Sunday, April 20, 2014

Art; Proof That God Exists


The Philosopher Plato, in his Theory of Norms, argues the existence of God because of the human capacity for recognizing perfection.  He asserts that, while man is still a work under construction, most of our natural world clearly evidences the results of God's perfection.  We see six petals on a flower, each identical in shape and spacing and form, and we, without thought, recognize that flower to be of perfect form.  Plato says that we would never have that sense of cognition if, deep within our being, we were not instilled with the sense of what perfection is, and pays tribute to our creator for it.

Descartes would make the same argument more than a millennium later in Discourse on the Method, and I believe I've embraced Descartes philosophies because he champions a God-embracing version of religion that says it's perfectly okay to to question everything because that's what God built you to do.  He disdain's the blind following of organized religion and argues that the rigid confines of the church actually hinders the refining of our souls.

The central theme in the philosophies of both Plato and Descartes is that we humans, though far from perfect, possess something divine within us, and that our inner divinity allows us to accomplish divine things; to produce well above our natural capabilities because we are blessed with "the touch of our creator".  

Though the preceding is a roundabout and simplistic way of explaining our capacity for achieving perfection, it is the only way I know to offer my own argument that we humans sometimes achieve miraculous things....and the most tangible results of those miracles are found in our art, and the results of those miracles can only be achieved through the blessings of a generous God.

Think about this.  How many inanimate things do you know that have such a profound effect on us if not the penultimate art we are so blessed to experience.  Look at the Van Gogh painting above.  Though my little illustration doesn't do justice to Van Gogh's "Starry, Starry Night" how can one look at that painting, wonder at the richness of color, depth of mood and not be moved by it.  If Van Gogh is not your bag, I dare you to go down and visit an art gallery and see if something there doesn't stir your soul, captivate you, and cause you to linger and stare and not even know why.

Consider music.  I dare you to tell me that you've never had your soul set afire by some mode of music that transforms you into someone else, transplants you to somewhere else, and makes you, if even for a few moments, a better human being than you usually give yourself credit for.  For me I think about the Beethoven symphonies and am amazed at the thunderous glory of his music, including his 5th Symphony, written after he was nearly totally deaf!  Do you really believe there wasn't just a little "God" working there?

When I listen to George Gershwin's "An American In Paris" symphony I am in total awe!  I try to imagine how George sat down and figured out how to marry those notes so splendidly, how he thought up the idea that he could vary the rhythms that would carry the listener along like a ship roiling in an angry sea...then gentling you down so that you are gliding on a magic carpet ride over the skies of Paris.

And it doesn't have to be what some of you may call "blue hair" music.  Have you ever cried over a rendition of America The Beautiful?  Have you ever longed to be in New York after hearing "I'll Take Manhattan?"  Does your throat constrict a bit, and you get a little misty when you hear the wedding song that you danced to with your bride....or thrilled to hearing again the song that was playing when you first danced with a girl?

Art, whether it is a painting, or a sculpture, or the wonder of a symphony, or the perfectly crafted scene in a movie (for me the Bogart-Bergman farewell on that foggy night in Casa Blanca) are all touched with a perfection that defies logic, that creates a perfection so far above the mediocre world we usually occupy, that stirs our souls beyond all reason.  It is the magnificence of art that proves our creator dwells deep within in us, that we can sometimes draw on that minute DNA God molecule that proves once again that He exists.

Now, go out and play my children.  Go gather flowers.  Google U Tube and listen to Gershwin.  Go out and rent Casa Blanca.  Go down and visit an art gallery.  Attend your local symphony orchestra concert.  Go line dancing in a beer hall.  Invite your sweetie to a ballroom dance.  Go to a baseball game and stand up in the 7th inning stretch and listen to America The Beautiful.   Let your hearts soar and be grateful for our creator's grand munificence.


Jerry Carlin said...

Nicely written for Easter! We are also born with the Devil in us and as the saying goes, it is the one we feed that wins! It is great when we can to stop the whirlwind and just appreciate.

A Modest Scribler said...

You are of course right, Jerry....there is indeed the potential for evil within us...but I wanted to talk about he "glass half full". I truly believe that great art must come from our just seems too miraculous for mortal man to have conceived of it.

Happy Easter.

John Lerrato said...

I like this article. Proofing that God exist by looking at the natural world. The same thing I did. I look at the trends in the world and how we cannot resolve simple problems becuase of our divergent and individual needs. That is why i came up with