As a fan of rock music as well as many other genres, it is fascinating to hear various religious figures arguing that music is evil. In the Muslim world, such anti-rock attitudes are often linked with anti-Westernism in general, but here in the West we are more likely to be told that rock music is addictive, that it is a communist conspiracy, or it comes directly from Satan. Rock music, we are told, has beats authored by Satan in a villainous plot to the control listeners and send them to hell. Such beliefs have given rise to wild stories. There is the tale that all rock bands pray to Satan before recording. There is the claim that screamed vocals on rock records are created when the musicians are enjoying anal sex, and there is a rumor most rock albums have satanic messages backed masked into them. There is the claim that every year Keith Richards has all the blood drained from his body and replaced with fresh blood from young donors.
While exploring this topic I stumbled on this video . It is a video of a Christian religious leader preaching on the evils of popular music. Beginning around 1:54 he states that God does have preferences for everything and that he expresses his preferences through his design. He states, “God has made your ears to be able to take a certain amount of sound, and if you go beyond that level you’re going to hurt your ears.” He continues to point out that damaged human ear cells do not heal themselves the way other body parts do making damage caused to ones ears by listening to loud music permanent.
He argues that God intentionally made our ears this way to express his distaste for rock music which admittedly, is often played loud. That’s right! We are being told to believe that the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of all things demonstrates his preferences through design flaws. Are we also to also assume that because God designed us to use the same opening to intake food and breathe air that he wanted us to be vulnerable to choking death? It would have been much more useful for us to have ears that can heal themselves, and hear a wider range of the sounds of nature or to have eyes that could see more of the electromagnetic spectrum including ionizing radiation and magnetic fields.
We are forced to conclude that a supposedly benevolent creator’s designs are intentionally flawed, but the preacher’s argument has other problems. The design flaw says nothing about specific genres of music. For example, Mozart or Bach music can be played at the same loud volume as Slayer with the same damaging effect. Furthermore, you can listen to Slayer at low volume and receive NO ear damage. Many older people who were lifelong rockers are not worse off than the people with ear damage from the sound of gunfire in wars or by the sounds of heavy machinery. Is God trying to tell us through his poor ear design that he is anti-war or anti-factory?
God doesn’t exist but if he did it is unlikely that he would communicate his musical preferences by making a faulty ear design that doesn’t heal after damage. Rock and roll musicians are not always the best role models, and that is part of the genre’s appeal, but to assert that Rock ‘n’ Roll is from Satan is a load of superstitious nonsense that attempts to close off our experience of a wide range of diverse, innovative, and interesting sounds. Besides, Rock ‘n’ Roll has also done much to bring people together. Check out Farm Aid , One World Concert, The Moscow Music Peace Festival, Live Aid, and the benefit concert that started it all The Concert for Bangladesh.