Sunday, 28 February 2016

The Attraction of Beauty or What’s in a Name? By Trevor Thorn

For four and a half years, I have been running a blog with the title ‘The Cross and The Cosmos’. The idea has been to publish poems (in the main) and occasional prose pieces which celebrate those places where faith and science intersect, and to do so in such a way that the ideas would be fairly simply grasped by non-scientists and also by those many Christians refer to as ‘Seekers’. The initiative has been encouraging insofar as it has attracted a readership far wider than I would have expected at the outset for simple maths (1% of the population may be interested in poetry, 1% in faith and 1% interested in science) makes for a tiny proportion of  potential readers. This miniscule percentage, therefore, makes it unsurprising that so far, none of the entries has exactly ‘gone viral’: but something rather interesting has come to my attention. Since the turn of the year.

It feels to me that it has become increasingly easy to uncover references to beauty in the science media. Mathematicians describe some very critical formulae as ‘beautiful equations’, bacteriologists publish pictures of extraordinarily picturesque organisms: an exquisite flower has been discovered in pre-historic amber that dates back millions of years: the paths of the brain’s cells and nerves form intricate and exquisite patterns. And, of course, ground and space-based telescopes are providing us with galleries of gorgeous pictures from all over the universe.

With all this in mind, I wrote a poem recently entitled ‘I Met With Beauty, Science and Faith’. To my delight, this reflection attracted more page views in the immediate few days after its publication than anything else previously uploaded to the blog.

This raised, for me, a question which is, whether a title such as ‘A Walk With Beauty, Science and Faith’ would be that much more attractive to the general public than ‘The Cross and The Cosmos’. I can’t easily ask that question on the present blog without confusing regular viewers - but I really would appreciate the thoughts of any of you who land on this particular post as to which of the two titles would be more attractive to YOU. That input would be very helpful indeed

The poem mentioned follows

I met with Beauty, Science and Faith

I met with Beauty, Science and Faith
walking life’s uncertain road.
Beauty, with her exquisite modesty
outlined a rôle with which she serves God:
‘I am granted a special privilege’, she said,
‘Of stirring humans to wonder and awe,
into heightening of senses; of prompting thanksgiving 
that may wake an instinctive desire to adore.’

‘Ah!’ said Science, ‘It is my task
to explore the relevant ‘laws’ of creation
which underlie the cause and the mystery
of just such outbursts of elation.’
‘To shape understandings and insights
that between them progressively yield
deeper, empirical details 
of all pertinent knowledge-based fields.’ 

‘And then’ said Faith, ‘It is my part
to explore and illuminate,
the purpose, the cosmic significance
of both rapturous and reasoning state.’
‘To encourage human cognition,
to re-visit paths it has trod            
of experiment, wondering and prescience,
and search them for glimpses of God.’  

Trevor writes faith-based poetry and accompanies many of the poems with simple images, either painted (mainly in acrylic) or in cross-stitch, or as computer generated images. About half of the poems have a science and faith theme. He publishes all of these on his blog, The Cross and The Cosmos which can be accessed HERE


  1. Interesting and informative, Trevor. Thank you. Beautiful poem, a great way to Start my Sunday

    1. Many thanks Wendy for the appreciation of the poem. You will know how encouraging that is

  2. Lovely poem, Trevor - and personally, I would be much more interested in looking at a blog entitled "A walk with beauty, science and faith".

    1. Many thanks Fiona for the appreciation of the poem: such encouragement is always welcome and thank you for the advice on title. I will think about how to make the transition

  3. As someone with a particular interest in beauty, poetry, science and faith, I really liked this poem and agree with Fiona about the title of the blog. Perhaps you could include poetry too; is there a character limit? Sue

    1. Sue, thanks for both the appreciation and the steer on title: Both much appreciated.

  4. Lovely basis for a blog. 'Beauty', often (as in from claissical times onwards) equated in art with the human form, first men's and now more often women's, has by that route been downgraded by 'sexual attractiveness', 'nature' coming second. The images we now have, from the micro-world or the universe, for example, give us a more rounded picture and appreciation of the complex make-up of 'beauty': appropriateness, as well as pattern, colour, shape, etc. And hopefully re-connect the art/science mythological divide (second only to the science/religion divide in being unnecessary!)

    1. Lots to think about in your reply Mari - which is much appreciated