People--and even cultures--differ on what they perceive as beautiful. Some people even do things to themselves (for the sake of looking more beautiful) that I (we) find very unattractive.I grant that this is true, especially when we're discussing shades of beauty. There are, nonetheless, some things that every right-thinking person ought to find lovely and other things that everyone should agree are ugly. But all of such quibbling really misses the point.
If the subjectivist view is right, then the beauty--of, say, the glamorous supermodel--resides not in her but only in our thoughts about her. There is no beauty in the sunset; rather, beauty is the sort of thing that dwells in my own feelings about sunsets.
This seems rather absurd, and that's why most people (until recently) have rejected the subjectivist view of beauty. The postmodernist is not the first to discover that people have different aesthetic tastes. He's merely the first to focus too closely on this obvious fact and to follow it to an invalid conclusion... that objective beauty doesn't exist.
My friend (and fellow apologist and blogger) Bob Perry tackled this difficult subject awhile ago. Go here to read his excellent argument for objective beauty.
He ends that article with a challenge to Christians (and Christian apologists). It's very good, so I've copied it here...
While we have good reason to address the lack of respect for Truth and Goodness in our culture, it seems that we are less adept at understanding, or even noticing, that same culture’s lack of respect for Beauty. Everything we value in this life has its basis in one of these three or their combination. Even the technological gadgetry that so easily distracts us owes its design to the mathematical order, trustworthiness and beauty of the Grand Designer’s mind. We would do well to stop, look, and listen to the art, music, literature and poetry that derive from the same fundamental Source as our iPod. And we would do well to honor the beauty of this creation with all the respect, reverence, awe and honor it deserves.
But I think our call is greater than to just appreciate the beauty in this world. If we really believe we are made in the image of our God, I think that fact lays a great responsibility on us to be the best musicians, artists and authors — the best representatives and re-creators of beauty that human beings can be. For in our effort to do that we are best able to reflect the beauty and majesty of the Maker in whom we live, and move, and have our being.