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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This is related to what I think was my very first post on A|N, not quite two years ago, Andrea.  There has been a lot of great art, architecture and music dedicated to belief in a sky daddy, much of it intensely beautiful.  I'd rather not throw the baby out with the bathwater, but as someone else observed here some time back, the churches particularly displace a significant amount of land which could be far better used.

Just what we actually DO about this conflict, I do not know ... but I'm open to suggestions!

I agree with Loren. Don't throw the baby out with the bath water. My favorites are Westminster Abbey in London and Montmarte in Paris (admittedly much, much newer than Notre Dame). I also love listening to Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring." What the hey! After I'm done taking pictures, or enjoying Mozart's Requiem, I don't pray to the ghost of Thomas Aquinas who purportedly levitated around Notre Dame. And, after marveling at the Parthenon, I don't join the cult of Athena. Recognize the greatness of the works, appreciate them for what they are, understand the history behind them, without buying into the superstition that motivated them.
I would have  to agree with both Loren and Pat.  The art and architecture are beautiful and can be enjoyed while not believing in the superstition behind the art.  Just like one can enjoy a Mayan temple (Egyptian pyramids, etc.) without believing in their belief system.
I appreciate all Architecture, it's one of my areas of interest and I have no problem enjoying the architecture of various Cathedrals. I am particularly fond of Gothic and Neogothic Cathedrals, I take every opportunity to visit every interesting Church I may come across. I don't see anything wrong with appreciating any form of art that is dedicated to various beliefs. Michelangelo dedicated most of his sculptures and paintings to religious themes, it doesn't make him any less of a genius.

I really see no difference between churches, cathedrals, temples or pyramids.  Whether tomb or altar.  It's still just an elegant structure.  As a youngster I was dragged into one on a regular basis.  It was saint John's in Susquehanna, Pa.  Anyone traveling through the north east of Pa. should stop and have a look.  You would not believe a European gothic style would exist in such an unassuming area. 

   I love the architecture, but it's scary to see them in use.  I guess they still love the sky daddy.

I can appreciate the beauty of a church or religious art - especially knowing the church was one of the few patrons of the arts for centuries and most artists had no choice (literally  by threat in some cases) but to do religious art.
if there was a heavy metal or hip hop show minus the cross and black out the windows that'd be fun!?

baboon elder monkeys were selfish with the females
the younger monkeys revolted and almost killed the elder

they felt bad and ended up worshipping the elder monkey;

'god' was invented.

I LOVE cathedrals and monasteries and I think they're calming and lovely, because of the architecture, art, and history. Not appreciating them is like saying you should dismiss Michelangelo's art on the basis that he believed in God and did religious art. No! It's lovely, keep it. Religion hasn't contributed ALL bad things, just mostly bad things in comparison to everything else. Give credit where credit is due, and criticize what needs to be criticized. Churches are art. Enjoy them.
I will take a contrarian view here. Not that I haven't been impressed in some temples. But these structures in current use represent oppression and propaganda of the massive religious political structures. Even ones that are not in current use, I can have issues with.

I enjoy the historicity of ruins and preserved temples, and have wandered around a few, thinking about what must have happened there. They help me appreciate the human condition and what we have gone through. It is easier for me to appreciate them if they are not an extant religion, for some reason.

But current temples just irritate me. All that massive effort, often done by taking money or labor from those who could not afford it. Older churches and temples were often built by serfs and from money taken by force from the poor. The fabulous wealth of the Catholic church, which resulted in the Vatican and many other temples, was stolen, much by invading other countries, destroying their cultures, enslaving and killing the inhabitants, and bringing back their gold and silver. Of course these massive and ornate structures impress. But I feel like they are overbearing.

Not that I want to spoil the experience for others, but that's my 2 cents. I'd rather see a soldier's memorial, be on a mountain or in a forest or at the ocean. That's just me.
They were intended to be overbearing to impress the superstitious peasants, many of whom lived in hovels.  Where I live, there are a lot of antebellum houses.  I can appreciate their elegance and still regret that they were built with the stolen labor of slaves.  Cathedrals took generations to build; entire towns were kept employed.  In many cases, the money came chiefly from selling indulgences. Same with the Egyptian tombs, which were built not by slaves, but by paid laborers.
I get where you're coming from.  Not too long ago, I watched the Ken Burns documentary on the Shakers which I felt was not an objective look at them and their lifestyle at all.  On the one had, the furniture and architecture was beautiful to look at, but the people themselves were so irritating.




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