Beauty: a revealer of truth and disguiser of lies.
The other day I was reflecting on the writings of one of my all time favorite authors, George McDonald. His writings are inspirational. His prose have a flair of the heavenly about them while the subjects are down to earth. Just reading him makes you want to believe that the pictures he paints are true. Most of them are. Yet while many of the ideas behind even his fiction are sound and true, one major idea heretical to orthodox Christianity runs through all of his work. It isn’t named or specifically endorsed, but you hear it’s echos in nearly every scene.
I ended up posting this thought on Facebook (to which this post is the back-story):
Some men have such a gift for expression that we revel in their words, marveling as truth and beauty are inextricably woven together before our very eyes. Yet this gift is also dangerous, as the same skill that wakes our sleeping souls to glory, if not indeed moored to truth, cannot fail but weave a veil which blinds us to the rubbish behind the pretty shroud.
Cut the flowery language, and my point was simple: Just because something is well said doesn’t make it true.
Later the same week, I ended up watching several sessions of the Mormon General Conference. So many articulate men and an elaborately beautiful presentation … and yet so wrong! One sentence is true, the next utter rubbish. One phrase from heaven followed by one perversion from hell – yet so seamless you hardly notice where one leaves off and the other commences – and both dressed up in such fine trappings.
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. — (Colossians 2:8 ESV)