Alain de Botton is a Swiss born philosopher and writer who has aimed to bring philosophy to everyday life and everyday people. He is also a non-believer and has some quite interesting views on how Atheism could benefit from religion. As part of his TEDtalk he goes on to talk about Art and its function in contemporary society and how it could be transformed and used in an Atheistic setting.
The important part of this talk in relation to art starts at 10.00 where he goes on to speak about contemporary art. de Botton claims that contemporary art is art for the sake of art, without any distinctive purpose and function, giving rise to the sometimes hidden “WTF am I looking at” reaction one quite often find in contemporary art galleries(1). Religious art on the other hand is a completely different story, it has specific function and purpose. It can make you feel awe as part of experiencing God or it may set fear into your heart to keep you from committing to sin.
(1) During the 2012