Friday, July 4, 2014

Religious art

I am a lover of art of all kinds. But on one occasion, I remarked on the beauty of a Gothic cathedral and received quite the confusing response. "What? I though you were and atheist!" Um, yeah... I am. So what's the point? The reply I received was something along the lines that you can only find a church beautiful if you are a believer. An absurd statement, I know. But that's what was claimed.

Why is it that this person would think that way? Do they not find beauty in things that aren't Cristian, or the art of competing beliefs? The stained glass in a Catholic church, Egyptian hieroglyphics, Celtic and Norse knot-work and patters, Buddhist sculptures, the poetry of various religions... Why must it be hard to believe I see beauty in these things without believing?

Is the average Christian unable to appreciate the work of Claude Monet (atheist)? What about Vincent van Gogh and others? The simple fact is that one need not subscribe to the artist's beliefs to find beauty in their work. I know of Christians that enjoyed Philip  Pullman's "His Dark Materials" series while still remaining Christian. Likewise, the ultra successful "Harry Potter" books were enjoyed by far many more believers than non. 

As for people being able to appreciate art while not sharing the artist's beliefs... Take this for example:



I think that most people would agree that this is at least a pretty decent painting. But do you think you're like the artist? 

I certainly hope not! That work was actually done by none other than Adolph Hitler! I'm pretty sure that everyone who thinks this was a good painting isn't a genocidal war maniac. So it should be clear that artistic tastes need not require agreement with the author. 


Art takes skill and talent. Things that I can appreciate no matter if the work is religious or not. So please, don't make yourself look silly and claim an atheist must secretly believe if they enjoy religious art. Such a claim is absurd and quite limiting of the true and diverse beauty that surrounds us each and every day.






-Brain Hulk

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