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cultural literacy and non-religious families? - Page 3

post #41 of 45
Quote:
Face value is okay, but it's also good to have a deeper appreciation and value the richness of a work.
I understand that point of view and appreciate it. But I would still argue that the "richness" and/or meanings may be in the work itself, and not in the individual elements making up the work. Reminds me of the whole modernist movement (in the visual arts) where artists attempted to strip their paintings of all cultural references so that the painting itself could be directly addressed. Funny how the visual arts have evolved over the centuries from telling direct biblical stories (for the mostly illiterate masses) to what some might deem an elitist position of painting about paint! I guess I see myself less as a critic or seeker of meanings as someone who likes to understand the artist's process and thinking. Now that I think about it, though, I do like to understand certain historical contexts when I'm reading novels or poetry. Two different mediums, I guess.
post #42 of 45
We just take references as they come and explain what religious people think and what we think (generally, that it is just a story with various purposes . . . like stories about heaven are used to make people feel better when someone they love dies, stories about the commandments were to get people to behave a certain way, etc).

I think it's important from a cultural perspective but also because I want my kids to know why we feel the way we do. I don't want my children to become religious, so I want them to always know the sound reasons behind why we are not. So far, so good!
post #43 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by CatsCradle View Post
I understand that point of view and appreciate it. But I would still argue that the "richness" and/or meanings may be in the work itself, and not in the individual elements making up the work. Reminds me of the whole modernist movement (in the visual arts) where artists attempted to strip their paintings of all cultural references so that the painting itself could be directly addressed. Funny how the visual arts have evolved over the centuries from telling direct biblical stories (for the mostly illiterate masses) to what some might deem an elitist position of painting about paint! I guess I see myself less as a critic or seeker of meanings as someone who likes to understand the artist's process and thinking. Now that I think about it, though, I do like to understand certain historical contexts when I'm reading novels or poetry. Two different mediums, I guess.
I am considering a variety of artistic media, including visual, film, literary and musical, and I think the OP is too. We could have a long discussion about the value of contextual art, artistic expression, the role of the artist and the audience, but I think that's may be too far off-topic.

I'd just say that there is some value in developing critical insights into art. My 16 DS takes a film course in high school. He came home the other day feeling pretty good. His teacher said DS was the most astute student in the class with the best insight into the works they had been studying - which included many classic movies, but also the students' own short films. So if nothing else, it's at least worth an A+ in high school!
post #44 of 45
Sorry its taken me so long to reply - I've been without a computer for severa days and am currently on my moms (DH says I'm an addict... that may or may not be tru ). ANYWHO...

Honestly, I think that some people look for biblical references so hard that they find them in places where they weren't *meant* to be. I've come to this conclusion mostly by working with christians at YMCA camps over several years. Some people insist that LOTR is christian. Others decry it as heresy. Ditto for CSS Lewsi' Chronicles of Narnia. Really and truelly if you look hard enough you can find references to most anything anywhere you look. Doesn't mean they were *meant* to be there. Doesn't mean they matter or add *anything* to the story. And unless you were the creator/author/artist (or know them personally and they've confirmed it!), you don't *really* know one way or the other (unless of course they quote specific bible verses & cite them.

I really don't think that just because I (or anyone else) doesn't pick up on 100% of all biblical references that I/we are missing anything. Nobody picks up on 100% of all references - books reference the bible, the koran, greek, roman, celtic, native american, african, hindu, etc mythologies, they reference more modern literary works - LOTR, Chronicles of Narnia, Dune, Ann of Green Gables, the Little House on the Prairie and everything in between. Nobody is going to pick up on all of it. Most people won't pick up on 10%, and just because you happen to look for (and thus pick up on) biblical/judeo/christian references doesn't mean theirs really that many more of them out there than anything else.

I don't really know where I'm going with this other than to say the insistance that christianity is *SO* important to our culture that if you aren't extremely familiar with it you *WILL* be missing out is just... not true. At least, not in my opinion. I just don't think it matters - as long as you have some semblance of an idea of what christians believe (that jesus died for peoples' sins, rose again, and went to 'heaven') I think you'll be fine. Having the same semblance of an idea of what the other major world religions believe is, IMO, equally helpful, and I just don't get the insistance that one is so vastl much more important than the others.
post #45 of 45
I wasn't raised in any religion, but I was plenty literate in Bible stories, Jewish and Christian. How? I grew up in a house full of books. Those stories are referenced all the time. We also had an illustrated children's Bible lying around. No one told me to read it, no one sat down and talked about those stories to me. I just picked them up in context.

It's great to talk about them with your kid and I totally agree about the necessity of being familiar with this stuff for cultural literacy. But if a kid is a reader, he or she is going to learn those stories one way or another.
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