Nude Art: Is it good or bad? Right or wrong?
A Crucifix in a container of urine: Art? Does it have aesthetic merit? Should we allow our children to view it?
Like most Christians, I did not have any in-depth knowledge of art. I do not consider myself an artistic person. The result of this was my outward indifference to art. I knew little about art and therefore accepted art uncritically without taking into account the quality or significance of the art I encountered. Through my studies, however, I have found three reasons why every person should care about art.
- Art is Morally Relevant
- God Cares About Art
- Art Influences the Church
Art is Morally Relevant
Artistic change has always depended on changes in cultural ideologies. Art is like the picture book of the philosophical trends of historical periods. Artwork can express falsehood or truth. Accepting that which promotes a false philosophy will affect one’s moral compass. If we look around the culture, we see that morality is on a train headed downhill with no brakes. The arts of today are philosophically and.spiritually bankrupt. Praise be to God who, through Christ, can pull us out of the mire. Christianity alone can give justification to beauty and encourage excellence in the arts that this world needs today. One cannot separate the moral aspect of art and therefore they should care about art.
God Cares About Art.
Previously, I wrote an article explaining how God is the Ultimate Artist. Beauty and creativity are a part of who God is, and it shows up in His handiwork. Yet, God cares about art because of how art is used. In the Second Commandment, God is specific about not making “graven images.” We are influenced easily as visual creatures. It follows that God is concerned about what can easily lead His children astray.
Indifference to art has created a rotting cancer in the Christian church today.
For many, especially today, art has become their religion. This is idolatry. Art is used either for good or for bad, for God’s glory or man’s. Bezalel created beautiful art, Aaron made a golden calf, and King Hezekiah tore down beautiful art that was getting in the way of worshipping God. Spiritual warfare is fought not just in pulpits and prayer closets, but in art galleries as well.
Art influences the Church
With every commercial, image, movie, billboard, or book encountered, art influences the Church. How we engage in art determines whether we will be positively or negatively affected. The church building, music, and aesthetic quality of the decor will impact the believer. Like the Gothic cathedral of the past, will the church building invoke a sense of awe of the grandeur of God? Or, like the basketball court-sanctuary, will it promote a feeling of laxity?
Isn’t it strange that the beautiful cathedrals of old are no longer in style? The ancient architects perfected the designed to communicate that God is transcendent and holy. The Gothic cathedral invoked a sense of smallness in the believer as soon as he stepped foot in the massive doors. It is good to feel small and insignificant in comparison to our great and mighty God.
Artwork has the power to inspire potent feelings, and sometimes it can be subtle. We cannot escape the fact that everything has an art form. The art in some church services communicates seriousness, while others communicate being comfortable. No matter how much the artwork is removed from a church service, it is still there. And it is communicating something.
For Further Discussion:
When Christianity Shaped the Arts by: Gene Edward Veith
The Reformed Conservative aims to reunite gentlemanly virtues with scholarly conversation. Standing in the great Reformed and conservative heritage of thinkers like Edmund Burke and Abraham Kuyper, we humbly seek to inject civility into an informed conversation, one article at a time, bringing clarity out of chaos.