The Lyrics: 

[Hook: Frank Ocean]
Human beings in a mob
What’s a mob to a king? What’s a king to a God?
What’s a God to a non-believer who don’t believe in anything?
Will he make it out alive? Alright, alright, no church in the wild

Lies on the lips of priests, Thanksgiving disguised as a feast…
…Is Pious pious cause God loves pious?
Socrates asked whose bias do y’all seek?…
…Jesus was a carpenter, Yeezy he laid beats
Hova flow the Holy Ghost, get the hell up out your seats, preach

[Kanye West]
…We formed a new religion
No sins as long as there’s permission
And deception is the only felony…
…It’s something that the pastor don’t preach
It’s something that a teacher can’t teach
When we die the money we can’t keep
But we probably spend it all cause the pain ain’t cheap, preach

The Breakdown:

In the hook, Frank Ocean proposes that if you deny the highest power, you may just become the highest but you might not make it out alive.

In the first verse Jay Z paints the picture of a history of religious contradictions and challenges the listeners to reconsider their definition of piety or righteousness, similarly to the way Socrates did in the Euthyphro.  He charges listeners to free themselves by rejecting religious bias and to preach this new message.

In the 2nd verse Kanye introduces the details of this new religion, “no sins as long as there’s permission.” He suggests that this new message is new for both preachers and educators because even they do not realize that money isn’t everything and that “we probably spend it all cause the pain ain’t cheap.”

This song isn’t necessarily bashing God, but organized religion. It’s clearly coming from feelings of rejection and hypocrisy from religious institutions and each verse provides a different perspective on the theme.

The Rhetorical

What do you detest more: hypocrisy or death?

When you’ve searched for an example and didn’t find one, did you ever consider yourself?

Are you for as many things as you’re against?

The Takeaway:

When all you do is deny what you hate, you reject the real remedy, which is always God’s love.  Hate is more evil than your intentions. Need proof? When’s the last time you found yourself doing the things you hate?


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