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Niche Complaint: I Am Bored of Biblical Symbolism and Imagery

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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Colby chapter.

I’m a sucker for religious symbolism and imagery in art. As social media grows, I’ve noticed more independent creatives incorporating it into their work, especially as “biblically accurate angels” gain popularity for their aesthetic appeal and religious horror gains traction on the internet. Initially, I was thrilled to see the growing popularity of religious symbolism in indie works, but after seeing a trillion webcomics with the same Jesus-Judas parallels and same Genesis 2 (Adam and Eve) retellings, I’ve come to realize that “religious symbolism and imagery,” to many people, means biblical symbolism and imagery.

A huge number of English-language independent artists are American, and given the religious demographics of the USA, it makes sense that they would utilize Abrahamic religious elements. The Bible and its influence is just everywhere in our culture. Don’t get me wrong, the symbolism and imagery is phenomenal – if it wasn’t, it wouldn’t be as persistent as it is. But I grow weary of the many-eyed angels and crowns of thorns. I want to see six-armed deities and usage of the association of Iwa with different colors and weekdays to convey meaning. I just want to see anything based on non-Abrahamic religion, because I am so, so bored of biblical imagery. I love it, but it’s everywhere, and I need more creatives to crack open literally any other religious text than the Bible for their inspiration. 

Even in the rare cases when American works contain obvious non-biblical religious inspiration, people often fail to notice it. It comes down to a lack of religious literacy that manifests as repetitive use of symbolism. Religion is so varied and creative that the persistent neglect of non-Abrahamic religion by American artists is frustrating. Japanese media is a great example of non-biblical religion’s artistic potential: Shinto and Buddhist beliefs are often used for storytelling, sometimes in conjunction with one another, and it’s awesome. 

Long story short: if you’re creative and want to use religious symbolism, please, I beg of you, think beyond the Bible.

I'm Gemma! I like video games, TV, fandom, science, and art. I love to write about whatever I am passionate about at the time. I never stop talking about my favorite things in real life, but I will try to restrain myself here for the sake of everyone's sanity and actually write something coherent for everyone to read. :)