AnnieKO'Connor

Beauty and the Existence of God

2 Comments

Arguments for the existence of God are abundant and largely inconclusive. Their coherence is encouraging to theists, but their apologetic value is limited. In my post the problem of the a priori I discussed what I see as the futility of philosophy, and many of the arguments for the existence of God (or the nonexistence, for that matter) are subject to this same futility.

This is not, I believe, reason for despair.

When I think of my own belief in the existence of God, I am not overwhelmed with my inability to prove it. On the contrary, all my efforts to shirk my belief in God have failed due to an inability on my part not to believe in God.

My inability has struck me as strange on several occasions. But during recent reading about the nature of art, I was struck by an analogy that gave me some clarity.

I believe that beauty exists. I cannot prove it. There are no arguments for its existence that indicate that belief in it is rational, necessary, practical or moral. And yet I believe that beauty exists. When I see it, I cannot deny it. I recognize it in art, in nature, in people, and though I cannot prove it I continue to seek it, to long for it, to devote my energies toward it.

My belief in the existence of God is the same. I am not worried by my inability to prove He exists. But when I see Him, I recognize it (though far less often than I could). At times I long for him, to seek him and devote my energies toward him. And when I hear arguments against the existence of God, it is like hearing arguments against the existence of beauty; How could any logic outweigh my experience of beauty?

So why doesn’t everyone see God where I do? I don’t know. And belief in God necessitates nothing about his relationship to humans, nor his character or nature.

Can we prove the existence of beauty? Is non-rational belief in beauty a hindrance to rationality?

Let me know what you think.

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2 thoughts on “Beauty and the Existence of God

  1. There is something archaic and deeply human in the experience of beauty, as though we know beauty existed before us. In experiencing beauty, we glimpse for an exhilarated moment the possibility of the familiar, as if our capacity to take in beauty makes it ours alone, exactly crafted for us to enjoy. We yield to the moment; hoping beauty is ‘no creature of reason’. We desire the experience of beauty to remain ours, to be emotional, unbounded by a formula or rationale; yet it is in our nature to question and reduce our environment and our experiences just as we question love, prejudice, freedom, and the existence of G-d.
    This is an excerpt from a paper/book I am writing and laughed at how similarly humans question the same things. Thank you.

    • That’s a brilliant quote for sure. Love the opening: “There is something archaic and deeply human in the experience of beauty, as though we know beauty existed before us.” Reminds me of the Deeper Magic from Before the Dawn of Time in the Chronicles of Narnia. Beauty is definitely a mystery.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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