Listening to music—and we are talking about secular music, i.e., the music that you often hear on the radio and the TV, for I suppose spiritual music is out of question, right? — is an adiaphora, which means that it is neutral, it is neither commanded nor forbidden in Scripture. It doesn’t help but neither does it harm one’s soul. Rephrasing a quotation from the epistles of Holy Apostle Paul, there is nothing to gain and nothing to lose when listening to music.
Needless to say, there’s music that does obvious harm to our spiritual condition. Thus, if a song’s lyrics are aggressive or contain calls for violence or sinful acts, you can’t expect anything positive out of it. Ancient philosophers used to say that a person is determined by what he or she eats. Nowadays, another saying is no less justified: an individual is determined by what he or she listens to and watches.
In other words, our psychological portraits can be deduced from our listening and viewing preferences. If we like music that approves of or encourages sin in one way or another, it means that we have some issues with our spiritual health.
By Andrei Muzolf, a professor
at Kiev Theological Academy
Translated by The Catalog of Good Deeds