Punk rock and theology | God Save the Queen

Many who know me are well aware that as far as music goes I am a huge punk rock fan. Primarily, because of all the genres in music it is the only style that has captured my imagination and not to mention has given language to my then adolescent angst that came about my experiences of not being what is defined as ‘cool’ at the time.

Erstwhile I was thinking of punk as a starting point in initiating a dialogue between its counter-cultural and at times nihilistic ethos with Christian theology that is in areas of anthropology, hamartiology, theodicy, and soteriology as personally I find the lyrics, noise and overall aural experience of listening to punk rock give language to such aspects of how I interpret and theologize about life in my personal context.

It is my desire that as I try to get the ball rolling in this conversation that synthesis in having an appreciation of the genre and honest self-criticism of both punk rock and Christianity would be able to arise and hopefully help people who are often on the fringe of what can be called as ‘alternative,’ ‘indie’ and ‘punk’ find their place in the Christian community as Christianity in its pre-Constantinian state was also something that is counter-cultural as it invokes an alternative consciousness –that is Jesus’ alternative that calls Christians to: love God by animating with love for our neighbor, especially the least (Luke 10:28). Which can further be explored in the Pauline Epistles (Romans 13:9); the Epistle of James (James 2:15-17); the Johannine letters and the Gospel of Mark (Mark 17: 21).

As a first instalment I would like to share a classic punk rock song from a then notorious UK punk band, The Sex Pistols who formed in London in 1975.Often referred to by music critics as being responsible for initiating the punk movement in the United Kingdom which later inspired many later punk and alternative rock outfits with their edgy musical styling, nihilistic lyrics and anachronistic ethos that was far too radical for their 70s audience.

Their second single "God Save the Queen" was released during Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee in 1977. The record's lyrics, as well as the cover, were controversial at the time, and both the BBC and the Independent Broadcasting Authority refused to play the song.

Here I would like us to focus our attention on the video and this stanza:
“When there's no future how can there be sin? We're the flowers in the dustbin, we're the poison in the human machine, we're the future, your future!”

My question now is for Christians:

  • how does this factor in on our understanding of man?
  • What facet of Christian theology does this line figure in?
  • How can we use it as a starting point in initiating conversation about our faith?

For those who do not see themselves as a Christian:
  • what can you say about Christians and Christianity in general?
  • Do you agree with the song's statement?
  • Do you think the song's ethos represent the overall punk perspective on humanity and life in general?

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