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'Arts and Faith' Top 100 List Proves The Two Can Co-Exist


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#1 Darryl A. Armstrong

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Posted 03 March 2010 - 11:41 PM

I find this headline from Moviefone's Inside Movies somewhat perplexing.

It's an easy headline, but does our list prove that? It's certainly an overlooked topic in film, but surely art history itself refutes the premise: The Sistine Chapel, David, The Last Supper etc.

But... Look at the religious art entry on Wikipedia - barely more than a stub.

To me, art is essentially, primarily about faith. We tell stories through it to learn of our human condition.

Even simple children's stories are instructive. What do they instruct? How to live.

For anyone of any faith, "how to live" is inseperably tied to their faith.

Have we entered into an age of atheistic thought? What does that mean to art? What does atheistic art look like? I don't think it looks like P.Z. Myers desecrating communion wafers or Jesus piss art - these seem to me more reactionary, bordering on propaganda as we might label "a movie ... star[ing] Kirk Cameron ... be[ing] relevant to Christians."

What do you think?

#2 MattPage

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 03:49 AM

It's a great article, full of nice compliments and it represents us well. I'm happy with that.

Is it just the word "proves" that you're questioning?

Matt

#3 SDG

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 05:26 AM

It's a great article, full of nice compliments and it represents us well. I'm happy with that.

Is it just the word "proves" that you're questioning?

It does seem a bit like Mark Shea's blogging tag, "Water found to be wet." Anyone with a smattering of art history knowledge and critical faculty would find this headline extremely odd.

#4 Jim Janknegt

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 09:05 AM

I find this headline from Moviefone's Inside Movies somewhat perplexing.

It's an easy headline, but does our list prove that? It's certainly an overlooked topic in film, but surely art history itself refutes the premise: The Sistine Chapel, David, The Last Supper etc.

But... Look at the religious art entry on Wikipedia - barely more than a stub.

To me, art is essentially, primarily about faith. We tell stories through it to learn of our human condition.

Even simple children's stories are instructive. What do they instruct? How to live.

For anyone of any faith, "how to live" is inseperably tied to their faith.

Have we entered into an age of atheistic thought? What does that mean to art? What does atheistic art look like? I don't think it looks like P.Z. Myers desecrating communion wafers or Jesus piss art - these seem to me more reactionary, bordering on propaganda as we might label "a movie ... star[ing] Kirk Cameron ... be[ing] relevant to Christians."

What do you think?


I think, in one sense, atheistic art is categorically impossible. Any act of creativity is analogous to the creative act of God, so it is life affirming and has meaning. I think of Marcel Duchamp, one of the founders of Dada, who ultimately quite making art and spent his time playing chess because he was an honest nihilist.

#5 M. Leary

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 09:13 AM

It does seem a bit like Mark Shea's blogging tag, "Water found to be wet." Anyone with a smattering of art history knowledge and critical faculty would find this headline extremely odd.


True, but it is a pretty standard evangelical throwback as well. I am not sure what Christian tradition the author comes from, but it seems that a lot of Protestant Christianity is still stuck in Schaeffer's Escape From Reason or Art and the Bible, that when read now seem downright anachronistic. The idea that that the arts are something that occurs out there in culture, whereas theology occurs here in the church is still a pretty popular mode of being.

Either way, I am happy that the list would encourage people to consider film and theology differently.

Edited by M. Leary, 04 March 2010 - 09:23 AM.


#6 Darryl A. Armstrong

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 09:20 AM

Is it just the word "proves" that you're questioning?


Pretty much, yes. And it's "just" a headline. But I think it might be a headline that catches some interest.

I'm wondering why the words "arts" and "faith" are perceived not to be linked both by secular culture and even in some Christian circles.

#7 SDG

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 10:35 AM

I think, in one sense, atheistic art is categorically impossible. Any act of creativity is analogous to the creative act of God, so it is life affirming and has meaning. I think of Marcel Duchamp, one of the founders of Dada, who ultimately quite making art and spent his time playing chess because he was an honest nihilist.

Is atheistic chess any less of a contradiction than atheistic art? Isn't all human reasoning a reflection of the divine Logos? If you are an honest nihilist, is chess any more fulfilling than art?

#8 Jim Janknegt

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 02:54 PM

I think, in one sense, atheistic art is categorically impossible. Any act of creativity is analogous to the creative act of God, so it is life affirming and has meaning. I think of Marcel Duchamp, one of the founders of Dada, who ultimately quite making art and spent his time playing chess because he was an honest nihilist.

Is atheistic chess any less of a contradiction than atheistic art? Isn't all human reasoning a reflection of the divine Logos? If you are an honest nihilist, is chess any more fulfilling than art?


Chess, being a game, has as its end the entertainment of those playing. The end of art is to create a new "being", the work of art. While it is not creating from nothing it is still a work of creation, which playing a game is not.

#9 M. Leary

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 03:06 PM

Is atheistic chess any less of a contradiction than atheistic art? Isn't all human reasoning a reflection of the divine Logos? If you are an honest nihilist, is chess any more fulfilling than art?


This is a good way to pose the question. The movie Pi comes to mind.

#10 SDG

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 04:05 PM

Chess, being a game, has as its end the entertainment of those playing. The end of art is to create a new "being", the work of art. While it is not creating from nothing it is still a work of creation, which playing a game is not.

My point is that both human creativity and human reasoning are equally reflections of divine activity. If anything, reason more so than creativity, since God is not essentially Creator, but he is essentially Logos. Creation itself is a plan of divine reason.

People might play dice for entertainment. Chess is different. You play chess for the beauty, elegance, complexity, logic, mathematics of the thing. It is as much a passion as a pastime.

This is a good way to pose the question. The movie Pi comes to mind.

Must get around to seeing it sometime. Right after, you know, the other 48.

#11 Jim Janknegt

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 04:11 PM

Chess, being a game, has as its end the entertainment of those playing. The end of art is to create a new "being", the work of art. While it is not creating from nothing it is still a work of creation, which playing a game is not.

My point is that both human creativity and human reasoning are equally reflections of divine activity. If anything, reason more so than creativity, since God is not essentially Creator, but he is essentially Logos. Creation itself is a plan of divine reason.

People might play dice for entertainment. Chess is different. You play chess for the beauty, elegance, complexity, logic, mathematics of the thing. It is as much a passion as a pastime.

This is a good way to pose the question. The movie Pi comes to mind.

Must get around to seeing it sometime. Right after, you know, the other 48.



I have never had enough "reason" to play chess so I just paint. You, SDG, have it in boatloads and I know better than to argue philosophy with you! If you say chess is a reflection of the divine, so be it.