Is Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder? (Part 1)

On November 11, 1960, a popular TV series named “The Twilight Zone” aired an episode titled “Eye of the Beholder”. The episode shows a young woman with her face all bandaged up and some doctors and nurses about to unveil her face. They take the bandages off and say in horror, "no change—no change at all!" The camera then shows that the patient is actually a beautiful woman! The young lady feels her face and screams. Obviously the facial surgery hadn’t worked. Up to this point the camera hadn’t shown the faces of the medical staff… but now it shows that they have hideous, grotesque pig-like faces. All “normal” people in this mythical culture look like that. The beautiful blonde is supposed to be the ugly one. The point of the TV episode is that culture defines what the norm of beauty is. But is that really the case?

If you were to walk up to anyone in America and ask them if “beauty is in the eye of the beholder?” I would venture to guess that more than 9 times out of 10 they would tell you that it is. Why is this? It is because our culture has by-and-large been affected with the thinking of postmodernity.

What is Postmodernism?

From the age of the “Enlightenment,” 1550 AD to the 1940’s, the West was largely influenced by the thinking of modernity. Modernism taught that special revelation given by God in His Word was no longer needed to know universal, objective truth. Man could depend on his own reason to find out truth. It also taught that man could only know what is true by “empirical knowledge”—in other words what his five senses could experience. Modernism was basically an attack on God’s Word, and caused man to trust his own mind and senses for answers instead of ultimately trusting God’s special revelation. Trusting in oneself instead of God is really idolatry—Man wanting to be God. After the horrors of World War II, man’s optimism in himself was crushed. Man found out that he really ends up making a lousy god, resulting in man questioning everything, which especially became evident in the 1960’s. Enter Postmodernism. Instead of going back to God’s Word for objective, reliable truth, man basically said that truth ultimately could not be known; truth is whatever is true for YOU. Instead of an objective standard to be discovered, man in himself was the determiner of his own truth. Mankind exchanged one form of deification of man for another. Man could now determine what is true, right and beautiful in himself.  I’m sure you’ve probably heard people say “well that may be true for YOU, but this is what is true for me.” We know that that is utterly ridiculous—man in himself cannot create whether something is true or not. Either something is true or false. Just try that philosophy out on a math test and you will quickly realize the folly of believing such a philosophy. Either 2+2=4 is true or it is false. Anyone who claims that postmodernism is the right way to think—is making some claim of objectivity so their own thought system destroys their own reason to think that way!

(Stay tuned for Part 2...)