A Voice for Beauty

Roger Scruton knows it when he sees it.

Some excellent insights on beauty from British philosopher Roger Scruton (Beauty: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford, 2011): “Beauty is therefore as firmly rooted in the scheme of things as goodness. It speaks to us, as virtue speaks to us, of human fulfilment: not of things that we want, but of things that we ought to want, because human nature requires them.” “Lovers of beauty direct their attention outwards, in search of a meaning and order that brings sense to their lives. Their attitude to the thing they love is imbued with judgement and discrimination. And they measure themselves against it, trying to match its order in their own living sympathies.” “For beauty makes a claim on us: it is a call to renounce our narcissism and look with reverence on the world.” “...the experience of beauty also points us beyond this world, to a ‘kingdom of ends’ in which our immortal long-ings and our desire for perfection are finally answered.” “...everything I have said about the experience of beauty implies that it is rationally founded. It challenges us to find meaning in its object, to make critical comparisons, and to examine our own lives and emotions in the light of what we find. Art, nature and the human form all invite us to place this experience in the centre of our lives. If we do so, then it offers a place of refreshment of which we will never tire.”

In the Kingdom of God these days, we don’t think much about beauty, so it is good to remember that we serve a “beautiful Savior” Who is the embodiment of all things beautiful, good, and true. Beauty is part of the image of God, since God Himself is beautiful. For us to grow into the image of Christ, we must have some sense of beauty and how to achieve it.

We cannot be indifferent to beauty, and we must not misconstrue beauty as mere taste. Rather, recognizing that we all have certain tastes in things aesthetic, moral, and spiritual, we must labor to bring our tastes into line with true concepts of beauty, such as we may discover them in Christ and His world.


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