The Power of Music with Text

Music, religious or not, has been an important part of cultures for thousands of years. Aristotle believed that music can help people relax, provide psychological relief, and entertain as an intellectual pastime.

Music, as a form of art, has so much more emotional power than simply relaxation. It can serve as a channel to convey ideas in incredibly emotional ways. Societies have had struggles and debates throughout history about whether or not music is safe to engage with. Islam struggled with finding the roll of music within its religion. Christianity did as well. These debates exist or existed because music does have such a unique ability to sway human emotion in different ways. Music can be very pleasurable. If approached with a sinful mentality, it can be sinful; if it is applied humbly in worship, it has the power to convey text in worship in an incredibly meaningful way. This is why music is a perfect conduit for presenting religious text.

Peder Jothen’s analogy of the desires of the brain and heart help explain and support this idea. The brain strives for truth, wisdom, ideas, and reasoning, and the heart seeks pleasure. The brain and the heart in this analogy represent the spiritual needs and the physical needs of our whole selves. Worship music is and has been a useful and desirable tool for religion because it has the power to support the truth with an emotional experience that may transport the listener in meditation or simply make the text more meaningful.

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