Appears On (Mixes): Do You Want a Happy God, or a Vengeful God?
Music Video: YouTube
Song Notes: Another song I couldn't very well leave out, this is probably one of the best-known atheistic anthems in the world of popular music.-VoVat
This is probably XTC's biggest US hit (or one of them). It got a fair amount of play on college and radio. Predictably, there was some uproar from religious fanatics, but perhaps the most interesting event resulting from the song was the attack by an American high student (Binghamton, NY) on his principle. The student held the principal and his assistant at knifepoint and demanded that he play Dear God over the school's PA system. He was led away by a SWAT team without any injuries.
The inspiration for the song, as recounted in Song Stories (ISBN 0786883383), was a book of children's letters to God that Andy had seen. This book drove Andy to attempt to encapsulate his newfound atheism in a song written in the format of a child writing to God, telling God of his disbelief. Some people have claimed this somewhat paradoxical format is indication that Andy did not write as an atheist, but a frustrated believer or perhaps agnostic. However, it is quite clear from what Andy has said of his song that it is meant as nothing less than a total renunciation of belief in God.
Incidentally, while many consider this to be one of XTC's best songs, Andy himself has frequently remarked that he is extremely unsatisfied with it—he feels that it attempts to tackle too big a topic for a three and a half minute song, and as such is something of a failure. Andy didn't even want to include it on the album, and it was left off the album until its repressing in 2000, relegated to the B-side of Grass. - prolix