That which stands out is likely to be disputable

When one appreciates a painting, poem, cinematic piece of art or any other piece of art, like a novel or an opera song, what is it that strikes you as true perfection in it? Not every art object will be perfect in its fullness, but bits of it — a chapter in a novella, a certain poetic stanza, the body of the Virgin Mary in your neighbour’s painting of Biblical times — might be, and it is common that some of these bits, or whole pieces of art, will stand out because they share something in common. Not just the fact that they seem perfect to you, because that deals with both the content and the way it has been made. I’m just talking about a thing they share in content.

Think about it. A nude painting of Madonna, or the Last Supper, a traditionally animated short subject about the Dance of the Pixie Fairies of Romania, Pegasus in the Garden of Peace in fresco, a wooden cross of the crucified Savour against the ceiling, a literary work chronicling the life of forsaken Ping Lo of Vietnamese descent who turns his fatherland’s secret information over to the Chinese government, and a marble statue of Caligula in full Adam’s bod. What do all these things have in common when it comes to content and to what they are about? At first, it may seem like they have nothing in common. Though the paintings of Madonna and the Last Supper and the wooden Jesus cross do have something in common, the rest also correlates in the same abstract way as the aforementioned three. They are controversial, disputable, made-up (or at least considered to be made-up), debatable, and/or iffy.

That which stands out in a film, painting or other piece of art, is likely to be that which is disputable or controversial. When a movie deals with the spirit world, it immediately stands out, regardless whether a spirit world is real (or possible) or not. A novella chronicling the life of someone who has had multiple religious phenomena occurring throughout her life, has the characteristic of standing out because it chronicles an unlikely to be true account, even though it still could be believed by many. A painting acting as a mirror to hell, attracts attention from the rest because the depiction of something controversial stands out from the rest of subjects painted.

Now, you might ask why the chronicled life of Ping Lo was mentioned in the short example list before. Well, though it may not seem that controversial (or all that important) to us, indulging yourself in high treason in general is not not something that is controversial (or important). To us it may not be so, but the whole subject itself (betraying one’s country) oozes of controversy. The same could be said of a Jesus cross with the crucified Savour still on it. To Catholics, this is common and nothing out of the ordinary. But look at it from a Protestant view and you will discover yourself on the opposite side of the matter. Or look at it as an orthodox Jew. Though it may not smell of controversy that much (to a Jew the New Testament simply does not count in life), it is entirely improbable and highly disputable to a Jew that Jesus was the Saviour. Same goes for a painting of hell.

What about the dancing Romanian Pixie Fairies — whom I obviously made up to make a point. Though to be honest, there must be at least ten people in the world who actually believe in such pixies. Anyhow, the point made here is that such a short subject would immediately draw attention, not just because it could have been perfectly mastered, but also because it has a subject uncommon and rather disputable. Do pixie fairies exist? More specifically, do Romanian pixie fairies exist and can they dance? Probably not, but it doesn’t really matter if they do or do not, or if they can or cannot. The mere fact that we don’t know makes the short subject controversial and makes it stand out from the rest of animated films.

Is it possible to disprove the existence of Romanian Pixie Fairies? Though you could give valuable arguments why it is highly likely that they don’t exist, and though it is possible to show the paradoxes within the realm of pixie fairy existence, it is not possible to give entirely conclusive evidence that they don’t exist. Not only because there is very little known about pixie fairies in general, but also because very little can ever be known about pixie fairies.

Enough about mythical faeries for now, because I have been using it as an obvious metaphor for something much greater than pixie fairies — God. Yes, replace pixie fairy with God in the paragraphs above and it would still make sense. (Except for the dancing, perhaps.) Now, does (Abrahamic) religious art stand out from the rest of artistic works because they are about something controversial and disputable? If the analogy with the pixie fairies worked to prove such a statement, the same applies with God and religion as a whole.

Something that is such — controversial, disputable and debatable — doesn’t necessarily need to be true or false, truth or lie, prophecy or propaganda — but what it is without a doubt is unable to being held up by faith alone. And that is just what theists want you to believe — that religion doesn’t need empirical or logical prove to be considered true. Faith is enough to uphold its logics, teachings and position in society. Which is just what this whole art analogy does not endorse, at all.

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