As an art historian, I have always been intrigued by the power of visual imagery particularly by the role art has played in the implementation of power in the hands of organized religion. This compelled me to embark on a critical investigation of the issue of power within the three Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, particularly as it relates to monotheism. The results of this study to date will be the subject of this paper that focuses on the significance of an understanding rooted in the very three Abrahamic religions, which reveals a direct relationship between religion, art, power and secularism. Given the important role each of these three religions are presently playing in the formation of policies that affect the lives of millions of people in the Middle East today, I believe there is urgency in considering an alternative view that can contribute to a potential solution for the current crises experienced by many in the world. A critical view of the issue of image making can offer an opportunity to revisit the relationship between art and the Abrahamic monotheist religions; this can further stimulate a dialogue on other critical issues within these three religions. This paper will explore questions such as: what is monotheism’s concern with image making? Why was it prohibited? Why this prohibition did not stop the production of the arts within the three Abrahamic religions? Is there a connection between monotheism and democracy? If there is one, can understanding it have any impact on current affairs and policies?
|Keywords:||Art, Religion, Power, Democracy, Politics|
Assistant Professor of Art History and Humanities, Humanities, Folsom Lake College, Folsom, California, USA