Song insults humanity

ON TOP of the radio charts today is “Who am I?“, a gospel song performed by a Christian rock band named Casting Crowns.

The other weekend when I had to stay in the office to help my students polish their degree papers, I listened to the song 43 times (yes, I tallied!) in two days, not exactly by choice, I assure you, as all radio stations were playing it incessantly.    To the vulnerable, it would seem a perfectly inspirational song.  For me, however, it brings much discomfort. The song insults humanity. It insults me… and you.

The musical piece sets off on a nice note though.  It poses the most important and meaningful of man’s questions.

Who am I?

“The unexamined life is not worth living”, posits Socrates. All inquiries must be rooted in the self, and so I honestly like the first line.

But then the insult begins…

That the Lord of all the earth,
Would care to know my name,
Would care to feel my hurt.
Who am I?

Christianity would usually denigrate man’s existence to emphasize God’s supreme nature.  In Filipino movies, this is the “Langit ka, Lupa ako” plot. Nora Aunor and Judy Ann Santos have starred in a lot of movies with such story line, and I don’t exactly like Ate Guy and Juday.

That the bright and morning star,
Would choose to light the way,
For my ever wandering heart.

Did the star choose to light the way or was it man who chose to look at the star?  Was it the only bright star?  In the first place, was the road really dark?  And what’s wrong with wandering? If at all, it spices up a person’s life, and leads one to conquer new ground.

Not because of who I am,
But because of what you’ve done.
Not because of what I’ve done,
But because of who you are.

These lines contend that man’s search for meaning does not matter because everything is not about him, but Him. Man is a puppet with pull strings that extend up to the high heavens.

Alas, the song’s demeaning of humanity intensifies…

I am a flower quickly fading,
Here today and gone tomorrow,

But doesn’t Christianity believe in the immortality of the soul? I am confused. We are not the body, are we?

A wave tossed in the ocean,
A vapor in the wind.

And now the messianic effect…

Still you hear me when I’m calling,
Lord, you catch me when I’m falling,

Ahhh, so there.  Faced with enormous difficulties, man’s tendency is to seek out the supernatural.

Friedrich Nietzsche must be rolling violently in his grave.  The German philosopher posited that strength is man’s primary virtue.  We humans do not have fangs like snakes, we do not have claws like wild cats, and we are not as huge as dinosaurs, but we have survived as a species because of our strength, not physically, but of our will.  Every human being has the distinct chance to spouse will to power.

It is precisely in times of crisis that man is given the opportunity to unleash his potentials. Pushed to edge, he flies and soars. That is why Nietzsche considered problems as important ingredients in man’s empowerment.

But the song, instead of promoting will to power, invites man to wave the white flag instead, to embrace slave morality.  Then again, total surrender is an important tenet of Christianity.

Note that Nietzsche was not exactly an atheist, i.e. he never said that God did not exist.  In fact, he favored some oriental and pagan religions, so long as they promoted man’s strength.  Among those life-affirming religions are Buddhism and Hinduism.

When you are pray as a Christian, you imagine the heavens opening up and pouring you all the blessings. To put it more graphically, it is as if there is a ray of spotlight coming from up above and illuminating your being. Buddhism and Hinduism, on the other hand, believe that strength has been embedded in the person and all that one has to do is unravel them through meditation. That happens when you do yoga, an exercise which harnesses one’s inner powers.

And you’ve told me who I am.

Alas, man’s identity has been dictated to him…

I am yours.
I am yours.

I thought we were God’s children?  Do parents own their children?  Are sons and daughters properties?  Last time I heard, it was when slavery was still legal that one could own human beings.

I suspect that God, if indeed he exists, is also unhappy with this song. He had a high regard for humanity that he created men and women in his own image and likeness. This same love led him to send his own son to die and offer redemption to our world. God is the number one fan of man, the most valiant vanguard of human dignity.

He must be as hurt listening to the song as I am.

Author: Herdy La. Yumul

A hesitant academic pimp, writer

35 thoughts on “Song insults humanity”

  1. so you listened to it 43 times? my second or third my ears will be ringing. you are a very enduring and patient persistent person. what a virtue. i would have shut off the stupid radio and walked away and go find a restaurant that serves my buchi and halo halo..being in my comfort zone .he he

    1. hehehe… I was too busy to turn off the radio.. Oh, my advisee brought me chowking halo2. I couldn’t endure it because he did not bring extra ice. It’s just so sweet for me.

    1. sure… be my guest… I had a big bowl of halo-halo this morning. Sa soup bowl talaga, para mas madaling ihalo…

    1. Don’t get me wrong… I love desserts. Just that when the halo2 is so sweet, you no longer get to appreciate the natural flavors of the fruits. Anyway, chowking halo2 ingredients are mostly preserved and canned, including nata de coco and kaong which I don’t like.. I want it fresh that’s why I prefer the halo2 by the corner.

  2. in the food courts in sm in the city they have big big goblets of halo halo with leche plan on i also like kabalen..when i was there was noontime and i was with my niece and her husband shopping and got hungry..unbeknownst to me that my credit card will be rejected..did not have cash with me so i called my husband woke him up and had him straighten things.the credit card co.said that i have to call them when we go out of the country.

  3. my husband just told me “do not give up your day i was singing with the” who am i ‘ because that is the way i can understand the contents and analyze it..”i still love you “he says then i said” i don’t have a day job to give up anyways..”ha ha.

  4. no my husbands dad is native american and his mom is french.they died very young.he only have a sister living in florida.

  5. on our way to the store we were just talking about us being together for 38 years..and we were saying it just didn’t seem it had been that long and in unison we said “i am not complaining.”.we even think the same now !one of my friends kids once asked her why is it that mr and mrs chestnut walk with hands together still, they are not lovers.they had been married for a long time. ..we walk together in life..not infront or back…in sickness or in pain , happiness or loneliness we share..

  6. yeah..isn’t it scary?the thing is we respect each other’s privacy or otherwise and we accept each others shortcomings and willing to work on rough areas of our marriage, not give up easily.

  7. yes it is a native american surname..there is not too many around but i guess in the indian reservation you can see a lot of father in lawsname iswilliam then my husband is william jr and my son is william III

  8. Life is a matter of PERSPECTIVE, its not about what happens… but HOW you take it and HOW you respond to it.

    For me, the song didn’t (In my sense) Insults Humanity. In a way, it gives us a hint of How we came to understand that we are just HUMAN BEINGS, and that we are not living for OUR OWN.

    You may saw it that we may be like puppets in god hands, but remember we have been GIVEN- FREE WILL.

    I see that STRENGTH is mans VITRUE (but is that really the PRIMARY? ,and if you would ask me what will be the primary if its not strength- BENEVOLENCE i would say: MALASAKIT SA KAPWA!)

    WILL TO POWER… this is natural for us human beings for we are a SUPERIOR RACE and we are to RULE over the earth. But then again, this is the main question: What does it profit a man to have everything but looses his soul?
    The Soul is MANS WILL (to coincide with Nietzsche) my only concern is WHERE does that will originates/ WHAT is the MAIN goal of that WILL? and is it really WILL, or just WANT?

    You have Nietzsche, I have Solomon. (Now you’ve probably got the idea) If theres someone who lived earth and got STRENGTH, POWER, RICHES and GLORY…KNOWLEDGE and WISDOM. (He’s the MAN) but after all these things bestowed to him…He conciders it all MEANINGLESS. So what are the HUMANS Fighting and living for?

    Yes the song shows degradement in the human beings, but (for me)this is to illustrate that as children we need PARENTS- NOT to own us but lead and show us the PATH we should take (in a christian perspective- not as “COMMONERS”)
    We seek for SUPERIORS for us to have MODEL and INSPIRATION (if that works for you) but this is not to loose our own identity but to be able to build ourselves more STRONGER as we study our models lives. For christians it is CHRIST… simply becouse He’s the one who surpassed the extreme test in humans lives- DEATH! Now i know you will agree to me that DEATH is the crowning glory of life, so to end… What is it that human beings are willing to fight for until the END? that OTHERS (not only to himself) may consider it Crowning Glory, not as MEANINGLESS>?

  9. what wrong with that song? I dont think there’s something wrong with that destroys humanity. Are you an anti-christ?well, for me this song is inspiring and i don’t think God will be unhappy listening to it.The song just want to emphasize that we owe everything to God.We are from his own flesh and therefore we must treat him with full of respect and praise.Being someone and not just something is knowing who we really are. God enlighten us to identify our own identity,our uniqueness as person, and our equal standing in his world.This article wasted my time reading it over and over. And i dont know if I understand if i understand what you mean inhere. I hope what I’m saying connects to what you want to share.But as I read it, going back to the lines, I still don’t get what is in your mind that insults you.The song is full of humility and not being weak because of faith.If we have the strenght to survive and our will to live, it is because of God who is the source of knowledge soaring high to live according to his will.

  10. ..ehem!!
    ..tama man o mali ang song na ‘to, basta magpuri lng tau sa knya ay ok na! dahil linikha nya tayo pra sya’y purihin. kong may mali man sa song na ‘to, siguro nman mapapatawad nya tayo, dahil tao lng tayo na madaling mag kamali. “nobody’s perfect”

    =yvette cimatu

  11. isa rin po ako sa mga taong naaamze sa kantang ito…
    pero ngayong parang bingyan nyo nang kahulugan ang kantang ito ay nagaalanganin ang aking isipan kung talaga bang mabuti ang kantang ito..
    sa tingin ko po ay may tama naman ho kayo sa mga binigay niyong kahulugan…
    pero maganda ho talaga ang kantang ito eh kaya siguro ipagpapatuloy ko paring pakingan ang kantang ito…….

  12. For me, it is totally insulting us nd not just us but also our beloved God because, all of the lyrics of that song is not true. I believe that our beloved God is in our heart not in the earth and our God created us and He love us because, He sacrifice Here own son just to save us from our sins.

  13. Does it insult humanity? ( i dont think so)
    We are God’s children and we must obey Him. The role of parent is to guide us in the right path and so that’s God has doing, guiding us in the light.
    The song is very inspiring and gives us hope that He is always there for us.

  14. It’s true that when I first heard the song, I agree that it insults humanity. But there came a point, I realized the song doesn’t insults humanity, it only speaks about reality. God is the source of everything that we can see from the very beginning, even YOU and I. We own nothing in this world even our lives (We will return these to the to Him). All the things are vanity of vanities without the Lord Almighty. We depend on Him and we can do nothing without Him. And I strongly believe that God will be happy for this song because it signifies that we are here to live not for ourselves but for Him as He desires.

  15. Ang kantang ito ay hindi naman siguro ginawa para manginsulto. Maaaring may ibang ibig sabihin ng gumawa nito. Pero kung titignan nga naman ang mga lyrics ay parang mali talaga. Bakit ba ginawa itong gospel song eh hindi naman ito naaayon sa Christianity at parang iniba naman ng kantang ito ang talaga at tunay na Christianity.

  16. .. wala akong kamalay-malay na ganito pala ang ang ibig sabihin ng mga liriko ng kantang ito.,, matagal tagal na ding napapakinggan ko ang kantang ito., mganda naman pakinggan.,, nakakagulat lang.,.bawat linya ng kanta may ibig sabihin na hindi naaayon. napakagaling mo talaga sir., i wish meron akong abilidad na ganyan tulad niyo.,, napakacritic mo.,.,

  17. For me the song doesnt insults the humanity,it is inspiring and it gave us hope. God gave us free will but we must always remember that we owe everything to God. Songs are made to make people happy not for insulting nor disgrace ,we should thank our God always for giving us our life. Extending our life and not letting us suffer is just because of our God loves .

  18. in this article, there are some parts that insults humanity. this song may appear as awkward to others. but for me, even if it’s insult humanity, this will open up our mind that everyone of us can have different comment about the song and it depends to the persons acceptance.

  19. Personally, I do not find anything wrong with the song. I do not find it insulting. Biblical history dictates that God gave his beloved son, Jesus, for us to be saved. The lines:
    That the Lord of all the earth,
    Would care to know my name,
    Would care to feel my hurt.
    Who am I?
    for me does not insult at all. It is a reflection of the sacrifice of God that Jesus was meant to save us from our sins. When Jesus died, He died for the mankind and did not choose whom to die for, whether you’re a sinner or not.

    There is no wrong in wandering. But let us not literally interpret the line. Let see the term wandering as a state when a person seems to be lost in the road or being misguided on the proper way to take. Take for consideration the parable of the prodigal son. He was lost yet his father openly accepted him. That what the line meant, that despite of him being in the dark, he was still accepted.

    Yes human beings are supposed to have strength. But who gives the strength? Where our strength does comes from? I could say it is in our faith…faith to us but most of all faith for the omnipotent being.

    And the line I am yours should not be construed as being considered as a property. In Christianity, it is prophesized that when you surrender yourself to God, you will experience eternal peace. Isn’t it that we always say that the glory be to Him? In other words, the line declares submission to His unseen power, to an unseen guiding hand that will forever stay no matter who you are. All you need would be to acknowledge His existence.

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daytoy ti bunga ti rimkuas nga iliw ken abrasa dagiti lagip iti selsel met la a nagtaudanna...

Herdy Yumul

Blogger/Columnist/Book Author


Got Stuck Beneath the Ink of Pen And Aperture of Lens

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