I’ve been recently looking at books written about mythology and culture. In particular, I was looking at books that look at the mythology of movies. But, in the past, I noticed a similar trend in books about Jungian typology.
One thing I notice is that books that have a Christian slant often aren’t as interesting or insightful as those that have a more general or universal slant. This is partly just my personal bias, but I think others might agree with me.
Its not that Christianity is itself a weakness in analyzing deeper truths within culture. Instead, the problem is that many Christians who write about mythology in culture(movies, chidren’s novels, etc) use mythology as a proselytizing device rather than taking mythology as a serious field in an of itself. I certainly don’t mean to imply that Christians lack insight, but someone who tries to see the entire world through Christian theology has a limited view through which to express what insight they may have.
I’m not criticizing Christianity in general, but I am criticizing proselytizing. Even so, my criticism is slightly wider than simply preachy didacticism. Often these Christian category of books suffer from the same superficial quality that many self-help New Age books have. As such, there can be a lack of detailed analysis and objective discernment… which can too often translate into a lack of deep insight, or at least a lack of deep insight outside of the Christianity.
Why I bring this up is because it annoys me, but it doesn’t annoy me because it comes from Christians. I look for spiritual perspectives and I appreciate the Christian perspective, but few of the Christian books that flood the market are worth reading. Of course, there are lots of junk writing being published from more than Christians, and, so, my criticisms are applicable to writers of other persuasions. The reason I’m picking on Christians is because when looking for spiritual views on culture I tend to find a slew of Christian books.
Plus, I think that what I’m pointing out demonstrates a real trend that exists within mainstream Christianity itself. I went to hear a Christian author speak(I don’t remember her name) and she spoke about the relationship Christians should have towards secular culture. She pretty much said that Christians should use art to communicate the Christian message. She was saying that Christians should try to effect culture all the while not letting themselves be influenced in return. That seems a rather condescending and manipulative attitude. It seemed that the only purpose she saw for art was as propaganda. She was a nice and intelligent person, but she saw the world as an us vs them conflict.
This Christian author was speaking at the University library and there was also an exhibit of Blake’s work there. After the talk, I perused through Blake’s writing. Blake demonstrated how art and religion can inform eachother rather than either one controlling/manipulating the other for its own purposes. Also, unlike the Christian author, Blake had genuine insight that anyone could learn from… no matter what the religious belief or lack thereof.