Just read this article and thought it was worthy of mention. http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/jan/26/alain-de-botton-temple-atheism
Haven’t entirely made up my mind about it but I sort of like the idea. I think people often move from the awe inspiring feeling you get from cathedrals (or church services, hymns, etc) to the belief that that feeling is because or connected to some sort of god or other religious notion. Like a more positive form of ‘mob mentality’. I think a place like this will show we can, and should, be connecting that feeling to the human race itself and celebrating in finding meaning and narrative in our own achievements, rather than supernatural creations.
Atheism, existentialism, agnosticism, humanism and other similair ‘isms’ should be viewed as liberating and positive. They don’t exclude certain people, they celebrate human life, respect, humility and put us at the center of our own world. This latter point is not something we should be ashamed or feel guilty about. Atheist ‘celebs’, mainly Richard Dawkins, are really letting the side down with their aggression, rudeness and lack of tolerance. I think this idea shows the good things about non-belief. It defines it by what it is, not what it’s against. Also, the objection that it’s a misuse of money which could be directed towards other things such as secular schools is a decent argument, but it’s equally true of grand churches and the vatican’s riches. Why not sell all the Roman Catholic Church’s gold and use it to fund aid programs?
Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t decided exactly which one of those systems I belong to yet and I don’t know if I ever will label myself, for that seems a bit too absolute in itself. Also, this is a very generalised and swiftly written post which has swept all those ‘isms’ into one pile and ignored the many differences. Nevertheless, it’s food for thought.
Let’s finish with a song I’ve already written about, but it seems apt. Frank Turner’s ‘ Glory Hallelujah’
“And I know you’re scared of dieing man and I am too,
But just pretending it’s not happening isn’t gonna see us through,
If we accept that there’s an end game and we haven’t got much time,
then in the here and now we can try and do things right.
We’ll be our own salvation arm and together we’ll believe
in all the wonderous things that mere mortals have achieved,
‘Cos I’ve known beauty in the stillness of cathedrals in the day,
I sang Glory Hallelujah! Won’t you wash my sins away?
But now I’m singing my refrain and this is what I say,
I say there never was no God.”