Idea: People think CCM is bad because they don’t like feeling obligated to be fake.
Contemporary Christian music (CCM) isn’t bad, at least musically.1 But song lyrics invite you to sing along–pretending to be the singer–and people find that repulsive. Why?
Two wise friends have pointed out that CCM songs about problems tend to be resolved too quickly. Nobody likes pretending to be inauthentic or fake . . .
. . . but CCM songs feel like a 3-minute-long invitation to pretend God solves all your problems.
The main issue, in fact, may be that we experience CCM not only as an invitation to pretend to be the singers, but as a moral obligation to be like the singers.2 And most of us just can’t pull it off. We don’t have the experiences and feelings the singers seem to be expressing.
But why, then, aren’t people similarly repulsed by mainstream pop songs about love that don’t have anything to do with their singers’ actual lives (being written by male Scandinavians), or that claim powers for love and lovers that are clearly fantastical?3
The best I have been able to figure is that, generally, people don’t like young, white evangelicals, while young, white evangelicals make up the bulk of CCM artists.4 They’re willing to pretend to be just about anybody else but the CCM-singer kind of person. And that’s not a very satisfying conclusion.
- Here’s the Spotify playlist to prove the point. Every other song is CCM.
- Thus, I think this whole problem falls under what I’ve just discovered philosophers call, “the puzzle of imaginative resistance.”
- But people like to make fun of Taylor Swift for producing break-up songs that clearly seem to be about her real-life relationships.
- And I doubt that ethnicity and age are the real issues here, given that so many mainstream pop singers are also young and white. That means there must be something people find annoying about evangelicals in general.