|The Quality of Mercy|
Philosophy is unavoidable, of course. As Chesterton long ago noted, everyone is a philosopher; whether you unconsciously absorb your philosophy from somewhere else (such as the newspapers) or think it through for yourself. And how you think about things shapes the way you act and behave, so nothing is richer in practical implications (even for art). Do you believe in God? But what kind of “God” is being talked about? What does the word mean to you? I have tried to address that question online here, and the main Second Spring web-site contains many useful articles on philosophical topics. Nevertheless, philosophy is never going to be a very effective means of evangelization. People open their minds, or change them, for other reasons than a good argument. “Heart speaks unto heart”, not head unto head, as Newman realized. The Christian faith places us under an obligation to communicate it where possible. But effective communication involves the imagination and the spirit, not just the reason or the intelligence.
Just as we cannot separate the virtues of faith, hope, and love, so we cannot separate truth, goodness, and beauty. It is the heart where they join together. The way we live and the beauty we produce are the most eloquent expression of the truth we believe. You cannot communicate a truth that has not changed you, and we are changed only by a truth that we recognize as in some way beautiful.