2014 Religious Architecture Award Winners

Here is the link to photos of some of the most interesting religious architecture this year.

Baptists such as I do not traditionally put great stock in church buildings as religious architecture. IMHO this comes more from our heritage in Platonism in contrast to Aristotelianism more than our view of the Bible. In Platonism (which captured the minds and hearts of the early church Fathers, by and large), the real world is the life of the mind, of the transcendent, of the “out of this world” which we access through rationality. In Aristotelianism the earthly contains the eternal. We can move from the smallest fact and object to the greatest truth. Therefore, the things of this world are able to contain and display the glory of God. Protestants mostly hail back to Plato and Roman Catholics to Aristotle. In the former, a plain sanctuary with seats and a pulpit is sufficient. In fact, elaborate architecture can tempt the senses to overwork and thereby cloud the mind. In the latter, architecture captures and displays the present God and divine realities. It engages all the senses – eye, ear, touch, smell, taste. Walking into a Roman Catholic sanctuary causes the sense to leap. Protestants fear violating the command against idolatry. Roman Catholics fear violating the sacred Presence.

Of course, another reason Baptists tip in the direction of simple architecture is that they use their financial resources in evangelism and missions, the extension of the Gospel. This is one of the reasons Baptists (and Methodists) captured the American frontier. They not only did not expend great sums on buildings but also did not expend great sums on an educated clergy. There was hardly a way to get an Episcopalian on a horse and do some circuit riding. Their clergy tended to stay back East in ornate buildings among the refined tastes of the elite. I tend to fall in the Baptist way, though as I have gotten older I appreciate the importance of sacred spaces that do not double as gyms, a place that says to the senses ‘bow and worship.’

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