10 in 2010?

One of my favourite bands used to be Bad Religion, the godfathers of California punk. The early stuff was raw and in your face and as they’ve aged their melodic side has come to the fore. If you know them at all, you’re likely familiar with their radio hit 21st Century Digital Boy, a song whose music and lyrics I love.

What’s most interesting about Bad Religion is that their singer, Greg Graffin, has a PhD in evolutionary biology from from Cornell, thus the intelligence of the song-writing is quite high. Graffin is also an atheist and this comes out strongly in a lot of what he writes about. One song in particular has been in my mind as the calendar switched to 2010 – it’s a song about suffering and the over-population of the world: Ten in 2010. It’s short, so I’ll reproduce the lyrics for you:

parched, cracked mouths, empty swollen guts
sun-baked pavement encroaches on us
haves and have-nots together at last
brutally engaged in mortal combat
10 in 2010

what kind of God orchestrates such a thing?
10 in 2010
ten billion people all suffering
10 in 2010
truth is not an issue just hungry mouths to feed
10 in 2010
forget what you want, scrounge the things you need

happy and content it can’t happen to you
10 in 2010
fifteen years we’ll think of a solution
10 in 2010
it won’t just appear in one day
10 in 2010
for ten in twenty-ten we’re well on our way

like piercing ear darts, I heard the news today
10 in 2010
10 billion people…coming your way

Now, there is much that could be said about this song in terms of its overall philosophy. I think in particular of the line early on: “What kind of God orchastrates such a thing?” The song is essentially about the goodness of God and human suffering; a subject often called “theodicy” in the philosophy of religion. My point here is not to get into the issue of how God can be good in light of human suffering (one thinks only of the recent earthquake in Haiti). Philosophers like Alvin Plantinga and John Frame have offered up sound answers to this age-old problem.

Rather, I want to highlight the basic error of the song in that the world’s population is not ten billion and it is now the year of our Lord two thousand and ten. Trusty old Wikipedia estimates the population of the world currently at 6,799,700,000. I wonder if Graffin’s changed the lyrics or if they’ve scrapped the song altogether?

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under atheism, bad religion, greg graffin, music, philosophy, suffering

2 responses to “10 in 2010?

  1. "The early stuff was raw and in your face and as they’ve aged they’re melodic side has come to the fore."

    "…their melodic side…"

    "Rather, I want to highlight the basic error of the song in that the world’s population is not ten million and it is now the year of our Lord two thousand and ten."

    "…is not ten billion…"

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s