Christians in the Arts Issue 5: Can the arts really change the world?

I’ll go ahead and summarize what I have said before: 1) Christians should not flinch away from putting violence, sexuality, and profanity provided it serves the story. 2) A theme of a Christian work should not come off as preachy, as it only comes off as propaganda. 3) Avoid usage of the Deus Ex Machina, as it makes the writing come off as lazy, even though the Christian faith itself has Deus Ex Machina elements. 4) Then I talked about how Christians should get what they can out of the arts. Today, I want to summarize something about the arts: how they can change the world, or not.

I suppose that one of the fears of Christians about the arts is that works with violence, sexuality, and profanity could influence people to actually do them in real life. Perhaps Christians can create art that will make people do things, and believe that I have already discussed why that is propaganda. This leads me to wonder how certain works of art have led to some serious revolutions.

Works like Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin opened people up to the issue of slavery. Another work that opened people up to the issue of racism was To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and I think these works of fiction really made a difference that benefits society today. I honestly don’t know if these authors ever intended to influence society like this, but it has worked.

Here’s the reason why I believe works like these have affected history. Personally, I think Stowe and Lee had works that spotlighted something that human nature didn’t like, and so humanity decided to change…slowly. I really doubt that anyone can create some work that can overrule someone’s freewill entirely, unless hypnosis really works. Then again, perhaps all works of art are hypnotizing us, and we are all just doing exactly what they tell us to do…sorry, I just cracked up there.

So can the arts change us or not? Well, they can, but we have to want to be changed. This is why I can’t tolerate using the arts as an evangelical tool, because it will not stick unless a person wants to be changed.

I suppose that this is the best end of this series is to encourage Christians to look at as much art as possible. Chances are, you are not going to find everything good, but you might find something worth saving from it.

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