I like this idea that we should “think about such things” that are good and virtuous:
Grace, and truth, and forgiveness, and love, and joy.
I will never understand people that relish in vice and evil and pain.
Art should be a pursuit of beauty and goodness – not of ugliness and harm.
everything we do should be a pursuit of beauty and goodness – not of ugliness and harm.)
But ugliness and harm by what standard?
By the standard of truth.
And now we are back to religious overtones…
The Apostle Paul gives writers and artists a brief but comprehensive mandate that can guide us in our creative work: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things . . . and put [them] into practice” (Philippians 4: 8 NIV). Paul is not just telling us how to behave in church. He’s giving us a set of ethical criteria that can be applied to aesthetics and incorporated into our creative endeavors. The same qualities that can guide us toward proper choices in daily living can also help us make humane and healthy choices in producing books, movies, sculpture, paintings, and music that are aesthetically good, pleasing, and nourishing to the human spirit—cultural artifacts that offer an alternative to what C.S. Lewis called “the long and terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.” [Lewis 2001: 49]