I was reading up on Rudolf Otto and his conception of holiness in conjunction with Grant Morrison’s Gothic Batman book from way back—in that book Batman has to stop Mr. Whisper from using this gothic cathedral to trap all of Gotham’s souls and give to the devil so he can live longer—at any rate the book goes on at some length about this idea that the gothic architecture is occult in design and is made to be kind of an organ of soulness out up into God.
Sort of working on that idea with some thoughts Bergman had on the sensation of walking into huge holy catherdrals and that sensation that you feel(holiness)—and then ruminating on that experience as one that as a Baptist growing up I sort of missed out on that sensation in terms of relating to God. Contemporary American Christianity is usually practiced in things that either metaphor at a Wal-Mart super center or a trailer park and I think because of that they perhaps lose that connection with the holy. There’s less a sombre holy tone in American religion and more a loud clattering.
Anyways. I think this is somehow connected to the anger that a lot of American christianity has come to exemplify. You don’t really get taught God with the reverence of a sacred holy place, but more as something reached through pure passion. I mean you can go into some of those great old catherdrals and almost hit ecstasy just from the artwork. But in America without that, we have relied more on passion as a bridge to that moment. I think this results in a more emotional and less intellectual relationship with religion.
It makes sense though that our churches would be how they are. But I think one of the reasons you see middle america/bible belt america so disconnected from even the religious on the coasts is the complete lack of holy spaces.
It seems relevent to mention that I’ve gone to church in carpet stores, high school gyms, and with people in overalls as their sunday best.
I dunno. I’m mostly at a loss as to why I have no real experiences to point to as an intersection with holiness. I think you need reverence to achieve holiness, and I don’t think I’ve ever been faced with anything demanding that in it’s archetecture. Perhaps the closest would be the Cemeteries in New Orleans. New Orleans has some gothic churches, but the ones I’ve been inside you feel more like you’re in a simulacrum than the essential real thing.
I’m also interested in percieving holiness without also percieving the profane. I am trying to push my brain into seeing them not as oppository concepts but as just seperate concepts which describe their own separate things within their own natures.
These are the kinds of things that happen when you drop your History of philosophy class because you think Aristotle is a poop head. Studying philosophy convinced me of the merits of studying fiction instead.