metallica's "Leper Messiah" and Insane Clown Posse's "Hellelujah" are Type 3, attacking religious con-artists who fleece their flock in the monetary sense.
- The Beatles' "Sexy Sadie" from The White Album, a Take That! from John to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. George Harrison put his foot down over the original, very direct lyrics: "Maharishi, look what you've done, you made a fool of everyone..." and insisted on the title change. According to Mark Lewisohn's The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, an early outtake exists where Lennon turns the air blue with the original working lyrics: "Maharishi, you little twat/Who the fuck do you think you are?/Who the fuck do you think you are?/Oh, you cunt."
- Most of Judas' numbers in Jesus Christ Superstar tend to fall here, though they could also be read as type 1.
- Bob Dylan's "Jokerman" from Infidels makes fun of The Bible and religious figures in it.
- "My God" and "Hymn 43" by Jethro Tull; the latter containing the line If Jesus saves/well he better save himself/from the gory glory seekers/who use his name in death!
- Earthsuit's "Against the Gain" is a (very clearly) non-Atheist example, although it probably ruffled a few feathers at Sparrow Records all the same. "I've been sent to your boat to rock it/men flood Hell while your hands are in your pocket/Separate from the life source and endorse and force secret religious codes like Morse/Constraints, why do you seize us/Just give me Jesus!" (It does omit the demo version's cry of "Stupid religion!", possibly just for stylistic reasons.)
- Ray Stevens' "Would Jesus Wear a Rolex" is a very religious rant against televangelists.
- Jesus He Knows Me by Genesis, all about televangelists.
- R.E.M.'s "New Test Leper" from "New Adventures In Hi-Fi" could be considered as part of Type 3. I can't say that I love Jesus/That would be a hollow claim/He did make some observations/And I quoted them today/"Judge not lest ye be judged"/What a beautiful refrain/The studio audience disagrees/Have His lambs all gone astray?
- Limp Bizkit's "The Priest", in response to the Catholic sex scandals.
- Rush has BU2B which is protesting spiritual leaders shoving down specific dogmas down people's throats- not so much belief in a higher power.
- Death's "Spiritual Healing" is an attack on televangelists and faith healers, particularly the infamous Peter Popoff.
- Tool's "Opiate" is an attack framed around Marx's famous assertion ("Religion is the opiate of the masses.")
- Frank Zappa tends to be even more brutal in his Type 3 songs than his Type 2. "Heavenly Bank Account" on You Are What You Is is about Televangelists in general, whereas "Token of My Extreme" on Joe's Garage is about a Religious Leader name of L. Ron Hoover. Not real transparent, that. And then there are the live versions one can find of "Penguin in Bondage" and "Lonesome Cowboy Jim (Nee Burt)" on the album "The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life". about Jimmy Swaggart and his failure to live up to his own preaching.
Where's my Prostitute?
- "Jesus Thinks You're a Jerk" is another good example of Zappa's type 3 songs. It's a nine-minute attack on Pat Robertson and other televangelists. It was recorded while Robertson was running for president and at the end Zappa encourages the audience to register to vote.
- Dream Theater's song In the Name of God, which argues against violence and morally wrong acts committed in the name of God.
- "Godless" by Danzig is a rant against organized religion.
- "Holy Smoke" by Iron Maiden deals with televangelist scandals of The '80s, alluding to Jimmy Swaggart and Tammy Faye Bakker among others.
- "Mother Of Mercy" is another Type 3, aimed at religious leaders who preach the Good News but don't live out their faith.
- Epica embraces this trope. "Cry For The Moon" is about the Catholic priest incidents and "The Divine Conspiracy" (album and song itself) also criticizes the negative aspects of all religions and points out that they have a lot more in common then they believe.
- The Embrace That Smothers which theme is "the danger involved in organized religion." The songs therefore contain ideas that could be considered "anti-religious," which they share with After Forever (Mark Jansen was a former member).
- "Haleluja" by Rammstein is about pedophilia among Catholic priests - "he knows what it means to love his neighbor/turn around slowly, turn around"...
- Apocalyptica's "I'm Not Jesus" is written from the perspective of the former victim of a Pedophile Priest. As you can probably guess, he is not happy with his former abuser.
- Roy Zimmerman's song "Jerry Falwell's God" is a Take That! against the evangelical preacher Jerry Falwell.
- Steve Taylor built much of his career on tearing down corrupt televangelists in his lyrics during the 1980s, when they were still popular within the church. This was a pretty controversial stand for him to take at the time, being a Christian himself.
- Dead Kennedys' "Moral Majority" from "In God We Trust, Inc." is a Type 3 example, being composed of Take Thats at several right-wing Christian figures as well as the Reagan administration.
- Willie D's "Guess My Religion" and the Insane Clown Posse's cover of this song is a Type 3 example about the Church has some messed-up things going on in their system and how some of the people that go to Church don't really practice what they preach more than one day per week.
- Between the Buried and Me's "Arsonist" is a furious tirade against the Westboro Baptist Church, while "The Need for Repetition" is an equally furious response to the Catholic Church's child molestation scandal.
- Dance Gavin Dance has two examples of this, being "Strawberry Swisher pt. 3" and "Inspire the Liars".
So let's start a religion
They'll believe in what we say
Let's start a religion
We can blind their eyes with faith
A new religion
We'll tell them where our spirits go
Start a religion
I need my ego to explode
- EBM Band V2A has Jesus Loves You. While the line "Abandon all hope, Jesus Loves You" suggests a type 1 song, it is actually aimed at organised religion itself, as the lines "Man made religion, religion controls man" and "No one cares if we live or die" show.
- Black Sabbath's "TV Crimes" reserves all of its venom for televangelists and the people who send them money.
- U2's spirituality has not stopped them from calling out people who manipulate religion to selfish ends.
- "Desire" criticizes con artists who masquerade as preachers. In performances of the song on the Zoo TV Tour, Bono would dress up as "Mirrorball Man", an exaggerated portrayal of a greedy televangelist who cares more about money than Jesus.
- "Please" calls out members of the Irish Republican Army and related groups who use religion to justify violence.
- Poison's Tear Jerker of a Power Ballad "Something to Believe In" slips some rather bitter words against corrupt televangelists in the first paragraphs of the song.
- Casting Crowns is a Christian band that is not afraid to call out lazy and hypocritical believers. Listen to "If We Are The Body", "Stained Glass Masquerade", "Altar and the Door", and "City On A Hill". Their premise is not that God is at fault, but believers who don't live up to the standards set by Jesus.
- James's "God Only Knows" was written after the band's experiences with the Lifewave movement went south, when they found out how hypocritical the cult's leader John Yarr really was ("My guru has been sleeping with adepts and with sheep / While I was fucking celibate, self-righteous in belief").
- Mitch Benn's "We Haven't Got A Clue" and "We're All As Rubbish As Each Other" have elements of this, distrusting anyone who says they have The Answers and wants the rest of us to follow them.
- Toshi's solo song "Airport" is symbolically about his experience of leaving a Scam Religion that had exploited him for years.
- Heavy Metal band The Showdown's song "Fanatics & Whores" is a rant about televangelists and others who use religion to get money. Notably, this the Showdown are in fact a Christian band (sort of).
- Bad Religion (again) has the song "Come Join Us," about the way that organized religion preys on lonely people and the uneducated.
Don't you see the trouble that most people are inThat they just want you for their own advantageBut I swear to you we're different from all of themCome join us!
- The Blue Öyster Cult's Divine Wind uses the premise that to militant Islam, the United States is the Great Satan. The chorus is directed at the Ayatollah Khomeini:
If he really thinks we're the Devil, then let's send him to Hell!
- The song was originally written in 1980 and aimed at the then-Iranian theocracy, who were holding a lot of American hostages. It has gained a new lease on life in recent years.
- "Insanity" by Oingo Boingo:
And the alcoholic bastard waved his finger at meAnd his voice was filled with evangelical glee nowSipping down his gin and tonicsWhile preaching about the evils of narcoticsAnd the evils of sex, and the wages of sin
- GWAR - "Martyrdumb" is this combined with Type 2. "I wipe my ass with your holy book / God is dead and the Pope's a crook"
- Underoath's first song, "Heart of Stone", on their first album, Act of Depression (which ironically is their only expressly Christian release), a defiant burst of outrage over extremest leaders preceding a gospelicious praise song.
- Dire Straits' "Ticket to Heaven" is a Type 3 against greedy American televangelists, written in the voice of a naive devotee whose life sucks because he hands over all his spare money to his church.
- Fela Kuti: "Shuffering And Shmiling"
I want you all to please take your mindsOut of this musical contraptionAnd put your minds into any goddamn churchAnd goddamn mosque, any goddamn Celestical
- The Hooters have "Satellite" which lampoons televangelism in The '80s, especially in the video complete with Stylistic Suck.
- "Hellalujah" by Insane Clown Posse is an extremely scathing critique against religious leaders who use the faith of others to turn a profit, particularly televangelists and those who claim to perform Healing Hands among other miracles, accusing them of being charlatans who exploit the religious belief and desperation of the sick and the needy for their own selfish gains. The song outright says that they believe themselves to be God and that they will end up in Hell for their callous and greedy behavior.
ICP: Pass the collection plate!Pastor: Show me how you give, I'll tell you how to live!
- Edguy did some type 3 on their early albums, most notably the title track from Theater of Salvation (arguably the entire album could count) and Down to the Devil from Hellfire Club. Addidtionally, Avantasia, a Supergroup formed by Edguy's lead singer's first two albums are Rock Opera length examples. All of these carry the sentiment that religion prevents humanity from reaching their full potential, and the Avantasia example adds a condemnation of religious leaders' disregard for others in pursuit of power.
- Ozzy Osbourne's song "Miracle Man" is a Take That! to Jimmy Swaggart, in reaction to his prostitution scandals.
- The Ocean has two albums filled with this, Heliocentric and Anthropocentric. Mostly attacking the Catholic leaders, the treatment of heretics, and apologetics.
- SJ Tucker wrote such a song when a friend of hers was harassed by an allegedly delusional Facebook stalker. She was quick to point out at her performances that 'Go Away, God-boy' wasn't an 'anti-religious' song, it was an 'anti-creepy-Facebook-stalker-who-thinks-they're-Jesus' song.
- Priestess' little-known B-side "Castle Dracula" has three verses, each of which seems to conform to one of the three types of RRS, but the very last verse is a barb directed at a "false prophet", suggesting the song is just a Type 3 and discusses the journey of one frustrated with religion who initially disavows God, then wonders if God Is Evil before concluding He's not the problem, just someone claiming to work on His behalf. As the band never spoke about the song publicly, we may never know what its true meaning is.
- Astral Doors did a few of these. The most notable are the title track from Of the Son and the Father, which is about the pedophilia scandals in the Catholic church; and "Pentecostal Bound" from New Revelation. No points for guessing who the latter is attacking.
- Iced Earth did a lot of these. The most notable are "Brainwashed" and "Disciples of the Lie".
- Midge Ure's "Answers To Nothing" is framed as a type 3, though it can also be interpreted as type 2.
- Joni Mitchell's "Tax Free" is her rant against televangelists preaching like Church Militants while living, well, tax-free.
- Slayer's song "Read Between The Lies," which is about scamming televangelists.
- Another Christian music example: Steve Camp would release a handful of songs such as "The Other Side of the World"note ; the title track of 1988's "Justice" and "The Agony of Deceit"note that include indirect jabs at various televangelists involved in scandal and (particularly in "The Agony of Deceit") the questionable doctrines being promoted.
- KISS' "I Confess" is about a priest who dabbles in both drugs and religion and is confessing his sins to himself in the mirror.
- Derek Webb's "Wedding Dress" is one where the singer takes aim at the "prosperity gospel" doctrine by asking if having only the Lord is all he should want in this life or should he go after "other lovers" (namely having cash) before his Wedding Day to the Lord.
- Moral Orel: Orel was cast as Judas and had to do a song about hating Jesus. He ended up giving such a blockbuster performance that people began singing "I hate you Jesus, you rotten little fink!" in church.
- The Simpsons' "Everybody Hates Ned Flanders" song comes close to this, with at least a few moments of overlap. Since Ned is basically the nicest person in town, this is Played for Laughs. (Note that Flanders is singing himself at one point.)