In this week’s podcast, Brandon and I had a great conversation about his experience with beauty and permanence in his visit to New York. For me, it really triggered me to go back into some past conversations about the role of beauty in evangelization and conversion. It’s really important, especially for people like me, who tend to overemphasize rational approaches and apologetics, that we don’t lose sight of the natural power of beauty to wake us up to the reality of God as creator.
Looking at beauty as a way of finding the way to Christ has a lot of advantages. For one thing, it is largely threat free. When we use logical arguments, we are, by definition, using arguments. Even if we keep things incredibly civil, an argument is still going to be a conflict. This means that there is always a risk that we will be putting someone on the defensive. When we rely on beauty, on the other hand, we just offer and present, we don’t defend or attack. Rather than challenging ideas or world views that have been formed, shaped, and rooted as the foundation of the rest of a person’s beliefs, we simply invite them to appreciate the beauty.
Another major perk to this approach is that there are very few defenses or counters to it. Intellectual conversations and arguments are largely known and follow kind of a set, general path. Specific pieces of evidence vary, and the way they resonate depends from person to person. Beauty, on the other hand, hits us at a much more primal level. There is a reality in the very core of who we are which is drawn to it. We can try to justify it away or dismiss it, but it moves us anyway. It sticks with us. It’s like a seed being planted, and while we have no idea how long it will take it to bear fruit, we know that it will.