It’s been little over a week since the 600th Anniversary of King Henry V’s victory over the French at Agincourt. It was that battle that inspired Shakespeare to write one of the most famous patriotic speeches of all time – a speech that still holds truth for us today.
The most memorable comedies of a generation owe their particular brand of wit and charm to the pen or the direction of Harold Ramis, who passed away at the age of 69. From the pro-market Ghostbusters to the Faust-like Bedazzled, Ramis’ films contain messages conservatives can appreciate. But no film is as spiritual or philosophical as Ramis’ masterpiece Groundhog Day.
LifeWay Christian Store’s recent decision to pull the film The Blind Side from its shelves because of profanity, violence, and immoral behavior has ignited a debate in Christian circles about the role of art and beauty, and Christians’ place in consuming and creating art. There seem to be two camps: those who believe that the value of Christian movies is primarily their effectiveness as a tool for evangelism and those who believe they are an art form, valuable for their own sake, that can reveal God’s truth in profound ways. To answer this question we must cultivate an understanding of the biblical worldview of aesthetics — whether objective beauty actually exists and how it might be known through the moral order and through nature.
The creative arts play a crucial role in shaping the worldview of every person and culture. They are an implied declaration that a worldview consists of more than abstract ideas or theoretical concepts. A world picture is a map of reality made up of images, symbols, myths and stories as well as theoretical concepts. Contemporary psychology has given us such terms as preconceptual sensing and nonverbal cognition and the right side of the brain to identify what I will call images.
Francis Schaeffer once wrote that the secular philosophies of intellectuals filter down to the general population through the arts, becoming what we call “popular culture.” Thus, pop culture is the prevailing worldview expressed primarily through blockbuster movies, best-selling novels, “top-forty” music, highly rated television shows, the visual arts, and advertising.
I attended a lecture last night by accomplished New York City artist Makoto Fujimura (Christian, World Magazine‘s 2006 “Daniel of the Year,” world renowned artist, etc., etc.). I have long appreciated his thoughts on Christianity and art (though I must admit that I personally have a quite untrained art palette…), and he has been gracious enough to offer us his articles for use in the Summit notebook and on our website.