April 16, 2014

Holy Week music sets a high bar, but one church rises to the challenge

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The Choir and Orchestra of First Presbyterian Church offering Cantata 79, J.S. Bach, during worship on Reformation Sunday in October, 2013. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Gay

The Choir and Orchestra of First Presbyterian Church offering Cantata 79, J.S. Bach, during worship on Reformation Sunday in October, 2013. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Gay

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PHILADELPHIA (RNS) The great trove of Holy Week music is firmly rooted in church, and on Good Friday, First Presbyterian Church is bringing Bach back to his roots, presenting his "St. John Passion" as he did -- not as performance but as prayer.

  • Atheist Max

    Too bad all this beautiful music is connected to Lutheranism.
    Luther hated the Jews so much – he inspired Hitler.

    Music is too good for something as base as religion. What a shame it is used for that purpose.

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  • william white

    “what man means for evil, God offend uses for good” you’re a sad person athist max, it would take a merciful God to redeem you…..but hope lives eternal…ps your statements only effect the unacknowledged.

  • Atheist Max

    @William,
    No. I’m not the least bit sad.
    But I think it is worth noting that beautiful music is rich on its own and the sad thing is to use it in service of superstitions like God and such.
    Mozart’s “Requiem”, for example, is not improved by being heard in a church except that the acoustics are usually much better there than in a VFW hall.

    As for your comment that “what man means for evil, God often uses for good” is nothing but the spectacularly childish “ends justify the means.”
    I’ll overlook the appearance that you were justifying Hitler as part of a Godly plan. You don’t seem to realize the can of worms that opens.

  • Mark T

    The music was inspired by God. The composers wrote in in praise of God. Who are you to tell them they shouldn’t do that? Angry militant atheists refuse to let anyone be happy. If you don’t want to believe in God, don’t.

  • Atheist Max

    @Mark,
    “music was inspired by God”
    Doubtful, since God is unlikely.
    Happiness is knowing you aren’t faking it. Try it.

  • Mark T

    Do the faithful go to atheist websites and troll as the angry militant atheists do at religious sites? What a miserable life they must lead, gaining happiness by trying to offend Christians.

  • Atheist Max

    @Mark,
    I knew that was coming.
    This is a religious news service website – and it is indispensable which is why I donate to it.

    I study religion and its effects on society the same way a scientist studies pathogenic viruses. I am looking for ways to resist and halt the spread of this affliction called religion.

    Today Jews are being rounded up in Ukraine
    because the Russian Orthodox Church is gaining strength in the new Russian Czar (a historically religious post) once held by Stalin and now held by Vladimir PUTIN.

    You see, religion of all kinds is a cancer on our culture.
    I eagerly await the day when the atheists outnumber the religious. It is time to put this horrible nightmare into the trash bin of history.

  • Atheist Max

    JEWS are being rounded up in the Ukraine because the Russian Christian Orthodoxy has regained power thanks to the new Czar, Vladimir Putin.
    Once the Czar was Stalin. Now it is Putin.

    And look what Christianity will ALWAYS do with power!
    Religion is cancer.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/04/17/jews-in-east-ukraine-are-being-threatened-but-by-whom.html

  • Mike

    Max, I am sorrowed that your bitterness over the horrors of the Holocaust is aimed at Bach and Luther. Both have impacted millions and millions positively. Luther was named the 3rd most influential person of the last millennium. He certainly was a flawed human, like all of us, atheist or believer. You are always welcome at St. Paul’s Lutheran, Glenside. Come and absorb the beauty of the music. We actually have choir members that are not believers, but enjoy the enrichment.

  • Atheist Max

    Bitterness is the healthiest reaction to this:

    “…the personification of the devil as the symbol of all evil assumes the living shape of the Jew.”
    – Adolf Hitler (following the position of Martin Luther), Mein Kampf, Vol. 1 Chapter 11

    Church is a wonderful, reaffirming place if you believe in the doctrine – and a wonderful joy to be with like minded folks whose company you enjoy and whose kindness is very real.

    But the price for endorsing it and accepting it is too high.
    Thanks for the invite though.

  • Mark T

    You don’t “study religion”. You look for ways to denigrate the faithful. You’re not an atheist, you’re a Satanist-in-denial.

    “Today Jews are being rounded up in Ukraine because the Russian Orthodox Church is gaining strength…”

    It’s false that they’re being rounded up. Flyers were passed out. It turns out they were nothing more than a political dirty trick, playing on our fears by invoking the Holocaust (also satanist in nature). Ukrainian Jewish leaders recognized this immediately. If you can look past your hatred for a moment read Abe Foxman’s accurate description (in USA Today) of the situation in Ukraine and what Ukrainian Jews are really facing. But I suspect you’ll continue to blame all Christians.

  • Atheist Max

    @Mark T,
    I most certainly study religion. The decade long rise of the Russian Christian Orthodoxy and its reconnection to the Czar Putin is a growing danger to the world. Sorry you don’t know that.

    As for ‘satan’ there is no reason to believe in ANY gods, including satan – it is just another superstition. Hitler was a Catholic – not a satanist by the way.

    Religion belongs in the dustbin.
    The imaginary God takes credit for all the good that people try to accomplish and none of the bad which it supposedly so tenderly gifted us with.

    Any music used in the service of such a God is wasted – like throwing “pearls to swine” to quote the famous bigot, Jesus (Matthew 7:3).