F1fan: and to my mind it IS the arts that has allowed religion to flourish and hold some significance to many cultures. I have my music favorites as well and am often so moved that I think it amazing that humans are capable of creating such beauty.
Myownpath: This is an excellent point. What if religions did not have grand architecture, paintings, music, ceremony, art objects,
Steven Guy: Well, the Christian churches in Europe bankrolled the arts there for many centuries and offered secure employment to artists, composers, singers, musicians, architects, builders, sculptors, writers and poets when patronage by the aristocracy was the only alternative, if it was an alternative at all.
Myownpath: etc. would the sermons (words of damnation) have moved them so emotionally to stay with their religion?
Steven Guy: In theatre one talks of 'bums on seats' and Christianity has worked harder than most religions to achieve that aim by appealing to the eye, the ear and the mind via Arts employed to keep the punters coming back.
Myownpath: Maybe everyone should send their tithes to art organizations since this seems to be the true inspiration.
Steven Guy: Sadly, for Christianity, the Arts seem to have largely abandoned Christianity since the 20th century. Messiaen and Poulenc probably wrote the last really decent Christian sacred music, although Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, John Tavener, Arvo Pärt and Sofia Gubaidulina have written some passable 'Christian' music, from time to time.
Or as is probably a better take: Christianity has abandoned the arts. I think to the detriment of Christianity. Even the Mormons have gone to religious arrangements of DWM art. Some of the multimedia crap in the megas might be considered art, but it generally is generic hack.
Or maybe God has decided that Christianity has failed and has turned to Pixar, Lucasfilms, etc. to sponsor the arts, and create new myths. Most of the best music these days are movie scores.