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Need It Be Said?
Written spring 1967


Background:  In high school, I had written a script for a proposed musical play called Follow Your Star.  For more details, click the logo. 

Follow Your Star was never produced; but in college, I continued thinking about developing it further.

One of the characters was a young man called Paul Clark who had begun to seriously doubt his religion.  I sketched out the following lyrics, for a chorus and then for Paul.  I never set them to music, which would not have been easy.


TENOR (Psalm 22:1-5).
Eli, Eli, lama sabach-thani?
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Why art thou so far from helping me,
     from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry by day, but thou dost not answer;
     and by night, but find no rest.
Yet thou art holy,
     enthroned on the praises of Israel.
In thee our fathers trusted;
     they trusted, and thou didst deliver them.
To thee they cried, and were saved;
     in thee they trusted, and were not disappointed.
Eli, Eli, lama sabach-thani?

For God is dead, the myth disproved;
All old beliefs are now removed.
God speaks to mortal men no more,
This God whom all did once adore.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

In the beginning the world began
     from a giant atom.
Praise ye the wonderful brain of man
That could see how the world began
     and could find this atom!
Now that we know how the world was made,
     not by God, but nature,
Our need for a creator begins to fade,
Now that we see how the world was made
     and see God's true nature.
A myth!  A myth!

RECITATIVE:  SOPRANO (Genesis 1:26).
And God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness."

In the beginning when men made God
     as their explanation
For all mysterious things abroad
(Since the wonder-filled world they trod
     needed explanation),
They made their God like a King of men,
     set him in a palace,
Called it Olympus or Heav'n, and then
Raised to this God in the image of men
     a prayer unto his palace.
A myth!  A myth!

SOPRANO (Psalm 91:1-2).
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
     will say to the Lord,
My refuge and my fortress;
     my God, in whom I trust.

All who put their faith in God
Deceive themselves, for they trust in air.
A myth!  A myth!

Eli, Eli, lama sabach-thani?

Need it be said?
The present age is a confuséd time.
The world shrinks suddenly,
     and its continents collapse together
     in wars that shake them all
     and threaten to break them all.
The laboratories of our dark age show us
     how better to destroy ourselves.
In panic we cry out to Him who created us
     to help us,
     but there is no reply,
And we wonder whether He ever created us at all.

     If God is dead,
No longer having meaning for our time,
We have become like those
     exiled Jews in Babylon
     who could not sing,
     who hung up their lyres.
If there's no God,
     what meaning has our life?
What guide is there for us,
     what salvation?
And there is no God
     for no longer do we hear his voice,
     as they say they did three thousand years ago:
God speaks to us no more, no more at all.

     But if God's dead,
We can still be happy, still the bells can chime;
They must, they must!
We cannot let this life go by
     with naught but sadness;
When gladness has a chance, we cannot stifle it,
      for then we stifle life itself;
For after this life comes no other,
     comes no other:
Once we die we'll live no more at all.

So then rejoice
      with happy voice
That you're alive,
     and sing, and thrive,
And love, and see
     the sky and sea . . .
And if you can believe in God,
     do that too.

But as for me . . .
     I can't.



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