God is a work of art

Conceptual artwork

Conceptual artwork

God, as a work of art, is unparalleled in human creativity. The breathtaking audacity of its eternal vision, of its sweep and grandeur over the face of time and space itself and its use of concepts such as hell fire, purgatory, intercession, heaven, make it the apotheosis of sublime awe. In the masterworks gallery of conceptual genius, god sits on the finest plinth in the centre of the vaulted dome that generates the purest light.

Then along comes science and declares god a fake. Science claims that the author of the work — God himself — doesn’t exist and therefore only gifted artisans could have put the piece together. The body that declares the legitimate provenance of the work – the church, maintains its position, confident that science can’t come up with the necessary evidence. The accusation divides the viewing public. Those that believe the work to be genuine, dig in and entrench themselves with the historical ‘evidence’. Those that doubt the authenticity of the work, lose interest and leave the gallery. Very few ignore the inquisition altogether and simply enjoy the spectacle for what it is.

But the conundrum remains, nothing has really changed: the artwork remains exactly the same, it is only the perception of the artwork that is altered. Any painting, looked at rationally, is just marks of coloured shit on canvas or board. It is the belief about the construction of the artwork that fires our imagination.

Whether an artwork is fake or original or machine generated should be irrelevant, the artwork is what it is, either you like the piece or you don’t. Who created the piece is of interest only to those who benefit from that knowledge – collectors, art dealers, auctioneers, and owners…

And here is the crux of the story. Ultimately, it is the market that decides. Those with a vested interest will fight the doubt at all costs. They have empires to defend, property to maintain and income to collect. Even in the face of incontrovertible evidence, the intellectual property owners have to deny the evidence because the consequences are dire — if their authority is brought into question with this one, where does it end? What else is a fake in the gallery? And if you have invested a lifetime of prayer into these works… is that lifetime wasted then?

In the market of ideas, art is a confidence trick. The same trick is played in the currency markets, in the diamond market. The god market is no different.

4 Responses to “God is a work of art”

  1. orest tymchak says:

    Hi bro’
    who’s been watching the programme on sunday 19th of june “Genuine or fake” (antiques roadshow spinoff) where one person has the decision of rejecting the truth when all the facts point to the truth. It’s up to the individual who believes (whatever that is ?) to be true that matters and they get the pleasure of their belief, no matter what any other human being (who thinks they know better) says. Postscript. God is not a work of art, it is an idea (in its purist form) which is corrupted or celebrated by humans.

  2. Ivor Tymchak says:

    Hi Orest. Yes, well spotted, whilst I was tidying up in the kitchen the ‘fake’ programme was on television and inspired this post. It seemed like the perfect analogy for religion. Actually, the more I observe society and the human species, the more I realise that we are defined by our ideas and beliefs. We are animals with beliefs and many of those beliefs have no foundation in logic. This can make for some dangerous constructs.

  3. Luke Taylor says:

    Trying to think of an idea which wasn’t instantly corrupted by humans?

  4. Ivor Tymchak says:

    Not so much corrupted, as creatively embellished to such an extent that the original premise disappears.

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