Not trying to start a fight here, but this probably will. You see, this is the tour guide's dilemma. After someone who doesn't accept the idea of a God properly oo's and ahh's in this sacred place, there really isn't much to show them next. I mean, people throughout history -- from pagans to Jews to Christians to Muslims -- have been inspired by their beliefs to create stunning works of art and architecture. The number of these inspiree's totals in the millions from the Stonehenge builders, to Shakespeare, on to musical giants like Bach, Mozart and Billy Joel.
On the other side of the ledger, whatta ya got? A great many angry manifestos and declamations and even Supreme Court decisions. But darn few Pyramids, Pantheons, St Peter's, 'Hamlets' and 'Our Town's.' When your core belief is disbelief, what grand sounds and images are you inspired to create?
This is not to say atheists can't savor great religiousart. They do. But it seems when they do, they have to applaud the artist's efforts at the same time they are laughing at his/her inspiration. Maybe this is why most uneducated believers seem to get more out of the Sistine Chapel than over-educated skeptics
Now I can't prove this. Just a hunch, every time I've walked that sacred room........
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