Do you think Neil Finn believes in God?

RE: Secret God (The 1-0 song)
Very interesting. Thanks for pointing it out Cinnamon Cool I never noticed that b4. If you take that songs lyrics literally (which I tend to do) then he might well indicate a "return to faith".
"...lomesome wolf comes down from the hills = in another life he will be enchanted by a women..."
In that line Neil is referring to the wolf becoming a man in another life.
That to me means he believes in some kind of reincarnation
Confused So what religion belives in reincarnation? I'd love to know. Maybe that is what Neil is following Wink Confused
BTW In spite of the lyrics that point to Neil discounting his religion:
http://www.frenz.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=4;t=000043
There is one poignant line in the song Anyone Can Tell that points to some optimism, regarding the afterlife:
"...there is another world waiting, any1 can tell..."
But as the Buddhist say life is a ying yang equilibrium. Here's 2 lines that I thought I might add that might indicate otherwise (which I noticed in passing):
1. "...inside a sleazy room, with a BIBLE for companion, bleeding fingernails, you never know yourself, your nothing in the..." Eyes Of The World / Finn Brothers
2. "...there's money in the BIBLE belt, hugs for daddy too, three wishes for eternity, we got some work to do..." Now Were Getting Somewhere / CH
These 2 lines are kinda vague. What do you think it means?
Personally, I think references to religion are tools to generate imagery or to create a certain feeling. I don't think anything Neil has written implies belief or lack thereof. I just think that as someone brought up in the Catholic faith he has a very clear knowledge and experience of certain images, and feelings or atmospheres that, as a songwriter, he can draw on when lyric writing.

I think that, if I were a songwriter, I'd do similar. Use ideas, thoughts, etc to convey feelings or create moods. I can write about murder for example, but it doesn't mean I agree/disagree/practise it etc. It just means that I find it useful/interesting to write about.

Or I'm wrong.
this is a great topic... I've often wondered about Neil's spirituality myself... If he's turned off to religion, I wonder what made him that way... I vaguely remember reading in the Something So Strong book, that CH were in Kare Kare(?), and that he walked over to a bishop, and he snubbed Neil (?) and that Neil 'was a bit put off by that' I apologise for not recalling off the top of my head where it's located...
Paul H, I completely agree. I thought perhaps Neil was singing about his relationship with God at the end of Anytime:
"I feel like I'm in love
with a stranger I'll never know
although it's still a mystery
I'm so glad I'm not alone."

Or perhaps it is himself?
i think neil is spiritual rather than religious - you can discount the trappings of the catholic faith, and still have a belief in god, which i think he has. organised religion doesn't work for a lot of people, and neil is very vocal about his criticisms for the corrupt catholic church. if i had to say, i would say neil is a pantheist (where u believe god is in everything, especially nature) - or maybe not, i just got that from 'secret god'.

i agree with u big head about the reincarnation references. i also think the lonesome wolf could be a metaphor for a monk ('lonesome', living apart from the community). 'walking in circles howling at the moon' - he is frustrated at his suffering for his faith, and lets his anger out at god. if he chose to lead another life he would 'be enchanted by a woman'.
quote:
Originally posted by jane:
[qb]I thought perhaps Neil Finn was singing about his relationship with God at the end of Anytime:
"I feel like I'm in love
with a stranger I'll never know
although it's still a mystery
I'm so glad I'm not alone."

Or perhaps it is himself?[/qb]
I don't think NF was talking about God in particular. I think this line is taken from the perspective of his fans. That is we are all strangers who love NF yet we will never get the chance to know him as a friend, but despite that we are glad we are not alone in spite of that.
It sorta reminds me of the lyrics from Wherever You Are: "I'm the one who reads your mind, see my life in your design, true companion at your side, I'll leave you something for when I'm not around to make you smile outside that wasteland".
It's as if he's communicating with his fans even more to another level.
Wow - this convo just goes to show me that any lyric is completely open to interpretation. I have thought from the first time I heard "Anytime" that he's speaking of some sort of divine being in the lines:

I feel like I'm in love
With a stranger I've never known
Although he's still a mystery
I'm so glad I'm not alone

I hear "he's" not "it's" in that 3rd line - I could be wrong though. Anyway, Anytime hits me as a very personal song given the passing of Mary Finn around the same time it was written. I never take his lyrics as personal missives, but when I heard this song I felt differently about it. I felt that it really was him talking about his own experience there. Perhaps it's simply because those 4 lines resonate with me especially as I am agnostic. My partner always says that, sure - God isn't some white dude in flowing robes, but how can you not see a divine being everywhere you look on our miraculous planet? Those 4 lines say basically the same thing to me: "I don't really know God, but I feel something divine watching over me".
quote:
Originally posted by Bitz:
[qb]Like most open minded people - who cannot believe science - Neil Finn is keeping his options open, upbringing or not.[/qb]
quote:
Originally posted by indiasbelly
[qb]My partner always says that, sure - God isn't some white dude in flowing robes, but how can you not see a divine being everywhere you look on our miraculous planet? [/qb]
I agree with both of these statements Cool .
~~Though I wish the 1st 1 could be publicly verfivied & made a statement too by NF~~
I guess that's the way I want to be: open minded and keeping it open for u can never know for sure, but I tend to be cynical a fair amount of the time.
BTW I noticed Science has it's own brand of fear, and Doomsday revelations. A lot of what we see of late in documentaries here in OZ (eg. 60 Minutes) is
*black holes
*meteors & asteroids
*crashing into & destroying Earth
*plus the sun dying out on us. Just watch the BBC's Sam Neil The Planets documentary for full-on phobia. No wonder people are running to join religions like Scientology.
There's people that even want to colonise the red planet Mars 4 crying out loud. I see that as being highly impractical and improbable. Note: I just love science fiction movies like Star Wars & many different life forms, yet I see those as very unlikely to ever happen; nor do I succumb to the totally disillusioned UFO abduction/contact phenomena in the US.
Is there some other form of belief apart from the common black & white denominators of Science & Religion? I say both has it's fair share of fanatics/extremists that sometimes prophesies our End & plays on people's fears. I don't like this polarising & enforcing sense of morality been put on us by them & (when they do articles on them) the mass media.
To make this post on topic, does any1 here think N Finn's 1-0 song Anytime is kinda paranoid???
I heard a sociological fact that most westerners will live till old age & not be touched with crime. Most will just live relatively normal lives & not be in danger of death as that songs so higlights = "There's nothing safe about this life, I could go anytime". Maybe that's why they didn't make it the new single 4 the 1-ALL USA release.
the way i interpret anytime is:
it's like a close friend of neil's has died (i dont think its his mother), but someone that died prematurely, and when something like that happens, we all kind of feel paranoid: am i going to be next? you just never know whats behind the next corner. so i think he's being paranoid, but it's a natural reaction when someone's life has been cut so short.
well that's what i gather from the song anyway.
I don't get any sense of paranoia or dread in "Anytime." I get it as a reminder that you have to live each day, and make sure the people you care about know you love them, and don't put off anything that matters because you don't have unlimited time to get to it.

Neil's lyrics have lot of reminders to be in the moment, "It don't add up to much when you're wrapped in a blanket of stars with the one you love" from Rest of the Day Off and any songs that mention hammocks.
going back to the original Q does neil finn believe in god?

quote:
neil
And I'm not like a churchgoing man at all; I have kind of a loose attachment to all of that stuff, still. I rejected it all at some point in my life, too. But it's ingrained still. You don't lose it.
Confused Confused i dont know if it clarifies anything, but i suppose i would say he does
Cinnamon,
I'd love to know where exactly you got this quote from. & frenz keep on voting on this POLL please, it's been 23 votes for a while.
Jane,
I think ROTDO is one of my favourite lyrics. The line:
"...yesterday's news, I couldn't care less, were the only ones left..."
is brilliant. I always conjure up an impression that there's been a big Eeker nucleur bomb Eeker that's hit a major city and only a few survivors are left. Esp. in the USA where the mass media can be so hostile.
BTW I reckon the chorus of Distant Sun is apocalyptic, 7 worlds (planets) colliding & dust from a distant sun. So that's why I don't think it's a positive love song as so many frenz keep on saying Roll Eyes Smiler Wink . Orginally the song lines were:
"...if I could travel to the moon, then I'll be back really soon..." etc.
There might be an live mp3 available of that in www.audiogalaxy.com
PS
I don't have an obsession with Doomsday. It's just those stupid religious & Nostradamus shows that screened b4 2000, that scared me ****less & at times played on my vulnreable mind. Aaah the power of media manipulation and film making.
Big Head, are you sure you're not obsessed with apocalyptic themes?

It's somehow in my memory that Charles Shultz (of Peanuts fame) said something like, don't worry about what tomorrow will bring, it already arrived in Australia.

Being some 20 hours ahead of California, maybe that's not as reassuring to you as it was to him -
quote:
Originally posted by jane:
[qb]Big Head, are you sure you're not obsessed with apocalyptic themes?
[/qb]
quote:
Originally posted by jane:
[qb]Big Head, are you sure you're not obsessed with apocalyptic themes?
[/qb]
Well I'm fascinated about it. I don't like read every single book about it. Hell no. In fact I've only read 1 really good fiction novel on it: by Jane Jensen "Millenium Rising" or "Judgement Day". The book is very long & I normally don't read novels like I used to when I was in high school, but this I one finished. Check it out on www.amazon.com It's a good read. It's sold nearly 300,000 copies.
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0345430352/qid=1.../103-9607242-8152603

Anyway back on topic: NFinn lived in the USA 4 a long time. I believe he was exposed to a lot of Doomsday {DD} phobia there. Just watch those evangelist preach about it during early morning TV. Either he developed a distaste for it or some of it flirted through to his subconcious & surfaced in his songs. Which come to mention check out the chorus of "When You Come":
<1> ...were underneath the heavens burning & exploding...
that's another possible DD lyrics
I truly believe the song Loose Tongue is about DD
& more recently this song on the last webcast from NF's basement; which I wrote a message too:
http://www.frenz.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=4;t=000593

PS I've though of another DD line, this time from "Sinner":
<2> ...fireball drop from the sky, all my dreams have come to pass...
There's another line @ the end of "I Am In Love", which ain't in the official lyrics, but you can just barely hear it because it's muffled :
<3> ...Jesus coming to slice around you /or is it/ his life around you [?]...

Whether Neil believes in God is such an interesting question. 

Neil has said in interviews that he's an atheist, but he's also said that he believes in a higher source that feeds creativity and life.

And doesn't the following lyric imply that he believes in a God that stays out of the day to day business of our lives?

"Anyone can tell you that it's out of your hands. God is rolling numbers while I'm making a plan."

          from "Chameleon Days"

 

 

What a great thread thank you. I had no idea about Neil being an atheist. Whatever made him that way? He has answered my question on twitter and said he is a wonderist. I feel his yoga and meditation has brought him into the realms of the all seeing, all being, God is everywhere, God is everyone. God is the woman / man you love. God is fertility, God is reincarnation.  I could be wrong but my opinion just thru his music and words I get this

Annie99999 posted:

What a great thread thank you. I had no idea about Neil being an atheist. Whatever made him that way? He has answered my question on twitter and said he is a wonderist. I feel his yoga and meditation has brought him into the realms of the all seeing, all being, God is everywhere, God is everyone. God is the woman / man you love. God is fertility, God is reincarnation.  I could be wrong but my opinion just thru his music and words I get this

Neil spoke briefly about God during his wonderful Grand Rounds lecture at Yale Medical School five years ago. It's online for those who want to watch it (see below - at the 26 minute point in the video). 

https://medicine.yale.edu/psyc...grand/2012/0921.aspx

Neil's a lapsed Catholic. He may be playing coy about it in recent times, but in the past he's on the record, several times, as a definite "no." He hasn't applied this label to himself (to my knowledge) but he sounds like a "secular humanist" to me. I think he's still fascinated by the ideas and iconography around religion (Sinner, Distant Sun) even as he stands outside it.

Sugar Mouse posted:
Annie99999 posted:

What a great thread thank you. I had no idea about Neil being an atheist. Whatever made him that way? He has answered my question on twitter and said he is a wonderist. I feel his yoga and meditation has brought him into the realms of the all seeing, all being, God is everywhere, God is everyone. God is the woman / man you love. God is fertility, God is reincarnation.  I could be wrong but my opinion just thru his music and words I get this

Neil spoke briefly about God during his wonderful Grand Rounds lecture at Yale Medical School five years ago. It's online for those who want to watch it (see below - at the 26 minute point in the video). 

https://medicine.yale.edu/psyc...grand/2012/0921.aspx

I watched this from start, to end and still have come up confused. His choice of words are not definitive. Making me lean towards a percentage of belief is therefore unknown leaving a path for an unknown force.  Not entirely convinced he is an atheist. My opinion

 

 

Annie99999 posted:

What a great thread thank you. I had no idea about Neil being an atheist. Whatever made him that way? He has answered my question on twitter and said he is a wonderist. I feel his yoga and meditation has brought him into the realms of the all seeing, all being, God is everywhere, God is everyone. God is the woman / man you love. God is fertility, God is reincarnation.  I could be wrong but my opinion just thru his music and words I get this

Great words, Annie! He is atheist as much as I am not fell in love with my wife - thinking of her third of my waking hours, imagine her when I am not beside her... Atheist whose probably third songs are about some kind of spiritual realizations and hopings, or even religious dissapointments, angels and higher beings, worlds without end, lonely bodies when souls have fled, mysteries he s glad he s not alone, faces he saw in the cloud, recognazations of life hes been given, knowing whos got his soul, etc., etc., I could go with it all night long. If he is atheist than he is more spiritual and awakened atheist than 99% of believers I met.

Spirituality and belief in a god technically have no real connection...you can have a lot of one without the other.

Here's another interview snippet that seems to clarify things further:

...Finn is what we might imperfectly call an 'agnostic atheist': "I'm not short of a sense of wonder and curiosity and awe about the way the universe is organised or disorganised, but I'm just not religious at all and don't subscribe to one single deity."

http://bunyipvoodoo.blogspot.c...-together-alone.html

He's too thoughtful and polite to make such a blanket statement as "there is no God," but when you say you're not at all religious and don't believe in a single deity, that's basically what you're saying.

Paināporo posted:

I think Neil smokes enough pot to believe that the universe is full of greater powers, but he's also enough of an intellectual to know that traditional interpretations of a god are pretty unlikely.

Thanks mate, that's what I thought while wondering how to say it.

Perfectchord posted:
Welsh Dan posted:

"Today I am still disconnected to the face that I saw in the clouds"

"I look into space, there is no connection. A million points of light and a conversation I can't face".

Do you know, I'd never thought of that line in that context, but it seems obvious now. Good shout.

Mariola posted:
slowpogo posted:

Spirituality and belief in a god technically have no real connection...you can have a lot of one without the other.

Can you explain this please, in few words, just to see from what perspective you are going. Tnx

Well, this is a viewpoint not everyone agrees with. Some people think spirituality is tied to a belief in the supernatural, which seems to link it with religion.

But many, myself included, do not see spirituality this way. I think being spiritual means that you maintain an awareness and appreciation of things bigger than yourself, as well as an awareness that the universe is both chaotic and without a plan, while also being beautifully interconnected ("all is one"). In this sense, to stand on top of a mountain and be in awe of the natural wonder in front of you can be a spiritual experience. No religious or supernatural beliefs needed. I actually think the concept of a "God" is too small to describe whatever it is I feel. In any case I don't believe in a defined deity or higher power. I think this paragraph might reasonably describe Neil Finn's beliefs as a "wonderist," as I understand it.

On the other hand, based on people I've known (some in my own family), I think people can sometimes be very religious but without an appreciation for the spiritual as I described above. They may operate out of fear, zealotry, dogma, narrowly defined supernatural beliefs or just rote learned behavior, which seem to preclude a spiritual mindset.

This does NOT remotely describe everyone who is religious! I think to be spiritual requires an open mind, and I know religious people who are very devoted and faithful, but also repeatedly examine and challenge their own beliefs. Their faith is a hard-won choice, not just something they do because they grew up with it. These are the sorts of people that strike me as spiritual and religious (by my definitions). Of course, others may disagree with all of this and that's fine.

I really don't intend to get into a big back and forth over everyone's personal beliefs, but I hope this clarifies my perspective on Neil Finn a little.

Paināporo posted:

I think Neil smokes enough pot to believe that the universe is full of greater powers, but he's also enough of an intellectual to know that traditional interpretations of a god are pretty unlikely.

I know plenty people who I consider intellectual who have a very traditional view of who god is ....

I'm trying very hard not to say anymore about that statement, as I don't want to offend anyone..

My take on Neil , (and I don't know him so its only speculation) is that from how he talks , and the lyrics in his songs would suggest to me that he is a guy who is most definetly asking questions and searching - as many of us do. maybe agnostic, but hard to believe he is actually an atheist. if he has said so in an interview, I can only take him at his word - but everything else about him to me suggests otherwise.

stuartjb posted:
Paināporo posted:

I think Neil smokes enough pot to believe that the universe is full of greater powers, but he's also enough of an intellectual to know that traditional interpretations of a god are pretty unlikely.

I know plenty people who I consider intellectual who have a very traditional view of who god is ....

I'm trying very hard not to say anymore about that statement, as I don't want to offend anyone..

My take on Neil , (and I don't know him so its only speculation) is that from how he talks , and the lyrics in his songs would suggest to me that he is a guy who is most definetly asking questions and searching - as many of us do. maybe agnostic, but hard to believe he is actually an atheist. if he has said so in an interview, I can only take him at his word - but everything else about him to me suggests otherwise.

My best guess is that Neil doesn't believe in the traditional Judeo-Christian portrait of "God" (which Neil considers consistent with an "atheist" status) but does believe in an unknowable higher power spiritual force in the universe.  Just my guess based on his lyrics and what he's said in interviews. 

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Annie99999
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