Pearl Jam’s ‘Marker in the Sand,’ Atheist Leanings

You have to be careful whenever you make any claim about a band’s lyrics because rock bands are notorious for being ambiguous. However, after listening to Pearl Jam’s “Marker in the Sand” I have to say it leans towards agnosticism/atheism and a freeing of the mind from religion. It doesn’t mean we have to yell hooray or anything, but if you want to add it to your freethinking playlist it would be a good entry. And if you want to interpret it to support your faith and as some sort of indictment of hypocritical religion then feel free too, but what I know of Eddie Vedder is that he leans towards unbelief. SongMeanings.net has a great discussion on what listeners think the song means.

Also please note that asking or calling out God is a literary device often used by unbelievers (I’ve done it myself). It doesn’t indicate actual belief, rather it’s a form of sarcasm.

The lyrics are quite beautiful:

There is a marker, no one sees it ’cause the sand
Has covered over, all the messages it kept
Misunderstanding, what original truth was
And out expanding, in a faith, but not in love

What went wrong?

Walking tightrope high over moral ground
Seeing visions of falling up somehow
Do come down

With the living let what is living love
So unforgiving, yet needing forgiveness first

God, what do you say?

Those undecided needn’t have faith to be free
And those misguided, there was a plan for them to be
Now you got both sides claiming killing in God’s name
But god is nowhere to be found, conveniently

What goes on?

Walking tightrope high over moral ground
Walk the bridges before you burn them down
Do come round

With the living let what is living love
Unforgiving, yet needing forgiveness first

God, what do you say? What do you say?

I feel a sickness. A sickness coming over me
Like watching freedom being sucked straight out to sea
And the solution? Well, from me far would it be
But the delusion is feeling dangerous to me

What goes wrong?

Walking tightrope high over moral ground
Seeing visions of falling up somehow
Do come down

With the living, let what is living love
Are forgiving, yet needing forgiveness first

What do you say? God, what do you say?
What do you say?

Calling out, calling out
Calling out, I’m calling you out