Faith recognizes life as art

Published 11:01 pm Friday, October 17, 2014

You can’t square root faith.

Today we see atheists like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins making every attempt to destroy the very idea of God with lock-tight logic. Sam Harris is a sound logistician. I applaud his academic rigor. Richard Dawkins at least sounds intelligent. I applaud his British accent.

What I do not applaud is the vigor with which these men convince otherwise intelligent people that it is possible to exist in so beautiful and enigmatic a universe as this without accepting an element of divine mystery.

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There is an entire spectrum of meaning that is lost when we only view life through a set of logistician’s rules.

I’m not implying we abandon logic. There is sound logical evidence for the truth claims of Christ. What I am flatly stating is that when we dismiss the aspect of the mysterious divine nature in the universe, we miss out on its deepest meaning.

Aristotle described art this way: “The aim of art is not to represent the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.”

When my 4-year-old daughter shows me her latest learned dance move from Mountcastle School of Dance, I don’t marvel at the neurons firing and the muscles moving to enable the sweeping of her leg or the twirling of her body. I’m caught up in the mystery of her smile and the meaning of her joy.

You can’t explain the magic of that with calculus, and it is foolish to redact the meaning of life to an argument that robs life of its inherent mystery.

That is a major component to what faith is. Faith taps into the mysterious aspects of the divine nature of God woven into the cosmos in creation.

Faith is not at war with logic. Faith is reason’s vehicle to access the God that gave logic to humanity. Life and the deeper meanings of life are not equations to be solved, but dances to dance.

Albert Einstein is occasionally falsely accused of being a monotheistic believer. He plainly was no Christian, but even Einstein, who peered beyond the veil of ordinary knowledge through sheer genius, recognized a level of beauty and order and knowledge beyond what contemporary logic is able to grasp.

He wrote, “A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestations of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty — it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute the truly religious attitude; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man.”

Even without a belief in the concrete truth claims of Jesus Christ and His Church, one of the most intelligent people ever to grace humanity with his mind recognized a religious sentiment inherent to the mystery of creation.

You can’t square root faith. You can’t disprove it with a scientific calculator any more than you can measure the value of art with a ruler.