Quotes on God and Art

A great quote floating around the BHT:

Bob Dylan believes in God, and Richard Dawkins is never going to win an argument against Bob Dylan, cause you need a poet to discuss these things. So let’s just say I’m with Bob.”

-Paddy Macaloon

I had to look up who Paddy Macaloon was: “one of the most underrated lyricists of the ’80s”. Anyway, it underlines a nice passage from Owen Barfield’s Poetic Diction. I don’t have it here in front of me now, but he says that the rationalist demands from the artist, “Tell me your secret! You know something hidden about the universe that I don’t. Now what is it!” But the artist is unable to answer his question in a way that will satisfy the rationalist. He can only continue in his artwork.

My friend Jeff Moss, who is now working long-term as a missionary in Hungary, posted this quote on Facebook the same day:

“There is a current and exceedingly stupid doctrine that symbol evokes emotion, and exact prose states reality. Nothing could be further from the truth: exact prose abstracts from reality, symbol presents it. And for that very reason, symbols …have some of the many-sidedness of wild nature.”

-Austin Farrer

Never heard of this guy either. It turns out I should have! English theologian and Anglican minister, friend of C.S. Lewis at Oxford.

I think he’s right on. The enlightenment idea that the pinnacle of human communication is well-reasoned prose…bah! So the best we can do to worship the Lord is to have a 2-hour sermon that took 30 hours to prepare, right? Music, liturgy, art, the Lord’s supper become second class citizens.

As creeds and confessions grow in length, I believe they hit a point of diminishing returns. The more and more you say about God, the smaller he becomes. But the fire and lightning from the mountain is astounding.