Saturday, October 24, 2009

Rap and Bad Art (2)

OK -- we left off this topic with a question last time:
All fiction is not bad. All art is not bad. But there is bad fiction and bad art, as described above.

And in this, we need to think about this carefully: is there, therefore, bad music?
And in the tumult which ensued, we really got to the heart of the question because you are the smartest readers in the blogosphere. Logan crashed through the brick wall when he posted this:
Here's the deal-breaker for me.

The definitions.

Frankly, Frank, if we all go by the definition of "bad music" as being morally wrong rather than aesthetically wrong; you will have us standing up and cheering you on more than Pelosi whenever Obama utters a syllable.

I was actually reading through Blackaby's book on spiritual leadership for a small group and because he doesn't define stuff, the philosophy major (who'd been reading Locke, who is an avid definer of terms, just before he started reading Blackaby) had a horrible time drudging through the lack of definitions and vagueness.

let us define.
To which I provided the following definition:
    Main Entry: aesthetic
    Variant(s): also esthetic
    Function: noun
    Date: 1822
    1 plural but sing or plural in constr : a branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of beauty, art, and taste and with the creation and appreciation of beauty

    2 : a particular theory or conception of beauty or art : a particular taste for or approach to what is pleasing to the senses and especially sight [modernist aesthetics] [staging new ballets which reflected the aesthetic of the new nation — Mary Clarke & Clement Crisp]

    3 plural : a pleasing appearance or effect : beauty [appreciated the aesthetics of the gemstones]

See: when we talk about bad art, the dilettante thinks in terms of definition [3], the artist may be thinking in terms of [2] or [1] (depending on his own objectives), but the Christian who has a world-view which is frankly seeking to overcome idols and declare truth has to be talking about [1] when he talks about art.

So the answer to the question "is there bad music?" must be YES if you are a Christian. It "must be" because, as William Lane Craig points out, beauty is not defined by scientific means, nor strictly or primarily by means of consensus. It is something like "Truth" which has, at its root, God as its source. Disconnecting Beauty from God is, simply another kind of idolatry.

So the next question is this:

Is all bad art a moral offense?

You work on that and we'll take it up later.