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Places of worship

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Vee, Feb 5, 2018.

  1. Vee

    Vee Well-Known Member
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    I’ve always loved history and architecture. When I was in high school one of my history teachers took an interest on me and when she had the time she used to meet me in the library and teach me some things that were not even in the program. I’m not sure how we got to the topic, but one day she told me that when I went to Paris I should visit La Sainte Chapelle. I knew Notre Dame and the Sacré Coeur but that chapel was not on my radar. The reason why she wanted me to go there wasn’t just the extraordinary beauty of the building, but the circumstances of the time when it was built. She wanted me to understand the context as well.
    King Louis IV ordered the construction of the chapel in the 13th century, to house Jesus’ crown of thorns and a number of other relics. The chapel, in Gothic style, has 15 windows, each 15 meters high, with stained glass panes depicting 1,113 scenes from the Old and New Testaments. One thing my teacher pointed out was that at the same time the king invested a fortune building the chapel, most of the citizens of Paris were very poor, lacking everything from sufficient food to decent sanitary conditions. She told me “imagine if those people could visit the chapel, what would they think when they saw the light coming through those stunning stained glass images”.

    I don’t know why but I never forgot that conversation. Sometime later I went to Paris and I visited the Sainte Chapelle. It was everything my teacher told me and more. One of the most beautiful places of worship I have ever seen, and that’s saying something since I’ve also visited St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, St. Paul’s in London, St. Isaac’s in Russia and many others.
    I saw all those places with the eyes of someone who appreciates architectural beauty but back then I didn’t care about religion. I liked the originality and grandiosity of the buildings, the way they were created, the art on the walls and the decorations inside. And of course I enjoyed learning about their history.
    One thing they all have in common is that they were all very expensive and were built at times when populations were impoverished, kept in ignorance and controlled but the churches and kings.

    Later, when I studied the Bible, the way I viewed those places of worship changed. Jesus was a simple, humble, man, yet those buildings were made to glorify him. While he lived in poverty during his time on earth, the religious leaders claiming to follow him were very rich, but they didn’t share with the people, on the contrary, they didn’t seem to mind if the people went hungry.
    Looking at those churches and cathedrals with their incredible architecture, with their opulence and beauty, I can’t stop but wonder what Jesus would think of such places that have nothing to do with the kind of person he was. Today, knowing what I know about him, I can’t see a connection. I can still appreciate the grandeur and extraordinary beauty of those monuments and I’ll always remember the stained glass that impressed me so much in the Sainte Chapelle, but I can’t connect Jesus to any of those places. For me, they just don’t seem to match his personality.

    Today, when I enter a place of worship, I always ask myself "what would Jesus think of this place? Would he give it his approval?"
     
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  2. Rival

    Rival Ankh, Wedja, Seneb
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    I don't believe in Christianity at all but:

    If Jesus were god and it was the same god that ordered the building of the Temple (twice), a place of opulence and beauty, gold and silver, I don't think he'd mind.
     
  3. Altfish

    Altfish Veteran Member

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    Being an atheist places of worship mean little to me but must admit they are impressive buildings....just a pity the money wasn't spent on hospitals and schools instead.
     
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  4. JesusMyFriend

    JesusMyFriend Rosalia

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    I always admire places of worship of any religion because they always remain impressive and I guess you can find that religion and faith hidden inside their walls. Also I love architecture, and these buildings have all beauty to offer.
     
  5. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
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    Perhaps they believed the faithful would be rewarded in heaven so saw it as more important to encourage their faith. God made the rich, rich and the poor, poor for his own glory according to the Bible. Why should the religious leaders question this? Glory to God first right? According to your means.

    What was important to Jesus? That people have faith. The rich and the poor alike.

    I'd imagine this expensive, opulent cathedrals did quite a number on the psyche of the impoverished.
     
  6. Phantasman

    Phantasman Well-Known Member

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    My belief is that buildings of worship are ignorant of what the true place of worship is.

    The person defines his place of worship and can even be a closet (as Jesus said). Paul says that our body is the temple in which the Holy Spirit resides, and where the Son and the Father live).

    The catholic (Biblical) teachings are teaching that the body of Christ resides in the church when Paul says the church resides in the body.

    The Gospel of Thomas says:
    (50) Jesus said, "If they say to you, 'Where did you come from?', say to them, 'We came from the light, the place where the light came into being on its own accord and established itself and became manifest through their image.' If they say to you, 'Is it you?', say, 'We are its children, we are the elect of the living father.' If they ask you, 'What is the sign of your father in you?', say to them, 'It is movement and repose.'"

    Buildings cannot move. And I believe Jesus would be dismayed to see the veil repaired after he died to destroy it.
     
  7. BSM1

    BSM1 What? Me worry?

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    If you ever get the opportunity you should visit the Blue Mosque in Istanbul.


    Not that I disagree with you, but couldn't the same be said about the paint and canvas of any work of art? Or the extra machinery to power the finest sports car? Or even the second cup of coffee in many Saturday morning kitchens?
     
  8. Father Heathen

    Father Heathen Veteran Member

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    Personally, I would've figured that this Jesus fellow would've preferred that the gold and silver be used to feed, clothe, and shelter the poor.
     
  9. BSM1

    BSM1 What? Me worry?

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    Evidently you are not aware of the expensive oil/perfume story.
     
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  10. Father Heathen

    Father Heathen Veteran Member

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    Okay, I looked it up and read it (Mark 14:1-9). What a douche.
     
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  11. Hockeycowboy

    Hockeycowboy Well-Known Member
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    Wow, you were quite the world traveler!
     
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  12. Vee

    Vee Well-Known Member
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    I did. What an amazing place! I love Istanbul. One of the richest cities I've ever visited in terms of history. Thanks for the reminder :)
     
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  13. Vee

    Vee Well-Known Member
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    I am. Some people spend money on stuff, I prefer to travel and spend my resources living and learning :D
     
  14. pearl

    pearl Well-Known Member

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    They were not intended to glorify a 'simple man', but to glorify a 'king'.
    As for the stained glass the panes depict
    depict 1,113 scenes from the Old and New Testaments recounting the history of the world until the arrival of the relics in Paris.
     
  15. Hockeycowboy

    Hockeycowboy Well-Known Member
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    You know, my wife and I do the same thing! We went to Hawaii back in Sept.
     
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  16. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    Some of these places are literally many hundreds of years old, so how many smaller cheaper-constructed churches would be built during that same expense of time in the same location?

    Secondly, the church is ultimately built by the community, so I would suggest that this is their right if they so choose.

    Thirdly, I would also suggest that paying honor to Jesus and God by not being so cheap is not a bad idea, much like Jesus had been anointed by expensive oil when alive. Since when is giving honor to "God's House" such a bad thing?

    And finally, the CC and some other churches are very good i n the area of charity, so it's not like the latter is not done or not done reasonably well. OTOH, one of your fellow JW's recently here posted that charity really isn't that important. Do you agree with her?
     
  17. Vee

    Vee Well-Known Member
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    I'm not aware of the context in which she expressed that opinion so I can't answer that.
     
  18. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    Ancient stone Hindu temples of South India are gargantuan in size, monuments to ancient Dravidian Gods, unharmed by Islamic invasions which destroyed most of the temples of the north. Just standing inside these edifices of granite gives honour to the ancient builders from over 1000 years ago.
     
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