Atheist Songs
(Song list of the Atheist Choir, Melbourne Australia)

The idea of an Atheist Choir was an idea dreamed up at one of our atheist pub nights, which is one of a series of events associated with the Melbourne Atheist Society and the Melbourne Atheist Meetup Group.  Our early impromptu attempts at singing at the pub nights probably did more than anything else to convince fellow atheists that atheists could not and should not have a choir. We did however manage to get some people together to sing in the foyer at the Global Atheist Convention in March 2010.

After that we were in limbo until we decided to try and generate some enthusiasm again by setting up a facebook event. It might seem odd that we should use the Melbourne Unitarian Church as a venue, however you have to realise that this particular church is about as close to an atheist church as you are ever going to get in a land-owning established church. The Existentialist Society and the Atheist Society both hold their monthly lectures there. We now have a facebook group.

The first facebook event really did generate some renewed interest from some atheists who had musical ability, were in other choirs, and who liked the idea of an atheist choir. If you want to sing in a choir, but don't like religious songs, what choice do you have? Not much.

As the Unitarian Church were aware of our activities, and being on the lookout for performers for their annual Mid-year Fundraiser Concert, we received an invitation from them to perform, on 3 July 2011, at the church. Being hardly ready for a performance, we thought that if we accepted, it might spur us on a bit to get our act together, and it did.  So, we are not sure if this is the first time an "Atheist Choir" has performed at an official engagement, anywhere in the world, but it surely must be the first time they have done so in a church.

Our aim is to promote atheism rather than offend anyone in particular. No doubt some people will be offended whatever we do. Religions are not just untrue. On balance, they are a humanitarian disaster that the world would be better off without. Our motivation however is not just to promote a good cause. Singing is fun.

Some of these songs come from an anthology of humanist songs a couple of which have been sung at Humanist Society functions in the past. The idea of this web site is that you can learn to sing the songs yourself. If you don't know the tune, read the words and play the midi file at the same time (click on mid). We also provide musical scores playable by MuseScore. This software is free to download and install. See MuseScore.org.

The song lyrics are new compositions and in some part are derived from variations of traditional versions. Some are by John Perkins and Royston Wilding, some are joint efforts with Joe Sampson and Brian Jones providing contributions. The words here may be freely copied, with attribution, but may not be reproduced for sale or profit without permission.

CONTENTS
Adapted Hymns Other Adapted Songs Original Songs
All things bright and beautiful Atheist  Interationale  Die Gedanken Sind Frei
Onward Christian murderers We have a dream of unity  
  Rock-a-bye Bomber  
Notes on music formats    

Hymns adapted to atheist themes
(original words and midis from http://www.cyberhymnal.org)

ALL THINGS BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL
Words: Royston Wilding.
Music format:   a  b  c  d  mid  mscz

All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small,
All things live and natural, evolution made them all.

Each little flower that opens, each little bird that sings,
DNA made their glowing colours, genes made their tiny wings.

The purple headed mountains, the river running by,
Nothing to do with Jesus, its all a bloody lie.

If God made all the universe, he made the bad stuff too,
All earthquakes, plagues and famines, this bully sends to you.

Religion is a nasty scourge, its teachings are untrue,
When a preacher comes around, tell him to go shoot through.

Now we have eyes to see them, and lips that we might tell
How stupid is religion, send all of them to hell.

All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small,
All things live and natural, evolution made them all.

Royston says that in this version he has corrected the "factual inaccuracies" in the original words, but the verse
        The rich man in his castle, The poor man at his gate,
        God made them high and lowly, And ordered their estate.
has been omitted.

ONWARD CHRISTIAN MURDERERS
Tune: Onward Christian Soldiers
Words: Royston Wilding. Verses: 1 Intro,  2 Crusades, 3 Conquistadores 4 Hitler

Onward, Christian soldiers, marching off to war,
With the cross of Jesus, going on before
‘gainst Jew and homo-sexual, atheist and black
With bib-les and our ri-fles, we’re ready to attack

Chorus
   Onward, Christian murderers
   Marching off to war,
   Cru-sad-er with Nazi,
   and Con-quis-tador.

With Good King John and legions, of the bloody Pope,(and little boys, ho ho ho )
Smite Slavs Jews Greek Christians, hang Mongols with a rope
Pillage, rape and plunder, this is God’s holy will (the Holy Crusades)
The noble and the holy thing is torture, rape and kill

Now on to the Americas, with Conquistadores, (and Columbus)
Aztecs Incas Indians, kill them by the hoards (in Jesus’ holy name)
Take their gold and silver, enslaver them till they’re sick (working for god)
Then in your divine mercy, change them to Catholic (to save their souls)

Chorus 3
Now back again to Europe, with Hitler and the Pope, (holy alliance!)
Take the Jews to Auschwitz, turn them into soap, (in accordance with the bible)
Glory, laud, and honour unto Christ the King
This thro' countless ages, men and angels sing. (hallelujah brothers / sisters)

These words are intended to reflect the historical nature of Christian solidiers, that the original words pehaps did not quite encapsulate.

Traditional songs,  atheist versions
 

ATHEIST INTERNATIONALE
To the tune of The Internationale (Eugene Pottier, Paris 1871, music Pierre Degeyter (1888)). Words: John Perkins.
Music format:   a  b  c  d  mid  mscz

Arise you victims of delusion, arise you people of the earth
Discard unfounded superstition, there's a better world in birth
For reason in revolt now thunders, freethinkers to the fore
Now in the dawning age of reason, ancient faith we need no more.

  Chorus:
  Now people, let us rally, its a great fight that we face
  We must discard religion, to save the human race.
  Now people, let us rally, its a great fight that we face
  We must discard religion, to save the human race.

Our destiny is our own making, no gods will save us from our fate
A new age of reason is now dawning, the world it will illuminate
Away with fear and superstition, the truth will set you free
In a world with honesty and freedom, peace and justice there will be.

Away with synagogue and steeple, Mohammed and his warrior band
We know there are no chosen people, we know there is no promised land
So join together in our chorus, Atheists be proud
Although believers may deplore us, Our voice is clear and loud

The sentiments behind the original words of this song were meant to provide a vision of a better world. But it was a flawed vision. These words are intended to provide a true vision of a better world.

WE HAVE A DREAM
To the tune of The Red Flag (Tannenbaum / Oh Xmas Tree). NB: Red Flag version has additional verse before chorus. Words: John Perkins.
Music format:   a  b  c  d  mid  mscz

With knowledge we have overcome, the darkest fears that plagued us long
Neither heaven above nor hell below, science tells us all we know.

  Chorus:
  So let us set our standard high, on facts and reason, we'll rely
  Though the followers of faith may sneer, we stand as one and have no fear.

When faith conspires to deceive, why don't we think not just believe?
With honesty and justice sure, we can build peace that will endure

  Chorus:

We have a dream of unity, of all the world as family
When religious divides are in the past, we can have world-wide peace at last.

  Chorus:
 

ROCK-A-BYE BOMBER
To the tune of "Rock-a-bye baby, on the tree top". Words: John Perkins.
Music format:           mid  

Suicide bomber, in the big mosque
Praying to Allah his bomb will go off
When the bomb blows, it will kill all
But with the virgins, he'll have a ball

Islam is peaceful, that's what they say
So why are there bombings, day after day?
They can come over, and live here with us
We are tol'rant, we won't make a fuss.

But when they want their sharia law
That's when we wonder what is it for?
Can't we all try to believe what is true?
A world based on reason, is long overdue.

Traditional & popular songs with humanist themes (original words)

DIE GEDANKEN SIND FREI -  from the German folk song
Music format:   a  b  c  d  mid  mscz

Die Gedanken sind frei, my thoughts freely flower,
Die Gedanken sind frei, my thoughts give me power.
No scholar can map them, no hunter can trap them,
No one can deny: Die Gedanken sind frei!

I think as I please, and this gives me pleasure,
My conscience decrees this right I must treasure;
My thoughts will not cater to duke or dictator,
No one can deny: Die Gedanken sind frei!

And if tyrants take me, and throw me in prison,
My thoughts will burst free like blossoms in season.
Foundations will crumble, the structure will tumble,
And freely I will cry: Die Gedanken sind frei!

Neither trouble nor pain, will ever touch me again,
No good comes of fretting, my hope's in forgetting.
Within myself still, I can think as I will,
But I laugh, do not cry: Die Gedanken sind frei!
 

This anti-fascist song has been sometimes adopted as a humanist anthem and has been sung at meetings of the International Humanist and Ethical Union.
 

Notes on music formats
Compiled by Brian Cosman-Jones

All these files are adapted to enable home practice and group rehearsals by the addition of an introduction which is not sung, but enables you to easily sing the first note of the song correctly, (both pitch and timing).

Formats
Five formats are provided to practically accommodate everyone's requirements regardless of musical training and role (singer, accompanist or both).

Visual Formats  (identified by the last letter of the filename before the extension).
a.        Lead sheet - melody and words, in accented syllable format - for our rehearsal and performance song book.
b.        Voice and Piano with guitar chords and words - Repeating, fixed phrasing for brevity.
c.        Voice and piano with guitar chords and words - Sequential, phrasing is shown for each  verse.
d.        Words only

Audio Formats  (identified by extension).
mid       Enables playing on MIDI instruments if required.
mscz      MuseScore for concurrent visual and audio. It also clarifies differences in phrasing between verses.  This format is used at rehearsals and performances whenever accompaniment is not available. It enables easy starts anywhere within the music.

MuseScore Files
Unlike common audio formats, MuseScore files are normally run in the program that produces them, so it is easy to accidentally corrupt them. When closing corrupted mscz files or MuseScore itself with one or more freshly corrupted songs in it, a dialog box will appear
asking:
      Save changes to the score "<filename>" before closing?
To avoid permanently corrupting the file(s), please click on the "Discard" button EVERY TIME this dialog box appears. If you accidentally save a corrupted mscz file, a replacement can be emailed to you upon request.

MP3s and CDs
The MIDI files can be easily converted by you to mp3 files for use on portable MP3 players, or to WAV files for producing a CD for use in any CD player by using a FREE music conversion program such as Switch.
 


Return to John Perkins home page
Return to Atheist Society

Contact us: PO Box 6004, Melbourne Vic 8008    email