Thursday, May 26, 2011

Amazing Grace in the House of the Rising Sun

I always knew you could do Amazing Grace to the tune of the House of the Rising Sun. Combining the message of the two songs, however, really makes secular humanism seem shallow and silly, in my humble opinion.

10 comments:

William said...

..and the original of the tune of the U.S. national anthem was
(quoting from _Straight Dope_, a website)

"To Anacreon in Heaven," an English drinking song written by John Stafford Smith with words by Ralph Tomlinson, Esq. According to tradition it was first "sung at the Crown Anchor Tavern in the Strand, circa 1780." ... Anacreon (563-478 B.C.) was a Greek poet known for his songs of wine and women.

Music and lyrical content are often identified only by association.

Gimli 4 the West said...

We’re all syncretist nowadays.

Victor Reppert said...

But there are some pretty critical similarities between the message of the two songs, if you notice the parallel between the word "wretch" in Amazing Grace and "sin and misery" in the House of the Rising Sun. We CAN and DO make wrong choices that wreck our lives. Whether or not there is amazing grace should be the only controversial issue.

http://dangerousidea.blogspot.com/2009/09/denying-cat-wonderful-chesterton-quote.html

IlĂ­on said...

"Greensleves" works, too.

Mark Frank said...

To dismiss a view held by so many intelligent and educated people as "shallow and silly" does not sound like a humble opinion!

Victor Reppert said...

What I said was that it seems shallow and silly. And what I had in mind was not nonbelief in the existence of God, but rather a kind of misguided optimism about human nature that sometimes goes with secularism.

woodchuck64 said...

Victor,

... a kind of misguided optimism about human nature that sometimes goes with secularism.

The vices I infer from "House of the Rising Sun", drinking, gambling, prostitution possibly, are interesting in that none of them entail an act of willful harm against another person, but were considered acts of intrinsic evil nonetheless. The first two are no longer considered wrong by most of society and this seems to be due to a shift to consequentialist ethics; drinking/gambling is wrong only if it harms your job/relationships/health. The same sort of consequentialism seems to be at work in making prostitution legal in some areas of societies. Is it consequentialism (which I think is secular humanism's primary ethical approach) that you see as seeming silly and shallow?

Victor Reppert said...

Alcohol, gambling, and prostitution all do harm. Whether that harm is best controlled by makes those particular activities illegal, or whether it is best controlled by not having legal restrictions is a further and separate issue. In the case of alcohol, Christianity historically has opposed the abuse, and not simply the use of alcohol.

Domitype said...

Also Stairway to Heaven, Gilligan's Island - even the Mickey Mouse are all interchangeable. They all were written with what is called "Common Meter" in poetry http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_meter

Grace McGran said...

Dangerous? No, just very inappropriate, musically speaking. Amazing Grace is a Paean--a song of praise and joy. House of the Rising Sun is a classic lament. If this isn't obvious to you, try singing them the other way around and, hopefully, you will see what I mean. Singing House of the Rising Sun to the melody of Amazing Grace makes it sound joyful and uplifting. I don't think there is anyone who would interpret those lyrics as joyful. It's not just about chord progression though it does have to do with minor and major keys. Look up the word 'Prosody'. The music was carefully written for the subject matter and to think that a paean and a lament are interchangeable is to disrespect the songwriters.