Monthly Archives: June 2009

Art, the Imagination and A Sense of Longing

Of the many things we could say about art, one of the primary things we could say is that art creates longing. Beauty evokes desire. Beauty is not just skin deep; it’s soul deep. Archeologists have not yet discovered any stage of human existence without art. There are very few societies that do not attempt to decorate or capture in art, song, word, or ritual.

C. S. Lewis talked about his imagination being baptized after reading a work of George MacDonald fiction. What he meant was that it enlarged his sense of what is possible; it re-enchanted the ordinary world; it stirred a sense of longing within him.

When C. S. Lewis was just a little kid, his brother brought the lid of a biscuit tin into the nursery. He had covered it with moss and garnished it with twigs and flowers so as to make it a garden or a toy forest. Lewis says, “As long as I live my imagination of Paradise will retain something of my brother’s toy garden.” Lewis said that his brother’s work of art taught him “longing” – this dim sense of something just beyond our reach.

After Lewis turned from atheism, he looked back and realized that these experiences occurred periodically. God was whispering to him through his imagination, but he never listened. What he later realized was that he had been longing for a Person more than a place (Nicholi, Question of God, 27). All honest atheists will admit this vague sense of longing, a dim echo that seems to fade upon just catching it.

Art, literature, and music wake us up to beauty and a Beautiful One. “The book or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing… They are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never visited (Lewis).”

Art gives us fresh cravings and we begin to ache for something or a Someone. If you want to know what we long for, what we value, what we fear, the longings we possess, look at our stories, our poems, our songs, our paintings. We long for home and simple things, and we long for the Grand Artist, the source of all beauty.

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Filed under Apologetic of Desire, Art, Atheism, Atheist, Beauty, Christian Worldview, Home

Lesser Known Arguments for God’s Existence

There are primary arguments for God’s existence, such as the Cosmological (First Cause) Argument, the Teleological (Design) Argument, and the Moral (Conscience) Argument. But are there others?

While there are many lines along which a person may argue for the existence of God, here are a few secondary arguments that tend to work on a quiet street of our thinking.

“I believe because it is absurd.”
This was proposed by a follower of Christ several centuries back. When considering the notion that man made-up or created the Christian religion, he asserts that we couldn’t or wouldn’t have created it like it is. We would not have demanded the perfection or righteousness requirements that God demands of human beings. We would have been much easier on ourselves, and softened the requirements. We would not have demanded such a high moral life if we had authored our own religion. That’s absurd – to set a standard that no one could reach as our religion. Man would never create that kind of belief system; it’s absurd. Besides, it doesn’t make sense for a Jew to claim to be God in a purely Monotheistic Judaism. It’s absurd for us to think that mankind created his own religion. If we were to make up our own god, why would we create one with such harsh discipleship and self-sacrifice demands? Why have God creating imperfect people then punishing them for imperfection? It doesn’t make sense – if humans created this religion.

“The universe is expanding.”
This comes straight from Einstein (General Relativity). The universe is expanding from a single point in the past. The universe is not eternal, but had a beginning. This means that something or Someone caused it. It presupposes a force strong enough to create such an explosion of existence, that continues to move away from us. As the components of the universe get farther away, gravity becomes progressively weaker in its ability to slow down the expansion. Humans are living in a “window of opportunity” to observe the past. Eventually, the past will be beyond our reach, with things moving faster than the velocity of light. But for now, human life seems to be placed here at just the right time to access the information needed to answer the question of God and our origins.

“It’s so beautiful.”
The presence of gratuituous beauty argues for God’s existence. The world has an abundance of beauty that reaches far beyond mere utilitarian purposes. It’s simply there because Someone is expressing themselves and has endowed a created human being to have the presence of mind to capture it in art and other forms.

“That’s not fair.”
The only way that statement can be made is for some standard of fairness to exist that we can compare it too. While the Moral Argument addresses this in full, it is sufficient to say that you can’t know what’s unfair until you know what’s fair. How did you get this idea of fairness?

“I’m always longing for something more.”
In reaching out and desiring more, people demonstrate that something more exists; it presupposes that a something or Someone can meet that longing, much like a person who is hungry presupposes the existence of food.

“God damn it!”
The idea of God is the highest thing we can conceive of. It’s the logical ends of our speculations. We couldn’t even conceive of God unless He had given us the ability to do so, even in profanity.

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Filed under Atheism, Atheist, Christian Worldview, Existence of God, Worldview