Strange But True

I share the iconoclastic views of the enlightened members of this forum . I have drank from the font of disbelief and stood before the altar of unrighteousness. But I have a confession to make.. I like the inside of churches. I mean the real ones. Not the ones with a big stupid fish or a Salvadore Dali cross but the ones built before Joseph Smith discovered he was a prophet and preferably those before Mohammed learned to read in a nanosecond. Along the coast of Croatia there are churches stretching back to the birth of the christian chruch. The muslims would have destroyed them in the spirit of ecumenism but in a fit of pragmatism they simply reinvented them as mosques which spared them the ravages of religious pay back over the years. The end result of this spiritual dichotism is perfectly preserved churches going to back to the beginning of the christian era. I have seen some of these edifices and the multicouloured light filtering through ancient stained glass, the cloistered scent of countless years, panelled walls, marbled floors and intricate carving must be seen to be appreciated. Listening to plain chant or the Te Deum in Latin is somehow uplifting. But with all that I have never engaged. I have simply entered these manifestations of religious fervour and wondered at the magnificent amount of resources, skill and time devoted to adoration of an entitiy that according to the abject faithful could do all the same in an instant. Go to Malta and watch a Tridentine Mass with full regalia and you will join the jesuits and wage war to recover Jerusalem. This is simply an exquisite and expensive way to indoctrinatre the acolytes. Mind you I dare anyone to see the Cistine Chapel and not hold their breath. God is not great but even in our miss guided attempts to honour him we show our greatness.

stevester stevester
46-50, M
7 Responses Feb 10, 2009

Tinky, you're right. Although they didn't exhibit the enthusiasm I wanted them to they do remember parts of the visit. If you want ot go to a Cathedral that will be memorable try to get to Gaudi's cathedral in Barcelona. It is still under construction after about 80 years and won't be complete until 2050 but what is there is truly stunning.

Maybe it was the wrong age for your sons to be offered such a thing - I no doubt believe that when they are older and perhaps have families of their own, they will wish they had taken advantage of such a trip.<br />
<br />
We took our children to Paris and Germany when they were 4 and 6 and, whilst that seems young, they still remember it. My son, who is now 10, remembers going to the top of the Eiffel Tower and eating croissants outside the Louvre. Although, I suppose most was lost of them too. We walked everywhere with the boy in the pram and our daughter standing on a special solid axle we had put on the back wheel. But we plan to take them back next year. Even though I am an atheist and my husband is agnostic (I think), taking them to cathedrals in Europe is number one on my list of things to do before we lose them to adulthood and families of their own. We even send them to a small catholic school where they learn a lot that I believe will stand them in good stead to study languages, art, history, literature and drama. Interesting isn't it? To find out what other people think about these things...

I took my two sons to France for a tour. They were 14 and 17 at the time. I guess it was a bridge too far. Seeing the Mona Lisa. "very small", St Chapelle, "there's nothing in it", the Eiffel Tower "not that high I became slightly depressed. That day was 14th July and the Frecnh Foreign Legion paraded, all kepis and rousing baritones signing the Marseilles captured their attention long enough for me to get them to the Arc de Triomphe. No interest in it except for the 7 lanes of traffic that career around it without white lines of signal lights. I gave in and offered junk food, but drew the line at McDs on the Champs Elysees. After that fortfied castles were the only things that caught their imagination.

When I was a child my parents took us (me & sister) to, I guess, all the "cathedrales" (these are the really big churches ) in France, I've seen them all! Amiens, Troyes,......<br />
In the days of TV and magazines we can't understand, experience, comprehend, how local uneducated farmers in those dayes would have been impressed by the grandeur of those massive, huge, buildings (they were completely painted with bright colors, to match the windows, giving it an even more fascinating look) They were build to impress, and they did, to keep the flock under the influence of the clergy. Yes, impressive pieces of architecture.<br />
Didn't make me believe in a god though.

agreed jojo, if you ever have the chance to go to the cathedral of the madeline in salt lake city, I think you will be amazaed, it has a strong egyptian theme.

What a beautiful comment, Godfree, to a beautiful story by Stevester. I have been in several old churches in Germany when I was stationed there and they were beautiful. So are many of the Cathedrals in the eastern US that I've visited over the years. I think the stained glass is really what does it for me. You don't have to believe to see the real beauty!

How I envy you, to see such things. I live in the united states, our history is at best three hundred years and it is quite common if a relic is older than one hundred years we surround it with purple rope and charge admission.<br />
I share you loathing for themodern houses of worship, so cold and sterile and puritan. Nothing but nothing inspires a good witch burning more than ancient gothic doors leading to a stone citadel and a crucifix bloody enough to give george bush a hard on.<br />
You know Stevester, any posts you wrote on your travels would be a treat for us, a real treat.