Is atheism iconoclastic?
#1
I know individual atheists may appreciate [religious?] art, but is atheism iconoclastic overall? Atheistic-communist governments are (and were) hell-bent on complete destruction of Christian churches-whether it's Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant. They razed churches, melted down church bells, mutilated icons, destroyed statues, toppled Christian crosses, reconverted some churches into public buildings, murdered clergy and religious, etc.

Perhaps atheism has not only been involved with the destruction of physical images/architecture, but is also a form of societal iconoclasm: the complete destruction of Catholic (or Orthodox) culture, history, presence, or impact on the common people...and instead replaced with a godless, reductionist, and anti-human "philosophy" grounded in delusion and control.

Sorry if I'm rambling on, but I have been thinking about this recently since western society has continued to go farther into lunacy and stupidity. It's no wonder atheism has not produced great art or really any art styles whatsoever.



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#2
Art is education. Truths about reality and the supernatural are communicated in their most basic forms through art.

Just look at small children - my son suddenly discovered the Stations of the Cross at church. We was able to "tell" me the story based on those images, and ask intelligent questions about it. That's dangerous to atheists.
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#3
(02-24-2016, 02:05 PM)PrairieMom Wrote: Art is education. Truths about reality and the supernatural are communicated in their most basic forms through art.

Just look at small children - my son suddenly discovered the Stations of the Cross at church. We was able to "tell" me the story based on those images, and ask intelligent questions about it. That's dangerous to atheists.

That's a profound insight. Our sacred art and architecture (of which I also include hieratic language and traditional prayers, gestures etc.) are like guideposts to the mysteries of our Faith. Certain things will always be able to be touched, felt or intuited through signs and symbols.

I'm not sure if atheism is itself iconoclastic, I mean, some forms of Buddhism are quite elaborate and ornate in art, and one cannot forget how colorful and fantastical much art in advertising can be. Both Buddhism and much of modern advertising are utterly unconcerned with even the question of whether or not God exists.

I think it's more a matter of whoever conquers a given culture intuitively knows that to destroy the art, architecture, signs and symbols of the conquered is to erase their connection with their past and their roots. It's not explicit to atheism. Muslims are also vicious iconoclasts. Gangbangers spray over their rivals Graffitti etc.
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#4

Atheism doesn't come with the great stories and myths that inspire art. There can't be any atheist paintings that'd show anything akin to Noah and his ark, Creation, Christ's Sacrifice -- or Zeus and Danae, etc.  What would atheist art be depicting? How does one depict the idea "there is no God"? A Crucifix with a big red X over it?

Maybe atheism, as a concept, would be best portrayed by something like this:

[Image: The_Scream.jpg]
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#5
One constant thing that keeps popping up as I keep reading about history is how liberalism in all its shapes and forms--from the French revolution to the liberal revolutions everywhere in Europe to the supposed (and yet fake) emancipation of colonies to the Vatican revolution (as I call Vatican II)--simply did away with beautiful things and traditions. Every thing, from customs to art, everything that made life more human and more in touch with the divine, they destroyed.
It really looks like modernity simply took the words of St. Paul to the Philippians « For the rest, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever modest, whatsoever just, whatsoever holy, whatsoever lovely, whatsoever of good fame, if there be any virtue, if any praise of discipline, think on these things. » and completely inverted them. Instead of thinking on them, preserving them, cultivating a form of life with them, they destroyed and did the very opposite : now whatever is false, immodest, unjust, profane, hateful, shameful, filled with vice--these are the things that dominates modern life.

Today we can both lament and enjoy what is left--perhaps with the vague and yet haunting feeling that we are the last people enjoying it. Perhaps we are indeed. I imagine the time of the antichrist will be one dominated by believers in progress, by folks who have some disturbing fetish with smooth surfaces and plastic, by egotistic people who nonetheless are merely but part of the mass, etc.

All we can do--besides lamenting and enjoying--is to follow St. Paul's advice, then.
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#6
I think atheism must in itself be iconoclastic for the simple reason that atheism reduces the universe to incoherence. If Buddhism is atheistic, I would even say that its art and its atheism are at odds with each other. The art in Buddhism would flow out of its philosophical insight into the nature of reality, its ordering towards enlightenment, and its mythology, in other words, from its religious core, something very fundamental to human nature. The atheism attributable to Buddhism isn't atheism in the way Western atheists are; Buddhism might be atheistic only because it doesn't so much care about the existence of God, so the atheism would be more of an afterthought than something integral to it. So I agree with FB when he says, "Both Buddhism and much of modern advertising are utterly unconcerned with even the question of whether or not God exists." I wouldn't say that's atheism but "apatheism" (apathy to theism).

But I wouldn't say Munch's The Scream is atheistic! (Aside from the fact that I like his art...) It has a very definite meaning and expression, and its inspiration comes from Munch's personal experience walking one day during a sunset.

On the other hand, if you want a great example of what I think might be atheistic art, look at Jackson Pollock's drip paintings. Certainly visually intriguing but pure impressions without meaning, creating by a random process of body movements, inspired by who knows what.
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#7
Sorry, misunderstood Vox's original description of The Scream as depicting atheism.  :LOL:
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#8
These are some of my random thoughts.

I think that art and language are intimately tied together, as they have been since God spoke the world into being.
Atheists and liberal types both seem to have a natural disdain for freedom to use language in a way that isn't snarky and sarcastic or otherwise completely made up as this would imply that things actually have an objective meaning based on something other than personal opinion ie. God. Thus it would make sense that they would attempt to censor art as well.

On a similar note, these same people have a subconscious hatred to actual beauty as beauty implies a likeness to God and our main mode of expressing beauty is through art.
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#9
(02-24-2016, 05:12 PM)formerbuddhist Wrote: I think it's more a matter of whoever conquers a given culture intuitively knows that to destroy the art, architecture, signs and symbols of the conquered is to erase their connection with their past and their roots. It's not explicit to atheism. Muslims are also vicious iconoclasts. Gangbangers spray over their rivals Graffitti etc.

This.

Because of the transmission of ideas that occurs in the arts, you need to erase it if you want to conquer. Atheism in the West, in some respects, wants to obliterate art (hello, deleting arts education from schools!) precisely for this reason. It's not conscious, but an extension of this idea of taking something over.

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#10
(02-25-2016, 12:07 PM)PrairieMom Wrote:
(02-24-2016, 05:12 PM)formerbuddhist Wrote: I think it's more a matter of whoever conquers a given culture intuitively knows that to destroy the art, architecture, signs and symbols of the conquered is to erase their connection with their past and their roots. It's not explicit to atheism. Muslims are also vicious iconoclasts. Gangbangers spray over their rivals Graffitti etc.

This.

Because of the transmission of ideas that occurs in the arts, you need to erase it if you want to conquer. Atheism in the West, in some respects, wants to obliterate art (hello, deleting arts education from schools!) precisely for this reason. It's not conscious, but an extension of this idea of taking something over.
To wax philosophical, I would say that the iconoclasm present in Islam or gang graffiti is a different kind of iconoclasm than what would occur in atheism. Obvious the end effect of destroying certain pieces of art or depictions is the same in both cases, but the motivation must be fundamentally different for each. For Islam, I wouldn't say it's a matter of exerting power for its own sake but to spread the proper worship of God in their conception--hence destroy idolatrous depictions. For gangs, it would be a matter of power and marking territory. Of course, power is exerted in both instances, but the motivations are clearly different.

But in atheism, we would have a pure iconoclasm for its own sake because *all* stories, mythologies, territories, traditions, etc. are arbitrary and ultimately meaningless and incoherent. All things must end in destruction and chaos. I don't think there is any way for an atheist to escape this core aspect of atheism: it must be nihilistic and fragmented.
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