Texas Faith – Religion and Art

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Where would you take a visitor today to see a modern connection between religion and art? If you have an idea in mind, please explain why you would take a visitor there. If nothing jumps to mind, what do you think that says about the modern relationship between religion and art?

Dallas Morning News – 12 expressions including mine at: http://religionblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2011/08/texas-faith-modern-connections.html

Click on the pictures to see the enlarged version

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MIKE GHOUSE, President, Foundation for Pluralism, Dallas

Universal integration pillar, Guntur, India
A door for each religion

The Interfaith Peace Chapel on Cedar Springs in Dallas jumps to my mind. There was a dire need for a new religious space that reflects the new values of interfaith and pluralism. The artist has encapsulated the values of modern art and architecture to give a complete new dimension to a place of worship, a trend setter for the future interfaith buildings with a non-religious architecture and religious art pieces.

The Peace Chapel’s website describes this beautifully as “a modern masterpiece designed by award-winning and world-renowned architect Philip Johnson. It is a brilliant, inspirational design of ‘sculpture as architecture.’ Seating up to 175 people, the chapel provides ideal space for intimate worship services, commitment ceremonies and memorial services.”

Intefaith Peace Chapel, Dallas

The website further adds that “This sacred space makes a bold and highly visible statement to the world about our commitment to the vision God has placed upon our hearts. We believe wholeheartedly that God will transform millions of lives through this building!”

When the first Synagogue, Church and Baha’i temple was built in Jerusalem, the builders and artists of the time had a huge responsibility to create the space and add artistic value to attract the followers, as well as make them a model for future places of worship.

Dome on the Rock – Bait-el-Muqaddas,
My trip to Jerusalem August 2010

The same goes with the Bait-el-Muqaddas (Dome on the rock), where Muslims developed a completely new form of expression in art: calligraphy. Since Islam encourages one to believe that God is not an entity or a form but energy, the early Muslims could not collapse God into an image or a figurine and out came the transformative creativity – where the beauty was expressed in abstract forms of writing the verses of Quraan in a variety of ways.

Taj Mahal, India – My visit in 2002

Perhaps this is the major form of art in Islam and it is expressed in beautiful themes. The profession is still alive and mosques and tombs like the Taj Mahal are adorned with calligraphy. The Taj is 222 feet tall and the script is written proportionately from the bottom to the top of the arch. The bare eye sees the entire script in the same size, whether from five feet high or from 222 feet on top of the building.

Ismaili Muslims place of worship, plano
been there for its opening by Gov. Perry

New mosques are on the drawing boards that will blend in with American architecture. The Ismaili Muslim place of worship in Plano incorporates the modern architecture with traditional space values.

The modern art will influence all religious buildings; indeed there is a new 37-acre campus under construction in North Dakota where a synagogue, mosque and a church are under construction. Each will have their own space in addition to the shared spaces on the campus.

Mike Ghouse is speaker committed to build a cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day – much of his work is indexed at www.MikeGhouse.net

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