Modern Believing

Religion and Western Popular Music: Reach out and Touch Faith?

Modern Believing (2017), 58, (1), 17–27.


Popular music is an ever-present element in Western culture and exhibits some significant religion-like qualities. Increasingly these are being studied by theologians and scholars of religion. This article reviews some of that recent academic research, focussing on the role played in popular music by lyrics, ritual and practice, and its critique of religion. Then we proceed to look at the wider implications of the growing place of spirituality in our society and how that relates to religion and pop music, before concluding by examining some of the ways in which the practice of listening to popular music shares common ground with forms of religious practice.

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Author details

Marsh, Clive

Roberts, Vaughan S.