Nothing is so destitute as a mind philosophizing about God when it is without Him.
Whenever we discuss spiritual realities, we do so metaphorically, figuratively, poetically. But this does not mean that all such thought and speech is contrary to truth. On the contrary, real poetry is truth, for it is based upon the resemblance, similarity, and relation which actually exists between the different groups of phenomena. All language and every figure and symbol presupposes as the foundation upon which it rests this penetration of the visible by the invisible. If speaking in symbols were contrary to truth, all our thinking and all our knowledge would be a delusion, and speech itself would be impossible.
But in the end, science does not provide the answers most of us require. Its story of our origins and of our end is, to say the least, unsatisfactory. To the question, “How did it all begin?”, science answers, “Probably by an accident.” To the question, “How will it all end?”, science answers, “Probably by an accident.” And to many people, the accidental life is not worth living. Moreover, the science-god has no answer to the question, “Why are we here?” and, to the question, “What moral instructions do you give us?”, the science-god maintains silence.
The century would seek to dominate nature as it had never been dominated, would attack the idea of war, poverty and natural catastrophe as never before. The century would create death, devastation and pollution as never before. Yet the century was now attached to the idea that man must take his conception of life out to the stars.
We are born helpless. As soon as we are fully conscious we discover loneliness. We need others physically, emotionally, intellectually; we need them if we are to know anything, even ourselves.
Duality is the mark of a lot of great art and it is one of the things missing, for instance, in a lot of Christian art. There is no tension. You have this great tradition of worship, and music worship, which is, you know, awe-inspiring in the Christian Churches. But music that expresses a personal journey and an attempt to wrestle truth to the ground, we don’t see much of that in Christianity. There is a fear of duality…. You’ve got this one half of us that is going, ‘Yeah I want this music to do something positive in a very negative world.’ But on the other hand, you want to be honest and own up to your earthly desires and your confusions that everybody has.
[Gene] Siskel described his job as ‘covering the national dream beat,’ because if you pay attention to the movies they will tell you what people desire and fear. Movies are hardly ever about what they seem to be about. Look at a movie that a lot of people love, and you will find something profound, no matter how silly the film may be.
Our problem is not that “indoctrination” is the only alternative to education. It isn’t. Our problem is that so few people have ever tasted great Christian education or seen great Christian thinking going on from a profoundly God-centered perspective in an atmosphere where students can feel that the faculty would gladly die for Jesus.
Imperfection and incompleteness are the certain lot of all creative workers. The life story to be told of any creative worker is therefore by its very nature, by its diversions of purpose and its qualified success, by its grotesque transitions from sublimation to base necessity and its pervasive stress towards flight, a comedy.
The arts, cultural endeavors, enjoyment of the beauty of both God’s creation and of man’s creativity — these creative gifts have in our day been relegated to the bottom drawer of Christian consciousness, despised outright as unspiritual or unchristian. This deficiency has been the cause of many unnecessary guilt feelings and much bitter fruit, taking us out of touch with the world God has made, with the culture in which we live, and making us ineffectual in that culture.