The Core of Religion, Art, and Faith

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The Core of Religion, Art, and Faith

When reading both the texts of Georges Bataille and Søren Kierkegaard, the reader is taken on an exploration of humanity. Although approached differently, this humanity is shown to be intimately intertwined with religion by both authors.

Bataille studiously delves into the mind of the prehistoric man through his cave art in an attempt to understand and define what it means to be human. The art of this prehistoric man is the art of a consciousness at war with what it is and what it will become. It depicts a duality of identities. On one side the animalistic identity at one with nature and on the other side a creative rational identity that uses nature. This dual-meaning shown in the cave paintings lifts them to more than mere art. It is the visual first step in the transition from the simple to the complex.

The cave art served as more than a creative outlet for our human ancestors. It held more of a ritualistic importance. They respected and loved the animals they hunted but also degradingly used them as an instrument for personal survival. Bataille points out that it was in the ritual act of drawing the animal that the hunter created a spiritual connection. “Everything points to the fact that the carvings or the paintings did not have meaning as permanent figures of a sanctuary in which rituals were celebrated. It seems that the execution of the paintings--or the carving--was itself part of these rituals. . .The nascent[developing] image ensured the approach of the beast and the communication of the hunter with the hunted.” (75)

The animals on the cave walls possessed a divine strength in the eyes of prehistoric man and as a result the hunt, and the drawing of the hunt, were a religious experience. Perhaps even the first religious experiences. As a product of the previously mentioned duality present in prehistoric man, the hunter used art as a corporeal representation of their remorse towards their desired...
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