Have you ever thought about your soul – can it be saved?
Or perhaps you think that when you’re dead you just stay in your grave
Is God just a thought within your head or is he a part of you?
Is Christ just a name that you read in a book when you were in school?
– After Forever, Black Sabbath
In the 1980s, there was a big push against heavy metal music. Parents and religious groups claimed that listening to Ozzy, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, etc. meant that you worshipped the devil, or at the very least, you were opening yourself up to Satan. If you google the rest of the lyrics to the song above, After Forever by Black Sabbath, the lyrics are very Christian. So much so, that when I listened to Black Sabbath back in the 80s, I was convinced that the people who were against Ozzy and Sabbath were not reading the lyrics. Sabbath lyrics painted Satan as a scary dude.
Big black shape with eyes of fire
Telling people their desire
Satan’s sitting there, he’s smiling
Watches those flames get higher and higher
Oh no, no, please God help me
– Black Sabbath, Black Sabbath
I’m sure that those seeing Satanism in heavy metal were reacting to the imagery. I used to love looking at the imagery of album covers–something that is lost in the digital age. Ozzy’s Diary of a Madman cover fascinated me. Let’s face it, this stuff is just cool.
But I am sure the upside down cross upset those who feared heavy metal.
But today I am an atheist. I am very anti Christian–anti religion across the board. Religion poisons the world. Were these people correct that heavy metal put me on the path of becoming a heathen? Did Judas Priest, Ozzy, Sabbath, Iron Maiden, and all the other long hair metal bands that vibrated through my skull in my youth make me an atheist?
Of course they did not, at least not on their own. Let’s not forget that these same people claimed playing Dungeons & Dragons was a gateway drug to evil. Or that playing Stairway to Heaven backwards had satanic messages. Yup, I did that too. This is a sample of what it was supposed to have said.
So here’s to my Sweet Satan.
The other’s little path
Would make me sad,
Whose power is faith.
He’ll give those with him 666.
And all the evil fools,
they know he madeus suffer sadly.
It’s so much easier today to listen versus spinning a vinyl record backwards in the 80s. See for yourself.
Perhaps, though, there is a kernel of truth in these claims. Not that you will become a Satanist but an atheist. I still swear that the fastest way to atheism is reading the bible. I mean I once believed, I listened to heavy metal, I no longer believe. Seems pretty cut-and-dry. I think the reason the religious challenged heavy metal is because they know that it opened the mind to questioning. Questioning is the enemy of faith. Many of these songs said things that I wouldn’t dare have thought. In After Forever the lyrics say:
Would you like to see the Pope on the end of a rope do you think he’s a fool? – After Forever, Black Sabbath
Whoa! I couldn’t play that too loudly in my Roman Catholic home.
I am an anti-Christ
I am an anarchist
– Anarchy in the UK, Sex Pistols
The Sex Pistols lyrics that were forbidden in my youth are now my anthem in my adulthood.
The truth is, music dared to question. It dared to speak out against authority. It allowed me to think. If I was sheltered from such music, I probably would have grown up without questioning. I would have remained a slave to religious dogma. Instead I became enlightened.
Atheism is not Satanism. I don’t believe in Satan. So I can’t be a Satanist. Christians don’t seem to understand this. They think atheism and Satanism is the same thing. But I am not evil, I am not a lover of the devil. I do not wish harm on people or drink blood. What I am is a free thinker. I have heavy metal partly to thank for putting me on the path to freedom and reason.