On my way to work today in Chicago I took a detour and stopped off at a local church. I sat there for a while and closed my eyes for a few minutes. I happened to be next to the confessional boxes and some fake flickering candles. The building itself was really impressive, lots of marble, and it was extremely peaceful. I thought to myself, these religious folks actually do have something, you know. If you take away all the words and beliefs and repeated gestures and intolerance for other faiths, etc. and just sit there, thinking, it's quite wonderful. I went off to work feeling much more relaxed than usual (albeit somewhat late...) and the whole day actually went better than usual. Maybe I will do that again someday. It made me wonder though, if atheists could provide something like that - a quite place to go and just sit and think (or maybe even have a cup of tea?), how nice would that be? If there are any rich atheists in Chicago, how about it? A small room would be just fine. If not, I guess I'll just continue to usurp churches and hope nobody guesses that I am a "godless infidel".

-BT

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Comment by Fr33think3r on December 13, 2008 at 9:55am
I think you proved a point that Sam Harris makes. Meditation and self-reflection can be good. Maybe going someplace where the phone will not ring, there is no email to check, and that you do not have to clean lends itself to deeper reflection.

There are examples of humanist house’s and the like around the country. I think that they could serve a purpose. For example, many of us feel alone and feel like there is no one else like us in our community. Besides, making an in person real live connection is good for you health.
Comment by Buford Twain on November 15, 2008 at 8:44am
Good suggestion, Father Nature. A change of scenery seemed to do some good as well. The church was very well-designed and pleasant to spend time in.
Comment by Father Nature on November 15, 2008 at 8:21am
I can understand the need to meditate in a quiet place. If you live alone, it's easy to do at home but, if you share your living space, it can be a problem. For some, a lock on the door and a good pair of headphones will do the trick.
Comment by Buford Twain on November 15, 2008 at 8:17am
There was one thing that sort of broke through my meditative trance - other people were kneeling down and praying, and I couldn't help thinking, "you're probably wasting your time".
Comment by Goodie Faithless on November 15, 2008 at 2:15am
My parents used to be hippies and I noticed a lot of hippie stuff is like stuff from the church. For example, a lot of bands had organ music back then. 'Inna Gadda Da Vida' by Iron Butterfly is a prime example. Incense is a Catholic church thing and a hippie thing. Some of the fashions like long hair, big sleeves and leather sandals are biblical. Those groovy gilded patterned Christmas hippie candles were pretty churchy. There was a hippie stained glass revival too. I love all of those things and also illuminated manuscripts. Alice May Brock (Alice's Restaurant) supposedly lived in a church. My point is that you're right. You don't have to be religious to appreciate beautiful things. Also, that I want people to go back to being hippies!!

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