Praise Songs

For thousands of years, we humans have felt something bigger than we are. We have chanted to it, invoked it, prayed to it. Depending on your viewpoint, these chants, invocations and prayers are intended to accomplish different things.

If you're atheist, they were just to make us feel better. If you think there is an Other, chances are you think they are communication with it.

But there's a common element between us humans from thousands of years ago and us who crowd the megachurches now.

We both intend to bring forth the god we want at the time. The viewpoint of god thousands of years ago was more fluid than we allow for ourselves today, so it's easier to see with them. There was a god for everything, offering the opportunity to call forth anything they wanted.

But what's different with us? We claim there's only one god, but our prayers and especially our praise songs are intended to accomplish the exact same purpose: to incarnate exactly what we're looking for.

You want pure acceptance? Sing a praise song that portrays god as all-loving. You want to feel "right"? Sing a praise song calling forth the all-good god. You want to feel safe? Sing about our all-powerful god.

In essence, today's praise songs are nothing more than thousand-year-old incantations dressed up in something we recognize.