I wish I could find somebody who knows something about art, who would also argue against images of Christ. Without fail, all of my visual-art-enabled friends, are pro-images, and find anti-image argumentation silly and ignorant of what pictures really mean: how they are intended by artists, how they are received by connoisseurs. And I have not found any of the anti-image advocates (image anti-vocates?) to make any claims (or show any evidence) of competence or training about any area within the visual arts.
There are (at least) two possible explanations for this phenomenon. On the one hand, it could be that the iconoclasts are letting their iconoclasm determine their exegesis (which would make it eisegesis), and making ill-advised pronouncements about what they simply don’t understand. On the other hand, it may be that iconophiles simply are too attached to their idolatry to see it clearly as idolatry.
It would be helpful, therefore, to hear a case against images of Christ, from an otherwise-iconophile, someone with some kind of chops in art or photography or graphic design or something that would give them credentials as a hostile witness. Or an iconoclast of some form who would argue that the Bible mandates liberty, against their own personal preference.
I believe I myself can be of a little service in that latter role. I guess I’m not an iconoclast exactly, but I don’t particularly care about images one way or the other, which makes me close to a neutral witness.
One of the questions in the Q&A that I got pounded on was, “what’s the benefit of images of Christ?” intensified by DVD’s “what’s the motivation?” I reiterated my “liberty doesn’t require need” argument, and that’s fine as far as it goes, but I’m sure it sounded like a dodge (and surely it was).
Frankly, the reason I came back so weak on that question is that I just don’t care enough about images to have thought much about benefits. The right answer to the question is simple enough though, and I should have been able to come up with it. The benefit is that good things are good; beauty is beautiful. Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on these things.
DVD’s heroin analogy went unanswered as well. It went something like, “If somebody were to argue for liberty to consume heroin, you would naturally want to know why they would want to, what’s the reason?” The right answer is along the same lines. Apart from pointing out how a mention of heroin poisons the well, it is not necessarily the case that an argument for liberty implies that somebody just really wants to do something. For instance, I have no interest in either dancing or smoking (rather intense disinterest, actually), but I would argue for liberty. I can believe that somebody else can glorify God with their dance, and that a good cigar is a good thing.