Hi Laura! So glad you’ve joined us.
When I read your replies, my mind immediately went to a scene in Ian McEwan’s novel Saturday. You might already know this, but just in case, McEwan is an atheist – he contributed an essay to Christopher Hitchen’s A Portable Atheist, if that gives you an idea. Yet this passage seems so…interesting in light of what we’re talking about.
In the novel, the protagonist, Henry, is a neurosurgeon and a convinced atheist. But when he listens to his son (ironically, perhaps, named Theo) play the Blues, he calls the music “otherworldly” and “inhuman.” It gives him an experience of order – in his words, a “coherent world.”
I’ll quote from the book. This is Henry when he listens to his son play, which makes him think about music in general:
“There are these rare moments when musicians together touch something sweeter than they’ve ever found before in rehearsals or performance, beyond the merely collaborative or technically proficient, when their expression becomes as easy and graceful as friendship or love. This is when they give us a glimpse of what we might be, of our best selves, and of an impossible world in which you give everything you have to others, but lose nothing of yourself. Out in the real world there exist detailed plans, visionary projects for peaceable realms, all conflicts resolved, happiness for everyone, for ever–mirages for which people are prepared to die and kill. Christ’s kingdom on earth, the workers’ paradise, the ideal Islamic state. But only in music, and only on rare occasions, does the curtain actually lift on this dream of community, and it’s tantalizingly conjured, before fading away with the last notes.” – Ian McEwan, Saturday. Anchor Books. pg.176.
We can see how McEwan associates music and religion, but he (as many modern secularists do) sees it as something the solves what religion attempts to do in a much better way. In the eyes of McEwan, it does a better job at creating community. At the same time, music is fleeting, and, in the next paragraph, McEwan writes, “Naturally, no one can ever agree when it’s happening.”
Of course, we see it differently. I think you, @lauragrace73, and @KMac are spot on with the idea of those “moments”… Music is a fleeting, subjective glimpse into what is ultimately eternal and objective. Praise God!!