A recent study has found major differences in musical taste between religious and non-religious people, and between deeply religious and less committed religious people.
In a piece on Australian web site The Conversation, sociology lecturer Haydn Aarons, who conducted the study, wrote: “More theologically conservative Christian groups are also much more likely to shun popular forms of music than the non-religious… Conversely, Christians and committed churchgoers lead the way for highbrow genres such as classical music and opera. Of regular church attendees, 43% regularly attended classical music concerts and operas, compared with 29% of those who never attend church.”
According to Aarons, Christians and committed churchgoers tend to avoid “rock, heavy metal, and alternative rock,” perhaps suggesting “moral aversion based on a perceived incitement to sex and violence associated with the lyrical content. Classical music is less explicit on such themes, and has also been central to some Christian liturgy.”
But while heavy metal fans are often depicted as violent, maladjusted loners and addicts, Haydn is quick to point out that “there are dangers in mixing morals and music. Jazz, rock, heavy metal and blues have often been demonized (literally as ‘the devil’s music’) for their potential to incite particular passions. These genres were eventually appropriated by religious groups themselves, but my research suggests discomfort remains still in their secular guises.”