Having been a musician virtually all my life I have often been involved in musical recording projects ranging from individual demo songs, to high-end popular artists albums, to movies, all the way across the spectrum to 30 second radio and TV advertisements recorded solely for the purpose of getting people to buy a specific product.
I have also been involved in many forms of “Christian” worship projects and meetings as a musician and on more occasions than I care to remember I have been asked or ‘instructed’ by the pastor/evangelist/preacher/teacher/worship leader etc. to play specific worshipful styles and songs with specific words, messages and cultural meaning that ‘set the tone’ for the message that they want to convey and to assist them in getting the desired response from the people. (Usually this response is intended to be a good one that is meant to be specifically helpful to the audience in attendance – or so it is believed).
As a person who believes in what scientists might call “intelligent design” and what most religious folk might in various ways and forms refer to as “God” I have often asked myself what exactly we are doing when we do what we do.
I also believe that most of us are sincere in what we say, do and even believe (although there clearly are malicious deviants out there who intentionally manipulate others to gain personal advantage out of them. However, I believe these deviants are a small, lunatic fringe …. well, er, …I can only hope sincerely that I am correct in this personal belief).
Over the years I have begun to ask whether what we do as orthodox and sincere religious activity on a regular basis is rooted in basic and elementary aspects of our humanity (specifically our nature as physical beings in a physical world) that is more emotionally and sensually driven and not nearly as ‘spiritual’ or even as cognitively or intellectually based as we would like to believe it is. I have often begun to ask myself whether the sense of the “presence of God” or the “rightness” of a spiritual way, thing or activity or even the ‘rightness’ of a specific community or religious grouping or order is really valid? Is the sense we have, be it however intentional and well thought through, actually a link with the divine creator or a higher order of spiritual life or consciousness, or just an emotional and physical process of perception resulting in an experience that makes us feel that it is so?
We all want to be ‘right’ and we all want to ‘belong’ and these desires are neither good nor bad – they are natural, human, even instinctual. They seem to be what we are, how we were created even.
The following link is to an article on some interesting research that I came across that introduces an interesting and possibly alarming angle on the way we tend to respond to certain stimuli.
(Anatomy of a Tear-Jerker) ~ http://ow.ly/98sLK