The Atheist Tabernacle Choir is a 1986 song written by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman. The song is rendition of what a gospel group whose songs had no basis in religion would sound like. It was released as a B-side to the 1986 Christmas single "Santa Claus Is On The Dole", which adds to the ironic humour of the song as Christmas is a religious holiday.
If you don't believe in God... clap your hands
If you don't trust the Lord then... clap your hands
If you reject the possibility of a diety then... clap your hands
And join the Atheist Tabernacle Choir
We're not gonna cross that... Jordan River
It don't even exist, that... Jordan River
To be honest it's an outmoded religious metaphor, that... Jordan River
Yes, we're the Atheist Tabernacle Choir
Sing six feet deep... that's where I'm going
Six feet deep... no afterliving
Six feet deep... yup, it's depressing
We're not gonna reach the... Promised Land
There's no such thing as that... Promised Land
It's a cynical notion dreamed up by priests in collaboration with landed interests in order to subjugate the masses that... Promised Land
Let's sing for Atheist Tabernacle Choir
Sing: i n a wooden box... that's where I'm heading
A wooden box... forever dead in-
A wooden box... no resurrecting
A wooden box... yep, it's depressing
If you believe in nothing... sing out loud
If you think it's all cobblers... sing out loud
If you find the whole idea of personal freedom is circumscribed by the seemingly arbitrary activities of a supreme being, then... sing out loud
And join the Atheist Tabernacle Choir Yes folks, we're the Atheist Tabernacle Choir - the only choir that asks
Why - do Christians get to sing all the best music?
Why - can't non-believers sing gospel?
And Why - can't existentialists bang a tambourine?
So if you've no hope in your heart, but a song on your lips and the only soul you believe in is James Brown, then come on forward, and . . . join the Church of England
or the Atheist Tabernacle Choir.
Don't praise the Lord