Contrary to what my friends might think, I am not an atheist. I sometimes mistake myself for an atheist when I’m in bad traffic, but I am not one. In fact, I think I’m one of the most spiritual people I know. This is not a prideful boast. It is a declaration of analytical fact. I’m not more spiritual because I have more faith that a supreme being exists. I am more spiritual because I have spent the time necessary thinking about it objectively to come up with an argument proving a supreme being exists. That effort should be worth something, shouldn’t it?
Most of the people I know base their belief system on faith, accepting as fact what cannot be proven. I, however, base my belief system on knowledge, accepting as fact only that which can be proven. Any scientist would tell you that makes my argument for a supreme being more credible and therefore more valid.
It’s simple really. To start proving the existence of a supreme being (feel free to call it God, G-d, Brahma, Yahweh, Allah, etc.) all you have to start with is an acceptance of the theory of evolution. Next, you must accept the warrant that evolution promulgates purpose. This means nature slowly perpetuates characteristics that are needed and erases those that are not.
Stay with me. Art is an important element of this argument.
Humankind exhibits a myriad of characteristics that may seem random at first, but actually have purpose. We evolved the whites of our eyes to facilitate communication of emotion, language to increase social interaction, bipedal mobility to use less energy and see farther distances.
I challenged myself to test this “purpose hypothesis” by trying to find a characteristic of the human condition that didn’t seem to have a purpose but was still enjoying evolutionary support. I could explain everything away except one thing — the appreciation of beauty.
The appreciation of beauty is not the same as beauty itself. It’s the appreciation part that is important to my argument, not the beauty. Beauty is subjective. The feeling of appreciation, though experienced in different degrees, is a constant. If you’ve ever been brought to tears by a piece of music or a poem, the birth of a child or a sun set — you know what I mean.
I am unable to find an evolutionary purpose for the appreciation of beauty that fits into a traditional physical existence. What does it motivate us to do? Does it help us procreate? Find food? Defend ourselves?
No. The only thing the appreciation of beauty does is elevate us to a level of consciousness that goes beyond our physical understanding of the world. It connects us to something outside of and greater than ourselves. It is our conduit to the divine. That is it’s purpose.
For the purpose to exist, the divine must exist.
So where does art come in to this? I will argue that one of the purposes of art is to stimulate the appreciation of beauty… and you can guess where I’ll go from there.
Yes, I know my theory has huge gaping holes you can drive a god through, but making the argument airtight in the span of a blog post would probably be proof of God as well. Besides, seeing art this way keeps me from having to categorize what I’ve been doing as creative masturbation. That would totally suck.
My critics would probably say this painting is proof there is no God.