Earlier this morning I talked to my class about deism. Deism is the view that God exists but that he is not personally involved in the world. One of the things I try to do as I teach on various worldviews is to first present the strongest case for each respective view, and second, to help students empathize with why a person might find the particular perspective appealing.
Whenever possible I try to use pop art examples that illustrate the worldview we are studying. Today I played some different songs that could be interpreted as reflecting a deistic perspective. I played music from Peter Mayer, which I happen to really enjoy, by the way, Bette Midler’s “From a Distance,” and even Louis Armstrong’s “Wonderful World.”
While a song like Wonderful World can reflect parts of the Christian perspective, such as the heavens declaring the glory of God (Psalm 19), it doesn’t speak to the ugliness of life. I’m not saying every individual piece of art must speak to every aspect of reality. However, imagine this song being played in the background of a documentary on deadly tsunamis. It just wouldn’t fit.
I can’t help but be reminded of the fact that the Christian narrative of creation, separation, incarnation, and regeneration is an appropriate soundtrack for all of life making sense out of the peaks and valleys of the human experience. From the colors of the rainbow, to the people walking by saying “How do you do,” to inmates on death row, and the natural disasters that claim countless lives every year, the gospel provides a framework for making sense out of it all.