Bad Religion -- "Dearly Beloved"

I just discovered that practically every song on Bad Religion's most recent album, New Maps of Hell, is spiritually loaded. Bad Religion seeks straightforward truth so diligently, therefore they can't help but convey a message that hints at the Truth Himself.


"Dearly Beloved" -- Lyrics:

Here's a story of an honest man losing religion,
Climbing the pulpit steps before an eager congregation,
The while praying came a wicked inspiration,
Brothers, sisters this is what he said:

Dearly beloved, dearly beloved, dearly beloved,
I can't relate to you, I can't relate to you!

He was the kind of guy who'd always go right out of his way,
But more before that crazy notion leapt right into his head,
And stubbornly crept into every mad perception,
I can't deny a funny feeling when he said:

Dearly beloved, dearly beloved, dearly beloved,
I can't relate to you, I can't relate to you!

Dearest in memoriam - set phasers to stun
And grab yourself a neighbors' skeleton to lean upon,
Did you know him in life - one filled with regret,
So soon we all forget... we ever met.

Do you know my name - sing a light refrain
For a man estranged - I won't deny that I'm inclined to isolate


Bad Religion advocates rebellion against "the establishment" as well as closed-mindedness. Rebellion in itself if unproductive, as this doesn't get any further than "I don't want to be like that." However, rebellion can be good if it rises up against wrongdoing or injustice. Even then, rebellion is still not entirely a good thing... it's better to say, "I do know what is right, and regardless of how much wrong surrounds me, I will continue to pursue what is right."

Rebelliousness is spiritually childish. Anyone who wants to move forward with a clear conscience will desire something more grown-up, like reconciliation. What might this look like? God knows. Reconciliation with God is infinitely superior to any and all forms of rebelliousness.


As for the song, "Dearly Beloved," I can perceive at least one, very useful message therein, which is: Be courageous; cast off your beloved traditions if that's what it takes to seek out the real, living Truth.

Bad Religion uses a pastor stepping down from his religious attainments as a dramatic illustration of the fact that even people whose job it is to have the right spiritual answers can be spiritually clueless. In any case, no matter what our worldly occupation, we will become enlightened in God's kingdom and attain to spiritual freedom when we confess that Christ is all and we are nothing.

Everyone has their own difficulties to overcome. Everyone has an immeasurably long ways to go in their quest for spiritual freedom. Everyone has their own business with God to take care of regardless of how outwardly entrenched in denial, sin or religiosity a person may seem, regardless of how perfect and at peace a person may seem. Everyone has their own chains to cast off, whether it be fear or misplaced affection... the main question is, do you have the courage to cast off these chains? Do you dare ask Jesus directly how this is possible?

"Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?"
-- Paul to the church in Corinth (2 Corinthians 13:5)


Bag Blog said...

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Jade Meng said...

"Reconciliation with God is infinitely superior to any and all forms of rebelliousness." I hope I heard this line earlier. Nevertheless, later better than never.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for reviewing this album, I didn't know about it, but have been a long-time Bad Religion fan. I used to like to listen to them on Easter when I was younger and more punk.

Jimothy said...

Are you aware that Greg Graffin, vocalist for Bad Religion, is an atheist? What many of their songs, on New Maps of Hell and other albums, dear religion, they are hardly paying them homage.

kogmedia said...

@jimothy: yes i know