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YankeyMCC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-10 06:23 AM
Original message
Billy Joel - atheist
Just heard some more of the interview he did with Howard Stern in studio last week. Howard asked him point blank if he believed in a god and Billy answered very straightforward "No. I'm an atheist."

I never heard that about Billy before, so I don't know if this was widely known before, I hope it doesn't come back to bite him, although I'm pretty sure at this point his career is beyond the kind of threat an open admission like that could bring to bear on him.

Good for him for being so open and honest, a great interview overall actually.

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pinboy3niner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-10 06:33 AM
Response to Original message
1. I wish...
...that we lived in a society where this would not be 'news.'
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cleanhippie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-10 09:46 AM
Response to Reply #1
13. Me too.
But until believers stop making their beliefs something they judge other people by, then we can continue to celebrate those that take a stand against it and proclaim their nonbelief.
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Orrex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-10 07:37 PM
Response to Reply #1
23. I'm kind of surprised that we live in a society in which Billy Joel is news
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RandomThoughts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-10 06:34 AM
Response to Original message
2. He could be, although he sings of the supernatural.
Edited on Fri Nov-26-10 06:49 AM by RandomThoughts
And also many spiritual contexts. I actually doubt that he is an aethiest, which is funny to say about someone. He could be a Machiavellian, or it might be that he has a good heart and still does that work and will figure it out later. :shrug: he might believe in one of the offshoot doctrines like toy doctrine, or a variation of game doctrine. Most have that pushed on them, since if you believe in those doctrines then you see your existence in concepts of despair, why it is pushed. He may believe in temporal lore also. There is also a group that thinks the entire teachings of faith is so many will give to a few, posted about that a few times, and many times they even think of it in only social, not spiritual ideas.




The Stranger
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jI2BnzF1860

His music got some 'influence' and a 'support' from somewhere, so weather he believes in it or not, he does sing of the supernatural.


Billy Joel - She's always a woman
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkfkJCyqCBc

He is probably keeping his belief secret, as said in the above song. He may not want to discuss his beliefs. The song always a women has a strong strain of the concept of favor with concepts of immunity in it. Most of his songs are pretty spiritual.

Then again, maybe he never said that.
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vi5 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-10 06:44 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Maybe he's just a good songwriter....
There have been plenty of people who wrote about things from another point of view. Also he was probably raised religious so it's not a stretch to assume there are past experiences that he can relate to.

Why would he opt to say he's an atheist if he's not. It's not exactly going to endear him to a large segment of the population.
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RandomThoughts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-10 07:08 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. Maybe he was told not to mention some name.
Maybe he believes the supernatural should be secret.
Maybe he is unable to talk about it, many actually can not speak about those things openly, and they only end up as concepts in songs.

The reason he is not an atheist is he knows their is a supernatural, however he could believe in some form like mentioned in the other post, he does know there is a supernatural.

The only way he could be an atheist is if he sings completely blind.

Maybe he does not even know what he says, but that is a low probability of that considering the depth of his songs.




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vi5 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-10 07:49 AM
Response to Reply #5
7. What in god's name are you talking about?
Seriously, are you on something right now? None of what you are typing makes one lick of sense.

But from what I'm gleaning from this disjointed rambling is that you think someone can't be an atheist and write about anything other than the real or rational world? There have been plenty of atheists who wrote songs, or books, or movies, or whatever from the point of view of other things and about the supernatural. It's called "fiction".
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RandomThoughts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-10 07:58 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. he is writing songs about specific doctrines used in the supernatural
Edited on Fri Nov-26-10 08:04 AM by RandomThoughts
They match doctrines used by some things in the supernatural, that is not someone writing from another viewpoint, that is something else.

Don't know why you don't understand what I post.


What part don't you understand?


All false doctrines are fiction. Although not all things thought of as fiction are part of false doctrines, but much of it is how you see it.


Although it is not a bad comment about Billy Joel, I think he does much good, and like his music, but really hard to think he does not know of parts of the supernatural. And many can be seen to fit better doctrine also.
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vi5 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-10 08:30 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. I'm an atheist...
I was raised as a catholic and have studied many different doctrines and religions. I could write about any number of them.

I can't tell if you are coming at this from the perspective of a hardcore atheist who believes all true atheists need to denounce and never speak of anything related to the supernatural, of if you are coming at it from a religious perspective whereby you want to believe that all atheists are just secretly religious and just don't want to admit it or whatever.

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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-10 09:36 AM
Response to Reply #9
12. I am putting my money on the latter of your options n/t
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cleanhippie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-10 09:49 AM
Response to Reply #9
15. Its answer #2.
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vi5 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-10 10:11 AM
Response to Reply #15
18. I figured that....
The language and wording was that of those who try and make something decidedly non-intellectual sound intellectual and it winds up instead sounding like complete nonsense.
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cleanhippie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-10 11:17 AM
Response to Reply #18
20. You should read some of the other "musings" from that poster.
I have tried several states of mind to try and comprehend some of them....
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RandomThoughts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-27-10 02:55 AM
Response to Reply #9
26. I understand an aethiest believeing based on their experiances and perceptions.
Edited on Sat Nov-27-10 02:58 AM by RandomThoughts
It actually can make sense that some people would never believe what they have never experienced, nor is their anything wrong with that.

At the same time, it is possible many writers and singers, write and sing blind, but many do not and know their is an inspiration outside of themselves.

Like I said, it is possible Billy Joel sings blind, but hard to believe that, maybe it is true, maybe I just don't want to think that is the case. Although 'reveals only what she wants you to see' does make that a valid possibility, and is said in many other places.

And many people don't see. There is also an argument that those that do see are in a worse place, so it is not some claim of superiority or betterness to see some of it, nor is it a claim to understand all of it, since it is mostly glimpses, and no way to know what is correct or not, but you can know how it feels, and from that make a best guess on what is right and wrong in what is said or expressed. But not only feeling for self, but by effects on other people also.

Then again, some good stuff makes some people feel queasy, so hard to really know for sure about why some have a different reaction to some things. Maybe it is a filter keeping it from them, maybe they are just different, don't know, I only know my own perspective, and do not hold your perspective as being better or worse, nor say you have to perceive as I do if you have different feelings and experiences.



Side note, Steve Wonder does not seem to sing blind, so not a comment about that.
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vi5 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-27-10 08:55 AM
Response to Reply #26
29. "Never believed what they've never experienced"
Or more likely as in my case and in many other people's cases we experienced it, realized it's a load of bunk and learned from the experience how entertaining it can be watching people be taken in by it.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-27-10 09:10 AM
Response to Reply #26
30. You know, that's a terribly bigoted attitude.
Like I said, it is possible Billy Joel sings blind, but hard to believe that, maybe it is true, maybe I just don't want to think that is the case.

What you are saying is that an atheist cannot truly "feel" anything or create anything of beauty or something to be enjoyed. You simply refuse to believe that it's possible.

Why? Why do you harbor such despicable prejudice toward atheists? What makes us, in your estimation, somehow less human than superior enlightened folk like yourself?
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RandomThoughts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-27-10 03:07 AM
Response to Reply #9
27. I am saying every person is also spiritual.
Edited on Sat Nov-27-10 03:17 AM by RandomThoughts
Some are never shown it, and there is a valid possiblity that is for a reason, and they learn later about it, the idea they don't need to see it where they are.

Some don't mention it when they see it, because of secrecy doctrines.

Some don't mention it for fear of being ridiculed.

Some don't because the muse they hear doesn't need them to or want them to.





Listen to the two songs posted, and think about him singing about a spiritual source. Listen to the lyrics. It even has rules applied back in the stranger song. And says that there are some secrets never told.

Why were you so surprised you never saw the stranger, did you ever let your lover see the stranger in yourself. <- rules applied back.

I guess the thought of not seeing such beauty is heartbreaking when I think of people that don't see it, although there are trials and sadness also, even that has a beauty to it. Maybe that in itself is a form of prison also, wanting to show such beauty to some that say they can not see it, so I hope, even if maybe secretly, they see it, but when I hear they say they don't it is heartbreaking. Although the heart ache is through empathy, and where concepts of nobody left behind comes from, but that comes from my perception that seeing the beauty is a good thing, and some don't see it that way. So that gives comfort but still I figure some will be able to see it. So post the great stuff that is in so many places.


Those songs are loaded with spiritual doctrine, full to the brim.


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YankeyMCC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-27-10 06:33 AM
Response to Reply #27
28. I would agree Billy is spiritually aware
as I consider myself. And this is a point I think many atheist would debate with me, the use of the term spiritual.

But for me it is the here and now, what is right in front of me and my awareness and engagement in this very moment that is spiritual.

Based on that interview with Billy and my own listening of his music over many years makes me think his spirituality, his connection with the here and now is through his music which is ever-present in hi mind and his life.

That has nothing to do with gods or supernaturalism.

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darkstar3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-27-10 02:32 PM
Response to Reply #27
36. Oh look, it's a god-shaped hole.
What a load of shit.
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cleanhippie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-10 09:48 AM
Response to Reply #5
14. And maybe unicorns are real.
You have a whole lot of "maybe" going on there. Anything to support your assertions or are they just being pulled out of thin air?
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-10 07:01 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. Ronnie Milsap sings about a stranger in his house, "somebody here that I can't see."
Also, Stevie Wonder sings about seeing "the writing on the wall," even though BOTH of them were born blind.

Just because Billy Joel incorporates the supernatural in some lyrics doesn't mean that it's anything more important than trying to get something to rhyme without resorting to things like "tonic and gin."


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YankeyMCC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-10 07:37 AM
Response to Reply #2
6. That is what initially prompted the question
why would you question his answer to the question?

The question came up because of some of his lyrics and Howard trying, and succeeding to dig deep into Billy's motivations and inspirations giving his background and his relationships with is father and others in his life.

Billy doesn't like his lyrics for the most part it's the music that is what drives him, he almost hates, even for the lyrics he likes, to put the lyrics over the music, he just finds what words fit as best he can the tone of the music and his feeling.

I'm an atheist but am not adverse to using language that might seem spiritual and supernatural in the poems I sometimes write.

Are you going to question my atheism too?

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RandomThoughts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-10 08:34 AM
Response to Reply #6
10. Why would I believe what he says?
Edited on Fri Nov-26-10 08:40 AM by RandomThoughts
I am not saying what his faith is, that is for him to decide, but I don't think it is atheist, I do say that, with the caveat that he could be singing blind, that happens alot also.


Never heard any of your songs, and your post do not have any other doctrines showing spiritual concepts from my observations, so you could be an atheist.

:shrug:

But I doubt Billy is, but he should not have to answer what he is anyways, so the whole concept of the question is not the best of situations. And it may not even matter what he thinks he is.


And actually I don't fault him for even writing about such things, and admire those that speak of those things, they can help people sometimes.



I would guess the topic makes me a bit edgy, because the girl he sings of may have loved him, and may have taken things only when they are free, because she had nothing to give that he thought of as having value, as he sang the songs she may have inspired, and I think he should be nicer to her.

There I said it.
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cleanhippie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-10 09:50 AM
Response to Reply #10
16. Nonsense.
All nonsense.
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RandomThoughts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-27-10 02:23 AM
Response to Reply #16
24. shrug, who knows for sure.
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cleanhippie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-27-10 10:15 AM
Response to Reply #24
32. Still nonsense.
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YankeyMCC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-10 10:00 AM
Response to Reply #10
17. It's still so hard for me
to understand that some people just can't accept or grasp the concept of atheism.
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RandomKoolzip Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-10 11:59 AM
Response to Reply #10
22. Sorry - I've been away for a while...are you the user who used to be HypnoToad?
Because you have a remarkably similar posting style - gobbledy-gook and word salad and this weird semi-ingenuousness that I can't tell from the real thing.

In any case - you ARE aware that songwriters, fiction writers, and..well, pretty much ANYBODY can write from a false persona, right? That not everyone who uses a narrative device is proceeding from, and honestly representing their own consciousness when producing works of art? That people can express views that are not necessarily their own in the art they make? From what I'm reading here (your incomprehension of Billy Joel), something tells me you'd have a hell of a time understanding Randy Newman.
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RandomThoughts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-27-10 02:32 AM
Response to Reply #22
25. I never posted under that name.
Edited on Sat Nov-27-10 02:35 AM by RandomThoughts
However there have been instances where people have taken what I posted and used it in different ways. You have to judge by intent. Note that toad and frog both have bad symbolism in many cultures. I do not remember seeing any post from that poster, nor reading them, so it could be we were viewing different pages, or modifications to some posting, since I have been posting here for years.


Also it is only what you think of as word salad, if you do not see the bridges between concepts.

That is wave surfing, or extra dimensions to meaning. Their is a correlating structure to things above the normal. Each concept has tips and valleys, and the tips mostly correlate, as do the valleys, forming a structure around normal structure.

Also what sometimes is called a 'false persona' is only thought to be false by their view, an unbelieving one usually, but can be an inspiring force working through them, although each person has to decide if good or bad, from my experience I find that even the bad reaches a change of mind, and then you see the really good stuff there more and more.

If you can feel the notes and hear both the joy and hardship, their is a form in the thought beyond some illusionary concept thought of only being a self thought, but actually being more of inspired musing.


http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...


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edhopper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-27-10 10:40 AM
Response to Reply #2
33. These are your interpretations
of his songs.
There are many other ways to view a song like The Stranger. Including the Freudian divided self and the Laconian "other" concept.
You are just seeing the supernatural in them. Unless you can find a quote from Joel saying that was his intent, any statement that these things are there is just idle conjecture.
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thanks_imjustlurking Donating Member (462 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-27-10 12:40 PM
Response to Reply #2
34. I can't think of any good reason not to take him at his word.
And a good reason *to* take him at his word would be ordinary politeness. Not that you are talking to him personally here, but I have always found it offensive when people try to convince *me* I'm actually spiritual. And they have.

I very much appreciate his coming out.
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Warren Stupidity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-10 08:56 AM
Response to Original message
11. That interview is a gem.
Whatever you think of howard stern, the hour or so he spent talking with Billy Joel was one of the best interviews of a celebrity of Joel's stature I have ever heard. Relaxed, informal, nothing off limits, and Billy played and sang (with his way too early in the morning voice) while the two of them made it feel like they were in your living room. The technology just disappeared.
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onager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-10 11:02 AM
Response to Original message
19. Thanks! And as long as people are parsing his lyrics...
Come out Virginia, don't let me wait
You Catholic girls start much too late
But sooner or later it comes down to fate
I might as well be the one

They showed you a statue and told you to pray
They built you a temple and locked you away
Aw, but they never told you the price that you pay
For things that you might have done.....
Only the good die young...

So come on Virginia show me a sign
Send up a signal and I'll throw you the line
The stained-glass curtain you're hiding behind
Never lets in the sun
Only the good die young.

You got a nice white dress and a party on your confirmation
You got a brand new soul and a cross of gold
But Virginia, they didn't give you quite enough information
You didn't count on me
When you were counting on your rosary

They say there's a heaven for those who will wait
Some say it's better but I say it ain't
I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints
The sinners are much more fun...

You know that only the good die young
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salvorhardin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-27-10 10:09 PM
Response to Reply #19
37. Funny thing about that song
Many radio stations banned it when the single was released. It was condemned as anti-Catholic. As Joel was to have later said, he wasn't anti-Catholic so much as pro-lust. And of course, as soon as radio stations started banning it, the song started shooting up the charts. :D
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DeSwiss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-10 11:38 AM
Response to Original message
21. K&R
He's among the Famous Atheists in this video.
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salvorhardin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-27-10 09:24 AM
Response to Original message
31. Billy Joel has been openly atheist since at least the early 1980s
Edited on Sat Nov-27-10 09:25 AM by salvorhardin
Here's an excerpt from an interview/biography published in the 1982 book Rock Stars...

Q: You're an atheist, I know. When did you settle on that philosophical position?

A: Well, I wasn't raised Catholic, but I used to go to Mass with my friends, and I viewed the whole business as a lot of very enthralling hocus-pocus. There's a guy hanging upon the wall in the church, nailed to a cross and dripping blood, and everybody's blaming themselves for that man's torment, but I said to myself, "Forget it. I had no hand in that evil. I have no original sin Theres no blood of any sacred martyr an my hands. I pass on all of this."

I had some Jewish guilt in me already - which must have been genetically ingrained since I wasn't raised in a Hebraic religious setting - so I knew I definitely had no room for Catholic guilt too.

"Then my mother took my sister and me to an Evangelical church, the Church of Jesus Christ. I was baptised there at the age of twelve, and it was strictly hallelujah time. But one day the preacher is up in the pulpit unfolding a dollar bill saying, "This is the flag of the Jews." Whoa, fella! We left that flock.

Now my grandfather, whose name was Phillip Hyman, had always been a staunch atheist, and my sister, Judy, and I were very frightened for him, always saying, "Grandpa, believe in God! Don't die this way and end up in Hell!"

But I was very, very close to him. He was the most inspiring presence in my life. He was a very proper, very well-mannered, and well-read Englishman, although none of his breeding had brought him wealth or position. He was a jeweller for a little while; his family in England were tinsmiths. But he didn't have a dime because all of his energies were funnelled into the pursuit of knowledge. He used to sit in bed at night and read books on trigonometry and palaeontology. He didn't respect anything but knowledge, and you'd better know what you were talking about or he would devastate you. He could be a pain in the neck, but he was a happy, man, the only self-fulfilled soul I've ever known.. He made a science out of doing only what he wanted to do.

As a result, I was motivated to become a voracious reader, which I am. And I gradually, decided that just because I didn't have or couldn't find the ultimate answer didn't mean I was going to buy the religious fairytale. As an atheist you have to rationalise things. You decide first of all that will not ask Daddy - meaning God in all of his imagined forms - for a helping hand when you're in a jam. Then you have to try and make some sort of sense out of your problems. And if you try and find you can't, you have no choice but to be good and scared - but that's okay! When animals are afraid, they don't pray, and we're just a higher order of primate. Mark Twain, a great atheist, said it best in The Mysterious Stranger, when he stated in not so many words, "Who are we to create a heaven and hell for ourselves, excluding animals and plants in the bargain, just because we have the power to rationalise?"

Death is death, and the ego can't handle the consequences. We should all struggle to the last to hold on to life, and religion encourages people to give up on making this life work because the supposed next life will be fairer. Religion is the source of too many of the world's worst problems.

I once wrote a love song that contained, as it turned out, some insights into Catholic guilt. But the point of "Only the Good Die Young" was not religion but lust. "Come out, Virginia!" - and I'll tell you anything you want to hear so I can get in your pants!

As a kid, I actually did go into a confessional booth in a local Catholic church, and I made up all these terrible things. I said, "Father I felt my sister, I robbed from my mother, I hit my grandmother." The priest on the other side of the screen just said, "Well then, you will say seventeen Hail Marys and fourteen Our Fathers," and I said, "You mean that's it? I can go out and do it all again and come back next week?" He said, "Who is this?! Are you a member of the parish?!" I said, "I'm not even Catholic!" And I took off in a hurry. But I was curious about this confession thing. Jewish guilt is very popular; there're books and movies about it. But Catholic guilt seemed Gothic and shadowy.

I believe that all important matters have to be settled here, not in the clouds somewhere after we kick off.

Source: http://www.celebatheists.com/wiki/Billy_Joel
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thanks_imjustlurking Donating Member (462 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-27-10 12:47 PM
Response to Reply #31
35. I had no idea - thanks for the information.
I wonder why I haven't noticed him in the birthdays section of Freethought Today.

Love your user name, BTW.
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