Being a Religious Studies major and a Sculpture student at Texas Christian University, my realms often overlap and mingle with each other. This past week I started reading Wilfred Cantwell Smith's The Meaning and End of Religion. Now the book barks, (I say barks because that is exactly what he does), on the certain issue of the definition of religion and how it is completely and utterly inadequate and how it fails to accomodate the greater issues at hand when one is actually trying to define the term religion (or religions, any variation of the word will do).

Context aside, my fellow students were quick to embrace Smith's etymology and try to find other words and ideas with which to equate this dilemma. It was not a few seconds after the question was proposed that the imminent answer came: ART.

Upon referencing Webster, art has sixteen off-hand definitions, and multiple origins. Now I would be bold to say that religion and art are in the same realm etymologically, minus the God-complex (althoughhhh some artists do have that).  My defintions of art and religion flip-flop all over the place. Even with a given criteria, there is always an exception. This dilemma begs some extremely important questions; can one define something so utterly personal as art? Can one limit the criteria upon which "art" is judged so, which would mean an ultimate exclusion from the realm? I have a vision of a panel of judges much like that for your garden variety Fraternity Belly-flop contest. "10 pts. for Originality", "deductions for sloppy presentation", etc...

Again, playful and tangent imagery aside, the defintion of art is food for thought.

Author: 
Casey