Despite what your religious leaders and peers have told you about atheists, we do have the ability to appreciate beauty regardless of the inspiration for it. We can even listen to an entire hour and a half of Bach without exploding into flame.
That’s why I’m fond of visiting religious structures when I come across them. They show the benefits of being devoted to supporting and promoting a wealthy power structure such as a religion: You get the financing to bring fantasies to life, and beautiful buildings and art tend to result.
Science and secularism, for all it’s superiority in explaining reality, is lacking in the more physical manifestations of beauty. Of course you’d have to be dead in the heart to look at this photo of Saturn and not be awed by it. But Saturn is a billion kilometers away and there’s no way you can pass an afternoon sitting on a nearby bench and looking up in appreciation of it. It was also forged by forces beyond easy human comprehension. Saturn seems inevitable given the power of the cosmos. Exceptional, but not exceptional given the context.
But the Pieta? You marvel that a small, short-lived, cosmically insignificant ape made that. It seems almost inconceivable this came from an ugly, vicious human brain. Most of us can’t even handle Pictionary, yet one of us did that?! Wow, right? It still doesn’t mean that religious beliefs have any basis in reality. But I’m secure enough to admit that, when it comes to making beauty, religions have us heathens beat.
That’s why we’re claiming rock and roll and hip hop! They may not be beautiful most of the time, but do make you shake your butt.
Like every photo for the next few days, this was shot in the city of Nagasaki with a Mamiya C220f.