A few months back, the Insane Clown Posse — a ridiculous band of which I am not a fan; my sincerest apologies to Juggalos and Juggalettes the world over — released a song called “Miracles.” I don’t listen to ICP, so I can’t say if miracles is normal Dark Carnival fare (see what I did there?), but it garnered a bit of attention, and a good deal of mockery, for its attitude regarding the world. The song is a meditation — I know I’m stretching that word — on little mysteries that fill up our lives, those moments of wonder.
Look at the mountains, trees, the seven seas
And everything chilling underwater, please
Hot lava, snow, rain and fog
Long neck giraffes, and pet cats and dogs
And I’ve seen eighty-five thousand people
All in one room, together as equals
Pure magic is the birth of my kids
I’ve seen shit that’ll shock your eyelids
Stuff like that. The Clown Posse goes on to say that they don’t want scientists explaining things, and accuses them of lying, and that line, coupled with the “Gee whiz” attitude of the rest of the song, has prompted a bit of a pop cultural backlash. Science students have showed up at ICP shows to teach their fans where, for example, rainbows come from. And while I have no objection to science education — science being the use of reason to study Creation — I do take some issue with the idea that there’s something wrong with awe.
I bring this up in response to another round of mockery, this time addressed to a man who caught sight of a double rainbow, was struck down in wonder at the sight, and then made the mistake of posting it on Youtube.
While I can understand the humor — maybe it’s a little over the top — I think that that video is a pretty beautiful artifact of awe as something that transcends the rational without being irrational. We can explain all we want how rainbows come into being, but the human response to beauty is something sacred and inexplicable. Much the way you cannot derive ought from is, the beautiful like the good can’t be derived from logic. And there, in Yosemite, this fellow saw a double rainbow, and couldn’t begin to understand it. Maybe he knew how rainbows are formed. But the arch of light that presented itself spoke more deeply to him of something unspeakable than it did of light refraction.
There’s a reason that, if you do a Google image search for “worship,” you get a bunch of people raising their arms at the beach or mountain. Beauty demands worship. Beauty testifies to God.