Why is Christian Art So Cheesy?

I’m afraid I will offend a lot of sincere believers I respect with this blog. But what I have to say really needs to be said. Most Christian art and literature stinks!

I’m not referring to the lack of swearing and explicit sex and perhaps violence as well. I’m referring to everything wrong with the Harry Potter novels (from a purely literary viewpoint) x 2. And no, most Christian novels aren’t filled with witchcraft. If anything they’re not imaginative enough.

Here are 3 common problems with Christian literature in particular. Mind you, not ALL Christian fiction is this bad–thank goodness!

  1. Two-dimensional characters. All the Christians are so pure and perfect that there is no real internal conflict. Most of the non-Christians would make Snidely Whiplash look like a well-developed, realistic antagonist. And why is it that the most likeable non-Christian is always the one to convert–after which he/she is so pure and perfect that they no longer struggle with temptation and all the conflicts are miraculously resolved for them?
  2. Predictable, overdone plots. Everyone knows after the first page or two who will convert before the end. You can also tell before the end of chapter one who will wind up together in Christian matrimony (more on that in point three!) People who are lost at sea are never really dead. They invariably return before the trilogy ends. If a hero is missing in action, he is sure to return the day after the heroine marries someone else. Adopted children always brood about how their birth mothers didn’t want them, even if they didn’t know they were adopted till their wedding day (a common theme.) Birth mothers always agonize over how evil they were to give their babies away–instead of aborting them or bringing them up as a single teenager in poverty and ignorance. What about a happy, well-adjusted adoptee who was pleased with the family who selected her? How about a woman who gave her baby up for adoption and realized it was the right, unselfish thing to do at the time? I don’t know what most Christian writers have against adoption.
  3. An overemphasis on marriage. Prairie romances and Amish romances are referred to as romances and not conversion stories for a reason. The hero or heroine converts by page 125 and the wedding takes place in great detail on page 150 before the wedding bells and book end on page 175. It makes me want to puke. No wonder most Christian men prefer nonfiction to novels. I’m a woman, and it’s too sugary for me. I may be a borderline diabetic. Ha ha. If I had a teenage daughter I would forbid or at least limit her reading of sweet Christian romances. The food equivalent of sweet romances is candy, pure and simple. A steady diet of either will make you sick. Worst of all, the perfect romances and men make women–married or single–discontented with their lives. Married women wish they were married to Cowboy Clem from Maybelle Sirrup’s latest tomeĀ When the Heart Weeps. Single women wish they were married period and sometimes may even doubt their salvation due to the lack of cowboys in their lives.

If you are still reading this, thank you for bearing with my rant. If there are any exceptions to this kind of Christian literature will youbook stack please list them?

I do like the novels of Catherine Marshall and Eugenia Price. Unfortunately they’re not here now.

Why is Christian Art So Cheesy?

11 thoughts on “Why is Christian Art So Cheesy?

  1. I suppose some Evangelical Christian fiction is as you describe. But there is a lot of good Evangelical fiction especially by indie and small press authors. I used to participate in a blog event called the Christian science fiction & fantasy blog tour, and many of the featured authors were very good: Patrick Carr, Mike Duran, Karyn Henley Lelia Rose Foreman, Donita K. Paul, Marissa Shrock, John Otte, and Wayne Thomas Batson are some of the Evangelical Christian authors I learned about through the blog tour. If you enjoy Amish fiction, I thought those of Beverly Lewis were very high quality. And there is this cross-genre book ‘Amish Vampires in Space’ which I haven’t read yet except the sample on Amazon.com, but I’ve heard a lot of good things about. I think the author is Kerry Neitz, but am not sure of the spelling of the surname.

    I’m a Catholic, and if you don’t mind reading Catholic authors there are some good ones out there who don’t feel the need to hide their faith. Dean Koontz is a big one, he is often interviewed on the Catholic channel EWTN. Among the ‘small fish’ are small press authors are Karina Fabian, Daniella Bova and Declan Finn.

    None of these authors write novels based around someone’s ‘salvation experience.’ You may not particularly like any of these authors, but they are certainly a change of pace from what you have been reading.

    Thanks so much, by the way, for stopping by my blog and commenting. Always love to have new visitors. And you have given me a great idea for my blog post for the day. I had no clue when I sat down to the computer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Nissa. I don’t receive a lot of comments. I need to post more!

      Beverly Lewis is one of the better writers. As far as catholic authors, I enjoy Flannery O’Connor. I will have
      to check out the authors you mentioned.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve heard that some successful bloggers make a point of commenting on other blogs daily. Since many bloggers now have a policy of visiting a commenter’s blog to make a comment-back, that can grow your reader total. I also participate in blog hops to get more comments, like the Celebrate the Small Things blog hop every Friday.

    I’ve also had Flannery O’Connor’s work recommended to me and have read some. Very fine writer.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Where are the Christian songs and poems from the past two generations? Amazing Grace! I write on music lyrics, and have tried to list the best 30, and also have a list of 16 Christian rock songs, like Pride by U-2 and all of Creed, Easy livin’ and the wedding song Cohen’s Suzanne, etc. Christianity is conventional and artificial, while lyric poetry is inspired. One cannot have the Christ by training or art., put onto the body like man made clothing. People do it from fear of Hell or hope for reward, like the B.F.Skinner program of animal training, or for their own self-interest. But like the conventional priesthood, what one gets is too often man-made. Jesus is not a legislator, but THE Savior, and if we want rather a legislator, there is Moses, Mohammed and Jefferson instead, or “Moses, Cyrus, Theseus, Romulus. Jesus told us to do very few things. “Love one another,” Do this in remembrance of me,” of but the Orthodox are not allowed. “Feed my lambs,” “tend my sheep,” “feed my little sheep.” “Leave your gift at the altar, and first be reconciled with your brother.” Then come and offer, pray and fast. AS WE FORGIVE, we are forgiven, and we do not forgive, we are not forgiven. He told Isaiah, I am sick of sacrifice and offerings, and told of the “true fast.” Art will become beautiful where there is living water.
    The great Christian lyrics are right there, sung by people we rejected. Bob Dylan: “My warehouse eyes, my Arabian drum /Should I leave them by your gate? Or sad eyed lady, should I wait?” And where are our prophetic poets? Hard rain’s gonna fall.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Bethany says:

    I am an atheist but I sometimes delve into the Christian side of Barnes and Noble. I have still found nothing that completely wows me, but for Kindle, I recommend the Crystal series by Dayo Benson. It’s not super fluffy. It deals with real issues, right down to the nitty gritty. And the reviewers who are Christian don’t seem to like that. They’re wanting their happy feel good bubble books, not books that deal with reality.


  5. Thank you, Bethany. I will have to check out Dayo Benson. Is he/she an Indie writer? I think a lot of avant garde religious writers are headed that way. I often read fiction by Kafka and Joyce Carol Oates because it helps me understand fellow humans better. Syrupy, idealistic fiction can’t do that–“Christian” or otherwise.


  6. The Thoenes are good. Right now I’m exploring the works of Indie Christian writers. The online publishing network makes it easier for daring writers to publish without a CBA approved publishing house. The CBA industry has always been more timid than the ABA. And the sameness of the books they publish testifies to this.


  7. I admit I can’t get past a few paragraphs of a Christian novel. You are right. The characters are flat and boring. I can read a Christian memoir, though, and have read a few. As an agnostic who has Jewish roots, I find the blind faith in Christianity hard to stomach, but I figure we Jews have very beliefs that others likely find to be nutso. Like Matzoh. Who on earth would eat stuff that tastes like cardboard? Read a Jewish novel and you will not find flat characters, though…… The might wear Kippahs and beards. Maybe.


    1. Thanks for commenting Julie. I enjoy the works of Isaac Bashevis Singer and Bernard Malamud. Most of the early Russian greats called themselves Christians. Tolstoy, Dostoyevski, and Gogol. But Anna Karenina or Crime and Punishment wouldn’t be considered by CBA publishing houses. (Christian Book Association.) Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters aren’t considered Christian writers by many. Not preachy enough? Hmm.

      I’m hoping the indie publishing model will allow more books that are great reads but don’t fit the cookie cutter formulas for traditional publishing.


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