Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Lyrics (Over)Analysis - Born To See The Light by Trung Doan

I just want to state that this song isn't anti-religion in general. However this song does criticise specific interpretation of religious belief.

This song tells a story about a hypothetical scenario where one religion is right and people who believed in a different faith or no faith will be damned to go to hell. This story is told from the perspective of a person who was born in a different culture who never heard this religion ever existed before dying.

I woke up
I saw a flash of light
This establish that the person has died and has now entered the afterlife (which is often symbolises by a flash of light)

A man appeared
Said “why don’t you know my name?”

God appeared and asked the main protagonist about why that person didn't worship that religion and why he didn't worship the right god.

At my home, your name has no meaning
But I fear you won’t accept that answer

The main character responded that he is from a culture that never heard of that religion before. However he suspected that god will not accept that as a satisfactory excuse.

Here we are
They say you’re the chosen one
Here we are
You’re born to see the light
Born to see the light yeah
In the chorus, the main character is saying that the people who were from the culture that followed the right religion are the "chosen one" and are destined to go to heaven (born to see the light). That god deliberately created people who were destined to have a better chance to go to heaven or hell.

Many beliefs divided in different lands
It turns out only one land was blessed

This established that there are many different religions out there where their popularity is basically divided into different geographical regions but only one religion is true. That god has effectively created a classist society and that all people aren't born equal to god because they don't all have the same opportunities to discover the true religion.

We exist to give the blessed a job
To show us the way, to guide us to the light

The main character is saying that the only reason why cultures that follow the wrong religion exist is so that the true believers are employed by god to become missionaries to try and convert them.

I was born in the land of sinners
Forbidden fruit is our only crop that grows

The main character came from the culture that has never heard of the true religion and only the false religion and therefore they are in the land of sinners. Hence, they have no choice but to follow the wrong religion. He is pleading to god that he has only taken the "forbidden fruit" because the forbidden fruit is the only thing he knows.

They may be an absolute right or wrong
It goes beyond what you think
So send me to hell
My conscious is clear

A lot of people define morality as anything that god believe is right and frame moral debates on what would god believe is right and wrong. The main character of the song rejects that ideology and says that right and wrong is independent to god's interpretation of morality. That sending someone who has never heard of the "true religion" to hell is wrong irrespective of what god thinks it is.

So the main character is accepting that he is now going to hell because he followed the wrong religion. However, he realised that he is in the moral right and that he is going to hell with a clear conscious

I'll repeat that this song isn't anti-religion. There are people who are religious who believe that the pluralism of religion is due to a singular god speaking through people via the prism of different cultures and that are why there is an explanation of many religions. There are also many religious people who justify their political and social views with logical arguments instead of relying on "because my religion said so". The message of this song doesn't apply to those people and only applies to people with a more intolerant approach to people with different beliefs.

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