John Lennon once declared that the Beatles were bigger than Jesus and now one academic at the University of Huddersfield says he agrees.
Dr Rupert Till claims in his new book Pop Cult that pop music and the personality cults surrounding some of the biggest stars in the industry have in some ways taken over from Christianity as the new religion.
He claims that the inability of the church to adapt to todays culture has left it out of date and irrelevant and that young people especially are looking elsewhere to find a sense of belonging, meaning and transcendence.
He describes modern society as one which prefers nightclubbing to sitting on pews and worshipping Prince and Madonna to worshipping God.
And even though the Beatles first charted in the sixties, Till says there are probably still more people listening to their records today than are reading the Bible.
John Lennon was right. The Beatles were bigger than Jesus, and they still are, he claims.
He is scathing towards some music cults however, particularly the Scandinavian extreme metal scene which has seen some fans commit murder and arson.
He also criticises the heavy drug and alcohol abuse which led to the premature deaths or mental deterioration of musicians like Jimi Hendrix, Elvis, Kurt Cobain, Michael Jackson, and members of Pink Floyd, The Who and Led Zeppelin.
He reserves his strongest criticism, however, for the church and its history of opposition to popular music.
The churchs attitude has been ridiculous over the years, telling us that listening to blues, rocknroll, or the Rolling Stones will turn us into some kind of evil beasts, he says.
No one believes it anymore. Religion no longer has the authority to tell us what to do. Overall music is an immensely positive force, to quote from the book, to understand music is to understand life itself.
Pop Cult: Religion and Popular Music it out now from Continuum Publishing.