Sagrada Familia: A Church That Gets Atheists Excited

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You have probably seen this Gaudi building in a variety of films, particularly those that address the destruction of the world, and make a montage of all the great parts of our society which are going to be lost in our impending doom. Sagrada Familia is usually one of those buildings, and with a few pictures, it is easy to see why.

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Looking at the exterior of the church, the first thing I noticed was a depiction of some men gathered around  interesting fish men:

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I wouldn’t say that I know a lot about the bible, but I would have remembered hearing about the fish men who went to give the baby Jesus a set of pearls. My first thought was,  “These don’t belong on a church.” But they do. The church incorporating them struck me as very open minded and culturally progressive. Gaudi. What a guy.

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The massive line stretching around the corner to get inside looks daunting at first, but is more than worth the usually 20 minute wait. The interesting outer structural features of fish men, a lizard, turtle, and a variety of other obscure stone depictions are a big hint that the massive and imposing shape of this modern Cathedral is intriguing for a day long wait. In the words of the musician Moby, “I would wait in line for this.”

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On the inside everything changes. The statues are gone, and the walls become a soft white stone bathed in different warm and cool colors from the stained glass window. Everything looks very pure, like what the inside of a saint’s mind is probably supposed to resemble.

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My favorite part though was the stairwells. Standing underneath them, or at just the right angle, they look like an infinity of seashells, or a variety of other interesting every day objects. Going further with the natural world blending into the material structure, the columns supporting the building are designed to look like trees. The bases begin wide, and then get narrower towards the top. I was blown away.

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But this church isn’t even finished yet. It is 100 years in the making, and still looking for contributions to keep construction going. The vast majority of my knowledge is that they need to add another spire, but it could be much more. Take my advice, put it on the bucket list, visit it one day, and find out. Then come tell me about it 🙂

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