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Thread: Is Beauty Real?

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    Department Head Apologiaphoenix's Avatar
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    Is Beauty Real?

    How do we approach this topic?

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    Is beauty just in the eye of the beholder? Letís plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

    Last night, I found myself in a discussion on a Facebook page after an atheist put up a picture of some beautiful clouds outside an airplane window and spoke about not needing God to appreciate this beauty. I found this an interesting statement so I started with one question. Is beauty objective? My response was along the lines of ďOf course not.Ē

    This I took to be quite odd. Here you write about an experience of something that is beautiful and then say there is no such thing as beauty. You might as well say that there are no moral truths and then that slavery in the Bible is wrong. (Oh wait. I do know people who say both of those.) It just reminds of the inconsistencies.

    But wait, arenít there disagreements on what is and isnít beautiful? Yes. There are. There are disagreements in science and math and medicine and law and any other field as well. Are we going to make the foolish statement that any area that has disagreement means that there is no objective truth in that area?

    We have industries that are built on beauty being something real. The cosmetic industry serves its clients, mostly women, by telling them what they sell will make them more beautiful. Hollywood appeals to us with men and women meant to be seen as desirable by us. Even the pornography industry can thrive because men and women are supposed to believe that those pages of people on the pages or nowadays on the websites are people they should desire.

    Beauty is either something in the world that we discover or else an idea in our minds that we throw onto the world. If just in our minds alone, why should we think we can convince anyone else of it? Why should I believe the clouds are beautiful if it cannot be true that they are?

    This would also meant that a stick man that I draw is just as beautiful as the Mona Lisa is. A little tune that I could put together though I have no musical ability is just as beautiful as a piece by Bach is. The reason these things get recognized is because we all know that there is something beautiful about them.

    My favorite tactic is to bring up a personís spouse in this. After all, if beauty is subjective and not real, then there is no reason to think your spouse is truly beautiful. As a man who is married and has been for nine years, I will gladly attest that yes indeed, women are beautiful, and my wife is the most beautiful of all.

    We Christians also are missing out when we talk about beauty being subjective. No Christian should ever say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Beauty is just as real as truth and goodness are. If we have a harder time with beauty, it is because we have failed to take such ideas seriously.

    Do you need to know that God exists to enjoy beauty? Not at all. Do you need Him to ground the beauty? Yes. Remember also that with all that you see, all that beauty is a reflection of the creator who is the most beautiful of all.

    In Christ,
    Nick Peters

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    tWebber Leonhard's Avatar
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    It's a good article but I think you need to dig a little deeper. For instance, it's not a very strong retort if you can get someone to say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That something has a subjective component, and the experience of beauty undeniable has a powerful subjective, and sometimes intimately personal component, does not mean that the experience of beauty does not exist.

    It would be like saying raspberries taste objectively good. Or pizza tastes objectively mediocre, cold pizza tasting objective bad.

    So while I think you have a point in beauty having an objective component, in so far it touches something that all humans can recognize, you really also need to develop the point on the subjectivity, which is undeniably there. Or at least if you wish to deny that point, you need to develop it more, because its merely appears like a point you've decided out of thin air, rather than a reasoned out conclusion.

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    tWebber TheWall's Avatar
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    I think waterfalls and music are beautiful, but how does one measure beauty? I know these things are beautiful, but I dont exactly know why.

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    Department Head Apologiaphoenix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leonhard View Post
    It's a good article but I think you need to dig a little deeper. For instance, it's not a very strong retort if you can get someone to say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That something has a subjective component, and the experience of beauty undeniable has a powerful subjective, and sometimes intimately personal component, does not mean that the experience of beauty does not exist.

    It would be like saying raspberries taste objectively good. Or pizza tastes objectively mediocre, cold pizza tasting objective bad.

    So while I think you have a point in beauty having an objective component, in so far it touches something that all humans can recognize, you really also need to develop the point on the subjectivity, which is undeniably there. Or at least if you wish to deny that point, you need to develop it more, because its merely appears like a point you've decided out of thin air, rather than a reasoned out conclusion.
    I plan on doing a show on it in the future.

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    I like this idea of exploring objective beauty and it makes me think of the concept of there being objective ugliness too of course. Beautiful cat (objective beauty) ugly snake (objective ugliness). But there are people who hate cats and do not find them beautiful and people who love snakes and keep them as pets and find them beautiful.

    Cats and snakes are obviously then subjective objects of what people find beautiful or ugly even though they should imo be objective examples of beauty and ugliness. I guess then that we all have our own opinions about what should qualify as objective beauty or objective ugliness. (Surely everyone can see how beautiful or how ugly a thing is? It is so blatantly obvious...).

    This makes me wonder what qualifies things immediately and unquestionably as being objectively beautiful or objectively ugly.
    Last edited by Esther; 09-15-2019 at 03:50 PM. Reason: paragraphs

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