Guest Post: D.T. Osborn “Losing Beauty in the 21st Century” Part I : What is True Beauty? (Click here for Part II)
In this piece special guest contributor D. T. Osborn of tiljournalism.com explains, as part of his "Losing Beauty in the 21st Century" article series, what true beauty is and how it is being lost today.
The Problem of Beauty
The most familiar quote concerning beauty in the 21st century is this: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
However, this proverbial expression obscures a deeper meaning signification of beauty that’s gradually being lost on 21st century youth.
What is True Beauty?
And this brings us to the problem: too many are focusing on the “eye” of the beholder -- an individual’s subjective feelings and internal sensations -- and not what’s objectively being beholden to. In other words the objective “truth” is being replaced with unreasonable subjectivity.
So of course, this subjective preference dilutes our natural sense of transcendent beauty -- for if everyone is subjectively perceiving something “different” there really is nothing to “behold”, and really very little to discuss. Which leads us back to the corrosive skepticism that’s ruining our American culture.
True beauty on the other hand avoids this impending sense of subjective meaninglessness to create shared meaning in human discourse -- and that’s substantial. It’s substantial because Christianity helps reveal our shared sense of meaning through a meaningful relationship with God through Jesus Christ, in a way more healthful and gratifying than nihilistic meaninglessness.
The Bible summarizes the healthful and objective beauty of our relationship with God like this:
“Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious.” I Peter 3:3,4. [ESV]
And the inference from this passage is quite clear: without God’s sight -- and without our acceptance of a higher power -- “the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit” could never fully develop.
In addition there’s another element humans must reckon with to develop the beauty of a quiet spirit -- eternity… but our discussion of eternal beauty must another day -- for all that is good and profound cannot be posted in a single day.