American Idol and Christianity: reprise

Some great thoughts from my God-brother Peter, who lists a negative and positive side of the “Idol Gives Back”/ “Shout to the Lord” fiasco.

When evangelical worship songs are SO inoffensive to American culture at large that a group of pop icons can sing them on national television without anyone noticing that something particularly religious was going on, then you really have to start wondering if the evangelical church is doing its job. The focus of the evening was certainly not “the wonder and majesty of God” or that “nothing compares to the promise we have in [Jesus Christ]”


I wanted to shout “hey people, you can’t sing that… or even clap when other people sing that! It’s making exclusive claims on your life! It’s demanding that your sole object of adoration be the Lord and His glory! Believe me, I’ve been listening to you and you don’t want that!”

Alasdair MacIntyre suggests that one of the most tragic shifts in the history of Ethics is when liturgical and therefore sacred music and art were ripped out of the Church and considered as “artistic”.  What is this move symptomatic of, and what are the consequances?

I used to remark back then that the song had more of a “we are the world” function than anything else… it inspired a happy sense of unity and good-feeling about our identity as a “blessed” family. It is saying something pretty sad about the state of our “worship” when there is no significant difference – no additional claim made or devotion asked of participants – between “sacred” services and secular charity events.


Any religion that allows the autonomous individual to remain at the center is little more than a fertility cult or a safe neo-paganism – an easy way to pacify the starving spirit of humankind without making it give itself up in sacrifice. Such “religion” is a travesty.

At the end of the day, I think that the overall judgment on this one is resoundingly negative, even though I truly hope that the decision was made with the best of intentions.


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