I think something can look good but be so twisted from the truth that God created that it in fact evil. For instance, there are styles of literature that we doubt would ever be considered godly because of content.
Point in case, can anyone imagine a Christian girlie magazine? The words would be purely Christian, but the picutures would instill ungoly passions. We would say this is not of God because of the pictures and the feelings they generate and the word says to not lust and not cause someone else to sin, and we should avoid pornea and culturally we would say it demeans the girls. A case could be made that since the Bible did not address certain things like pictures then it could be ok for those with stronger faith.
This is of course hogwash. But my point is to present an example of where the words might be fine, but the effects of other things taken in with the words make the thing in question ungodly.
I think the questions are: Is something is bad only because it is done in the context of pagan worship, or if that thing is bad AND that thing is done in the context of pagan worship?
I may be wrong, but I think this is the crux of the difference between those who see nothing wrong with things like tattoos, piercings, and Christian heavy metal music and those who think them satanic.
We can not really use history to claim a Biblical moral high ground. But we can look at it to compare to what others have done. The songs of Wesley’s day were Christian lyrics put to music played in the pubs. Some claim Martin Luther did something similar, and others claim that to be a lie. I do not know.
I DO know some beats make my heart get excited or scared or sad or anxious (that’s why they use music in special effects in movies).
If I look at people’s lives today, I have heard many testimonies of people who grew up in the church and listened to metal and it led them away from God. But I have also heard many testimonies of people who grew up in the church and listened to metal and it did NOT lead them away from God, but then those folks are not strong in God either. I have heard from people who know Christian musicians that many of them are strong in the faith. That, regardless of style, these men and women feel called of God to minister through music.
My wife said that certain beats are ok in an of themselves, but the effect changes when you use a snare or other percussion instruments, the feeling changes. Some techno, rap, jazz (highly disonant jazz), some punk, and all thrash metal makes some people feel anxious. The same is true for the overall tone and atmosphere for the music. Heavy metal generally has a one that is dark and foreboding – regardless of the lyrics, due to the minor keys (non-christian metal in major keys are party song).
How is it uplifting or praising God when the music we listen to makes us nervous, sad, scared, hard, tough, aggressive?
I spend a lot of time trying to teach people that what they watch and listen to affects their feelings and thoughts. I use television and music to prove my point. Music should not negatively affect us.
I looked at what the Bible has to say concerning music. It discusses song and music in terms of song being music made with the mouth and music being made with an instrument. You can have one or the other, or both combined. Different instruments mentioned include: cymbals, harp, lyre, tambourine, flute, stringed instruments, horn, and zither. Instruments have been mentioned in praising an idol (evil) and praising God (good). Music was mentioned in prayer, battle, praise, joy, lament, marriage, worship, and thanksgiving.
While there are examples of different purposes for music, and even different instruments, there are no obvious example of musical style. The closest we come is the purposes. I’d guess that music for a prayer would depend on the content of the prayer. One would imagine a marriage, joy, and thanksgiving would be happy styles. I think a lament would be sad, while music for a battle would be either patriotic or angry or sharp. Worship might be anything, or it might be a specific style. In fact, it might be a style that has changed over the years, depending on length of time spent in a given culture (an example is the language of the Israelites has changed from Hebrew to Aramaic to Greek for some to Modern Hebrew and Arabic).
I think it is safe to say that if Christian lyrics sung to any style of music causes the majority of people listening to think or act in ungodly ways, then we can assume it is not of God. This is not speaking to whether the majority of people who normally listen to the style in the secular world are thinking/acting in ungodly ways.
While I am not ready to say that we should consider certain styles of music to be demonic, it is certainly possible that the truth is that the beauty to be found in music has been so twisted that we are inured to it. We say the words are Christian, so the beat does not matter. In fact, for at least SOME people, that beat will cause them to stumble and sin.
Because Scripture is not clear on this subject, we have to go with the basic principles of the word. We need to use Romans 14, 1 Cor 8 , and 1 Cor 11 as our guidelines. These passages speak of nothing being unclean in and of itself. But if you are convinced something is unclean, then for you it is unclean. If something is not unclean for you but it is for your neighbor, then you should not do that thing around them, where your neighbor might be caused to stumble.
I think it boils down to what is sinful for you. You have to be convinced in your own mind one way or the other.
For some, rock music IS something that leads them down the wrong path, even if the words glorify God. This is not the case for all people.
The same is true for alcohol. For some people, any alcohol will lead them down the wrong path. For others, it does not. One must remember, however, that we may never know which it is for you until you try it. The question must be asked, is it worth the risk? Each of us must decide for ourselves.
The trick is to not judge anyone for it, but simply recognize the truth. If it causes you to stumble, you should not do that thing. If something you do causes your brother to stumble, you should not do that thing, avoid affecting them negatively.