Category Archives: Music

Beautiful Choral Music on the Cosmos

Think you need to go to church to enjoy beautiful music? Try your planetarium.

Kenley Kristofferson has composed a piece inspired by Carl Sagan. Here is how he describes it.

A choral suite using the text of 20th-century astronomer and science popularizer, Carl Sagan.

There are three movements:

Mvt. 1 is about discovery (“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known”),

Mvt. 2 is about beauty (“The beauty of a living thing is not the atoms that go into it, but the way those atoms are put together).

Mvt. 3 is about space at large (“If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.”)

On a personal level, Carl Sagan has taught me how beautiful science and the universe can be, and that understanding something enriches the experience, but doesn’t take away from the mystery that draws us to the big questions of life. He taught me that the sciences are beautiful; the natural world is elegant; and for such small creatures as we, the vastness is bearable only through love 🙂

That’ll Do For Me

Shelley Segal, The Atheist With An Amazing Voice

I’ve recently been captivated by a singer named Shelley Segal. An atheist and a secular humanist from Australia,  she has been intimately involved in the secular movement. She recently released “An Atheist Album”, a collection of seven songs reflecting her thoughts about religion, science, and the place of humanity in this universe.

Her songs are amazing contributions to the world of atheist music. In “Saved”, she asks us to question the religious beliefs and “moral” codes that we take for granted. Her song “Gratitude” is my favorite because it is deeply inspirational. Her description is as follows:

It makes the point that you do not need to be religious to appreciate and be grateful for the life you have. In the face of dissatisfaction, fear, loneliness and the rest of life’s hardships it is possible to be overwhelmed with gratitude and awe for existence without the perceived comforts of believing in a caring creator or everlasting life.

Finally, another notable piece is “Apocalyptic Love Song”, which is a tribute to Christopher Hitchens and the idea that we are a tiny speck in a gigantically awesome universe. This is really great stuff indeed.

It is altogether fitting, therefore, that she will be kicking off Reason Rally in Washington, DC on March 24. I hope to see you there, but in the meantime, let us enjoy this top-notch music!

 

Musical Contributions by Freethinkers

There are some people who love to say that with the loss of the [Christian] religious monopoly on our daily lives, we’ll lose the music and arts that are too often associated with religious faith. On this blog post, we’ll sample the works of numerous musicians and composers who have rejected mainstream religious faith. You’ve all heard these names before.

Ludwig van Beethoven, Pantheist

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Freemason

Robert Schumann, Pantheist

Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky, Atheist

Johannes Brahms, Agnostic

Richard Wagner, Atheist

Giuseppe Verdi, Atheist

Hector Berlioz, Atheist

Claude Debussy, Self-Described Neo-Pagan

 

And the list could go on…

I Miss Christmas

Sometimes we need to be reminded of our connection to the rest of humanity; we are all in this world together, and we should live each day with love and compassion.

You are listening to Vienna Teng, an Asian-American singer-songwriter who graduated with a degree in computer science from Stanford and decided to pursue a career in music instead. She has since released many best-selling albums and has been featured on programs like David Letterman and NPR’s Weekend Edition.

Her music is simply beautiful; both soothing and refreshing at the same time, it brings out her reflective and introspective nature. There are no overly-sexualized lyrics or nonsensical Lady Gaga “rarr rarr’s”. The lyrics are so incredibly human that they become surreal, blended in a perfect melodic unity. That’s what I call inspirational.