Monday, November 21, 2005

Christianity and Literature

"The religious doesn't not abolish the aesthetic but dethrones it."
--Soren Kierkegaard

"I have heard it said that belief in Christian dogma is a hindrance to the writer, but I myself have found nothing further from the truth. Actually, it frees the story-teller to observe."
--Flannery O'Connor

These two quotes, it might seem, are alike only in so far as they have to do with religion and art; a closer look though can tie them together in a tight weave. One might say the aesthetic has to be "dethroned"--using S.K.'s language-- to the free the author to "observe"--to use Flannery's. According to Flannery O'Connor it is the Christian belief that is the enabler of good story telling and not a throned aesthetic. A throned aesthetic limits the writer to being creative, at the least, for the sake of being creative, and at the most, for the sake of preaching humanism. A dethroned aesthetic and a throned Lord lead to a broadness of viewpoint, almost as if one were atop a hill charting the distances.

Bryan Halferty

Is this accurate? Do you disagree? Write your thoughts.

1 comment:

mrteague said...


A good corollary to an enthroned aesthetic might be addiction where one can only have a love/hate relationship with the object of their addiction. How can one really love something that one is enslaved by? One can only truly love the arts when one is free from them.