Friday, August 24, 2012

Invisible Sky-Anything - Oh, and Also Bad Music

Well, a healthy debate is raging below between atheists and theists, and I admit I have only so far read the most recent few comments.  I'll work through the others as I have time.

The Heathen Rages On left a thoughtful comment in which he or she objected to my saying that an atheist "worships" anything, and I think Rage-On has a point.  So I clarified thus ...

Dear Raging Heathen,

Asserting that a metaphysical concept, in this case "randomness" or "chance", controls everything and that our lives should be in accord with this universal metaphysical principal is a creed.  It may be an atheist creed, but it is a creed. 

If you object to my saying you "worship" this metaphysical hypothesis, which itself is not physical, but whose "effects" you can observe in the physical realm, then I will gladly recant and say you don't "worship" it.

But it is a creed you live by
As is, for me, the Invisible Sky-Man.  He too is a metaphysical assertion, known only indirectly by His effects.  I think the effects demonstrate teleology, for one thing, more than a lack thereof, and this is one of the reasons I live my life by my creed and you live your life by yours.

Even if we simply call our creeds "philosophies", we cannot deny that our philosophies dictate how we live; and both are projections of a metaphysical principal onto a universal stage.

This does not touch on who is right or who is wrong; but it does take away the charge that an Invisible Sky-Anything is by its nature ridiculous.  All assertions of a universal truth are Universal Sky-Assertions; there's no way around that for either the atheist or the theist.

But I want to throw a quick word out to Joey Higgins, whose conscience I have disturbed by my oft-repeated off-handed comment about "gay guitar music" at Mass, by which I mean the Haugen / Haas / Schute stuff. 

Joey, some of that music can be performed with great devotion and with no attention being drawn to the performer; but some of that music is bad in and of itself and is not appropriate for Mass.  None of it is as good as the music in Godspell, for example.  And most of it conveys the subliminal message - God is Unreal and We can Make of Him What We Wish, and What We Wish is a Mushy Comfy Fuzzy Shape-Shifting Amoeba. 

But I don't want you to doubt your service to God at Life Teen.  I suggest you compare and contrast liturgical music by seeking out a Mass that has a schola and features Chant - unfortunately that means probably a Latin Mass.  But even so, the difference between chant and Haugen / Haas / Schute is remarkable.  It is a difference in kind and not in degree.  And read that Vatican II document on Sacred Music, which says that chant must be given preference of place at the Liturgy.  This is not to say charismatic or Life Teen Masses are bad (though Life Teen's founder was quite bad); I am not a member of the Liturgical Police, except when it comes to Liturgical Music, which must be reverent, and when it's not it degrades the Sacrifice, and when it's not can become frankly sacrilegious.


Joey Higgins said...

Thank you!

Joey Higgins said...

I should add, there is an abbey near where I work that does do some chanting with their adoration service; there is a noticeable difference there in reverence of music.

I have saved the text meant for me and will look into what you have prescribed.

Anonymous said...

116. The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services.

But other kinds of sacred music, especially polyphony, are by no means excluded from liturgical celebrations, so long as they accord with the spirit of the liturgical action, as laid down in Art. 30.

117. The typical edition of the books of Gregorian chant is to be completed; and a more critical edition is to be prepared of those books already published since the restoration by St. Pius X.

Sacrosanctum Concilium, Vatcan II

Dr. Eric