History is filled with great works of art based on Christian themes. The Last Supper by Leonardo (despite what Dan Brown tried to do to ruin it) immediately comes to mind as well as do works by Michaelangelo, Rafael and others. Throughout most of history, art has been the friend of Christianity -- the latter inspiring the former, and the former responding with works of such beauty and love as to inspire the latter.
But that has now changed.
Two articles came to my attention this morning, both of which show the alarming state of disrespect that artists (and I use the term loosely) have for Christians and for Jesus Christ. The first comes from the Oklahoman in an article entitled Planned new film to fill gaps in Jesus' 'missing years'. As the title suggests, Hollywood (which has shown no almost no respect for Christianity since the Biblical-based movies of the 1950s) is preparing to put out a new film that will supposedly recount Jesus' activities during the missing years -- the years about which almost nothing is said of Jesus in the Bible (roughly the ages from 12-30).
Since the Bible is the best account of the life of Jesus Christ, and since it is silent on the issue of where Jesus went, what exactly do the filmmakers intend to have Jesus doing? To no one's surprise, they apparently plan to follow the old "Jesus went to the East and learned Hinduism" angle.
The $20 million film will portray Jesus as He follows the ancient Silk Road, with stops in India, Persia and Egypt among other places. Along the way, Jesus will come to know "the world's greatest seers and sages” and will reunite with the Magi who visited His crib in Bethlehem, producers say.
But, of course, Christians need not worry that this will lead non-Christians to believe unreal things about Jesus -- after all, according to Dale Martin, a religious studies professor at Yale University, there's "no problem with it as long as it's clear the film is a work of fiction, not a retelling of history." Yeah, that worked real well with the Da Vinci Code, didn't it?
Not to be outdone, a Canadian artist has sculpted Jesus with an erect penis. According to Canadian artist's sexual statues enrage U.K. religious groups:
Terence Koh, the provocative Canadian darling of the New York art scene, has aroused controversy in Britain after a top gallery displayed one of his sculptures showing Jesus with an erect penis.
Media reported that Mr. Koh's statue at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead "has offended Christians and visitors alike."
Yeah, I'm sure that this guy's art will someday be compared favorably to the great sculputes of Michaelangelo, aren't you?
This is typical of the art of today. It is the downturn in art that Francis Schaeffer complained about. He appropriately noted that once modern man (needlessly) lost hope in a unified field of knowledge and became nothing more than a cosmic accident (in his view), his art became more and more bizarre and ugly. This is simply further evidence that he was right.
Oh, and for those of you who think that there is no difference between Christians and Islamic radicals, I should note that no one in the Christian church is calling for the makers of this film or Mr. Koh to be killed for defaming Christ. There are calls that Mr. Koh's pornographic work be destroyed and there are certainly those among us who hope that what will apparently be an awful Jesus movie bomb at the box office, but no one is calling for anyone to be killed. Think about that next time you try to say that Christianity is worse than Islamo-fascism.