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ecclesiastes9:10
12-23-2012, 06:46 PM
I just recently got into this mammoth classic prog album and absolutely am infatuated with it. Over the course of a few days, it has shot up to the top of my ten favorite prog rock albums... that's never happened before in such a short period of time. I always knew of VDGG, but never really got into them at first so I passed them by... I'm so happy I didn't miss out on these guys any longer. I just ordered Still Life on Amazon and can't wait to hear it!!

I'm dying to show this album to my prog buddy, but he's a devout Christian and doesn't like any "sketchy" prog albums (by sketchy I mean anything that insinuates promoting atheism or anything else denouncing God etc.

My question is, what does "Godbluff" mean? At first, you may think what it means is that God is a bluff (a lie). But, one can make the argument that "God" could stand for "huge" or "epic" and then the title could mean "epic lie." Does anyone know why the band named the album Godbluff?

simon moon
12-23-2012, 07:33 PM
Glad you discovered a great band! As much as I love their material after they reunited, their earlier material is even better. You are in for a lot of great music.

I am not sure what 'Godbluff' means. Can't help you there.

Seriously? Your friend can't handle anything that does not adhere to his beliefs?! Now that's closed minded.

Peter Hammill is an atheist. The lyrics to "Four Pails" make it pretty obvious.

I hope he's not a fan of any of the following:

David Gilmour
Nick Mason
Roger Waters
Brian Eno
Zappa
Bjork
Geddy Lee
Andy Partridge

Just a few atheist musicians off the top of my head.

Jymbot
12-23-2012, 07:34 PM
"If I only had time,
If I only had time,
But soon my time has ended"
-The Sleepwalkers


One would think the lyrics to the opening track - in this case "Arrow" would contain the main message of the lp.
What can we reap from them?

Well , seems they are running from war or some calamity and come to the chapel seeking sanctuary.
They are met with the words:
"I'd like to help you somehow but I'm in the self-same spot
My condition exempts me
We are all on the run on our knees"

In other words Religion is not going to aid the fugitive, etc. - at least not in this world.
Saint or sinner , Time, that Arrow which deftly,irrefutably leads us all to the same conclusion, compels us ALL THE SAME.

I dont know about you, but the conclusion Hammill seems to be speaking of is Death, not Judgement (and so on...).

In other words, religion won't help.
.........

Ooops! Just checked: "Arrow" isn't the opening track. "The Undercoverman" is.
What can this be but Death. Death comes under cover of Night.

Being an atheist, perhaps he is saying the end reality is Death and nothingness. We wont be made aware of anything, least of all God. The God-bluff masks will have fallen, but we won't know the difference by then. We shall be dead.

ecclesiastes9:10
12-23-2012, 07:43 PM
Glad you discovered a great band! As much as I love their material after they reunited, their earlier material is even better. You are in for a lot of great music.

I hope he's not a fan of any of the following:

David Gilmour
Nick Mason
Roger Waters
Brian Eno
Zappa
Bjork
Geddy Lee
Andy Partridge (XTC)

Just a few atheist musicians off the top of my head.

Thanks! I can't wait I adore Godbluff (I'm listening to Scorched Earth right now). It's funny you mention those artists, I've never heard him say anything raving about them. He adores Neil Peart, Robert Fripp, Steve Howe, the guys from Anglagard and Camel. I personally love Pink Floyd, Zappa, and Bjork.

Progatron
12-23-2012, 07:44 PM
You'll most likely love Still Life as well, it essentially goes hand-in-hand with Godbluff. Enjoy! :)

ecclesiastes9:10
12-23-2012, 07:53 PM
"If I only had time,
If I only had time,
But soon my time has ended>"
-The Sleepwalkers


One would think the lyrics to the opening track - in this case "Arrow" would contain the main message of the lp.
What can we reap from them?

Well , seems they are running from war or some calamity and come to the chapel seeking sanctuary.
They are met with the words:
"I'd like to help you somehow but I'm in the self-same spot
My condition exempts me
We are all on the run on our knees"

In other words Religion is not going to aid the fugitive, etc. - at least not in this world.
Saint and sinner , God compels us ALL THE SAME, tied to the vagaries of passing Time, that Arrow which deftly,irrefutably leads us all to the same conclusion.

I dont know about you, but the conclusion Hammill seems to be speaking of is Death, not Judgement (and so on...).

In other words, religion won't help.

Wow. I've been listening mainly to the music so far; I've drifted in and out of the lyrics. This is a great analysis, and it seems the album lingers around the atheism realm.

Yanks2014
12-23-2012, 08:06 PM
Seriously? Your friend can't handle anything that does not adhere to his beliefs?! Now that's closed minded.

Peter Hammill is an atheist. The lyrics to "Four Pails" make it pretty obvious.

I hope he's not a fan of any of the following:

David Gilmour
Nick Mason
Roger Waters
Brian Eno
Zappa
Bjork
Geddy Lee
Andy Partridge

Just a few atheist musicians off the top of my head.

You make some assumptions there. I've never heard Geddy Lee mention anything to suggest he's atheist, even if some of the lyrics he sings hint at it, which of course he doesn't write. I've heard him mention his Jewish heritage, and at most he's a non-practicing Jew. Even Neil Peart has called himself an agnostic at times. I don't let the non-belief of musicians steer me from their music. But outspoken atheism is indeed a turnoff to most of us practicing Christians. You would have to agree its totally rational to not like having your belief system insulted and mocked as does happen by some musicians. I'm not saying everyone on your list does that. I do recall being rather disturbed by Andy Partridge's lyrics and attitude about the XTC song "Dear God". I'm a huge ELP fan, and some Lake lyrics bother me. You mention Pink Floyd members, but I don't recall outspoken atheism in their music. For me, a musician not believing doesn't affect my enjoyment of their music. Its the outspoken attitude that bugs me.

Mister Triscuits
12-23-2012, 08:07 PM
Peter Hammill is an atheist. The lyrics to "Four Pails" make it pretty obvious.

Hammill didn't write that song; Chris Judge Smith did. And the whole point of the song is a loss of "faith" in atheism when faced with the crisis of his lover's death.

simon moon
12-23-2012, 08:17 PM
He adores Neil Peart

Has he paid any attention to Peart's Lyrics?

"Role the Bones"
"Ghost of a Chance"
"The Big Whee"

Pretty sure a disbeliever wrote those lyrics...

Progatron
12-23-2012, 08:26 PM
Has he paid any attention to Peart's Lyrics?

"Role the Bones"
"Ghost of a Chance"
"The Big Whee"

Pretty sure a disbeliever wrote those lyrics...

"Faithless" is a good example as well.

simon moon
12-23-2012, 08:31 PM
Hammill didn't write that song; Chris Judge Smith did. And the whole point of the song is a loss of "faith" in atheism when faced with the crisis of his lover's death.

Thank you for the correction on the lyricist.

There is no such thing as "faith in atheism".

But there are other Hammill penned lyrics that seem atheistic to me.

Still Life - “Take away the threat of death
and all you’re left with is a round of make-believe”

The Lie -

You took me, gave me reasons for
saints and missals, vigils, all the more
holy martyrs -----
I'd embrace you and walk through
the one-way door...
I'd embrace you, but it would be
just another lie ----------

Mister Triscuits
12-23-2012, 08:33 PM
There is no such thing as "faith in atheism".

Which is why I put it in scare quotes. That's the irony of those lyrics.

playbass
12-23-2012, 08:39 PM
"Faithless" is a good example as well.

I'm sure "Freewill" is a great example too.

simon moon
12-23-2012, 08:44 PM
Which is why I put it in scare quotes. That's the irony of those lyrics.


Doh....

ecclesiastes9:10
12-23-2012, 09:46 PM
Has he paid any attention to Peart's Lyrics?

"Role the Bones"
"Ghost of a Chance"
"The Big Whee"

Pretty sure a disbeliever wrote those lyrics...

"Don't want to wait for heaven..." I love that song... Peart isn't denying heaven's existence. But back on point, does anyone know what "Godbluff" means?

alanterrill
12-23-2012, 09:48 PM
My question is, what does "Godbluff" mean? At first, you may think what it means is that God is a bluff (a lie). But, one can make the argument that "God" could stand for "huge" or "epic" and then the title could mean "epic lie." Does anyone know why the band named the album Godbluff?[/QUOTE
As I recall its just a meaningless made up word that the band decided they would use to describe their music to journalist tht kept asking them "what do you call this music? " answer "Godbluff". I guess that shut them up.

Bucka001
12-24-2012, 02:36 AM
As I recall its just a meaningless made up word that the band decided they would use to describe their music to journalist tht kept asking them "what do you call this music? " answer "Godbluff". I guess that shut them up.

That's it. No heavy religious implications, it was just one of their fun "secret society" words, used to describe their music to journalists.





I'm dying to show this album to my prog buddy, but he's a devout Christian and doesn't like any "sketchy" prog albums (by sketchy I mean anything that insinuates promoting atheism or anything else denouncing God etc.


I'm a devout (whatever that means) Orthodox Christian who goes to church every Sunday. Godbluff is my favorite rock album of all time, I wrote a book on VdGG, and the members are all very good friends (who all know I'm religious).




Peter Hammill is an atheist. The lyrics to "Four Pails" make it pretty obvious.



Peter is not an atheist. Where he's on record talking about such things, he could best be described as agnostic (his thing is, "I don't know"). On atheism, he can't go for it because it's "believing in a 'not something' as much as those who believe in something" (quote paraphrased from the '92 Passionkirche video). And he has come out and come close to stating a belief in God in other places (the interview with the Bristol Recorder).

Judge Smith wrote Four Pails. That song is about a secular scientific viewpoint that does a 180 when the protagonist's loved one passes away. The song is the opposite of promoting an atheistic view.




But there are other Hammill penned lyrics that seem atheistic to me.

Still Life - “Take away the threat of death
and all you’re left with is a round of make-believe”

The Lie -

You took me, gave me reasons for
saints and missals, vigils, all the more
holy martyrs -----
I'd embrace you and walk through
the one-way door...
I'd embrace you, but it would be
just another lie ----------

Still Life is about the yearning for immortality and how dreadful it would be to actually achieve it. No knock on religion with that one.

The Lie has to do with the the religious ceremony, but isn't saying anything like "there's no God." Peter has described it thusly: "Behind the panoplies of religion -- I was brought up Catholic, so that's the religion I write about -- there is 'truth' but the truth is masked in all the pomp and circumstance. 'The lie' is actually the religion and the way it's presented to you because I do believe the saints got to 'the truth,' but they didn't get to the truth by going to mass every morning and benediction in the evening."


I don't let the non-belief of musicians steer me from their music. But outspoken atheism is indeed a turnoff to most of us practicing Christians. You would have to agree its totally rational to not like having your belief system insulted and mocked as does happen by some musicians.

In total agreement with Yanks on this one. I've never felt insulted while listening to PH/VdGG because of my faith. Musicians/writers don't have to be in complete or even partial alignment with my views for me to enjoy them. But if there's an outright mockery of my core beliefs, then it would be sort of difficult, eh?

Trane
12-24-2012, 06:27 AM
"If I only had time,
If I only had time,
But soon my time has ended"
-The Sleepwalkers


One would think the lyrics to the opening track - in this case "Arrow" would contain the main message of the lp.
What can we reap from them?

Well , seems they are running from war or some calamity and come to the chapel seeking sanctuary.
They are met with the words:
"I'd like to help you somehow but I'm in the self-same spot
My condition exempts me
We are all on the run on our knees"

In other words Religion is not going to aid the fugitive, etc. - at least not in this world.
Saint or sinner , Time, that Arrow which deftly,irrefutably leads us all to the same conclusion, compels us ALL THE SAME.

I dont know about you, but the conclusion Hammill seems to be speaking of is Death, not Judgement (and so on...).

In other words, religion won't help.
.........

Ooops! Just checked: "Arrow" isn't the opening track. "The Undercoverman" is.
What can this be but Death. Death comes under cover of Night.

Being an atheist, perhaps he is saying the end reality is Death and nothingness. We wont be made aware of anything, least of all God. The God-bluff masks will have fallen, but we won't know the difference by then. We shall be dead.

Although I don't necessarily agree with what you say (and I'm an atheist), that's about as fone a post I remember youever writing...

Trane
12-24-2012, 06:38 AM
You make some assumptions there. I've never heard Geddy Lee mention anything to suggest he's atheist, even if some of the lyrics he sings hint at it, which of course he doesn't write. I've heard him mention his Jewish heritage, and at most he's a non-practicing Jew. Even Neil Peart has called himself an agnostic at times. I don't let the non-belief of musicians steer me from their music. But outspoken atheism is indeed a turnoff to most of us practicing Christians. You would have to agree its totally rational to not like having your belief system insulted and mocked as does happen by some musicians. I'm not saying everyone on your list does that. I do recall being rather disturbed by Andy Partridge's lyrics and attitude about the XTC song "Dear God". I'm a huge ELP fan, and some Lake lyrics bother me. You mention Pink Floyd members, but I don't recall outspoken atheism in their music. For me, a musician not believing doesn't affect my enjoyment of their music. Its the outspoken attitude that bugs me.

Just because you're of jewish or christian descent doesn't mean you're not an atheist... AAMOF, there are a few atheism descending from muslims, but they generally won't say it, because apostasy is still quite accepted in islam ... You're trapped into it... the only way out of religion is death (this was the same a few centuries ago in christiandom)... I'd say that Rush is pretty close to atheist at times

As for Floyd (and especially Waters), their atheism is fairly obvipous... but not openly blatant...

Never thought of ELP as anti-religious, though...
However outside of Hammill's lyrics, I kind of like Ian Anderson's piques towards organized religion... Like him, I don't mind the idea of believing in a creator.... but the need to adore it and prey in big congregations with some kind of master of ceremony that you must obey blindly to his "wisdom" is very repellibng for me (why do "they" ask for your blind faith in that regard, when you don't apply it to other subjects)

thedunno
12-24-2012, 06:44 AM
As I recall its just a meaningless made up word that the band decided they would use to describe their music to journalist tht kept asking them "what do you call this music? " answer "Godbluff". I guess that shut them up.

Thats what I read in an interview with Peter Hammill too.

Hammill never called himself an atheist. For him this is a faith in non-believing, which makes no sense. He always called himself an agnost.

Trane
12-24-2012, 06:49 AM
Thats what I read in an interview with Peter Hammill too.

Hammill never called himself an atheist. For him this is a faith in non-believing, which makes no sense. He always called himself an agnost.

Of course it doesn't... But some atheists that don't really grasp what atheism is all about are out to actually making charts that look like the 10 commandements ... Can't remembe exactly,but this so-called atheist caste (or even a sect in this case) out of Frisco have established stuff like that...

Rickenbacker
12-24-2012, 08:20 AM
I hope he's not a fan of any of the following:


Geddy Lee


Just a few atheist musicians off the top of my head.


I guess he must've changed his views in more recent years because it's been mentioned that he'd had a traditional Jewish wedding.
There a source for this info about him & the others on that list?

sonic
12-24-2012, 08:59 AM
I thought it was a place.

Poisoned Youth
12-24-2012, 09:27 AM
That's it. No heavy religious implications, it was just one of their fun "secret society" words, used to describe their music to journalists.

Bucka, thanks for the greatly informative post.


In total agreement with Yanks on this one. I've never felt insulted while listening to PH/VdGG because of my faith. Musicians/writers don't have to be in complete or even partial alignment with my views for me to enjoy them. But if there's an outright mockery of my core beliefs, then it would be sort of difficult, eh?

Because religion has played a dominate authoritative role in our history, I think rock music is a perfect venue (with its rebellious nature) to express "freedom FROM religion". As such, I think you're more likely to find contempt regarding religion than praise for it.

In that same respect, I find a lot of music to be "spiritual" and mystical, getting to the point by innuendo and story telling, and not necessarily prescribing itself to any particular religion, even though often times the listener may relate it to their own beliefs.

ItalProgRules
12-24-2012, 10:16 AM
You cannot petition the Lord with bluff!

Mister Triscuits
12-24-2012, 10:46 AM
You cannot petition the Lord with bluff!

:cool

A. Scherze
12-24-2012, 10:58 AM
From: http://atheism.about.com/od/aboutagnosticism/a/atheism.htm.

Agnostic Atheism & Agnostic Theism

Once it is understood that atheism is merely the absence of belief in any gods, it becomes evident that agnosticism is not, as many assume, a “third way” between atheism and theism. The presence of a belief in a god and the absence of a belief in a god exhaust all of the possibilities. Agnosticism is not about belief in god but about knowledge — it was coined originally to describe the position of a person who could not claim to know for sure if any gods exist or not.

Thus, it is clear that agnosticism is compatible with both theism and atheism. A person can believe in a god (theism) without claiming to know for sure if that god exists; the result is agnostic theism. On the other hand, a person can disbelieve in gods (atheism) without claiming to know for sure that no gods can or do exist; the result is agnostic atheism.

It is also worth noting that there is a vicious double standard involved when theists claim that agnosticism is “better” than atheism because it is less dogmatic. If atheists are closed-minded because they are not agnostic, then so are theists. On the other hand, if theism can be open-minded then so can atheism.

In the end, the fact of the matter is a person isn’t faced with the necessity of only being either an atheist or an agnostic. Quite the contrary, not only can a person be both, but it is in fact common for people to be both agnostics and atheists. An agnostic atheist won’t claim to know for sure that nothing warranting the label “god” exists or that such cannot exist, but they also don’t actively believe that such an entity does indeed exist.

Jymbot
12-24-2012, 11:41 AM
From: http://atheism.about.com/od/aboutagnosticism/a/atheism.htm.
An agnostic atheist won’t claim to know for sure that nothing warranting the label “god” exists or that such cannot exist, but they also don’t actively believe that such an entity does indeed exist.

http://i151.photobucket.com/albums/s145/baggra/Bitco/psych/ehh.jpg

Watch out. This type of patter can freak your shit out.

Anyways... no religion allowed on PE!

Bucka001
12-24-2012, 11:56 AM
Godbluff has an organic, almost raw production value that works tremendously in the album's favor. Four long songs that actually rock (not a given in a lot of prog at the time) with very little solo-ing (again, not the norm for prog at the time). Nadir's Big Chance immediately preceded this album and the influence / aesthetic is apparent on Godbluff. Just one of the best albums ever...

Chuck AzEee!
12-24-2012, 12:29 PM
Phenomenal album, IMO the band's masterpiece with Pawn Hearts being 1a or a close second. My wife asked me what "Godbluff" meant? and I had no idea as well.

Harbottle
12-24-2012, 12:36 PM
You make some assumptions there. I've never heard Geddy Lee mention anything to suggest he's atheist, even if some of the lyrics he sings hint at it, which of course he doesn't write. I've heard him mention his Jewish heritage, and at most he's a non-practicing Jew. Even Neil Peart has called himself an agnostic at times. I don't let the non-belief of musicians steer me from their music. But outspoken atheism is indeed a turnoff to most of us practicing Christians. You would have to agree its totally rational to not like having your belief system insulted and mocked as does happen by some musicians. I'm not saying everyone on your list does that. I do recall being rather disturbed by Andy Partridge's lyrics and attitude about the XTC song "Dear God". I'm a huge ELP fan, and some Lake lyrics bother me. You mention Pink Floyd members, but I don't recall outspoken atheism in their music. For me, a musician not believing doesn't affect my enjoyment of their music. Its the outspoken attitude that bugs me.

Well the world has to put up with outspoken religious people for centuries. Funny how they don't like it when people dare to express a different point of view. If you don't like it, tough.

strawberrybrick
12-24-2012, 12:52 PM
Many of these artists were raised with the "traditional" attitudes of religion common in the 40s/50s; Hammill was schooled by Jesuits*, Geddy Lee was of course Jewish, the list goes on. However, part of what made the 60s the 60s was the challenge of "traditional" views towards religion. So yes, I would imagine that many, perhaps even most, of the artists of that era would pronounce themselves as agnostic, or non-practising (as opposed to non-believing).

*Note that questioning the existence of faith/God is part and parcel with those that have been through Catholicism.

scags
12-24-2012, 02:19 PM
In the 35 + years I've owned it, I never gave a spare thought to the meaning of the title. The video is fun, also.

karel hupjé
12-24-2012, 05:22 PM
Well the world has to put up with outspoken religious people for centuries. Funny how they don't like it when people dare to express a different point of view. If you don't like it, tough.

You're so right!

simon moon
12-24-2012, 05:26 PM
From: http://atheism.about.com/od/aboutagnosticism/a/atheism.htm.

Agnostic Atheism & Agnostic Theism

Once it is understood that atheism is merely the absence of belief in any gods, it becomes evident that agnosticism is not, as many assume, a “third way” between atheism and theism. The presence of a belief in a god and the absence of a belief in a god exhaust all of the possibilities. Agnosticism is not about belief in god but about knowledge — it was coined originally to describe the position of a person who could not claim to know for sure if any gods exist or not.

Thus, it is clear that agnosticism is compatible with both theism and atheism. A person can believe in a god (theism) without claiming to know for sure if that god exists; the result is agnostic theism. On the other hand, a person can disbelieve in gods (atheism) without claiming to know for sure that no gods can or do exist; the result is agnostic atheism.

It is also worth noting that there is a vicious double standard involved when theists claim that agnosticism is “better” than atheism because it is less dogmatic. If atheists are closed-minded because they are not agnostic, then so are theists. On the other hand, if theism can be open-minded then so can atheism.

In the end, the fact of the matter is a person isn’t faced with the necessity of only being either an atheist or an agnostic. Quite the contrary, not only can a person be both, but it is in fact common for people to be both agnostics and atheists. An agnostic atheist won’t claim to know for sure that nothing warranting the label “god” exists or that such cannot exist, but they also don’t actively believe that such an entity does indeed exist.

At the risk of having this thread locked, I do have to comment on the clarity of this post. It explains very well why atheism and agnosticism are NOT mutually exclusive positions.

OK, back to the original subject, a great album.

jupiter0rjapan
12-24-2012, 05:41 PM
Don't play him Peter's "Golden Promises". Ha ha! I love that song, but it is pretty harsh.

I am so all over the map as far as people's belief turning me off to their music. I listen to all kinds of stuff that go against what my beliefs are, but only some keep me away. It guess it isn't the lyrics, but yapping between songs that turns me off sometimes. Ted Nugent being the main offender. He could sing all day and all night about killing animals, how he votes and other nonsense and it is no skin off my back, but I do not want endless rants on the subjects. I came to hear him play guitar, not preach. Last time I saw him he was spending equal time talking about how liberals were ruining America ect ect. Yawn.

By the same token, I may be in the choir of their churches, but hearing Bono and Springsteen preaching to said choir gets annoying too.

But back to what is important here: GODBLUFF is amazing through and through. I too took way too long to get around to this band's music.

Trane
12-24-2012, 06:11 PM
Anyways... no religion allowed on PE!

And since atheism is not a religion, it's allowed on PE :D ;)

But you're ... on we go with the album...

As much as I love the gradual crescendo throughout the album, starting with that awesome Undecover Man (too bad Jaxon didn't play more flute in the band), I've always regretted the Cha-cha-cha part of Sleepwalkers

Progatron
12-24-2012, 06:38 PM
As much as I love the gradual crescendo throughout the album, starting with that awesome Undecover Man (too bad Jaxon didn't play more flute in the band), I've always regretted the Cha-cha-cha part of Sleepwalkers

Yes, the flute was a nice touch in VDGG on occasion, and an increase would have been welcome (I love his saxes of course, it's just nice to have another 'colour' to the band). I can handle the waltz section of "The Sleepwalkers", being that it's reasonably short - but I can see someone not caring for it. I think the climax of that song (and indeed, the album) is my favourite moment in their history. When the "tonight before you lay down to the sweetness of your sleep" section begins, but before those vocals actually hit, when it's just the chords. Powerful.

Jacoblietho
12-24-2012, 06:51 PM
My question is, what does "Godbluff" mean? At first, you may think what it means is that God is a bluff (a lie). But, one can make the argument that "God" could stand for "huge" or "epic" and then the title could mean "epic lie." Does anyone know why the band named the album Godbluff?

Yes, you can make it mean anything you want it to mean! Armchair theologians can make God mean epic, strange, kindness or any adjective you can think of. Hammill himself didn't mean that, as he is an atheist,

As for the title itself and its meaning. It's up to the listener to take home what he wants. My take home is that all talks of gods are a bluff and the sleepwalkers are those who cling to gods in face of all the evicence against them.

Regarding your christian friend who doesn't like anything but fairytales - tell him that Godbluff is in fact another name for Godtruth. Tell him that Hammill is a sincere christian. Tell him that Hammill wrote Godbluff in response to Dawkins' The God Delusion. Tell him that Hammill was on Trafalgar Square the other day, protesting against stem-cell research. Tell him that Ratzinger has made Hammill a cardinal. Tell him that Hammill thinks the earth is 6000 years old! Tell him that Hammill supported Palin! Tell him anything! Tell him the things he wants to hear!

Whatever your approach to this album is, it will render you almost speechless. To me, Godbluff is the crowning glory of all the music that happened between 69-76.

Bucka001
12-24-2012, 08:07 PM
Yes, you can make it mean anything you want it to mean!

You can, but the band did not mean for there to be any religious implications behind it (see posts on first page of this thread).


Hammill himself ... is an atheist

Incorrect. (see posts on first page of this thread)


Regarding your christian friend who doesn't like anything but fairytales - tell him that Godbluff is in fact another name for Godtruth. Tell him that Hammill is a sincere christian. Tell him that Hammill wrote Godbluff in response to Dawkins' The God Delusion.

Or tell him the truth (that Peter's response to these things is "I don't know," that he's an agnostic who would be as suspicious of Dawkins, Hitchens, et al, as he would the priest down at your local church, and that his lyrics are mostly of the "I have no answers but I'm searching" variety and therefore would have nothing to offend your friend).


Whatever your approach to this album is, it will render you almost speechless. To me, Godbluff is the crowning glory of all the music that happened between 69-76.

Correct ;-)

polmico
12-24-2012, 08:51 PM
I've always regretted the Cha-cha-cha part of Sleepwalkers

ACH! It's all about the Cha-cha! Love that!

Progatron
12-24-2012, 08:58 PM
ACH! It's all about the Cha-cha! Love that!

Are we still talking about VDGG, or have we moved on to Yes with "Sound Chaser"? :p

A. Scherze
12-25-2012, 12:42 AM
It explains very well why atheism and agnosticism are NOT mutually exclusive positions.


And, maybe even more importantly, that someone who believes can be "agnostic".

In addition, a person can be a theist, but not be religious, and, someone can be an atheist and still be religious, e.g. certain types of Buddhists.

A. Scherze
12-25-2012, 12:48 AM
I've always regretted the Cha-cha-cha part of Sleepwalkers


I quite enjoy the Sleepwalkers Samba. Not only is it a bit of musical black humor, but hordes of sleepwalkers might be viewed as macabre type of dance.

Trane
12-25-2012, 04:04 AM
And, maybe even more importantly, that someone who believes can be "agnostic".

In addition, a person can be a theist, but not be religious, and, someone can be an atheist and still be religious, e.g. certain types of Buddhists.


Sorry, but this buddhism thing being about philosophy instead of a religion is pure bull, IMHO... despite what their various sects or movements within it are claiming

I see monasteries, monks, altars, prayers, temples and a pope/Dalhai-Lama... everything spells religion



I quite enjoy the Sleepwalkers Samba. Not only is it a bit of musical black humor, but hordes of sleepwalkers might be viewed as macabre type of dance.

Can't see a Samba in Sleepwalkers... It's definitely a cha-cha-cha.... as the three bursts will point out... yeah, it's obviously part of the nightmare, but it breaks the rest of the song's rhythm, IMHO

A. Scherze
12-25-2012, 08:52 AM
I have no idea what style of music that section is, I just like the alliteration. :)
(As in the lyric "senses dimmed in semi-sentience".)

BTW, in the song, Hammill uses "dancers of the night", "their cryptic dance", "the dancing dead", and "must dance to that moonlight song".
So, the use of a dance style is appropriate complement of music with the lyrics.

--

As for the first part, I did say that Buddhism is a religion. That is my point.

However, it is not necessarily a requirement to believe in a god or gods to be a Buddhist.
Thus, an example of an atheistic religion.

A. Scherze
12-25-2012, 09:11 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7JIuJQVLX8

sonic
12-25-2012, 10:13 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7JIuJQVLX8
Brilliant. Better than the record.

simon moon
12-25-2012, 06:08 PM
And, maybe even more importantly, that someone who believes can be "agnostic".

In addition, a person can be a theist, but not be religious, and, someone can be an atheist and still be religious, e.g. certain types of Buddhists.



Very true.

simon moon
12-25-2012, 06:43 PM
Or tell him the truth (that Peter's response to these things is "I don't know," that he's an agnostic who would be as suspicious of Dawkins, Hitchens, et al, as he would the priest down at your local church, and that his lyrics are mostly of the "I have no answers but I'm searching" variety and therefore would have nothing to offend your friend).


The vast majority of atheists do not claim to know, with absolute certainty, that a god or gods do not exist. So, in that respect, PH is no different than all us other agnostic atheists.

The question atheism is answering has nothing to do with positions of knowledge.

As far as Dawkins, Hitchens, et al, are concerned, they are also agnostic. They do not claim to know that a god or gods do not exist.

Bucka001
12-25-2012, 07:50 PM
The vast majority of atheists do not claim to know, with absolute certainty, that a god or gods do not exist. So, in that respect, PH is no different than all us other agnostic atheists.

The question atheism is answering has nothing to do with positions of knowledge.

As far as Dawkins, Hitchens, et al, are concerned, they are also agnostic. They do not claim to know that a god or gods do not exist.

Then by your standards Peter is confused because he has specifically stated that he can't go for atheism because (according to him) it means believing in a 'not something' as much as those who believe in a something. One is definitely incorrect when they say that PH is an atheist, as he himself does not label himself that way and (from impressions I get) would be uncomfortable to be labeled so.

A. Scherze
12-25-2012, 08:48 PM
It's a binary situation. If PH believes in a god or gods, he is a theist. Anything else, then he is an atheist of some type.

It does not matter what he wants to be labelled.

Digital_Man
12-25-2012, 09:13 PM
I always assumed PH was an atheist but I'll buy he's an agnostic. There can be a thin line between the two anyway. To me an agnostic is basically just a non committal atheist anyway. Regardless, both are non believers.

Peart always struck me as either an atheist or agnostic.

Also, to get somewhat off topic, I find it funny that some people consider Echolyn a christian or even spiritual band. They might have spiritual elements but when I interviewed them Brett mentioned a few writers he likes and it turns out all of them are atheists. I don't think that was a coincidence. You can admire the planet and see things in a positive light without being a christian or whatever although most atheists and agnostics do by nature seem to be pretty dark and pessimistic (imo).

I personally don't really care much about an artists personal beliefs. Rush, VDGG, Kansas, Yes and Echolyn(and a few others) all have interesting lyrics regardless of what their personal beliefs are. What tends to bother me is when a band or artist gets preachy about it(ie Neal Morse). I have yet to encounter preachy lyrics that lean in the agnostic or atheist direction although I suppose it's possible. Actually I can think of one example and that is "dear god" by XTC. They were obviously trying to make a point and one that is often not allowed to be heard so good for them.

simon moon
12-25-2012, 09:33 PM
Then by your standards Peter is confused because he has specifically stated that he can't go for atheism because (according to him) it means believing in a 'not something' as much as those who believe in a something. One is definitely incorrect when they say that PH is an atheist, as he himself does not label himself that way and (from impressions I get) would be uncomfortable to be labeled so.

Then PH is using an incorrect definition of atheism

Atheism is NOT a belief system. Atheism is just not believing that a god or gods exist. Atheism says nothing about what one does believe.

In effect, atheism is nothing more than responding, "I don't believe you. Please provide me with demonstrable evidence and reasoned argument to support your claim", when someone says that a god exists.

It really doesn't matter what one labels themselves or not, as long as they don't have an active belief that a god exists, they are an atheist.


It's a binary situation. If PH believes in a god or gods, he is a theist. Anything else, then he is an atheist of some type.

It does not matter what he wants to be labelled.

Exactly.

Dok
12-25-2012, 11:41 PM
Atheists just have a heavy tendency to overly identify with the body, a natural inclination given the Ego's grip. If you have to be shown something you're missing the point. But only temporarily... no soul is forever ignorant. All you have to do is remember the song you learned in kindergarten or even earlier... have you forgotten?

Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a DREAM.

:good

Hmmm.. I have that Godbluff CD around here somewhere...

Bucka001
12-26-2012, 01:06 AM
Then PH is using an incorrect definition of atheism

Atheism is NOT a belief system.

I would think there is some confusion here; maybe the definition has changed over the years. My 2003, 11th edition of Webster's Dictionary defines 'atheism' as "the doctrine that there is no deity." That does make it sound like a belief system (the use of the word 'doctrine') but maybe not. Ultimately, it's probably just a question of semantics.


It's a binary situation. If PH believes in a god or gods, he is a theist. Anything else, then he is an atheist of some type.

It does not matter what he wants to be labelled.

Not the way I (and obviously PH) have always understood it, but I haven't given it a whole lot of attention. But, even in the context you've presented, we could probably say that PH is not an atheist, vis a vis this interview snippet from some time back ('80):

"I was taught by the Jesuits for nine years which I think is significant not only in this area but in terms of my whole approach to things. I'm fairly classic Jusuit -- educated ex-Catholic Artist, of which there are many examples... [On the question of guilt] Perhaps, but not at the top of my brain. Perhaps that's the driving force down there, perhaps that's the Jesuit gift. It's not something I'm consciously aware of all the time as I say I'm not a Catholic anymore. But if it was a 'yes' or 'no' then I'd have to say I believe in God, or all gods, or something. I feel it, but I don't know. Even 'The Lie' is actually a highly religious song because it's not "All religion is bunk," it's "why is this sort of religion bunk when I have these feelings?" "

So, from this, maybe PH is a theist agnostic (? to use your terms; do I have that right?). The confusion for me is that atheist and agnostic are two very different things, or so I always thought. Atheists deny the existence of God (i.e., "the doctrine that there is no deity" according to the dictionary), and agnostics don't deny anything, saying they just don't know (Webster: "Agnostic: One who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god") and it seems that PH views it this way as well. One thing from this interview snippet (originally appearing in The Bristol Recorderd) is that PH doesn't seem like an atheist.

The main thing is that the OP should be able to play VdGG's music for his religious pal without any worry that his friend's beliefs will be attacked as fairy tales, etc. There are some (very good, imo) songs criticizing The Church, and PH certainly comes off in these tunes as a person who may not believe in God (which is why the Bristol Recorder interview surprised me when I read it), but even so he never adopts a mocking or belittling tone -- he just always sounds like he's in the midst of an honest search for some sort of answer or resolution, and that's fine (and extremely interesting in his case, because he's a great artist).

MYSTERIOUS TRAVELLER
12-26-2012, 03:33 AM
I cant say I know what "godbluff" means, but I *have* heard the album as well as other VDG albums and ... lets just say that 'lyricists caterwauling about their insignificant opinions over what could otherwise be some good music' is why I tend toward instrumental Prog.

Trane
12-26-2012, 05:02 AM
The first of the two Cha-cha-cha bits in that video are from minute 3:00 until 3:28 ... Of course the "cha-cha theme" is toyed around with in other sections of the song (the band dosn't quit right away the theme after the cha-cha-cha bursts...



The vast majority of atheists do not claim to know, with absolute certainty, that a god or gods do not exist. So, in that respect, PH is no different than all us other agnostic atheists.

The question atheism is answering has nothing to do with positions of knowledge.


Kind of disagree...

Theoretically an atheist is convinced (and therefore "knows") there is no "creator" and even less one that would want to be "adored" the way "it" is.... However, most atheists understand that one can doubt that there could be some source (whether willing or not) that created this "big bang"... Beit some kind of superstition and the fear of the afterlife...
I'm of the kind of athests that even doubts of the "big bang"... why must there have absolutely been a "start" of things??

---------------------

Like Simon Moon, from what I've rzed of Hammill's beliefs in this thread (just the facts that he has some "beliefs" is ousting him from the atheists ranks), I'd rank him in the agnostic ranks

(though my use of the word "ranks" is disputable, because there are no ranks in these.... More like a loosely clattered and cluttered unstructured mass that normally refuses any classification or order... ) IMO, of course ;)

Trane
12-26-2012, 05:49 AM
In effect, atheism is nothing more than responding, "I don't believe you. Please provide me with demonstrable evidence and reasoned argument to support your claim", when someone says that a god exists.

It really doesn't matter what one labels themselves or not, as long as they don't have an active belief that a god exists, they are an atheist.

Sorry, but if you "believe" or ask for proofs of the other's beliefs, you're not an atheist...


Atheists just have a heavy tendency to overly identify with the body, a natural inclination given the Ego's grip. If you have to be shown something you're missing the point. But only temporarily... no soul is forever ignorant. All you have to do is remember the song you learned in kindergarten or even earlier... have you forgotten?

I'm not ging to touch that one long (for fear of turning this thread in a vaster debate), because the body/ego relation in religions is very strong in those currents that want to dominate the others with their "wisdom/knowledge"... they want to be respected/admired and obeyed in an "organisation" that has ranks (lust like the army has colonels or seargents, religions have popes, preachers and priests)... It's all about having an "ascending power" over the "clubbed-into-submission" sheeps (NB: the " are important)
Atheism has nothing of the sorts, because in some ways, it's not aeven a movement ... barely a written train of thoughts...



I would think there is some confusion here; maybe the definition has changed over the years. My 2003, 11th edition of Webster's Dictionary defines 'atheism' as "the doctrine that there is no deity." That does make it sound like a belief system (the use of the word 'doctrine') but maybe not. Ultimately, it's probably just a question of semantics.


That's probably because Webster is not a neutral (ie: atheist or laïc) organization.... There is no dogma or doctrine in atheism or even in agnosticism... This is rather hard to religious people to grasp... but there are no clear lines in atheism... no rules, no rites, no scriptures... nothing, except total freedom (which can be dangerous in social life in society, if you don't have an egaletarian mind)

It's not just a question of semantics, IMHO... by placing the word dogma or doctrine in atheism, one tends to reduce atheism to a "religion" of some sorts...