Eminem’s “Not Afraid”

Eminem’s always been known for his raw, in-your-face, “I’m gonna do and say whatever I want” lyrics.  His newest release falls right in line with his philosophy on music and self-expression.  In some ways I actually respect him for actually saying something through his music (even though I disagree with him 99% of the time…) rather than falling into the trap of releasing catchy music that means nothing.

The Highlights:

  • This is a catchy song.  I’ve listened to it a few times this morning while reading the lyrics along with it, and the second and third times I was listening I found myself getting drawn into the song (against my will, mind you).  It’s already  iTunes’ #1 most downloaded song, and I expect it will be all over the radio and school proms/dances this year!
  • It’s easy to identify with.  Just listen to the lyrics of the “Hook” and “Intro” and you’ll get a taste of why so many teens will be drawn to this song:

(Hook)
I’m not afraid to take a stand
Everybody come take my hand
We’ll walk this road together, through the storm
Whatever weather, cold or warm
Just let you know that, you’re not alone
Holla if you feel that you’ve been down the same road

(Intro)
Yeah, It’s been a ride…
I guess I had to go to that place to get to this one
Now some of you might still be in that place
If you’re trying to get out, just follow me
I’ll get you there

The Downfall:

  • Although the Hook & Intro revolve around universally-shared experiences, Eminem’s way of leading his listeners through the storm is totally anti-biblical.

Eminem’s way of “getting you there” out of the storm is by force, rebellion, and following a “whatever it takes” mindset.   You can read the full lyrics here and look up the song on YouTube by typing in “Eminem, Not Afraid” – but know that there’s plenty of foul language (which is why I’m not linking the song or listing the full lyrics here).

While Jesus doesn’t promise to immediately rescue you from every storm in life, he does promise to be with you through them (Matthew 28:20).  Jesus teaches us to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).  Eminem’s “in your face” way of handling conflict is totally contrary to how Christ calls his children to live.  I’m not writing this at all to blast Eminem, but I am writing to warn Christians to listen to music discerningly.

In the end, I couldn’t help contrasting “Not Afraid” with Casting Crown’s song “Praise you in this Storm.”  Both songs address very similar issues, but present completely opposite and contradicting resolutions.  Here’s the video and lyrics for “Praise you in the Storm.”

7 thoughts on “Eminem’s “Not Afraid”

  1. Naomi and family July 30, 2010 / 9:50 am

    Why is it that you believe it to be anti-biblical? Read closely, my friend and you’ll see that many of the changes throughout the book took place amid great violence. Also, as Christians, we must be careful not to repel those who are undergoing great and significant change in their lives by the means and methods available to them – or that they can relate to. Personally, the first couple of times that I listened to the song, I thought Eminen had transformed himself and possibly was reaching out to – and thanking – Christ. Now that I have read the lyrics and realize it’s not as I first believed, you can’t deny that Eminen has undergone a personal change and that should be celebrated especially by Chritians, as every journey begins with a single step. As Christians, let’s try something new and try not to condemn someone immediately when it doesn’t fit neatly into our preconceived package of “what’s right”. Also, this song doesn’t just draw teens – I’m forty – two.

    • ebccrosswalk July 30, 2010 / 10:07 am

      As I wrote in my post, I was also really drawn into the song. That’s why I wrote about it, because I think everyone can really identify with what he’s talking about. I just think that as Christians, Jesus calls us to meekness and humility and to patiently endure suffering… not to fight those who are against us, but to love them (even if that means more suffering on our part). Eminem wouldn’t agree with that response (many Christians wouldn’t either, even though that’s clearly what Jesus taught and modeled for us). So I’m not condemning Eminem because he doesn’t fit into my box, I’m cautioning Christians from learning how to handle conflict from Eminem rather than from Jesus.

      • Q May 7, 2012 / 9:08 pm

        Eminem wouldn’t agree with that response – Did you ask him?

      • Pastor Mike May 8, 2012 / 11:15 am

        Q: I’d actually love to talk with Eminem… I think he’s an extremely gifted and insightful artist whom I really respect, even though I disagree with him on a number of important things. Obviously, no, I didn’t ask him – if you have his cell phone number let me know and I’d be glad to do so… but I just listened to the song again while reading the lyrics and the whole attitude of his response seems at odds with how Christ himself responded to conflict in the Gospels.

  2. Megan Reece February 17, 2016 / 11:02 pm

    This was a helpful article for me to read because it was a good reminder that just because an artist is being honest about the problems we all face, it does not mean they are going to lead us to the right solution. Eminem is great at telling the hard truth in his lyrics and the stories he shares capture our hearts and can encourage us to move, but we need to rely on our Christian faith and the Bible to know where to move to.

    • Pastor Mike February 19, 2016 / 10:39 am

      Thanks Megan, I’m glad you found this helpful. I always think it’s wise to listen discerningly, asking, “What’s the nugget of truth behind this?”

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