Sunday, June 14, 2009

A thoughtless lyric

Today I ran across a very interesting juxtaposition while listening to my local Christian radio station. At one point there was a preacher (I didn't catch his name) who was born with a cleft palate but thanks to plastic surgery is a successful international speaker. In complete opposition to that, the same station later played the song "Our God reigns" by the band Delirious?

This song, after attacking abortion and either HIV or greed (or both) then tackles what the band believes is the third great evil threatening this broken world - plastic surgery:

The west has found a gun and it’s loaded with ‘unsure’
Nip and tuck if you have the bucks in a race to find a cure.
Psalm one hundred and thirty nine is the conscience to our selfish crime,
God didn’t screw up when he made you,
He’s a father who loves to parade you.

Now I like a lot of songs by Delirious? but this is arguably one of the dumbest, most thoughtless pieces of lyric writing out there. Sure, it may sound holy and deep if you are one of the fortunate ones who happened to be born healthy and with everything looking and working as it should. But what about all those who aren't? When you get right down to it, this lyric raises several very uncomfortable questions. If God doesn't "screw up" when he makes you then why are there so many babies born with various birth defects? Is it still a "selfish crime" to correct defects that would prevent a child from talking/walking/seeing/hearing? If God wants you to stay the way He made you (flaws and all) are we supposed to leave all defects untreated? If it's OK to use plastic surgery on some defects, why not on others? At what point does it become an insult to God to alter your appearance? Is it OK to get your crooked teeth fixed? Is it a selfish crime to colour your hair? How about shaving? Is it a sin for people who were born fat to diet? Do frail people who exercise insult God? Should we even be wearing glasses and contact lenses? After all if God (according to Delirious? at least) purposefully made you nearsighted, wouldn't it be a "selfish crime" to try and correct that? Is it OK to use moisturiser or would God prefer to parade my wrinkles and blemishes as soon as possible?

Seriously, if you want to tell a beautiful but insecure teenage girl that she doesn't need breast enlargement to be loved then tell her she is beautiful and doesn't need breast enlargement to be loved. Don't make incredibly dumb and thoughtless blanket statements about plastic surgery.

And since when is plastic surgery one of the biggest evils of our time anyway?


digapigmy said...

I think you're probably just reading a bit too much into this. Delirious? is not the only band, Christian or not, to attack plastic surgery. It is not always specified, but usually understood, that we're talking lipo, breast enlargements, etc. that are for shallow, insecure, lazy people. Or at least that is the usual take on plastic surgery. It's assumed that necessary procedures borne of necessity are different than those that are motivated by vanity. Here are a couple of my favorites in no particular order. Check out You Tube for videos.

Murdoc said...

I agree with the Brint. The "nip & tuck" phrase in the "west" refers to the boob jobs, lipo, facelifts, etc...not the fixing of birth defects. With that cleared up, the rest of the points are irrelevant.

Also, with the raising of uncomfortable questions...I think people get uncomfortable with questions when they don't know the answers, or when the answers to the questions may differ from their own beliefs. I think it's easier to admit that there are many things we don't & won't understand. I don't think our questions make God uncomfortable. I'm pretty sure He can handle them.

If you look at Delirious' body of work, you'll see that lyrically they are not thoughtless or insensitive. If you are looking for something, you'll eventually find it.

Eugene said...

Well I am a Delirious? fan and I am not a fan of plastic surgery but I still disagree with you both.

My main problem is with the lyric, "God didn’t screw up when he made you", which states in no uncertain terms that you look the way you look because that is how God wanted you to look. That is the main reason I brought up birth defects. If you look the way you do because that's the way God supposedly "made" you then why is that different from any other type of plastic surgery? Why is it less of a "selfish crime" to fix a cleft palate than to get lipo if (as they claim) "God didn’t screw up when he made you"? Either way you are messing with the alleged Divine plan for your looks.

Secondly, why is plastic surgery so evil? What makes a nip/tuck more vain than an expensive haircut, clothes, makeup or anything else that makes you look better than you usually do? Why is getting a nose job a "selfish crime" but getting braces isn't?

Murdoc said...

I think the questions you ask may just be questions that you have to answer yourself. I think many of them come down to personal opinion. Now the questions on God. I think the main question that could sum things up would be: Do you believe that God screws up? I say no. He's perfect & everything that He does is perfect.

We are not perfect. Shocker, huh? With imperfect people, come imperfections. Birth defects are some of those imperfections. In some cases, you're also dealing with imperfections that are hereditary or genetic, or come from the stupid choices/sin of the parents.

If your real problem is with people's issues regarding plastic surgery, that's another thing.

Eugene said...

Well it seems to me we are in agreement then. People don't look the way they do because God "made" them that way, people look the way they do because of the genes they got from their respective parents. I don't think I would ever consider plastic surgery but at the same time I'm not going to judge those who do for whatever reason. Unless they get all Micheal Jackson about it. My only point was that there is no Divine Plan behind the way anyone looks so why make people feel bad about wanting to change it, especially by throwing God at them?

I still enjoy Delirious? but that was not a well thought out lyric.

Murdoc said...

Well I still like to believe that God wanted me to be pretty.