Music in religious discourse
Reading assignment: music in Islamic discourse
There is an extensive discourse on music in the Islamic tradition, including the use and effects of music in religious ritual (especially the sama`, spiritual audition), and the legality of music generally. While the Qur'an neither explicitly proscribes nor allows music, various passages have been interpreted as implying either position. The second principal sacred source for Muslims, Hadith (descriptions of sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad), occasionally refers to music and singing, but once again passages may be located to support either position. Thus the legality of music depends on the perspective of the interpreter. Such interpretation continues to the present day, as is evident from the large number of web sites devoted to this topic.
Read this article by Amnon Shiloah covering the general topic of music in Islamic discourse.
Examine the following web sites, one generally anti-music, the other more tolerant. Examine the superior sites (muttaqun.com, www.saracen.us) and see if you can figure out who the authors are, and where they're coming from. (This is good critical practice for the web generally.)
Other religious traditions (your contributions here!)
Your research assignment for this class is to locate examples of "music in religious discourse" on the web, and insert links and commentaries below, following the name of the religious tradition in boldface. For the purposes of this assignment, you may consider any text on the web to constitute "authentic" source material, whether or not the authors properly represent the mainstream of the religious tradition with which they claim affiliation.
Please try to locate source materials from a range of religious traditions. Such materials may range from sacred texts themselves, to discussion groups, blogs, and web sites established by religious organizations.
Please review each others' submissions before class on Thursday, to serve as the basis for a discussion of general issues.
I've inserted a few examples myself to start you off.
Your contributions follow...
The authors of Rock Music: For the Christian or Not? and Demon Possession and Music are dedicated to exposing the evils of rock music, especially Christian rock music of the kind found among last week's submissions (i.e Sonic Flood, Newsboys etc.). I find both incredibly offensive but they usefully reveal a very real and ugly attitude within the "Christian" religious discourse. Rev Bouwman embraces an intensely colonial worldview complete with all of its unashamed racist overtones. His basic premise is that Europe was the first recipient of Christianity and therefore "regeneration" by the Holy Spirit (regeneration is the transforming from humanity's evil fallen nature to one "redeemed" by Christ). Because Europe was "Christian," Europeans created music that is truly Christ-like. People in other parts of the world (basically everywhere that is not Europe), who do not listen to Bach or Mozart are examples of "unregented cultures" of "unregenerated men" left to wallow in their evil. You get the picture and I do not really feel like typing anymore. The other article by Dr. Juanita MacElwain is no better. both articles claim that "rock" music is rooted in evil cultural traditions, is therefore evil sonically (regardless of text), and renders Christian rock and by extension lthose who listen to it suceptible to demonic influence. By appropriating the forms of "evil" , "unregenrated" people, these so-called Christians become suspect.
These articles are obviously offensive to most who read them. It is a sad indication that even though every idea perpetrated by the authors have been sucessfully discredited, colonial racist attitudes persist. In addition, the authors present their cases with little or no evidence (in such a way that assumes the reader's agreement) and cite sources from only their side of the argument.
But hey, whats a bit of hate literature if it serves the greater good? These authors may demonize millions of people but if it can keep at least one good American kid from listening to Christian rock and roll...
I am ashamed that these ideas still inform the thinking of so many of my faith.
Buddhism: Sounds of the Ganges River: North American Buddhist Music Festival and Buddhist Music The latter website provides a general overview of the types of chant, the vocal discipline, instrumentation, and different kinds of chant that are performed in Buddhist music. It also has audio of traditional chant and the more contemporary vernacular chant that uses instrumentation. The first website gives a brief history of Buddhist music. It also showcases one Buddhist choir and it's performance beliefs,with a really clear,very theatrical performance clip.--KellyM 21:44, 13 March 2006 (MST)