Back in the 80s when I was only just barely in my teens, I attended a retreat that was about how rock music was all Satanic. It was one of those deals where they would show all the supposed Satanic album covers, play backwards Satanic messages and tell you how evil all the bands were. To tell the truth, some criticisms were legitimate. For instance, Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin is truly at least fascinated with if not an outright practitioner of the occult (just do a Google search on Page and his fascination with occultist Aleister Crowley). However, I ended up discovering on my own that many criticisms were not well-founded. One of them was the criticism against one of my now favorite bands, Rush.
This criticism was due mostly to the album cover for their 1976 album “2112” (see picture above), which features a pentacle as part of the cover art. The pentacle is basically the same thing as a pentagram, just turned differently so that the one point is pointing upward instead of down, like the pentagram does. As the story goes, this supposedly makes the members of this band Satanists because they have an obviously occult symbol featured prominently on one of their most famous albums. The problem with this theory is that those who make this accusation have done little or no research or just basically parroted the accusation from other sources. To understand why the pentacle is featured on the album cover, you have to understand the story behind the title track of this album.
Written by drummer Neal Peart and based upon some of the writings of author Ayn Rand, “2112” is a story set in the distant future in a far away solar system called the Solar Federation. On one of the planets, the main character discovers a strange stringed instrument, a guitar. At first he’s not sure what it is because things of this sort have been banned by the priests, those who are in control of his world. The song progresses as he learns how to tune and then to play this instrument and, in his excitement, he goes before the priests to show them what he has found and what beautiful music he can make with it. In their anger, the priests destroy the instrument and the man goes off, dejected at what he has just experienced. As the song and story ends, the Solar Federation is engulfed in a revolution and the powers that be are overthrown.
Another part of the story describes the “red star”, which is the symbol of the Solar Federation. The Solar Federation is, according to the story, the bad guys in this story of good versus evil. Therefore, the “red star” or pentacle, is clearly viewed as a symbol of evil, not something that Peart is saying should be worshiped or held up as a symbol of good.
Further defining the status of the pentacle, the back album cover for “2112” again displays the pentacle. However, this time the image of a naked man is silhouetted in front of it with his arms extended towards it, his palms facing outward as if he is pushing against the pentacle. I’ve come to understand through my research (I can’t remember where I read it) that this symbolizes the natural man and his struggle against evil. The large image of the computer chip at the bottom is represented because some of the lyrics for “2112”, from the section titled “The Temples of Syrinx”, say “We are the priests of the temples of Syrinx…Our great computers fill the hallowed halls.”
As you can see, the image of the pentacle is not at all representative of the religious beliefs of the members of Rush. Actually, Neil Peart, in a letter to a newspaper here in the U.S., refuting claims of Satanism made against the band, stated that he does not even believe in a literal Satan and, I believe, I’ve read elsewhere that he is agnostic, which doesn’t surprise me based upon the other lyrics he’s written over the years. You can read the entirety of this letter here.
As I said earlier, there is indeed some warranted criticism of some artists as far as it concerns their occult beliefs, though they are certainly free to believe and promote any religious view that they wish. However, I think it also becomes my fellow Christians to have well thought out viewpoints and make informed statements considering such things. To do otherwise invites only scorn, ridicule, and reproach upon the name of Jesus Christ.