In an article on the devaluing of the arts in modern Western society, English philosopher Sir Roger Scruton made a saddening though insightful observation.
“Beauty is vanishing from our world because we live as though it did not matter,” he wrote.
Even at a place as dedicated to the arts as BJU, you don’t have to search long to prove Scruton’s point. Students consistently devalue the arts here in our campus community.
“I wish I could just skip Artist Series, but at least I will get a good nap.”
“Why is he studying theatre arts? How can he get a job with that?”
“Phillis Wheatley? What did Phillis Wheatley even do except write poetry?”
While these statements don’t represent campus opinion in its entirety, they do represent a prevalent view in our society that fails to see the necessity of the arts.
But, as Scruton notes, the stigma isn’t just for the arts, but for beauty itself.
You’ll find few mentions of beauty in the places you’d most expect them. Art galleries, theatres, museums—many have abandoned their commitments to beauty.
Rather than continuing to inspire us to ponder the deep questions of human existence, art has become increasingly political.
Sects across the political spectrum now use the arts, especially cinematography, as their personal weapon.
For example, the progress won by LGBTQ+ activists in recent years has not resulted from moral, philosophical or scientific arguments but rather from the compelling use of the arts.
LGBTQ+ activists have made full use of television, theatre and music to rapidly reshape our national mindset.
While LGBT activists have used the arts in this way with incredible efficiency, in reality nearly all political groups have used the arts in some way to propagate their views.
In such a world, beauty has become less important than the agendas being pushed forward.
Beauty is under attack because its very existence denotes the existence of truth.
If something is truly beautiful, it will reflect God and reflect truth. Beauty always leads us back to its Source and to desiring Him more.
In rejecting beauty, our society rejects truth and Truth Himself.