Friday, March 17, 2017

A Concept By Which We Measure Our Pain

Holy shit -- it's Robbie Fulks day again!

But seriously folks...I need to preface this song with a couple of caveats.

First of all, I have dear friends who are, in a phrase I dislike, people of faith.

That said, they do not proselytize, they do not look down on me because I'm not religious, and in all the ways that matter, they walk the walk. Unlike the pious shitheels of the Franklin Graham variety.

I'm also not arrogant enough to say that Martin Luther King or Bishop Tutu were chumps because they were devout.

That said, this song speaks for me.

A world filled with wonder, a cold, fathomless sky
A man's life so meager, he can but wonder why
He cries out to Heaven, its truth to reveal
The answer, only silence, for God isn't real

Go ask the starving millions under Stalin's cruel reign
Go ask the child with cancer who eases her pain?
Then go to your churches, if that's how you feel
But don't ask me to follow for God isn't real

He forms in his image a weak and foolish man
Speaks to him in symbols that few understand

For a life of devotion, the death blow he deals
We'd owe Him only hatred, but God isn't real

Go tell the executioner of the power he can't defy
Go tell his shackled victim of the mercy on high
Then go to your churches, go beg, pray and kneel
But don't ask me to follow for God isn't real

No, no matter how He should be, God isn't real

I should add that I'm mostly posting this because it enables me to stick a metaphorical finger in the eye of a certain smug anti-Semitic idiot I know who thinks we non-believers are the locus of evil in the modern world. So fuck him.

And have a great weekend, everybody! Good yontiff!!!


Blue Ash Fan said...

This is practically my theme song.

I thought it took some major cajones for Fulks to write a country song that not only didn't extol religious belief, but that excoriated it. Great tune.

pete said...

I discovered this tune a few weeks ago after checking him out in the wake of your previous. I don't agree with the sentiment but it's a great piece of songcraft. The melody is gorgeous and the lyrics scrupulously avoid calling people names, unlike a lot of pseudo-religious country tunes. And you'll notice he doesn't say God doesn't "exist." He says God "isn't real." It may be hair-splitting but I think most true believers would agree that God isn't "real" in the sense that our physical existence is "real." Thanks for posting.

Mark said...

Now that I'm saved I wish I was damned. From Eef Barzelay and Clem Snide, sentiments somewhat less certain than those of Fulks, and more from the perspective of searching landsmen. Well ... the title says it all: JEWS FOR JESUS BLUES. And it's one unforgettable song.

I was searching for something I could not describe
So I stared at the sun till the tears filled my eyes
Well I thought I was empty so I paid the cost
But now that I'm found I miss being lost

I opened my heart and I let Jesus in
With the promise that I would be free of my sins
But I only felt guilty that he died on the cross
Now that I'm found I miss being lost

I don't wanna suffer and I don't wanna die
I want the clouds parted in an endless, blue sky
But someone up there has a different plan
Now that I'm saved I wish I was damned

steve simels said...


steve simels said...

Pete --

I think you're right about Fulks' deliberate choice of the phrase "isn't real" as opposed to "doesn't exist."

He's a very smart guy, is what I'm saying.

Anonymous said...

If god's not real, why write a stupid song of defiance about it? A song which infers that if god was real everything would be hunky dory utopiasville. Goddamit, I guess the shit's in our DNA.


Jai Guru Dave said...

Just another perspective: If someone talks to you about God out of a truly selfless motive: ("I've found something good. What kind of a friend would I be if I kept it for myself and didn't share it with you?") - then it seems to me the real test would be how do they react if you say "Thanks, but no thanks". Do they drop you because you aren't going to be another notch on their belt; or do they continue to be your pal, as always? Just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

Great lyrics buried under crap country music (yes I understand that's the double-edged point) but the music kills my enjoyment of the song.

A missed opportunity to piss on the faithful.


Captan Al

Anonymous said...

And VR misses the point. I'm shocked, shocked I tell you.

MJConroy said...

For Graham Parker's take on the subject, "The End of Faith":