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Spiritual patterns and modern architecture
We find it difficult to conceive of evil and beauty together. The fear of the beautiful fay that ran through the elder ages almost eludes our grasp. Even more alarming: goodness is itself bereft of its proper beauty. In Faerie one can indeed conceive of an ogre who possesses a castle hideous as a nightmare (for the evil of the ogre wills it so), but one cannot conceive of a house built with a good purpose—an inn, a hostel for travellers, the hall of a virtuous and noble king—that is yet sickeningly ugly. At the present day it would be rash to hope to see one that was not—unless it was built before our time. —Tolkien, On Fairy-Stories
What does this say about our time? What spiritual patterns does our architecture follow, and what spiritual patterns does it impress onto us as we not only become accustomed to it, but live in it?
Theology has consequences. If you think of the modern mindset in terms of theological ideas, it produces aesthetic ugliness, and that ugliness is self-reinforcing by not only inuring us to it, but blinding us to beauty—which in turn blinds us to truth. We get trapped in a nasty, dirty, cramped and dark view of the world, and this is true even when we have the gospel to beautify, cleanse, expand and enlighten it, because the nature of that worldview causes us to struggle to actually use the gospel. We're like people trapped in Plato's cave who are given an excavator to break out, and we instead use it to expand the window and let a little more light in.