I had started a blog several years ago that was focused on the intersection between the arts (mainly music) and God. I have lost the content of those original posts but I thought I might at least tease a bit of what it was about.

If I remember correctly, the main thesis was that all of human art reflected, in some way, humans’ relationship with God. For example, love songs talk about the human experience of love. But deep behind this is our personal relationship with God. The theologians all tell us that God loves us. Some of us get that, others of us don’t. Some have experienced the love of God only to feel like God has spurned them. Still others search for and even crave God’s love. All of these are reflected in the lengthy American Songbook.

I suppose that there is a danger of a circular argument here. Does art reflect our relationship with God (however you define that) OR is religion, in its many forms, simply another form of art? I think that might be a whole book! But, in the end, it really is a matter of opinion, or faith.

Faith tells me that art reflects the human condition of sin, our search for a way out of that sin, and our redemption through a Savior (however one’s religion defines that). In my opinion, the best art is that produced by an artist who is struggling in one or more of these areas. Art by one who is settled tends to be bland. It might be a pretty picture or a nice song, but it lacks a certain bite.

Not that I’m all for biting and controversial art. Art for the sake of controversy is more of an oxymoron. Art should make you think but it is rather unlikely that art would change anyone’s mind. And art as protest seems disingenuous to me. It’s sort of like selling girl scout cookies but delivering empty boxes to oppose corporate greed, or the government’s agricultural policies.

And, like many statements of opinion, I can already see how the above assertions are tenuous at best. One example might be the protest songs of the 1930s/60s. Are they not protesting something: war, poverty, corruption; and therefore disingenuous? Well, they are protesting something, there is no doubt.

But what lies behind that protest other than the needling in the composer’s brain that there must be something better? A place of peace, or fulfillment, or purity; an Eden. You see? I’m afraid that’s how my brain works!

Perhaps I’ll use this space to throw some more ideas like that around. Maybe even dig a little deeper into, say, a Dylan song. Who knows? What do you think? Is there a connection between art and God? How do your religious beliefs inform your creation, or consumption, of art?

-Mark

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