Religion and Art

I was talking to a friend about political art, telling her that I thought they shouldn’t mix. Then without thinking too much about it, I said religion and art shouldn’t mix either. But before she replied, I corrected myself and said I don’t know what I’m talking about. Religion has inspired some of the most wonderful art ever created. Imagine an art history without religion. Maybe we need more religion in art today.. more offerings to God.. more inspiration from the divine.

Michelangelo Sistine Chapel

As much as I like religion in art, I don’t like living it and I don’t like the ugliness that it has created worldwide. I’m also not an atheist as I see God in everything and every one. I also wouldn’t like to see religion taken from people as its an excellent way to control the masses. Six billion free people scares me more than six billion semi-anethetized sheeple trying to please a book or dogma.

Some of the craziest of us have been people that abandoned a belief in a venegful God, so if you took away the fear of God from 6 billion of us, it would create chaos.

That’s my rant for the month. I’m sorry if I offended most visitors to Art News Blog ;-)

About Dion

Australian artist and observer of things.. all kinds of things. I like a wide variety of art, from the weird and wonderful to the bold and beautiful.. and everything in between.


  1. Well, you have actually offended an atheist :)
    You said you perceived religious as semi- anethetized people wanting to please whatever books. What I see is OFTEN (thanks not always! They’re is good people making damn good thing out of religion) people ready to fight and torture on the name of those books. Not scary? Control of masses, hell yeah but in which purpose?? Certainly not peace. Have we studied the same History? Are we even living in the same world right now?
    And I also wonder what you meant by “free people”? Atheists? I don’t want to burn nor kill anyone. It’s insulting that whenever you say you’re atheist, people picture you with no principle at all, like some kind of a beast freed to accomplish its desires and sacryfing others for it. I’m a pacifist and an hedonist (hedonism suggests identifying the highest good with your own pleasure and that of others; the one must never be indulged at the expense of sacrificing the other) and I don’t need no god for it.

  2. That’s funny, I thought I might offend someone Carol. I expected it to be someone defending their religion though ;-)

    A little religious conflict between people here and there is nothing compared to the chaos that a free thinking people would create.

    As a species we’re a destructive killing machine, so if religion can calm/medicate the masses, I say bring it on.

    You may not be out torturing babies and biting heads off chickens, but if religion was taken away today and people were told they were free to do as they wish, do u think the crime rate would go up? I do.

    We just have to accept that people are dangerous.. to themselves, to each other, to the animals around us, and to the whole planet! As a whole, I think religion makes us less dangerous to each other, even if there is the odd holy war here or there.

  3. I will pray for both of you.

  4. Donald Frazell says:

    God, in whatever form, has been THE key focus of art throughout history. The caves of lascaux are a spiritual prayer both to the animals they kill for sustenance, and for more to come. All religions started in getting through the day to the next, and appeasing the spiritual forces all humans feel inside. Religions evolved to thr concept of eternal life for the individual, but were not present til after man became fully self conscious, with the development of written language and trade, around the fifth century BC. Daniel, Socrates, and Buddha all lived then, and were the first recorded messages anyway of individual worth within the structure of a greater whole.

    Religion has given us much, far from perfect, but perfection is a myth, a lie, impossible in a living world where all things die. Perfection means a constant shape, and so death. Life adapts and mutates, as do ideas. but we have found a common ground on which life has built a structure, to which we as artists must add, not be selfish brats and contemplate on our own desires. That brings chaos and the gilded age which has just ended. This was a hedonistic age that just imploded, as it always inevitably does. As it will inevitably rise again. Humans just dont learn, they dont want to.

    In REAL history, this is the most peaceful time in human existence. What major war is going on? Most are border wars that end quickly, most genocides are internal, as in Sudan, and really on a tiny scale compared to the past. kings were warriors, their jobs to both defend what a people had and to take from others for the politics common good. We no longer do this, as trade is far more lucrative than land. something the Russians are still learning.

    The consequences can be far greater than evere before, but only in the case of nuclear war. The war we just had with Iraq was tiny even compared to the battles of Alexander. In a time of miniscule populations compared to our own, they had battles of 35k vs 100k+, more than the actual combatants we have put out, and had great slaughter in the wakes of armies crumbling as cavalry cut down undisciplined survivors. Whole cities were leveled and populations destroyed or enslaved. That WAS the way of the world.

    Religion HAS softened this barbarism. Man is man, and will continue to use what he can for his own desires, hedonism, as the debaucharies of the conquerors was complete. The discipline of our army in Iraq has been quite amazing, I am proud of our troops. The few examples of torture and killing the exceptions that prove the rule, never before have armies been so professional and unselfish. THAT they were used badly is not their fault.

    Without religion, man is nothing. Its our messing with a good thing for personal gain, selfishness, hedonism as with the Medicis and others, that has led to war and destruction, the original messages of great thinkers and FEELERS was profound, and both original and intrinsic to man. WE messed em up. Man nas a soul, probably not eternal, but something that equates right from wrong, and brings sacrifice for complete strangers, THAT is a proof of god, even if not necessarily the organized religions we see today.

    Art has failed from refusing to deal with the concept of god. This is our ultimate failure, and why we are worthless now, no one outside the art world gives a damn, its just too self involved and silly. Because we deal with academic ideas, not real ones. Academia is a sterile place for children to learn, and as they remain in such a mileau, it remains filled with children. Taking responsibility for ones actions and others, is the main focus of all religions that survive today, even if not done in actuallity. that is not the original teachers fault, but ours.

    Art must return to it function, creating works that trigger passions of the vastness of life, of sacrifice, of love for man. Of eternity, of who we are as a people, of what drives us forward, of growth and living life fully, even if that results in our own death. It is US, WE, Humanity that counts, not the vanity of the individual. We must add to humanity, or be leeches that sap its strength.

    We have just ended an age of taking, and art has led the way in making excuses for this. For if everything is art, then it means nothing, and nothing matters, so the glorification of the individual, and civilizations decay. Art has beocme a plaything of the rich, an entertainment for the decadent. A playground for the spoiled. It must change and return to its original purpose, to find god, to worhip, to humble, to find meaning in the chaos we perceive, but truly is not. We must find the order in this chaos, which is there. And our role to find it, and materialize it for others to see, hear, and most importantly, FEEL. And so Purpose is revealed, and man can grow.

    We must start to grow again, as US. not I . It is time to grow up, and put childish things, contemporary art, behind us. Time to think what is OUT there, in the world, in our shared humanity, and fight agaisnt rampant individualism, and decadence.

    Art Collegia Delenda Est

  5. Thanks Anon.. I’ll take all the prayers I can get. I don’t believe in religion but I do believe in god. I’m probably more spiritual than many religious people as I see god in everything.

  6. Donald Frazell says:

    We all need to pray for our own lives, and making decisions not based on our own personal ideas. George Bush thought eh was doing dos works, but he NEVER wentr to church, adn enver doubted himself. Humility is a state of god. He had none. One must always have constructive self criticism, and to think one knowss the mind of god, well, thats as hertical as can be. We are all idiots, no matter how intelligent, and so must conduct our lives as best we can, but not putting our own preconceptions on others. Religions are there to unite, no divide. Islam the only one to sue the sword to do so, but the Quran was writen over a t 20 year period, and changes, so you can derive what you want from it. And the bible.

    Humans are great justifiers, when in the hands of a snake oil salesman who convinces the mases THEY have what the people need. And the biggest and deepest lie, they one we are most capable of, is lying to ourselfs to justify what we want. So Humility is the mark of a sacred man. As is clarity of thought, when based on sacrifice and the common good. Weigh both the wholes need, and the individuals worth within it. Either by itself leads to destruction, and sybolizes the forces of both left and right. life is about being in ballance, not idealistic perfection, which is built of mans vanity.


  7. Yeah, art history would be much less than it is without religion Donald. It has done a lot to civilise us too, which is why I don’t want to see it gone.

    And hopefully we wont see any crusades coming out of your direction for the next four years Donald :-) The new prez seems like a thinker so maybe our current times will become even more peaceful.

  8. Whether there is a true God or not it is certain that the ‘institution’ of the christian religion in particular has been and will continue to be a political tool to alienate humanity from connecting with its free and creative self. It has also been used to justifying incredible evils, the Inquisitions, holy wars, the destruction of rich indigenous cultures by colonialists spreading ‘their gods’ word, the list goes on.

    Personally I would prefer to live in a world of six billion free and creative individuals, rather than six billion slaves. What are you afraid of? People can create the most inspiring things when they can work together free from coercive political ideologies and religous dogma.

    So many corageous people died fighting for the freedoms we have today.

    Freedom of expression which protects artists from persecusion and protects your right to say what you have to say on your blog is incredibly important. In fact its a hard won priveledge. One that we must be vigilant in guarding. Should it be lost under the dictates of some over zealous ‘leader’ imposing their version of right and wrong on you.

    Read some of the famous art manifestos of the 20th century, dada, surrealists, situationism, few where fond of authoritarianism and all sought freedom.

    There is a holy war being fought right now and all those praying for a second coming are only too eager to take up arms to fight in Gods war. There are more than enough nuclear weapons on this planet today to wipe out our entire 6 billion. Please dont encourage them.

    There is this defeatist excuse that the world is damned, nothin I can do about it, so Im going to get my kicks before the whole shit house goes down.
    What about creative potential. What about inspiring people. Imagine 6 billion people working together for positive change.

    I do not support the idea of a vengeful angry schizo God. Who will send you to eternal fire in some hell. Life can be hard enough. This is a really poor idea for a God. If you want to believe in a God you might as well make up a really great one.
    If you make him anything make him/her loving.

    We can too live spiritually rich lives without this idea of a God above, as an atheist, a buddhist, taoist. All produce very different ways of experiencing the world.
    There are good things that can be taken from all religions, but dont get hung up on any one.

    You mentioned a God that is all things this is very Hindu. Hinduism is full of rich complex philosophical ideas of God.

    Here is a nice quote for God lovers – by Marianne Williamson

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

  9. Donald Frazell says:

    LOL! Thats the problem with artistes, they all think they are god. My wife works for a absurd spiritual center called Agape, and as silly as what you just wrote, which is for vain children, those who lack responsibility to others.
    Hinduism is a backwards religion, still thinks in terms of castes,a and many gods, so those who follow can also believe they are god, and therefore special and immoprtal. We all die. Period.

    Whether we are born again or reincarnated here or in a heaven is not ours to decide, but used as the carrot to hells stick. children need this. Mature adults do the right thing no matter what, even if it means their own death. Thats called character. And truly believeing there is more than just ourselves that matter, that mankinds maturity is all. And that we are no where near that now, but have come a long way. And so must continue to advance, whereve rthat leads, as long as based on sacrifice, humility, and purpose beyond ones own desires.

    The teachings of the first Buddha and Yeshua are similar, and based on this. Muhammed often also, as he saw himself as a disciple of Yeshua and the last prophet of that line, Jesus(yeshua) being beyond even himself. Just that Christians as they are now are wrong and messed it al up.Which is entirely possible.

    We are not gods, not individual entities who look after their own special needs and desires. But part of all of life. Who knows what awaits/ Probably nothing, but be grateful for what you have, humans are greedy adn want everything. I am thankful for all i have been given, even the damn internet.


  10. “God, in whatever form, has been THE key focus of art throughout history.”

    You have that backwards. See “How Art Made The World”. Religion emerged to support artistic production.

  11. God & art ( actually: the perception of what constitutes “art”) is a human construct. There is no empirical evidence for any gods’ existence. If you are saying you have to delude yourself into believing in a god in order to make good or worthwhile art, support your claim. I’m sure there are many talented artists who have let go their childish notions of an all-knowing/all-seeing invisible sky wizard as written about in Bronze Age texts.

  12. ‘Hinduism is a backwards religion’ well thats a sweeping statement if I ever heard one. I dont support the cast system but it is highly embeded in Indian culture and to move beyond it is a big challenge for India. As for reincarnation. What does it matter? To fear karma is as bad as fearing God.
    If you make bad decisions you will continue to make bad decisions until you learn otherwise, is that not the true law, I dont see a need for god or karma to justify that logic.

    And Death, yes we all die, but the idea of an afterlife the existence of which cannot be proved does influence how people relate to this world and I think distracts from it.
    The point is to live life here and now, accept your responsibilities, and embrace lifes challenges.

    In politics there is of course a need for balance between the desires of the individual and of the collective, to temper the exteremes of both.
    The real challenge is in right living.
    We do not need religion for right living.
    We can have ethics and morality without fear of God. Its a choice you make as a mature adult. You decide what is right or wrong. But please do not make a decision out of fear of God or Karma or because the good book told you too.
    This is not to say that religion is without value, of course there are lots of good things to be taken from religion.
    But why be tied to any one of them.
    Take them all and take philosophy and atheism too.

    Donald Im not sure if you are saying that I am a ‘vain child’ in response to my previous comment.
    What do you mean?

    Childern can be bold but they are beautiful too. Naturally incuisitive, open and creative.
    We can learn from them and if we can take our own blikers off. We might just see more possibilities for positive change in the world.

  13. To Art news Blog : Let’s be serious and concrete thinkers ! Religion is never going to be took away on the glimpse of an eye and (by who BTW? An omniscient person ?) no one is going to say to people that they free to do what they wish. That’s a chaotic situation you depicted, but it’s so highly hypothetical! :)

    To Donald : I’m surprised to read “Religion as softened this barbarism” while you’re mentioning the Alexander conquests. Am I day dreaming or Alexander WAS a religious man ?
    About the hedonism that you see as the upercut of our selfish and rising individualism civilisation, as I pointed out earlier, but let me rephrase it for you, such hedonism does not mean fast cars and so on, but is an introspective attitude to life based on taking pleasure yourself and pleasuring others, without harming yourself or anyone else.

    As an atheist I don’t believe in a “soul” either but in a body in which thoughts are created. We should not be scared to affirm ourself as being of flesh and bones because THAT’s our greatness.

    And I don’t like to think Art as a function but as a media to express ourself in so many ways, that is certainly not reduce to religion and gods, but touches what seems to reunified us all : the fragility of our existences and what we do to fill and understand them.

    I’m an atheist and therefore denie the existence of God.
    I am limited, I don’t know everything, I am mortal, I can’t be everywhere, I am subject to time and aging, while God is the opposite of all that: unlimited, omniscient, immortal, omnipresent, omnipotent, eternal.
    He just represents the sum of the negation of our weaknesses.

    I believe that morals are more efficient when they go from man to man rather than making a detour through an irrational heaven. I am amazed by this permanent desire to invite myths, fables, or magic.

    Against the rabbis, the preachers, the imams, ayatollahs and mullahs, I persist in preferring philosophers.

  14. Carol,

    Thank you so much for this post. You opened up an important discussion and dialogue.

    Art is visual communication. Artists have as much right, and even responsibility to create and show a vision that can inspire as to writers, musicians, dancers, etc.

    Many of the greatest artists in the Western World since the Renaissance were religious painters or considered their work or themselves to be religious or religious based.

    Three that you might not thin of in this context are Pissaro, Monet and van Gogh. Yet they most definitely were! That is according to them, but I agree.

    The greatest artists do not follow the dogma of religion, even when commissioned. Spiritually, the artists are leaders as inspiration through vision is one of the hallmarks of the best art.

    It is popular currently topo bash religion. Yet religious leaders have often led the way for reform, certainly in recent history. Rev. Martin Luther King, Rabbi Heschel and other leaders joined hands and started a change in the USA that we see the fruit of in the recent election.

    The problem with both politics and religion is that people misuse them. Thus the problem is people, which the best religions try to encourage towards spiritual transformation.

    There will always be bullies and people who pervert something good to gain power and wealth for themselves. People who have anger problems feel more right and also as if they are victims. If it’s not a holy or political book they choose to “defend” when in fact what their sick egos need is to attack others, they will find some other cause.

    If artists create a vision that is inspirational, that focuses on truth, not dogma, people will be able to better see for themselves whether a particular group or organization is teaching a good path, and if so if the leaders are following the path they espouse.

    And, Carol, I too see God in everything. That is what I paint. I am founding a whole new way of Post Conceptual Art just to do that!

    This topic has finally given me a way to blog and link to your site giving you the thumbs up you deserve. Thanks, Judy Rey

  15. isn’t some religious art political in that is was not only meant to instruct but to persuade (a form of propaganda for and by the church?)

  16. Donald Frazell says:

    Spoken like someone who has never had children. I have raised many. And they are all different in born temperament and abilities. A few are actually just born bad, some ballanced and life affirming, most in between.

    And spirituality has always been around, one stupid book does not change that. Millions of archeological sites support it, and the need for both answers and meaning in life are part of humanity, and lead to some sort of concept of god. Always, in every single culture that has ever existed. To deny that is to deny who we are, and put your own desires over mankinds. Art is but one thread if hman life, but one taht makes such things visible, no more or less important to mankind than hunting, farming, warriors, medicine, building ro any other endeavor, but art has gotten so full of itself, and completley iognorant of our hsitory adn who WE are, its is now useless, and contributed greatly to what has happened recently. It is supposed to be a check and ballance to mans vanity, instead it succumbed to it, and became part of the upperclass entertainment, not art at all.

    All words are symnbols, and have meaninng, or are useless. Art has purpose, and must be defined, or it will be manipulated, and it has, as those who deny eprsonal responsibilties would rather play than fight.

    One need not support any organized religiion, but art MUST address god in our life, or has failed. And it has. It is easy to prove, simply lay out before you hundreds of examples of great art from around the world, from thousands of years of development. God will always be there. The last forty years have been all vanity and excess. Arrogance, and selfishness. Throw this shit out, it is garbage. and start anew, from the fundamentalsand see where it leads. to some sens of the vastness of life, and our being botha tiny part of it, and yet finding joy in that, not meaninglessness. That would come from desiring to be all powerful, beyojnd others, and trying to be god. That is the ultimate sin, and leads to decadence and hedonism of self absorbed grandiosity. Not working for mankinds gradual evolution and success.

    God is always there, your denial is your problem and will only hurt yourself, and make you a drain on society. Art has failed. And msut be rebuilt.

    Art collegia delenda est

  17. “but art MUST address god in our life”


  18. Donald Frazell says:

    Yes, Alexander was a religious man, and believe himself to be a God. He crated hsi own deity. Not jsut to use as a way to control te masses, as msot Roma Emperors did. but eh actually believed it. And acted accordingly, with no humility or acnowledgment of his own imperfections.

    Hedonism is even more corruptable than religion, which always keeps is core and does get out people, if no all of them all of the time. Hedonism will never see what it does to others, ones own benefit leadsd to a lack fo scarifice, which man cannot have to continue on. One msut continue for our kids, our future, our species over ourselves.

    Hedonism creates softness, weakness, self apology. it is evil. Always, nno matte rhte justification, it is also a part of many in religion, and what brings them down. The seven deadly sins. Sins are jsut a way to counter weakness, to recognize them so one can be strong. Sins are guidelines, not etched in stone by god. but used to controll mans avarice. And self delusion. And man is extraordinarily creative in deluding oneself. hedonism being just one. There is no sacrafice in hedonism, and so no goodness. That is Gordon Gecko saying greed is good. We just had forty years of this, and look where it got us. Our gilded age is over, time to get to basics. to who we are and through out the dirty bathwater but save the baby.
    Art has eben as guilty as anyone else. Artistes the apologists for decadence. The academies are run by the rich for their own benefit, and you all bought it. Sad.

    Art colleges must be destroyed.

  19. I agree that religion in art has been quite an important feature in the history of art as we know it. I couldn’t imagine a world without Michelangelo’s Pieta or the Sistine Chapel, but I don’t agree that politics doesn’t have a place in the art world.
    I believe modern artists such as Banksy and Shepard Fairey at least catch people’s attention and get them interested in art. Which is important in a society that seems to be obsessed with unimportant, superficial things.
    Also, where would the world be without political cartoons. Sure, they can be rude, but that is part of what makes the US great, the fact that we have the opportunity to take our leaders down a notch with artwork. Plus, that also gets people talking about art, at least in some form.

  20. the part that offended me was ‘sheeple’, god i hate that word

  21. Wow! This stirred up both sides of the Great Divide. I see you’ve been reading Mao Tse-Tung: “Religion is the opiate of the masses”. He also said “Power comes down the barrel of a gun”. Not the best advocate for either a religious or a humanist point of view!

    By a weird coincidence, I joined the British Humanist Association today. (Visit my blog to find out why.) The Great Divide isn’t really about whether there is a god or isn’t one. (There have been 2,500 of them in history.) It’s about whether you put people first or sacrifice them to some fantasy figure that almost certainly doesn’t exist. Even if He did exist, why should any decent god want people to suffer on his behalf?

    I agree Western Christianity has produced some great art. But that is one religion. See how much great Islamic art you can find. Or art from the other 2,498 religions.

  22. Donald Frazell says:

    Yes, thre is a place for some of Banksys work adn Fairleys, it jsut isnt art. And comedy does it so much better. Comedy Central captures our absurd age vfar better than art. so its a waste of time adn energy. art has better strengths, when it addresses who we are, not how we are acting. As Clint Eastwood said, a mans gotta know his limitations. So does art, and all works of man. Focus on strengths, not medicority.

  23. Donald Frazell says:

    It was Marx who said religion was the opiate of the people. And Hemingway who aid it was bread, and anything else that keeps the masses in check. Rome knew this, and subsidzed fod int eh capital, where rioting broke out when taken away.

    These days its been tax cuts and self rigteousness, of the left and right, both the true enemies of the people. The right gets self satisfaction from a supposed superiority of the flag or a religion, the left thinks THEY are the religion and god. both full of BS, and must be kept in check.

    No one said just Christian art, though there is very little Judaic art worth a damn, but much Islamic and buddhist, and primitive arts of all kinds that take ones heart unto other places, worshipping the dead(respect), connecting to others(humility), and bringing sacrfice for the whole(purpose). That is god, it is simply oftne mixed with politics and difficult to sepearate the two, we are human. but to deny what IS, is silly, and self absorbed. to fight over one viepoint is about power, of those who claim to know. And not of god. Never has been, and the judeo-chritian-islamic worlds at essence against that interpretation. Anything, especialy words, can be manipulated.

    but art and god still continue to exist. Art materializes the spirit for all to feel, and participate in as a whole. It defines who we are, and our purpose. Individually, it means nothing.
    Picasso had god in his art just as much as Mihcelagnelo, jsut within the knowledge of hsi time. We no longer do this, we deny, we worhip ourselves. That is decadence defined. And the age we are comingg out of. We msut renew what was, within what we know now, not of yesterday. Thsi takes hard work and constructive self criticism, things no longer taught in art schools, if they ever were. Study our past, not the crap of the acadmies by no nothings. Its all out there, but you folks dont know a Modigliani from a Morandi, you are not artists, If you love something you learn all you can to become the best you can. All else is vanity.

  24. Donald Frazell says:

    Actually, some of my favorite art, and what I consider the foundation of western art, was at Knossos. the center of three continents yet apart to develop freely. the beautiful Bull dancers, the dolphins curves in play, the women revealing their charms, it worships life. As should we all. God is all around us, but we are not god. We can choose to be a part of it, or apart. Love, sacrifice, and purpose bring together, and magnify. Selfishness leads to bitternes, anger, war and death. Among the atheistic as much as the religious, we are all human. To deny such leads to isolation and death. To accept death, in adding to our human existence as a link in the chain, leading to more later, is what brings immortality. That is all we can control, the rest blind ambition, and greed. For immortality of soul as much as arrogance in life. It is not up to us. Accept this, and you find god. Easier said than done, and few achieve it.

    Art is supposed to seek this, always has, Always will, and why art has failed for forty years. Time to get back to work.


  25. You actually made a very good point about the world going into chaos. I agree that religion does put a sense of control over people and I’m glad that you pointed that out!

  26. the history of art would be a poorer place without religion, the history of mankind would be a great deal richer without any of it’s superstitious nonsense :)

  27. All art expresses the world view of the artist. Every artist is drawing from their own well of belief. This maybe expressed strongly or quite faintly. The artist maybe a Baptist, Hindu, Atheist, Buddhist, Moslem or just someone who picks up belief like catching a cold, but underlying beliefs are expressed through the art – as a man thinks so he is.

    Not all religions can be dumped into one pile, just like, not all atheists are the same. Dichotomies are easy to create but don’t actually fit reality and end up being false i.e. Science vs. Religion or Art vs. Religion.

    Religious groups and atheist groups have both been both responsible for incredible travesties i.e. The Inquisitions and Communism/Marxism. Even National Socialism was an outworking of Evolutionary ideas.

    Individuals from all groups have done good works that have been beneficial, either to other individuals or society as a whole.

    Some belief systems are more poison than others and when organised into political/religious systems can be very destructive.

    Art is really about what the artist believes, whether that be absolute truth, nothing or something in between.

    As for me I believe that “In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth.” But I do not see myself as a religious artist or one promoting a particular religious group. But I do believe certain things, that have been informed by a protestant belief system. Which in turn informs and frames most of what I do – despite the hodge podge of modernist and other cultural ideas that I collected along the way. All these things, which are not all constructs – due to a belief in absolute truth – are what makes me. And naturally some of this overflows into my art – whether I am aware of it not.

  28. Donald Frazell says:

    Ideas, or the ones that have to do with real life andn not the sterile absurdities of the Academies, are what art is about. And the biggest idea, whether true or not in anyones vievs, is God. To ignore god is to ignrore Man. It is part of who we are. These concepts have continuously evolved, perhaps underlying the very validity of god as it does change, or shows the search for truth man must do. And art msot of all. But has failed to do for almsot half a century as it wallowed in self pity and childish games.

    Modernism did not give a hodge podge,it was extraordinarily cohesive, with many facets as in a diamond, but no one knows what it was anymore. It died fifty years ago as far as new talent, as the wave of self absorbed decadence arose, where anyone could be called artiste. Vanity. That jsut died, or else we will continue to decay and die as a world civilization. Artists have obligations, to others, that they have completley ignored in its whininess, flakes, fools and faries run this world of selfishness now. Spoiled children of those who run it into the ground, for the rich who are their daddies. Of course there is no god to these brats, they ahve never lived or experienced life, and so think they can control thier own, not to find their mistakes til their deathbed.

    God will not save you, an after life is irrelevant, only used as the carrot to hells stick to get a willful Man to act right, doing what it should do anyway. Man is weak, and none more so than artists.

    They ahve abandoned their job in mans life. modern art took over from theology adn philosophy, as the arts provided the battle ground ot test ideas, through novels, paintings, plays and music. Neitszche and Camus wrote novels for a reason. The many layered realities of life could be brought together, showni in their appearing conflict, and find a common thread throught them, find a sense of purpose, of being, of god. This is arts responsibility, and it has been lost. I hope not forever, for it si needed again, now. the brats must stand down, and look for what is truly meaningful, and become mature adults.

    There is no one way, but there is direction, taht which finds truth adn what gives both peace and purposeful work to man. That is our job, do it. Or stand aside for the adults. And learn.


  29. art is my religion.

    i took both concepts out of their boxes and created a personal utopia of inner peace.

  30. Donald Frazell says:

    Then it is false. The world is out there, we are born as just a set of temperments and abilities, we are the sum of the decisions we make in life, of those that are offered. What we become is far less important than how we did it. Character counts, and there is no character internally, only fantasy.

    Art colleges must be destroyed

  31. What makes you think anyone really cares what you think or do. Your words are just blowing in the wind.

  32. Donald Frazell says:

    Many people outside the inbred art world agree, but yes, they are ignored by the status quo, the flakes fools and fairies of the self absorbed art world.

    The main problem is that the left has abandonded the concept of god to the right. And so allowed a very angry and vengeful god to arise in the media. The left scared of death, andresponsibility, and hard work to improve ones craft, bcause they only are in love with themselves. And cant stand to submit to a higher power, whether it exists or not. And so blinded by fear and loathing of anything not like themselves, weak and ignorant.

    And this is why red states exists, as a reaction to the decadence of the key blue states, Cali and NY.

    God is everywhere and with everyone, just as much someone in Myanmar or Brazil as the Estados Unidos. Artists can bear to think of themselvses as “common”, and so are.

    ACDE, and the world of the lemmings they produce.

  33. Donald Frazell says:

    Actually, yoga people seem to love me. They have a physical spirituality, and really nice sexy bodies, like my own, that relate to what I write. But weaklings of mind body or spirit do not.

  34. I didn’t read what everyone has said. I did read some of them though. And find most of them interesting.
    As a Christian and amateur artist, I personally have trouble separating my beliefs and art. I think all of us reflect our beliefs in our art, even if we don’t realize it. Art is usually a reflection of a lot of things that make us who we are and religion/ beliefs definitely help make us who we are.
    To those of you who credit religion with violence I have one thing to say on the matter. I believe people are violent and are self centered naturally whether they do it in the name of religion or not you will have violence. Also each of us have a religion whether we want to call it that.
    Finally, I hope and pray for those who don’t trust Jesus as your savior that you may eventually belief in him. Despite the failure of those who claim to follow him to actually follow him.

  35. i think that if we hadn’t had the catholic church, that fra angelico, michaelangelo, el greco, etc. would still have been artists but there would have been something else to paint about. the work may have been better, who knows. the spiritual in all of us is an innate need to see beyond the quotidian, it’s phylosophy, a natural attraction to the mysterious. life would be so boring without it, we’d have to be so unnimaginative not to go beyond our limited sphere. what is i think an insult to our intelligence and human dignity is organized religion. I think we should do away with it and instead focus on education, and making sure governments and public programs are run with compassion. I think most people have innate idealism, some unfortunately have it crushed by circumstances. I grew up catholic – some of the worst people i’ve known were deeply religious.

  36. I think the fact that we naturally seek for something bigger than us is a hint that God is real.Even people who don’t believe in “God” make gods of other things. I believe God created us with a need for him and whether we actually seek him or not we will naturally make gods of something or someone else. Even atheist have something they worship as a god they just don’t usually call it that.
    As far as knowing deeply religious people who are evil or the worst ones you even know. Organized religion only moderates behavior and can be used to justify all sorts of things. People can twist anything if they really want to make a point. And since I believe people are naturally evil, it makes sense that evil would come from those who choose to do evil and feed selfishness.
    Also I don’t consider myself religious even though I am a Christian. I have a personal relationship with God that governs what I do, when I listen to him. Not that I am perfect, I sometimes willfully do stuff against his will. But my moral standards and believes come more from personal convictions from what I read in the Bible than from dictates from my church.
    Lastly, I don’t think concentrating on education will solve anything. Education doesn’t change people. Some people use their knowledge for evil and some for good. Education will not change peoples behavior. In fact it might just make our world worse. And while I’m not against helping people and I think it is important. The systems already have alot of abuse and I don’t think adding more government help is going to change much. If we are really concerned for others I think doing stuff for those around you will do more than the government is capable of doing for them.

  37. Fist time poster, All religion is great as long as it is individual in nature and limited to a belief not openly expressed. But when we as humans gather in numbers we the mob, always resort in unobtainable idealism and or perfection. As long as we have our best interests in the core belief and exclude others who don’t share in those core beliefs we are organized religion. When we elevate one or more people to an exalted position of power we have permission to follow without responsibility. He or she is responsible he or she should have stopped us permission by proxy or ignorance is a fundamental trait of religion. I should point out that politics is religion blind obedience as long as we get what we want or the hardship is within a tolerable limit, as modern Americans we have no heroes. No people to look up to we elevate to hero or leader and they naturally over time believe they are emperor and eventually god like most all actors and politicians follow the same traits in the end. Its simple math 1 leader 10 followers is a tribe harmony everyone is involved 1 leader 10000000000 people he/she is above better than not responsible to ,insulated from our reality after all if we are cut do we not bleed . If our leader is cut there are 100 security guards and the cutter is dead the 1000 press agents vilify him as satin and history records the event as the hand of god saved the leader. Our fate is we bleed we pay to much for the band aid and the cops say did you get a confession from the assailant leave it go after all your not dead are you.

  38. I think it would be hard to have a “religion” and keep it to yourself. I think we naturally want people to know what we think and feel. We also have a desire to belong and feel a part of something bigger than us. “Religion” is one way we do that.

  39. Donald Frazell says:

    But there are many ways to god. That is what we must accept, and personal “salvation” must remain just that, as there are many paths to being more than what we are, adn the ultimat sin is to think one Knows teh mind of god, taht wich is beyond al understanding. The Word is always dangerous, thinking it is some mystical thing, and where the Abrahamic religions trip up. You cannot possess god. one msut feel whatever taht is, being part of all of humanity, not breaking up us into sects. art is a way to this, something art has abandoned as perhaps too difficult, but still its role in humanity. We canot find the “ultimate” truth, there is none, we add to what has come bfroe, adn others will do the same upon us, if we leave behind something useful and relevant to our survival and growth. That IS god. What is basic to all religions. And our duty as children of god. To keep on going on, work hard, be honest, open, non dogmatic, but inclusive as much as wel can. succeedign generations wil continue the work, we will not completely succeed, as life changes. The weakness of our generatins to quit becaue we cannot find the ultiamte marks us as children. Grow up. Do your duty, and hand off to those yet to come, it is about humanity, not the individual.

    Art collegia delenda est

  40. Believing there are many ways to God can be just as closed minded as believing there is only one. Think about it your basically saying that my beliefs are wrong just as much as I would probably say yours are wrong. The only difference is I’m admitting to it. Frankly and endless progression to try to accomplish what you just said will never be attained does not appeal to me very much. I think I would prefer to be considered close minded than end up feeling purposeless.The Bible has a verse I believe in Ecclesiastes about their being nothing new under the sun. This book talks about the vanity of all are human striving for perfection and knowledge. How at the end none of what you do will have added really anything of value. In the end the author basically says the only thing that matters is following God and doing his will. I hope that at the end your life you don’t feel you have accomplished nothing. But I know I won’t! This is because I’m not striving for anything but to love God and to do my best to obey him. Everything else is just icing on the cake. It doesn’t matter if I’m successful. It doesn’t matter what I know. It doesn’t matter what goes wrong or right. It is all about Him. My worth is all in the fact that He loves me and that I have accepted and reciprocated that love.

  41. Control the masses through religion…that’s pretty dumb. We can safely say it’s human nature for mankind to want to have control over others- and gain power, regardless of any religion. Rules of faiths are broken all the time. In a lot of cases those rules makes things worse for some people to live their lives. That’s not a good reason at all for you to not want religion taken away. Much better reasons out there- should have stuck with the ‘it makes for great art’ bit.

  42. Yeah it’s human nature to want control, which is why man created religion. Religion didnt come from the clouds, it came from man.

    I also don’t think religion is the perfect controlling force for such a dangerous species like man, but it’s the best we have for now. It would be nice to not need any control, but I don’t have that much faith in human nature.

    I dont hate us as a species either as that would be pretty dumb, I just don’t think we’re very smart. You can read a whole library and still be as stupid and dangerous as the day you walked in it too, so I’m not talking about book knowledge.. just common sense stuff.

  43. An excellent article/rant, hmm offended? no of course not it’s great to read other peoples points of view. But sadly religion doesn’t always calm the masses in fact it can stir up some mighty big hatred and chaos and it has done through the ages. More lives have been lost in the name of religion than for any other reason. People look to God because they can’t accept their own mortality and want to believe there is life after death. But religion in all it’s forms is at the best twisted and read out of context and used to suit the purposes of the individual, everyone having their own adaptation and interpretation. Yes morality is born of fear sometimes which is a bi-product of religion, but sometimes it can have the opposite effect which is very dangerous. People sacrifice themselves and the lives of others around them daily to prove how wonderful and right their religious teachings and Gods are. Would an atheist world be any worse? I doubt it in all honesty.
    Yes some of the most wonderful works of art were inspired by religion, but also some of the best popular songs were inspired by people under the influence of narcotics and religion lets face it is a very powerful narcotic once it takes hold of an individual. Art is a form of personal expression, art starts where words end, that’s why there are so many artists in the world, visual depiction in all it’s forms purveys a persons feelings much more than the written and spoken word and is universal as it does not have the barriers of language. Art in all it’s forms is beautiful and should be appreciated as such whether it is devoted to religion or not.

  44. Donald Frazell says:

    Obviously no historians on this site, as that is some made up raw serrano.. Thats what you AWT to believe, not what is or was. God is part of humanity, whther real or not, but the concept is very malleable, and evolves, is not now aht it used to be for many, and for some they stick with ages old ideals. Though never the same as before, life changes no matter how much we attempt to keep it the same.

    Art is not and never has been about personal expression, it is about the people the artist is aprt of, the peoples way of binding and celebrating who THEY are, the individual is meaningless. Humanity goes on, and so does the need for god.

  45. You can know something about an artist by the things they create. By examining his handiwork I can tell he likes to work real small, he likes lots of detail, he draws from chemistry-biology-physics-and-neuroscience, he has a thing for social interaction, he uses an array of color, he is clever-skilled-precise-consistent-systematic-and-mathematical, he employs corollaries, reason, and logic, he has an ongoing carbon based project, he loves to work with proteins, he likes puzzles, he exhibits forethought and knowledge, he is poetic-charming-musical-deliberate-experienced-playful-intelligent-and like to make new recipes.
    Looking at a piece of art will not tell me….how many coffee breaks the artist took or about her diet…or what model of car he drives….or which limbs were used to arrange the materials…or whether she wears glasses…or what his lineage is…or what languages she is fluent in….or whether he has offspring…or how much time he spent contemplating the idea…or what the prototypes exactly looked like…or who she met while on vacation.
    All this attention to detail that every artist does…reminds me…I am being thought of by another, my time on display is not finished, I am someone’s treasure, I am wanted, and I belong to a lover.

  46. God has given to some people artistic ability, and many of the great paintings through the ages have been of a religious nature. But in some cases this can lead to idolatry as people try to worship an image of God, who is a spirit. As Jesus said in John 4:24 ” God is a spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth”.

  47. art and religion should mix
    religion and politics should mix
    politics and art should mix


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