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The Relationship Between Art and Religion

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The relationship between art and religion is not a relationship that cannot be contradicted nor is it an indistinguishable one. There subsists between them an affinity and a strange mutual aid. Both religion and art lift us up and awaken in us a determinacy towards an ideal world. However, if the esthetic feeling endeavors mainly towards an artistic image of the perfect world, then the religious emotion thirsts for an existing communication with God, the source of all precision.

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The esthetic sentiment, being under the sway of the deliberation of an artistic work or the beauty nature, nurtures only a vague desire in our soul to a higher world, but religious sentiment opens to our soul the option of living unity with God by way of prayer and the sacraments. Therefore, substituting the religious sentiment with the esthetic feeling is a big and destructive distortion, known in asceticism as “delusion” (Andeev, August 7, 2006). The common feature in the relationship between art and religion is that they both attempt to express an idea not in an abstract or theoretical form, such as in, for instance, philosophy and science, but in a concrete illustrated expression.

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In religion, like in art, a pure thought or idea is dressed in its matching cover of an image, both an untainted cover, as well as a gorgeous one. Thanks to this quality, all the spiritual-bodily sentiments of the person contribute towards the spiritual contemplation of the idea. The rigid and moral thoughtfulness of the church is not only presented decently in the images of verbal fine art and good-looking musical attires, but is symbolized in the magnificence of the ritual form of services (Andeev, August 7, 2006).

None of the earliest religions was strange to symbols, but most ideal Christian religion proves itself by its depth, and infinite in its diversity and wealth of symbolic images. In addition, the “mysteries of the future generation” are articulated in a dumb tongue, stillness, both visible and invisible. Moreover, through philosophical history, we learn that religion was the first crib of art. Therefore, the viewpoint by which religion and art are viewed as being principally opposed to each other should be regarded as mistaken. However, the hostility commence only when the core of religion is vague or when the outward appearance of art does not match up with the religious idea.  For example, in Manicheanism, they regarded the mother of evil as a sovereign being. This shows how the figure misrepresented the religion (Andeev, August 7, 2006). 

In conclusion, art and religion cannot survive independently because they each of them express its ideas through the other one. The close relationship can only be distorted when their main purposes are not clearly presented. Art and religion have a common feature in that they both attempt to express a thought not in an abstract, but in a concrete form.

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