Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Objectivity of Beauty (part 1)

Can you prove the existence of God? Should abortion be criminalized? What does God think about the war in Iraq?

These are some of the many questions that Christians are usually eager to discuss. Rarely will you hear anyone want to discuss whether beauty is an objective quality.

Sometimes this is because of disinterest. Other times it is because we have unthinkingly assumed that beauty exists in the eye of the beholder. “After all,” so many people say when I bring up this subject, “since what may be beautiful to you may not be necessarily beautiful to me, beauty can’t be objective.” End of story. Nothing more to discuss.

My purpose in addressing this question in the following series of blog posts is not simply to challenge the common assumption that beauty exists in the eye (or mind) of the beholder. Rather, I want to give the reader the tools to think Biblically about this question.

It is my strong belief that the objectivity of beauty remains an issue at the very heart of the Biblical worldview. Despite its neglect in Christian discourse, this is an issue that ought to be of great concern to all of us, and not simply to aesthetic philosophers.

The problem is that most of us don’t know where to even start. With most other questions of importance to the Christian faith, there are a plethora of resources available for tackling the Big Questions. Such is not the case with this issue. Even apart from the lack of resources, most of us don’t even know what categories we need to use to think about this issue.

The upcoming series of blog posts attempts to address that need.

Click here to read all my posts in this series on the objectivity of beauty.

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