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Post 0

Friday, May 9, 2008 - 6:30pmSanction this postReply
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Could an atheist ever produce something like this? 
http://youtube.com/watch?v=RBoBGBTY0PY 
-Leibniz




Post 1

Friday, May 9, 2008 - 6:45pmSanction this postReply
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Why not? Atheists have the same emotional range as believers.

Bob Kolker




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Post 2

Friday, May 9, 2008 - 6:52pmSanction this postReply
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It's not a matter of "emotional range."  It's a matter of inspiration stemming from belief.  At any rate, there's no empirical evidence that atheist artists have ever even come close matching a work such as this. 



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Post 3

Friday, May 9, 2008 - 7:32pmSanction this postReply
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Can atheists be proper pedophiles then, or is that the proper domain of the Catholic Church?




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Post 4

Friday, May 9, 2008 - 8:22pmSanction this postReply
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Joe: 

Come now.  No need to get malicious.  I was asking a sincere question.  I am genuinely curious to know whether the highest forms of art require belief in the divine as an ideal to strive after and as a standard according to which to judge the beauty of the artwork.

As for the "pedophile" priests bit:  you reveal your own ignorance inasmuch as pedophilia is an inaccurate description of the affliction suffered by the priests in question. 

The victims of abuse were almost entirely (at least 90%) teenage boys.  So the priests were not pedophiles, but rather homosexuals who were incapable of controlling themselves and of remaining obedient to the Church's moral law, which regards homosexual acts as sins which "cry out to God for vengeance." 

Moreover, the problem of sexual abuse of minors is not a problem peculiar to the Catholic Church.  I quote from wikipedia.org: 

"The US Church, where the vast majority of sex abuse cases occurred, commissioned a comprehensive study that found 4 percent of all priests who served in the US from 1950 to 2002 faced some sort of sexual accusations. This percentage was far surpassed in a 2004 US government investigation of student sexual abuse by US public school teachers."

So we're looking at roughtly 4% of U.S. priests accused of some kind of abuse allegation.  Worldwide, the number of abusive priests is under 1%, and the church is doing everything in its power to eliminate priests who have a proclivity to prey on young adults. 

-Leibniz




Post 5

Friday, May 9, 2008 - 8:37pmSanction this postReply
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Gottfried,

Mozart wrote music for money. I can't find a reference to his being very religious. He probably was too absorbed in his "gift" to give religion much thought. He likely wrote his most moving works when he was most particularly in need of a paycheck.

I inadvertently sanctioned your post while reaching for the "reply" button. Probably God guided my hand.



Post 6

Friday, May 9, 2008 - 8:40pmSanction this postReply
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Gottfried, does the priestly inspiration towards alter boys stem from belief?



Post 7

Friday, May 9, 2008 - 9:09pmSanction this postReply
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Joe, your comments embarrass atheists. The problem you allude to with alter [sic] boys is enforced celibacy and the ay subculture which it has encouraged, not priesthood or religion per se. I know people who have dropped out of seminary because heterosexuals are made pointedly uncomfortable. And look at the 9-11 bombers. They seem to have consisted of a large number of perverts. Wherever sexuality is repressed perversion is encouraged. Teachers and social workers seem just as suspect to me as priests. And I am not attracted to men due to my religion or lack thereof.

As for Leibniz's original question, I would echo the thought that we have no evidence as to the piety of most artists. Who knows what Michelangelo believed? I assume most great artists were believers but freethinkers. Before Darwin and especially the enlightenment religious belief was a bit more plausible than it is today.

I'd hate to know what John Lennon believed.



(Edited by Ted Keer on 5/09, 9:12pm)




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Post 8

Friday, May 9, 2008 - 9:22pmSanction this postReply
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Ted, my answer is what it is, a fuck-you to a stupid question. I've had enough of the religious claiming a moral superiority that it does not deserve.



Post 9

Friday, May 9, 2008 - 9:24pmSanction this postReply
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Mike: 

Well, of course, in a sense he worked for money.  He was employed as a musician.  He had to make a living by accepting commissions for his work. 

However, if you knew anything at all about Mozart, you'd know that 1) the movie Amadeus is a completely inaccurate representation of him, even bordering on character assassination 2) that he wrote music because he has entirely taken up with music.  He loved composing, and we can see this by the fact that some of his greatest works weren't even commissioned (e.g., Mass in C minor). 

I've read three biographies of Mozart and a good number of his letters, and from all of them there is a very apparent indication of Mozart's religiosity. 

Here are some excerpts from his letters: 

  • As death, when we come to consider it closely, is the true goal of our existence, I have formed during the last few years such close relationships with this best and truest friend of mankind that death's image is not only no longer terrifying to me, but is indeed very soothing and consoling, and I thank my God for graciously granting me the opportunity...of learning that death is the key which unlocks the door to our true happiness. I never lie down at night without reflecting that - young as I am I may not live to see another day. Yet no one of all my acquaintances could say that in company I am morose or disgruntled.
    • Letter to Leopold Mozart (1787-04-04), from The Mozart-Da Ponte Operas by Andrew Steptoe [Oxford University Press, 1988, ISBN 0-198-16221-9], p. 84
  • I know myself, and I have such a sense of religion that I shall never do anything which I would not do before the whole world; but I am alarmed at the very thoughts of being in the society of people, during my journey, whose mode of thinking is so entirely different from mine (and from that of all good people). But of course they must do as they please. I have no heart to travel with them, nor could I enjoy one pleasant hour, nor know what to talk about; for, in short, I have no great confidence in them. Friends who have no religion cannot be long our friends.
    • Letter to Leopold Mozart (Mannheim, 1778-02-02), from The letters of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, 1769-1791, translated, from the collection of Ludwig Nohl, by Lady [Grace] Wallace (Oxford University Press, 1865, digitized 2006) vol. I, # 91 (p. 164) [2]
  • God is ever before my eyes. I realize His omnipotence and I fear His anger; but I also recognize His love, His compassion, and His tenderness toward His creatures. He will never forsake His own. If it is according to His will, so let it be according to mine. Thus all will be well and I must needs be happy and contented. (Letter of 25 October, 1777)
    In those distressing circumstances [Mozart is referring to his mother's death], there were three things that consoled me, namely, my complete and confident acceptance of God's will and the presence of so easy and beautiful a death, which made me think that in an instant she had become so happy - how much happier she is now than we are, so that at that instant I wanted to make the journey with her. - This wish and this desire provided me with my third source of comfort, namely, that she isn't lost forever - that we shall see her again - that we shall live together more happily and more contentedly than in this world of ours. (Letter of 9 July, 1778)
    Don't worry about the good of my soul, most beloved father! I'm just as likely to err as any other young man and by way of consolation wish only that others were as little likely to err as I am. You may perhaps believe things about me that aren't true; my main failing is that I don't always appear to act as I should.-It's not true that I boasted that I eat meat on all fast days; but I did say that I set little store by it and don't consider it a sin; for me, fasting means abstaining and eating less than usual. I attend Mass every Sunday and feast day, and, if I can make it, on weekdays too, but you already know that, father. (Letter of 13 June, 1781)
    "I will see you in a better world--and never to part." - September 3, 1787.  Mozart's entry in his private album, in reference to his doctor, Sigmund Barisani, who had recently died.   




    Post 10

    Friday, May 9, 2008 - 9:41pmSanction this postReply
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    Oh, and one more thing:  Does the fact that near the end Mozart said he was writing the Requiem for himself, and that he was weeping when listening to the Lacrymosa movement being rehearsed to him indicate that he was only in it for the money?



    Post 11

    Friday, May 9, 2008 - 9:53pmSanction this postReply
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    And what about the motet "Ave Verum Corpus," composed in the last year of his life for a friend to celebrate Corpus Christi: 
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=6SxYwMsGCGY

    (Check out the secular lyrics!)

    Ave verum corpus,
    Natum de Maria Virgine,
    Vere passum, immolatum
    In cruce pro homine,
    Cuius latus perforatum
    Unda fluxit et sanguine,
    Esto nobis praegustatum
    In mortis examine.

    Hail the true body,
    Born of the Virgin Mary,
    Truly suffered, sacrificed
    On the Cross for mankind,
    Whose pierced side
    Flowed with water and blood,
    Let it be for us, in consideration,
    A foretaste of death.
     

    (Edited by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz on 5/09, 9:56pm)




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    Post 12

    Friday, May 9, 2008 - 10:28pmSanction this postReply
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    I weep all the time listening to music. Am I a secret Zoroastrian? Art is a response to values. The highest development of music was in the West. The West is Christian or post-Christian. What's the mystery?

    Better yet, did you have to be a Pagan to create these?






    Post 13

    Friday, May 9, 2008 - 11:02pmSanction this postReply
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     I assume most great artists were believers but freethinkers.
    Based on what?    
    Before Darwin and especially the enlightenment religious belief was a bit more plausible than it is today.

    It was more fashionable then, of course, but I'm not sure it was more plausible.  I get the impression that there were quite a number of people who were more superstitious than genuinely religious living in the Middle Ages.  So when the science racheted up a notch, it purged the Church of all of the people who didn't really believe in the first place; they were just superstitious.   
    I'd hate to know what John Lennon believed.
    I'm probably going to be censured for this, but, quite frankly, the music Lennon composed was garbage.  It was singy-songy trash.   

    I weep all the time listening to music. Am I a secret Zoroastrian? Art is a response to values. The highest development of music was in the West. The West is Christian or post-Christian. What's the mystery?
    I only cited the point of Mozart's weeping to prove that he wasn't writing the Requiem solely for the money, as if the music was just a means to get money. 

    Art is a response to values.  True.  But some values are better than others.  God is more valuable than one's portfolio or one's preference in cuisine.  I can't imagine a composer writing an impassioned and aesthetically masterful ode to Microsoft. 

    The West was Christian up until the mid to late 19th century, I'd say. 

    As for the sculptures you've presented, no you don't have to be pagan to make them.  But I would say you do have to be of some kind of religious temperament.     




    Post 14

    Friday, May 9, 2008 - 11:27pmSanction this postReply
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    Just look at the preety pictures, Gottfried, and tell me what religion really had to do with them. You're not going to get any serious effort out of me otherwise. You attribute belief to Mozart without any real evidence. I assert that most artistic geniuses on the level of Michelangelo were probably freethinkers, meaning that they did not accept arguments from authority. Proof? Hold on while I check. P.S., My boyfriend works nights. Why are you posting this late on a Friday evening?




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    Post 15

    Saturday, May 10, 2008 - 3:41amSanction this postReply
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     I get the impression that there were quite a number of people who were more superstitious than genuinely religious living in the Middle Ages.  So when the science racheted up a notch, it purged the Church of all of the people who didn't really believe in the first place; they were just superstitious.   

    Religion IS superstition, just highly refined.....




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    Post 16

    Saturday, May 10, 2008 - 5:47amSanction this postReply
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    "It's not a matter of "emotional range."  It's a matter of inspiration stemming from belief."

    No no no no no. This music is not stemmed from a belief in God. It is from God itself. And Mozart is the God. And that's what I believe. ;-)  He is divine. 

    Do you know that Verdi also wrote a Requiem, which is also quite divine.

    (Edited by Hong Zhang on 5/10, 5:49am)




    Post 17

    Saturday, May 10, 2008 - 9:53amSanction this postReply
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    GWL wrote,
    It's not a matter of "emotional range." It's a matter of inspiration stemming from belief. At any rate, there's no empirical evidence that atheist artists have ever even come close matching a work such as this.
    What it evidently does require is idealism. But that idealism needn't be mystical. It can and "ideally" should be directed towards secular values, not religious ones -- toward the values of human life, human glorification and human achievement, as exemplified in Greek art, not towards such things as "The Mass of the Dead," human sacrifice and human suffering.

    The latter sense of life is accurately depicted in the chilling lyrics from the motet "Ave Verum Corpus," as quoted by Leibniz in Post 11:

    Hail the true body,
    Born of the Virgin Mary,
    Truly suffered, sacrificed
    On the Cross for mankind,
    Whose pierced side
    Flowed with water and blood,
    Let it be for us, in consideration,
    A foretaste of death.


    It is the value of life and its exaltation that Objectivists uphold as inspirational -- as a moral and esthetic ideal -- not the value of death.

    - Bill





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    Post 18

    Saturday, May 10, 2008 - 12:50pmSanction this postReply
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    Gottfried,

    Johannes Brahms' German Requiem is the work of a freethinker.

    Giuseppe Verdi's Requiem is the work of an atheist.

    You're going to have to come up with a serious argument, or no one will take you seriously.

    Robert Campbell



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    Post 19

    Saturday, May 10, 2008 - 1:22pmSanction this postReply
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    Well, it just seems to me that if you want to invent the light bulb, then you have to be raised in Port Huron, Michigan.  Being born in Milan, Ohio, is necessary, but not sufficient.

    The answer is not that "religion inspired Mozart" but that Mozart found inspiration in religion.  Millions of people -- billions, really -- believe but few of them are Mozart. 

    To find the genius, seek the man.




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