As an atheist, I generally don’t have much use for Christian (or whatever) rock. But there are some religious songs that are really fantastic. What are your faves? To keep this thread from getting too gunked up, let’s ignore songs from JCS and Godspell, as that would be like shooting Jesus fish in a barrel.
IMHO you can’t do better than The Battle Hymn of the Republic
“Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord:
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword:
His truth is marching on.”
It’s like god is Jules from Pulp Fiction.
For catchy music I’ll have to go Norman Greenbaum’s Spirit in the Sky.
There’s a new one, and it’s fairly obscure, but gorgeous. Bryn Terfel (the opera singer) and Rhys Meirion (another opera singer) do a version of Psalm 23 in Welsh.* The album is Benedictus, available from Amazon. I wish I could find a link to the sound file online (a friend of mine has the album). This from someone who doesn’t normally find religion or opera or Classical music very compelling.
On a completely different note (ha!) in a different genre, Dolly Parton’s “He’s Alive” was always strangely moving for me. I think it’s just the emotion in her voice: she’s clearly a believer.
“Salm 23” in case anyone has trouble figuring out which one it is
PS: I went to high school with Norman Greenbaum’s son Jethro, who is very smart. Not that it’s relevant.
There are many but here is one that might be overlooked - “Jesus Wept” by Ralph McTell http://http://www.amazon.com/Sand-Your-Shoes-Ralph-McTell/dp/B000001BBT
Here’s a sample of the lyric:…
"Then he saw two armies marching and he heard their crucifixes
Reduced to superstitious muted jangling round their necks
And he heard his name intoned as they interred their companion,
And that’s why Jesus wept.
Then he thought about his mother and the stories she had told him,
Who’d filled his dreams with angels, put voices in his head
Then the scent of pine trees made him think of dear old Joseph,
And that’s why Jesus wept."