Sunday, October 11, 2015

YMBA

Japanese Buddhists on the Hawaiian Islands formed the Young Man's Buddhist Association, or the YMBA.

Can you imagine the Buddhist monks doing this song in their orange robes?

9 comments:

Crude said...

I had a feeling that was going to be the link. :)

B. Prokop said...

Victor,

I know your posting was only in the most tenuous manner related to the following, but I've been on a search for "Great Atheist Art" for some time now, and am coming up practically empty. We all know that religion in general, whether it be Christianity or any other faith, is chock full to the rafters with artistic masterpieces. In architecture we have everything from the Rollright Stones in the Cotswolds, to Angkor Wat, to Eli Cathedral. Sacred music is arguably the finest ever composed, and libraries could be (and are) filled with religiously-inspired literature (e.g., The Divine Comedy, Four Quartets, Taliesin Through Logres, The Seven Storey Mountain, ad infinitum).

But atheism comes up practically empty. Keep in mind, I'm not looking for art by atheists, but rather art about atheism. Beyond Maxim Gorky or H.G. Wells, of whom can the unbelievers boast as literary giants? (Please don't suggest that hack writer Ayn Rand!) In architecture, I can't think of a single legitimately great work other than Lenin's Mausoleum in Red Square. And as for music, don't make me laugh! (Well, there's always this little gem by Shostakovich.) The one arena in which atheism seems to indisputably excel is in poster art.

Can anyone add to that all-too-short list?

Jezu ufam tobie!

Jeffery Jay Lowder said...

What would atheist art even look like? An oil on canvass painting that is all black to signify the lack of God? A drawing of electrons orbiting the atom?

By its very nature, atheism isn't the sort of thing you would expect atheists to make art *about.*

Victor Reppert said...

What about the movies of Woody Allen?

B. Prokop said...

"What about the movies of Woody Allen?"

Good one! I hadn't even considered movies. And certainly Crimes and Misdemeanors is explicitly about atheism.

One could also argue that Bergman's The Seventh Seal is a film about atheism - or, at the very least, about an agonizing doubt.

B. Prokop said...

Oops! My link doesn't work. Let's try this one.

Crude said...

By its very nature, atheism isn't the sort of thing you would expect atheists to make art *about.*

If you define 'atheism' in the most miniscule, 'mere absence of belief in God' way, then you wouldn't automatically expect atheists to oppose either prayer in school or even a theocracy.

B. Prokop said...

Just remembered Jean-Paul Sartre. His works are nothing if not blatantly atheist. But I hope no atheist points to him as an example to be emulated, considering his praise for the Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics, approving their murder of 11 Israeli athletes as a justifiable act.

Jezu ufam tobie!

Dave Duffy said...

YMCA and the Village People, I never quite got the connection between conservative Christians and the song. Is it something gay? What is the Buddhists take on the gays (I don't mean the atheists California Buddhists, but the true believers)?

"But atheism comes up practically empty."

That is the point. When I'm doubting the faith and generally feeling melancholy I like to read Beckett, Campus, and Kafka. Life does seem incomprehensible, confusing, and absurd sometimes. I can wallow in it with the best of them.