Am I allowed to listen to non-Christian music?

Image: Am I allowed to listen to non-Christian music?

Answering a common question about enjoying secular music.

We’ve been getting a lot of questions here at Fervr about whether Christians are allowed to listen to and enjoy non-Christian, ‘secular’ music.

It’s really encouraging that so many young people are thinking seriously about this topic and wanting to do the right thing! So here are some thoughts on the topic.

We shouldn’t love sin

Because we live in a fallen world, it’s true that often the music we listen to reflects the sin we introduced. Music about promiscuous or premarital sex, songs full of swearing and lyrics that objectify people are all problematic.

The Bible says “Do not love the world or the things in the world” (1 John 2:15). It’s pretty clear that we aren’t meant to love what some songs talk about!

We should guard ourselves

Because of their sinful content, some songs might make us feel angry at the world, or make us feel like God is a killjoy for not letting us do everything the world says is good and fun.

Worst, some music might make us fall into sin – we might lust after seductive pop stars, or decide that we should try drugs, or get caught in a pattern of swearing and rude talk.

If this is happening, your relationship with Christ will be affected. So what should you do if the songs you listen to are having a negative effect on you?

In Matthew 5:29, Jesus says, “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.” If Jesus is so harsh about eyes, what might he say about a song that causes you to sin? Get rid of it! He might even say, smash the CD or delete the file from your computer!

God wants us to think about good things. He wants us to fill our minds with things that help us praise him and love him. So if any of the songs you listen to are tempting you to sin or drawing you away from loving God, it’s best to stop listening to them.

But… we don’t have to block out the world entirely!

The Bible never says we need to completely disengage from the world! In fact, before we messed it up, God did create this world for us to enjoy and the beautiful creation he made inspires a lot of secular music, art, media and more. Secular music can be enjoyable, beautiful and thought-provoking. So it’s definitely possible to enjoy secular material and glorify God while you’re doing it!

A good question to ask yourself when deciding whether a song or artist is appropriate is… “does this help or hinder my worship”? I personally really love Taylor Swift and I find her music and lyrics really fun and interesting. I thank God for music and fun when I dance around listening to Tay Tay! But for another person, Taylor Swift’s music may be really unhelpful. It may cause them to idolise romance, or become angry at people who have hurt them.

Obviously the line is clearer in other cases. Songs full of swearing are unlikely to help you worship God because they’ll fill your mind with bad language. Songs that speak inappropriately about other people (for example, “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke, or “Famous” Kanye West) are probably a bad idea to listen to because they normalize abusive actions and unkind language.

It’s important to ensure that if you are enjoying secular music, you’re aware of what you’re listening to and conscious of how it is affecting you. And if you aren’t sure whether the song you’re listening to helps you glorify or not, maybe it’s best to switch it off.

Comments (13)

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  • user

    Leah

    Thanks so much for this, it really helped :) I feel a lot better about my choices now.

  • user

    Barbie

    I have always wondered about this. I love to listen to secular music, just not inappropriate music. This helps a lot.

  • user

    Mesoma

    I absolutely love this article. As a fan of Folk and Alternative music, i really love listening to Civil Twilight and Bastille( my fav bands!).
    I also used to love The Neighborhood till i came to terms with myself. Firstly- most of their lyrics appreciate sex and unkind words( think ‘Afraid’ and ‘Sweather Weather’). Secondly- i really used to fight with the Holy Spirit on this one; I would argue that i wasn’t going to go out and have sex, as a single Christian girl, and that i wasn’t going to speak with unkind words but i found myself saying those words i said i wouldn’t use.
    I had to repent completely because i wasn’t glorifying God-at all, and i decided to stop listening to them.
    I feel better now, because i chose my music according to how it will affect my relationship with God.
    What ever kind of music i know won’t please God, I won’t listen to it. Simple.
    Lyrics are dead important- if it edifies then it is appreciable, if not, then there’s not too much talk about it.
    Rather spend time doing what God wants us to do than spend time arguing with him on kinds of music to listen to, especially when we know we aren’t even supposed to be listening to certain kinds of music.

  • user

    Abigail

    I agree with you dear.a lot of music this days sows a seed in our hearts that grows and bears fruits similar to the life of whom sang it…
    Although there are also good music which talks and appreciates what God created for example love nature peacekeeping. .....as christain i believe we should be careful with what goes into our hearts since we are the temple of the holy spirit.
    #keepurheartwithalldeligent

  • user

    Nitsuh

    Yeah! as Christans, we have to choose things to be involved in. We r created to praise and sing for God only bcuz that is our life which is called WORSHIP.

  • user

    Ariana

    Just so everyone knows, there are lots of bands out there that make music that isn’t exactly bad, just the world listens to it a lot. I like to listen to Christian rap or just instrumental or karaokes of songs.

  • user

    Mykayla

    Me too. I love Christian rap.  I also listen to upbeat Christian too. LIke Hillsong Young and Free, Hillsong United etc.

  • user

    Ariana

    Yes, I love those artists too. Have you heard of Britt Nicole. Her new album is awesome.

  • user

    Maya

    bloom by grayson reed - check on spotify

  • user

    Maya

    i wish more people would comment :/ it would be great to have like a forum

  • user

    Ariana

    What’s ‘yalls names on Spotify? I’ll friend you, I have some great worship playlists.

  • user

    Chelle

    Let’s all guard our hearts :)

  • user

    Maya

    add me on spotify dudes ! @13921 praise it!!