From James Davidson Hunter, To Change the World, pages 231–232:
Even in the context of late modernity, suffused as it is by failed ideologies, false idolatries, and distorted ideas of community, joy, and love, one can still find much good. Life still has significance and worth. What is more, people of every creed and no creed have talents and abilities, possess knowledge, wisdom, and inventiveness, and hold standards of goodness, truth, justice, morality, and beauty that are, in relative degree, in harmony with God’s will and purposes. These are all gifts of grace that are lavished on people whether Christian or not. To be sure, there is a paradox here that perplexes many Christians. On the one hand, nonbelievers oftentimes possess more of these gifts than believers. On the other hand, because of the universality of the fall, believers often prove to be unwise, unloving, ungracious, ignorant, foolish, and craven. Indeed, more than any Christian would like to admit, believers themselves are often found indifferent to and even derisive of expressions of truth, demonstrations of justice, acts of nobility, and manifestations of beauty outside of the church. Thus, even where wisdom and morality, justice and beauty exist in fragments or in corrupted form, the believer should recognize these as qualities that, in Christ, find their complete and perfect expression. The qualities nonbelievers possess as well as the accomplishments they achieve may not be righteous in an eschatological sense, but they should be celebrated all the same because they are gifts of God’s grace.
3 thoughts on “Theological Reflections On Sigur Rós”
Thanks for the fulfilled request!
I agree that the non-believer is a testimony of
God’s graces through his/her artistic talents.
Additionally, works of art may also exhibit
the form of the Gospel without telling the story
of the Gospel. (ex. The typical plot structure
of a novel: Story begins with bliss, a problem arises
and troubles the characters, a solution emerges
and peace is restored.) Art often exhibits the skeleton
of the Gospel. In discussions about such works one
can then cover those bones with the flesh of the Gospel.
Even though the Gospel may not be shared in a story,
enough of Paradise and Fall are often seen in them.
Enough of Paradise that (unknowingly) glorifies the Creator and enough of a Fall that (unknowingly) yearns
This reminds me of a quote attributed to the philosopher Francis Bacon.
“Man by the Fall fell at the same time from his state of innocence and from his dominion over nature. Both of these losses, however, can even in this life be in some part repaired; the former by religion and faith, the latter by the arts and sciences.”
Might it be suggested that without the Gospel, man
also tries to restore his innocence with the arts?
Or if he is a thorough Pessimist he might use the
arts as a eulogy to Innocence.
Thanks for the quote and response, Tony. You’re
creating quite the conversation with this piece.
Very nice. Thanks for the comment. You may also be interested in this post I wrote some time back: http://bit.ly/non-christian-art
I would have never guessed that you were a Sigur Ros fan, however, we never really got a chance to get to know each other. Thank you for, once again, awakening my soul to Jesus Christ, with such relevance to this life that the Lord has given to us. Take care, my friend and brother.