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Beauty Will Save the World

March 1, 2012

Brian Zahnd’s book, Beauty Will Save the World, offers an interesting premise.  He asserts that Christianity has lost its aesthetic appeal.  We have developed a pragmatic and mechanical form of Christianity that will appeal to the intellect but will not woo the heart.  I, for one, think he is on to something.

Zahnd calls upon the church to articulate the gospel in ways that leave people “astonished.”  Our nuts and bolts approach will seem lacking to many if we do not also realize that God is beautiful and so is His message, especially His message through Jesus on the cross.  We approach the doctrine by asking two questions:  “Is it true, and is it useful.”  Zahnd claims that God is mysterious, and while we can know much about Him, we cannot completely put Him in our grasp.  It is this mystery that overcomes us and leaves us astonished.  But when the Bible becomes a “how to” book rather than a startling story, then it loses its beauty and becomes nothing more than a product for us to consume.

I found the thesis of this book to be unique and powerful.  This book made me think about an aspect of our faith that is rarely embraced, namely beauty.  I, too, desire Christianity to be beautiful and sense that it is the immense and overcoming nature of the gospel that compels us to believe and follow it.

If you are a type “A” person who loves logic and analysis, this will probably not be your favorite book.  But it might be the book you most need to read!


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