On God and Creativity

The Creation of Adam Sistine Chapel

Yes… the ‘G’ word. Don’t worry :-p

During Ramadan I couldn’t resist finding it allegorical at times to see everything closed, everyone tired, and the world a little less vibrant than usual, despite the heat.  From the outside looking in it seemed indicative of a broader malaise affecting the world religions across the planet- of empty pews and lonely temples.

Of course many will disagree – here the mosques are full.  By emphasizing discipline over consumption, charity over materialism, family and prayer it’s hard not to perceive wisdom amidst the deserted streets and empty highways of Amman.

But still, with a few exceptions, religion everywhere seems to suffer from distortions of itself, atrophy and a strange atavistic impulse.

It got me to thinking how things weren’t always like this.  If God is among other things a creative force, there was a time when the world religions represented this more than anything else.  You only have to look at the Mosques, Islamic calligraphy and art to see this, or walk around any main square or national gallery in Europe.

Today, the world over, creative types seem suspicious at times even downright hostile to religion, fearing its tendency to circumscribe, condemn and control.

But there was a time that if you could write, or were an architect, or painter, or even someone talented but poor then perhaps royalty but more often the Church would prove the only outlet for your potential.  Imagine today if the religious worked alongside graphic designers (stain glass), web developers (gold-leaf books) scientists (?) artists (where to start?) or outliers (e.g. first missionaries who went to China).

Maybe they would understand the present age and the nature of aspiration better, and perhaps even rekindle a little bit of the energy of former times.

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2 Responses to On God and Creativity

  1. kinziblogs says:

    I wonder if our new vast knowledge has caused us to lose the awe of mystery. We can so easily do it all ourselves, so productive, leaving little time to ponder the world outside our realm of understanding.

    True that creative types are suspicious of religion, the reverse has often also been true. Thankfully, religious types seem to be re-embracing creativity. Visiting churches in the US this summer, I was inspired by how much more locally written music, drama, dance, writing and poetry was emerging from little fellowships.

    I am challenged by the last paragraph.

    • shufimafi says:

      Kinzi – the ‘awe of mystery’. That would be an amazing post to write – ever since the enlightenment everything has been to evaluate, reveal, and understand, so that everything becomes known, but maybe something else (like the feeling you get when you enter a temple) has been lost? Or maybe books like the Da Vinci Code or Twilight or even movies like Inception are trying to bring a sense of that something back, in an adapted contemporary manner

      Thanks for comment!

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