ISIS destroys art it seems just about every chance it gets. In the photo above ISIS destroyed irreplaceable antiquities in Iraq. One of the pieces was estimated to be 2,700 years old. What ISIS is doing is awful.
Christians have destroyed their share of art too. “When Christianity became the dominant religion of the Roman Empire in the fourth century, the bishops of Rome insisted on the destruction of pagan works of art on the grounds that they were idolatrous. Notable among these early pontiffs was Gregory the Great (590-604), who commanded that all statutes of Roman antiquity be thrown in the Tiber (River).” (John W. de Gruchy, Christianity, Art and Transformation: Theological Aesthetics in the Struggle for Justice, p. 11) The idea was that keeping the second commandment demanded such art destruction.
Christian antagonism toward pagan art angered the artists of the European Renaissance. Lorenzo Ghiberti’s views are exemplary:
At this time the most severe penalty was ordered for anyone who made any statue or picture. Thus ended the art of sculpture and painting and all the knowledge and skill that had been achieved in it. Art came to an end . . . (Gruchy, p. 12)
“Just as Christians initially refused to engage in military service, so too they were discouraged by some theologians (including Tertullian and Clement of Alexandria) from becoming artists, for that would have placed them in danger of creating idols or robbing God of the right to create.” (Gruchy, p. 13)
God save us from religious people who destroy the art of others and who resist the creative energies of other human beings. Amen.