Friday, 18 May 2012

On amusements and beliefs

Thursday was public holiday thanks to Ascension Day or Holy Thursday commemorating the Ascension of Jesus into heaven on the 40th day from Easter.

Religion has lost much of its importance in our society during the past 50 years or so. Yet the religious feasts that were moved here to the weekend in the early 1970s to save a working day were returned to their original place less than 20 years later. Rather a nice achievement by the trade unions, although I sometimes feel it would be healthy for some people who overdo the amusement part on their extra day off to be aware of the reason why they are having one in the first place.

Don’t take me wrong. I’m not a spiritual person, at least not in the sense that I’d consider any religion to be superior to any other or to guarantee you eternity. To me, all religions represent basically the same values of humanity: you should be good, respect others, protect life on this planet and never hurt anyone intentionally. Isn’t this something that should be self-evident to each and everyone in his/her right mind?

Be there an afterlife or not, I don’t see any harm in believing. But when these basic facts of human ethics are buried under know-it-all dogmatism or fanaticism dating back to a completely different kind of era, that’s when I lose my tolerance.

The photos are from the Tibidabo mountain overlooking the city of Barcelona. In addition to an amusement park originating from the turn of the 20th century, there is also Catalonia’s own Sacré-Coeur, the Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor, at the top. It was designed by the Catalan architect Enric Sagnier and completed under the supervision of his son 60 years later in 1961. The exterior is not much of a beauty to look at but the lower sanctuary or the crypt is lovely housing, among others, fascinating altar decorations in mosaic. I loved their colourfulness.

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