"I think in this song God is apologizing to the human race for how many awful things there are in the world; 'I'm sorry about the sun, how could I know that you would burn,' and that next time he creates the universe he will try to make things better, but until then, we are better off dead."
"I think the previous interpretation was too literal. I think this is actually a very sarcastic song, in my opinion its about people whining and blaming the problems of the world on others. However much we'd like to think we're better that we are more accepting people than the rest of society we ALL contribute to the state the world is in. I think its about the way some people would rather just sit back and whine than take an active role in trying to improve society. Anyway the main part of my point is that I think this whole song is full of sarcasm, there's little other evidence in the BR catalogue (excepting the early stuff) to think that this is the way the band think."
"I heard from somewhere that this song is about a broken relationship, and not having anything to do with God. The interpretation where it is God talking was my first impression of this song, but it could also be also be about a broken relationship, where someone is trying to apologize. Please feel free to argue this."
"I agree that this song is about a broken relationship. He talks about communicating a lot and this could be him saying the relationship didn't work because they needed to communicate more in the relationship. He proceeds to apologize about everything and this is basically him saying that everything was blamed on him."
"I think the best interpretation lies in a mix of the first two posted here. I think he's talking about God and he is being sarcastic. The three things God is sorry about are the sun, the moon and the world, which are things we should have made better or used in a better way. But we didn't and since we're blaming God for it, he replies to us: 'well I'm sorry about that, how could I know you'd waste what I've given you'. One more interesting thing is when he says 'next I create THE universe'. He doesn't say a universe or anything else, so he's talking about ours as if it happened every once in a while that he has to clean it up. And he'll wipe us out someday."
"It is certainly true that this song is not a genuine apology. To say that the narrator is apologizing about the sun or moon is clearly ironic as in reality they are both such enormous elements that they could never be construed as worthy of someone's disapproval. To be better of dead than receive this gift the narrator has worked so hard on is sarcastic in the extreme. However, it can be said that the song is dealing with the idea of someone's hard efforts being dismissed or being received ungratefully. The link to a relationship is an obvious connection, and there are many reasons to start drawing comparisons to the human race's treatment of God's creation. It is working on many levels."
"The song is about a relationship and its basically an 'Fuck You' apology to the person he was in the relationship with. He 's making huge exaggerations about the aspects of the relationship that were beyond his control, yet was still blamed for them. 'I'm sorry about the sun, moon...world,' this constitutes everything that he's blamed for. The real punch line is 'Next time I create the universe...,' like he's really in charge of that or has anything to do with it. He does mention communicate often, so it stands there really may have been a problem that was some of his his fault. He acknowledges that, but whatever the rest was outweighed it and the only solution was to end the relationship, 'better off dead.'"
"On the 'bad religion page' you can go to 'the answer' and check out information about bad religion. Under 'Better off dead', there is a quote of Brett saying 'Better off dead is not a love song'. I am just saying this to reinforce my original posting. Anybody that says it is about a broken relationship has over read!"
"I think this song is basically doubting the existence of God. I think it's saying if their was a God then why the hell is there so much bad shit in the world, and why does he let bad things happen. That's just what I think though."
"I think this song is more about a broken relation than a 'god's message' and when they say 'the next time I create universe i'll make sure we communicate' I feel like he's talking about the universe of 2 lovers and not the universe in the common sense."
-BR 4 Ever
"This song really touched me, besides it's great song, its lyrics are just....amazing.
I often read a dozen times the lyrics of BR because they are not simple, they are even damn complicated (we all visited The BR lexicon, huh?). Well, about the song, the lyrics are totally true. I share that thought with 'Mr. Gurewitz', because God is only a feeling of people who don't want to be alone, I think that if we could have a religion, it could be the Religion of the family and the friends....and no more.
We don't need an untouchable entity who never talks or helps us; we can do everything for ourselves. In fact, I think 'God' is just a made-up thing created by us, the human beings.
Well, I'll end this hoping that you could discuss this, I invite all the BR fans to speak up about this!. Till next time!"
"Better off dead is a 'song about personal responsibility' as Mr. Brett says. (http://thebrpage.tierranet.com/theanswer/b.html) I agree with Barney's statement. It's about the way people blame others and others for their problems and doesn't look what's up with themselves. You cannot change the world, you just can change yourself. The line: 'so if you are looking for a patsy why not try the entire human race' hits the crucial issue imo. I think this songs says nothing about an existence or inexistence of god. It's about the way people are giving away their responsibility for their life and condition."
"In my opinion this song is simply anti-suicide. The speaker of the song is God...and using sarcasm he argues that the living world is much better than 'a hole in the head'."
"There's a lot of crap talking about what this song has to do with, but there's too much 1st person talk for it to be 'from God'. When he says 'The next time I create the universe', he is obviously being sarcastic, and , while it is not a love song, I feel it is about a very bad relationship, and his tell-off letter to her. btw, didn't Brett get divorced?"
"So far, I think some people are getting it, and some just aren't. I think its pretty obviously a sarcastic message from God to anyone who takes the world and life for granted. He apologizes for the sun, which is obviously ridiculous since with out the sun, we wouldn't exist. The next object is the moon, which I believe is probably symbolic of paganism. Wiccans especially have a very strong bond with the moon. As u probably know most Christians look down on paganism and Wiccans, and think it little more than 'witchcraft'. So, here I think god is apologizing for there being all this difference of opinion. that next time, he'll tell everyone exactly what to think, and there won't be all this confusion. The third object, the world, is said to have been taken 'bad'. I think this kinda talks about how people bitch and complain about the rain, the weather, and natural disasters and what-not, and ask god with this stuff happens. The chorus is basically hilarious, I mean, here is god telling everyone that they're better off dead. Basically saying he totally screwed up, and he apologizes, and that people should just kill themselves and get it over with. I mean, I'm not saying I know exactly what this song is about or anything, but i think a lot of people, especially anyone who thought this should be taken literally, and its god actually apologizing, and anyone who missed the satire of it, kinda missed the point."
"I think this is song is about anti-suicide, it's saying that there are some things u cant change, like sun&moon, and things won't get better when u die either, it's sarcastic too, saying 'next time I create the universe' means that certain things should have been changed by God, if there is one, (it also doubts god by this) from the beginning."
"Brett comments specifically on this song: http://www.thebrpage.tierranet.com/interviews/brett.html ''I'm sorry about the world' is just about the feeling you have...it's almost literal...no it's not literal...I don't want to demean it by saying it's facetious, but it kind of is in a way. It's saying that we can't control the events in our lives. It's saying there are certain events we can control, but there are certain ones we cannot. An individual's will can only do so much to affect an individual's destiny, so one has to in a sense let go. Like the feeling of anger against injustices, in a way you have to let go. I have to understand what has nothing to do with me. Sometimes I'll take the weight of the world on my shoulders, but I have to get the weight of the world off my shoulders or I'll die, because it has nothing to do with me. I'm sorry about the song, I'm sorry about the world, the next time I create the universe I'll make sure you participate. 'I didn't create the fucking universe,' that's what it's saying. I didn't do this. I'm a cog. I'm a leaf in the torrential river of time. And I'm okay being that. I'm not going to try to control things I can't control, and please don't expect me to do that. The song is cathartic, and it makes you feel better. Sometimes songs can do that, and that's what it did for me. I really like that song.' Check out the above link - in the interview he comments on several other major songs he wrote...."
"Better off dead? We can dissect many times over. I dig all your interpretations. Here's mine. IF YOUR LOOKING FOR A PATSY WHY DON'T YOU TRY THE HUMAN RACE.. JUST TO PLAY IT SAFE...Being safe too blame us is a collective accusation. We are all apart of this worldly organism of a yielding and recycling planet. The writer is speaking in unison with the god. NEXT TIME I CREATE THE UNIVERSE I'LL MAKE SURE WE COMMUNICATE AT LENGTH...We have to live in this world and sometimes we're not happy GOD'S not happy so he would like our pro's and cons about our home before we're placed in it. It's about the world it's about a break-up it's about take it as it is or just shoot yourself if you don't like it.. It's about everything."
"I don't think this song was intended to relate to God or religion. I think this is about two people in a relationship where one is blamed for everyone and is sarcastically saying 'the next time I create the universe...' I think the song, like much of Bad Religion's work, is extremely sarcastic and not literal ion any sense. 'I'm sorry about the Sun, how could I know that you would burn' basically translates to 'Oh, I'm sorry it's too hot outside, I'll go turn down the temperature on the Sun!' It would be like if you made someone breakfast and they said 'Man, these Frosted Flakes suck' so you replied with 'Oh, I'll just go tell the CEO at Kellogg to change the recipe for you.' When blamed with something completely out of their power, people often tend to be extremely sarcastic and patronizing. That's what I think is the literal interpretation of the song but I think on a note connecting with the guys, it's their BR-ish way of saying "Just because we are against common ideological beliefs doesn't mean we're destroying the world."
"I think that better off dead is about how we complain about the little, petit problems in life, when what we should really worry about it the larger problems. it doesn't literally mean the sun and the moon but they represent the larger things ion life and the world in general."
-Headless Legless Sheep
"I don't think it is about a relationship. Although that fits the verse, it doesn't really fit the chorus at all."
"I have always thought this song was about how people sometimes try to take the blame for everything and how hopeless that can be. I'm talking about going to bed at night and crying about world hunger. These things are very sad, but we cannot just sit around and go crazy feeling bad. We have to take action. Whenever I hear this song it reminds me to stop saying "I'm sorry" and do something or I'll start wishing I was dead. I don't think that Bad Religion is always trying to paint such a literal one-sided picture with their songs, but maybe sometimes they take on views that they may disagree with just to let you hear it and get a reaction. To make you think."
"I'm not totally sure it's about a relationship at all. To me it's from the perspective of God looking down upon a lonely or desolate person who has lost all faith in him. He believes there is no purpose for them in the world, and they would just be "better off dead", because why include such futile searching of a nothing cause of life in the world (possibly science?) When brett says "the next time i create the universe i'll make sure we communicate as least" he refers to her lack of contact and reliability to God."