Ron Horton, a philosophy professor at Bob Jones University, recently gave a presentation on Christian taste that is excellent and well-worth reading. Here’s a snippet:
What is the God’s-eye view of present-day art and art entertainment in what is called the post-Christian world? This question meets surprising resistance from Christians who one might think would want to consider it. Their resistance is secular and is twofold. First is the materialist assumption that the fundamentals of art concern physical sensations rather than consciousness and selfhood, and therefore have little or nothing to do with mind states and intentionality. Second is the belief that normativity in art is a cultural construct and therefore that art criteria are generational, relative to time and location, rather than existing universally as implanted promptings and understandings.
These premises, the psychological and the cultural, appear in the neutrality postulate and the cultural mandate. The one looks now rather dated. Investigations in neuropsychology have certified the existence of universal cognitive responses to musical and other art-related stimulations. The other, a mantra of broad evangelicalism, has become a settled orthodoxy.
His criticisms of the “neutrality postulate” and his demonstration of how emphasis on the “cultural mandate” lead to worldliness are quite helpful. On the latter, he says,
The concept of the cultural mandate spearheaded this endeavor. In order to widen the Christian witness it thinned that witness. It discouraged belief in universal aesthetic intuitions in favor of cultural relativism and subjectivity. Its devotees flirted with the pop world from a high minded but mistaken intention to repurpose it. Scripture instead instructs us to engage the world on our terms and for our purposes without adapting to it—to use the world and not ab-use it (I Cor. 7:31) in the effort to spread the gospel of Christ. Evangelistic dating, cultural as well as personal, has never been wise.
Read the whole thing at Theology in 3D: Christian Taste in Entertainment