A Christian and An Artist

By GotDesign
Recently, I posted a piece of artwork to the online graphic arts community to which I belong -- DeviantArt (not what it sounds like). The piece was based on a satellite image of the Ganges River delta in India that I downloaded from a NASA website. When crafting the piece -- entitled simply, Ganges -- I decided to research Hindu legends and myths about the Ganges River. Many Hindus refer to the Ganges as "Ma Ganga" or "Mother Ganges." This epithet stems from a legend of a Universal Mother story in Hindu mythology. I thought, all in all, that this would be an interesting cultural piece. Not long after posting it, I received a comment from another member who, like myself, was a member of the "Christians" group on DeviantArt (called "DA"). He questions whether, as a Christian, I ought to be posting art of this type. When I questioned his objection, it was to my use of Hindu mythology. In my reply to his objection, I referred to my statement in the original posting that this piece was based on a myth -- a falsehood, and stated very unequivocally that I believe that "there is only one truth and that is that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." I further stated that by being knowledgeable about cultures and belief systems other than Christianity, I can better reach out to others -- like the Apostle Paul (see Acts 17). Last night, I began to think about being "in, but not of" this world. Can one be an effective Christian and an artist who draws inspiration from the whole of God's creation? So I began to think of any reference to artists in the Bible. There are very few such references that I could think of. The silversmiths of Ephesus rioted because of the effectiveness of Paul's witness in that city. King David wrote numerous songs and poems to praise God. But David's works of art were solely directed at praising God -- it was not a vocation for David. I have not made an exhaustive search, but there seems to be very little evidence of the arts in the Bible. So I began thinking, do I have to restrict my artistic efforts to strictly Christian themes because I claim the name of Christ? My answer is no. To do so is to withdraw from general society which is not what God wants. Just as God intended for the Old Testament Jews to be a light to the Gentiles, Christians are to be a light to an unbelieving world. How can we do this if we restrict ourselves to purely Christian pursuits and interests? We cannot. My interest and skills in the arts are a gift from God that I use for His glory in the world at large. So, should I use themes that refer to the mythologies of other cultures? I don't entirely know. My position is that I should not lift up such mythologies as being in any way true or worthy of belief or acceptance. I don't feel my "Ganges" piece does this. Take a look at "Ganges" and give me your thoughts on it. How would you handle this problem? Drop me a line.

P.S. If you would like to see my Christian-themed art, please look at my Typography Series and Sky Burn.

UPDATE: I have removed my Ganges piece from my online gallery. The responses I received were telling me that it was being interpreted in a way that I had not intended. I don't want to lead anyone to stumble in their faith, or lead them to believe anything other than the exalted Jesus.


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