God has created a world in which there are things that are beautiful. There are things that are good, and there are things that are right. We live in a world where some things are indeed better than others. We live in a world that is defined by objective values even if many people do not want to affirm that reality.
I’m not going to argue for the existence of objective value today, but there is plenty written that should make that claim not only self-evident but even obvious. Even without a belief in God, I do not think that anyone can escape the fact that subjectivity is self-refuting and there has to be at least one thing that is objectively true in and of itself.
Rather, I begin with this discussion of objectivity because it is incredibly relevant to those of us who are trying to produce Christian media. We write articles, compose music and film moves in an effort to communicate the truth of God to the world around us. We might use allegories, or we might use some other techniques, but we communicate these things to the world because we believe that they are objectively true. We teach the world about God because we believe that He is the one true God of the universe.
All of that being said, as I pointed out above, there are things that are objectively beautiful. There are things that are appealing to our senses, and there are things that are repulsive.
Christian media producers therefore have a responsibility to work towards this sense of beauty. God is perfectly beautiful, so if we want to point towards our Creator through our work here on earth, would it not make sense that we need to make a commitment to doing beautiful work?
This is a problem in Christian media today and what we value. Often times, Christianity falls into the trap where all it takes to write a Christian book is to make sure that you have the Gospel presented at some point. That makes it Christian.
Please do not take what I am about to say the wrong way, but I do think that there is something else needed in Christian media. After all, couldn’t it be possible for someone who is not a Christian to put the gospel story into his or her novel? What if Richard Dawkins printed the Gospel story in a book ridiculing Christianity? Technically the Gospel would be presented, but nobody would refer to that as a Christian work.
It is more accurate to say that Christian content is Christian because it is created to glorify God. We work to make it beautiful. It may indeed incorporate the presentation of the Gospel in a very straightforward way, but I do not believe that is necessary for any work to be Christian, and it is certainly not sufficient.
I think that we sometimes need to come out of the box that we have built for ourselves. In the same way that I do not need to be leading people literally down the Romans Road with every word I utter, media ought to operate in the same way. Just like our lifestyles as a whole are testimonies that should point people towards Jesus Christ, our media should do the same thing. By the values communicated through it and the beauty shown by it, we point towards our Creator through what we do. There are times to directly present the literal Gospel message, but there is more to being a Christian piece of content than simply meeting that one criteria. Rather, Christian content glorifies God in whatever form that may take.
That is what brings us back to the original idea of beauty. We have an obligation to create our media in a way that points people towards God. Beauty is one of the ways that we can do that. If we give our best effort to glorify God and creates a piece of poetry that is objectively beautiful, should that not point people towards God? If God is the source of beauty, then I do not know where else that could point.
I know that the intentions of Christian content producers are not bad in the world today. However, I do not want to lose this idea that a holistic view of our obligations is to not only communicate the truth of the Gospel, directly or indirectly, but more generally glorify God which involves objective beauty and producing high-quality work.