Art and Perception of Heaven / Hell

At our parish, we are doing a study on Hell, prompted by the controversial Rob Bell book "Love Wins."  I have only read snippets of Bell's book, and will thus refrain from making any comment about it until I have read it (my pet peeve is always folks who criticize something --- valid or invalid---before looking at it). I do know that any questions I or anyone else has about the afterlife do not threaten God.

Nine times out of ten, many of these controversies are created by ourselves and our attempts to wrestle the divine in some type of our limited human understanding.

That being said, it was interesting to hear how artists have influenced our perception, some rightly so, some otherwise. I do not believe that the devil has horns and a red cape and a pitchfork, yet he is interpreted that way by many artists. I wonder why?

Maybe it is because artists through the Middle Ages, etc. wanted to try to create a picture of what was scariest to them? In a time of insecurity, the black death, and insecurity in getting just the basic necessities of life, maybe this represented to many artists (and maybe those in the church) the scary creatures that were in the bushes, the unknown, the beasts on the edge of the map, where most cartographers  simply put "past this point there be dragons...."

I don't think we are as entranced or frightened by the unknown (other than the unknown state of the stock market), but we want to examine it and break it a part, so these images don't hold as much----I dont' want to say "truth," because I honestly believe this represented something true to those artists---but let's say influence. That works.

Nowadays, personally, I think the scariest image of the devil is one that is seductive and handsome, keeping in mind his title as the "Father of Lies." Why? Because it's very easy to be entranced with beautiful things. It's in our nature. It frightens me because it means no one is "noble" enough to completely resist on our own.

Reminds me of a humorous quote from Jack Colton, the lovable, adventurous, rake from the movie "Romancing the Stone, " --- "I ain't cheap, but I can be bought."

I think that's what I'm afraid of. That there is a point where I could be "bought" into something.

Post a Comment