Can you find beauty in cathedrals and churches or does the sight of them irritate you?

I look at them as a large piece of history and enjoy taking pictures of them when traveling outside the U.S. Notre Dame in Paris has been my favorite. I can understand those who respect them but are still bothered by what they represent.

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Yes, of course I can appreciate religiously inspired works of music, art, and architecture. I was a music major, and the history of western music is intimately tied to the history of Christianity and Catholicism. I am also a "hard" atheist. I think any atheist that cannot appreciate the beauty in, Handel's Messiah, for example, is as dogmatically blind as any extreme fundamentalist.

I'd be able to appreciate Handel's "Messiah" more if it wasn't constantly used in commercials and lame TV shows and movies, but I get your point.

I can picture a future where these beautiful artful buildings (minus the bloody corpse statues) will be used for secular humanist gatherings and celebrations and the religious part will be historical. It is annoying that they siphoned off all the resources but I am moved by the art of them. Some of the artists were surely atheists (like Leonardo da Vinci) working for a paycheck. 

Yep, that's another important point for me, I love old stuff too and usually it's the Churches that survived the longest.
I do not believe in god, but I find religious art, history, architecture, etc... interesting.  I usually just take a neutral stance when I see religious sites.  If I were to consistently think negatively about them, it would make traveling the world difficult as many places are plagued with their own dark histories, regardless of whether it was under a religious umbrella or not.  I mean, why then visit the Pyramids of Giza? or the ruins of Petra?
You know, many of those buildings have been designed by top architects, true artists. The fact that they may have been inspired by religion takes nothing away from the creativity of the architect. It is kind of like music. I like Handel's Messiah. A beautiful composition. The fact that the source of the inspiration: the belief in a supreme being is something we lack, does not make the composition a bad one. I'd like to think that without the inspiration of religion, Handel would have found a different source to draw on to compose equally impressive work.

I think those old, huge cathedrals are gorgeous works of art and represent an amazing turning point in the course of architectural development. I can't help but be awed when I think that people built these things without the use of modern machinery. I think it is a shame that such beauty should be wasted on ridiculous magic spells and mummery performed by sequin-garbed priests in funny hats, though. I propose they be turned into the following uses, instead:


Bed-and-breakfast inns


New Age crystal healing shops (irony, or something)

Indoor water parks



The world's fanciest 7-Eleven

A rainforest zoo

Hippie smoke shops

No, but there is a place actually called The Hippie Smoke Shop in my town, where they sell hippie clothing and jewelry as well as hand-made glass bongs, pipes, and hookahs. I was surprised when it first went in, as this is such a conservative town. Even more amusing is that it is located between a gardening shop and a weed control store. One of the owners said she took a picture of the three store fronts and sent it to Jay Leno. :o]


Also, there is a Presbyterian church that has been for sale on the next street over from mine. I keep hoping someone will turn it into a small bed-and-breakfast place, or maybe a restaurant. Unfortunately, the economy is in the toilet around here and nobody can afford to open up places like that.

Some of them are really beautifull... I like the stained glass windows. But their meaning bothers me sometimes...




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