Okay, so I'm just speculating, but I'm pretty sure that Jesus WOULD listen to Slayer, were they around when Jesus walked the earth. My simple basis for this conjecture is Matthew 9:9-13, where it talks about the Son of God hanging out in the presence of tax collectors and sinners. Obviously Jesus didn't welcome said sinners into His presence only to ignore them, but rather to communicate with them, and have relationship with them.
Okay dude....what the fu...hell are you talking about?? Where's this going? Get to the point already!
I've been a believer in God since I was 5 years old. That was the age when I made the choice to give my life to Jesus, because I realized that I was a sinner, and that Jesus paid the price for my sin so that I could have an eternal relationship with Him. 5 YEARS OLD! Kinda young to realize that you suck that bad...but I digress. All my life, I have been drawn to music. Throughout high school and college, I was beaten down by the legalistic piety who declared that someone who considers themselves a follower of Christ should NEVER listen to music of a secular nature! I was indoctrinated with many videos produced by the Peters brothers, with titles like “The Truth About Rock” and “Why Knock Rock.”
In junior high, I started to learn how to play the drum set. Mr. Gross, my band instructor, gave me one lesson and donated half of a drum kit to me to learn on. Thank God for a mother who loves me and put up with a lot of noise because she recognized passion for drumming in me, haha! One lesson wasn't much to go on, so I'd listen to Whiteheart and Petra in my headphones and drum along with the music, trying to copy what I heard as best as I could. I apparently had a talent for drumming, because it didn't take long before I was drumming in pit orchestras for high school, and later, college plays. My favorites were Godspell and Guys And Dolls. Good times.
Along the way, I started to listen to that “devil music” that I was warned about. The more I listened to secular music, the more I realized that I had been listening to a LOT of cheap christian knock-offs over the years, and I felt ripped off! None of the secular music that I listened to made me want to kill myself, or others for that matter. I didn't want to suddenly have sex with every woman I saw...well, not because of listening to rock music, anyways. I didn't lose an ounce of my faith in God at all.
I had been lied to!
Today, my music collection spans over 5,000 albums. I don't say that to brag, and I don't THINK my collection is that big to compensate for something (you'd have to ask my wife about that, I guess). When I say that I love music, you can believe I'm telling you the truth, simply based on my CD collection. That said, I'm guessing about half my collection is christian music, and half is secular music. The Peters brothers would be aghast at such a collection, but as I've grown in Christ and as a musician, I can honestly say that there are valid reasons why I don't feel bad for listening to music that doesn't necessarily glorify Christ.
1) I believe all art has redeeming qualities. Much art is expressed in a way that is open to interpretation, and if you look to see God in something, you can usually find Him there. As it says in Colossians, all things were created by God, and created for God. I believe He redeems all things, including art that is against God in nature.
2) Though I love those shitty christian knock-offs of secular music, as they are a part of my musical heritage, the fact remains that they are musically inferior to their secular counterparts. I'm a firm believer that christian art should be BETTER than any other art, in every aspect; not as a source of pride, but as a way of honoring the Creator of all things! There's a song that Larry Norman made popular back in the day called “Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music?” This song has always stuck with me. In fact, it's become almost a credo in my life. The lyrics to the chorus of that song are as follows: “I know what's right, I know what's wrong, I don't confuse it. All I'm really trying to say is why should the devil have all the good music?” I couldn't agree more, Mr. Norman!
3) If I want people to view my art objectively, I sure as hell better be willing and able to view their art in the same manner, whether I ultimately agree with what they've created or not. If I truly put my faith in the Creator of the Universe, then I should be open minded enough to listen to various points of view, knowing that God's truth will be revealed if I'm truly seeking it. Because of this philosophy, I can confidently listen to views that are the exact opposite of what I've been raised to believe, and have meaningful conversations with those who are presenting those views. My willingness to have discussions with people, rather than to just “preach at people,” has led to many fulfilling friendships through the years, and to personal growth in my faith.
4) If Jesus is our example, then why are so many christian musicians opposed to playing shows in bars, or with secular bands? I refer to Matthew 9 again, where Jesus says that he didn't come to call the righteous, but the sinner. Yes, we are all sinners...you know what I’m saying. I often times feel more comfortable playing onstage in a club with all non-christian bands than I do playing drums for a worship set at church. I've experienced a more heightened sense of worship to my Father onstage at a bar, than I have a performance for a christian audience. Why is that? I believe it's because the non-christian crowd isn't judging me for my appearance, or my tattoos, or my use of double bass drums, haha! The church is a place for the broken to come and be healed, but if someone's not out there doing to dirty work, how are the non-christians going to know how or where to find Jesus?
The Bible tells us that Jesus hung out with sinners, gasp, on purpose! Knowing this, and believing it to be true, I have no problem believing that He would definitely go to the Slayer show at the club. In fact, He'd probably get His mosh on, and in between bands, I can see Him turning the Pabst Blue Ribbon into a beer that doesn't resemble piss. That's the God I serve.