Art as a Path to God

People often find it hard to draw a dividing line between the artistic qualities of a work of art and the ideology of its author.

Here’s how I suggest we think about it:

An artistic gift has a huge limitation which is that it has to live in a human being. And a human being can be stupid, nasty, lazy, confused, anything. The gift is from God, and the personal qualities of the individual into whom God deposited the gift can’t touch it. An individual can choose not to use the gift at all or use it for bad purposes. But the gift remains.

Artistic gifts are given in a pattern we cannot begin to fathom. They are our pathways to God. Or to the experience of the sublime, if you are not religious.

I have no idea why God chooses to lead us towards experiencing the glory of creation through people like Stephen Markley and not, for example, through me, a person who has all the right ideas and wouldn’t waste a literary talent on spouting woke slogans. I guess making our peace with the imperfect nature of the vessels of God’s glory is one of the many trials that we keep failing to pass.

P.S. For the non-religious, simply substitute “God” with “nature”, and you’ll understand my meaning immediately.


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