Vox has an interesting article up asking why Christian movies are so universally awful. You can read the whole thing here and it is mainly discussing 50 shades of Grey and the christian alternative to it Old Fashioned, the main selling point of which seems to be, “We definitely aren’t 50 shades of Grey”.
The deeper question it asks though, is why this sort of christian film making, music and all the rest is so universally awful. I’m slightly surprised over all because I would have thought the answer would be obvious. This sort of “christian” art production tends to be awful for the same reason that SJW art tends to be awful. They each have a message they want to push and they will sacrifice everything about good story telling to making sure they force feed you the message. The messages are obviously different but the underlying problem is the same, they are making propaganda not art.
A good deal of contemporary Christian art is predicated on the sacred/secular divide: As Christian film critic Alissa Wilkinson noted, “Christians, and evangelicals in particular, have been really, really prolific in making pop culture products that parallel what’s going on in mainstream cultural production.”
To illustrate this point, Wilkinson references a poster many ’90s Evangelicals will remember quite well: the “If you like that you’ll love this” chart. The chart features two columns. The first reads, “If you like that.” It contains the names of secular bands. The second reads, “You’ll love this.” It contains — you guessed it — Christian bands with similar, if sanitized, sounds.
If the chart were around today, it might say “If you like YouTube, you’ll love GodTube,” or “If you like Twitter, you’ll love Gospelr.” Or “If you like — and/or abhor — S&M sex, then you’ll love this movie about chastity.” These artistic replacements are intended to satisfy the Christian’s cravings for the secular, harmful version.
The end result is that the Christian product seems like a knock-off, a cheap alternative.
It isn’t problematic that Christians “borrow ideas” from Hollywood and put their own spin on them. Every film genre does this. But given the Christian doctrine of creation, it is certainly surprising that so many Christian filmmakers — and artists in general — would choose to mimic someone else’s vision, rather than cultivate their own.
It’s surprising because, in Christian theological terms, God is not the one who makes knock-offs. In the opening chapters of the Bible, God creates the universe, and he tells Adam and Eve to enjoy it all — except for that one tiny tree over there. It’s Satan who comes along with a counterfeit offer: What did God really say? Did he really give you true freedom? He may have given you a garden, but I’ll give you an apple. If you like that, you’ll love this.