A recent post by Richard Beck, a Christian psychologist, laments the widespread use of textual messages in Christian art (see the examples in his post). He compares this with the need for prayers or blessings at church-organized social events in order to make them feel more Christian.
Beck’s observations are certainly very interesting. They leave me with the strong impression that Christianity is too abstract (and perhaps not relevant enough?) to make itself felt in a simple, natural way in everyday life. Instead, most conversations Christians have, and most of the art and entertainment they consume, are secular. In a sense, atheism is the default platform upon which the daily functioning of western society occurs. To make itself heard, then, religion must essentially plaster self-conscious labels over this scene: text on works of art, and official messages at social gatherings.
It’s a bit like advertising which, despite its efforts, usually comes across as contrived and unnatural – a distorted copy of life plastered unconvincingly over the real thing. I cannot help feeling that the supernatural ideas of religious dogma play the same sort of role.