Religious aesthetic lacks creativity

Christians must broaden the definition of faith in art.


Tim Seeberger/THE CHIMES

Tim Seeberger, Writer

In an age where many critics favor progressive postmodern art, Christian art exists as a paradox. Although trends in church organization and aesthetics slowly creeped up to modernity in the last five years, movies, music and arts still lack the same aesthetic punch as secular art. Christian artists need to focus on making more creative art instead and honest Christian art that represents the church in the 21st century.

Cringeworthy clichés

Growing up in a Christian home, flashbacks of “Facing the Giants” and “To Save a Life” run through my mind with a slight eeriness. In retrospect, Christian films like “To Save a Life” were borderline offensive to people struggling with depression. The film used the typecast emo teenager as the protagonist suffering from mental illness. Beyond this, they touched on every major subject like drinking, drugs, premarital sex, abortion and adoption in the most cringeworthy ways possible.

These movies not only misrepresent and make Christianity try to look perfect in every context, but they lack diversity as well. Looking for popular Christian inspirational films such as “Fireproof,” “Flywheel,” “Facing the Giants” and “To Save a Life,” the casts are predominately white. These films also seem to cater to specific audiences that do not reflect any trace of diversity. “To Save a Life” centers around a white, well-off, popular, football-playing teenager going to a well-funded public high school. Although the messages of these films may have value to them, they severely lack in originality and quality.

Evangelism through art

Christians do not need to make explicitly Christian art all the time. Not every painting requires a cross in it. Christians needs to make “secular art” as well. A lot of evangelicals have the idea that showing C-list films to unbelievers will help spread faith. Although effective for a short span of time in the mid-2000s, the ever-changing nature of art can no longer render this process successful. This paradigm does not solely extend to film as well.

This also does not mean that there is Christian art out today that is bad either, but now there are different ways to evangelize in art. Using “secular art” as means of witnessing works as well. Perfecting art and showing diligence in doing so can show an artist’s faith through actions. Making good art is a necessary first step because it can yield itself a conversation with viewers with or about the artist regarding his or her faith and its influence on the piece. Christians need to put their best foot forward in everything they do to act as a light to this world. In a creative and transforming society, having Christians make good Christian and secular art is necessary to do so.

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