Cathedrals and Truth
By Bill Laudeman

I have taken the time to compile and publish the Technotheology material because, for many years, I felt that I lacked any sense of religion. From my (then) viewpoint, the Bible and all other religious writing amounted to nothing but myth and allegory. Oh, I suspected that there was some truth underlying these tales, but it distrubed me that the truth was hidden; just as the true structure of a cathedral is hidden by a facade of stone, plaster, and brightly colored glass.

If you peel away all of a cathedral's "art" - what is left? Beams, columns and other structural elements. Not very appealing to the eye nor attractive to most observers. A cathedral consisting only of stressed elements and weight-bearing members would be greeted with little respect by the vast majority of worshipers. I'll concede a need for a roof and walls to keep out the wind and rain; now we have fully functional cathedral, but still unappealing to most. Let's add a few more of the less essential interior decorations: for example, statuary, pews, and embellishments to improve acoustics. Light is important to us - then windows, properly located, I agree, can be true "elemental" components of the cathedral.

All the rest, and all purely visual decoration? Fluff and nonsense (again, please, this is my personal opinion) intended to attract the eye of the viewer and somehow "raise" his consciousness to a consideration of the Divine.

Feeling as I do about unnecessary decoration, how can I accept that God inspired men to write scriptures in an obscure and confusing manner? Well, obviously because the original audience could not have understood the "bare truth" if it had somehow been expressed in today's math. Even now with our greater grasp of the underlying structure of the universe, we are incapable of real understanding, but we are at least beginning to glimpse something of the basic structure of reality.

Returning to my original analogy; when I look at a cathedral, what do I see? Better; what do I want to see?

I want to see why it doesn't sink into the earth. I know that all of that stone has enormous weight and that is is not "sitting on the ground" that I stand on. No way! I know that, under the visible building, there is a fantastically strong foundation system. Note the word: "system" - not just some big monolithic slab, but a well designed system planned with great care by someone who understood that "earth" is a transient verb.

The strength of that foundation extends upward through the dead weight of the walls, and those walls, in turn, are tied to one-another with stressed members that prevent them from falling outward under the spreading forces exerted by the weight of the roof above.

Do you care about all of this? Or are you engaged by the visual, and attracted solely by the esthetics and appearance of the huge building? If you have no more than a passing interest in the engineering that went into the planning and construction, well and good. I'd surmise that you are probably one of the vast majority who accept the Bible and the Gospels for what they say - you are not impelled to ask: "What does it all really mean?"

No, even that is wrong - meaning is in the mind of the understander, not the stater. I do not say that your understanding of religion is wrong, but I insist that it is not the only correct understanding. I do not say that the gargoyles, stained glass, and spires should be scraped off the fundamental structure of the cathedral. I do not even suggest that you should accept my understanding of reality; just that you allow me to hold it, and offer it to others who, like myself, do not or can not participate in the "artistic mode" of religion.

I am unable to relate to God as Father, but I stand in awe of, and revere God the Engineer. I feel little empathy for Jesus-Preacher; but I have enormous respect for Jesus-Troubleshooter / Repairman / Teacher.

Artistic statuary and florid decoration leave me cold; structural simplicity and integrity fill me with joy and a sense of the power of the Architect. I see the wonderfully organized universe which does not have a single unnecessary decorative element. I see reality governed by an astonishingly compact code of sublime simplicity. The Author of that code must - absolutely MUST - be infinitely intelligent, and therefore (by neccessity) infinitely good. I believe that anything that attempts to go contrary to that Creator's program, to deface or distort His structure is waste, foolishness and - by definition - evil.

Bill Laudeman
Chattanooga, Tennessee
June 27, 1999
(Updated Dec. 27, 2005)

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