Something about big cities has been bothering me for some time. I look upon the faces of tired corporate employees, I see the overwhelming grayness of the very air, and something inside of me screams "this is not right". Much has been said about the unnatural and dehumanizing effect of the city life, but I had struggled to understnd, on a deeper level, why it is that cities, specially those that are modern in their conception, nearly always become breeding grounds of degeneracy, sin, depression, and atheism.
All it took for it to finally click was a trip to the beach. As I knelt down by the seaside, with the waves crashing softly against me, I understood suddenly the very real and very direct link between cities, atheism, and the God-complex that has embedded itself inside the minds of nearly everyone inside the world's largest cities.
“Nature is the art of God.” -Dante Alighieri
Take a walk through the downtown area of any big city: what do you see? Is there, between the concrete streets that you walk, any sign of the Divine?
What you see in most cities are exclusively man-made structures. Even if you managed to get a short glance of one of God's beautiful creations, its sight will be poisoned and corrupted by the human environment in which it finds itself.
Is anything in a city truly natural? Do you see the blue, undisturbed sky? Only through a veil of pollution. The earth? Islands of fake pasture planted among the cement. The air? Poisoned by the excessive production and rythm of machinery. Food? Processed, tampered with and filled with industrial seed oils. Water? Polluted. You might see the top of a mountain rising in the horizon, or a portion of a river crossing the city. But the mountain that you see is miles away, and the river that crosses your town is filled, again, with man-made creations: boats, harbors, ships, waste. Pure, undisturbed nature is simply inaccessible to whoever lives in a big city.
Cities and God
Cities disconnect man from the creations of God, which in turn makes it easy for him to forget his spirituality when all he sees are man made monstrositys. When you live, day after day, completely oblivious to the absolute beauty that God gave us, it's easy to fall prey to the temptations of the devil. It becomes easy to reject the idea of a God even existing, because in his walk through the modern city, there is nothing to remind the modern man of Him.
This does not mean that everything made by men is a monstrosity undeserving of existing. Mankind is capable of creating tremendous beauty. But man needs as his ally to create beauty, the Creator Himself. A godless man, disconnected from the divine, will project this in his work. The work of a godless man seeks no purpose other than function, financial gain, or efficiency.
Before, man built monuments to worship God, hence why ancient buildings were stunningly beautiful. Now, constructions are only there to serve a purpose, a function. And who can blame the modern architect? He has lived his life inbetween walls of grey, walking hard, desolate streets, and seeing not very often what true beauty is. And so, he builds with no Holy purpose. He builds exclusively from his brain, not from his heart, not from his spirit.
Modern cities are isolated, man-made structures that have no connection with God. And thus, the inhabitants of such a place will look around and see only man and his creations. And in his flawed human nature, these citizens will take as fact only what is most apparently evident: humans are what created their world. Their entire existence is man-made, so how can we expect them to believe in God?
And so, whereas the ancient man could find God in both the accesible nature that surrounded the cities of old, and in the magiificent monuments and cathedrals that were built in His honor, the modern man has become detached from the earthly representations of Holy Beauty, making him believe that creation is a human trait, and that the God that made the earth is but a fairytale.
But who can deny the breathtaking beauty of God's creations when he stands atop a mountain feeling the cold breeze, or when he sits at a whitesand beach hypnotized by the perpetual peace of the crashing waves? Who can deny the existence of a higher power when he is surrounded by the songs of birds and the rustling sound of the trees?
God is to be found in nature. It is there where we can see His work firsthand. It is there that he created us, and we decided that we could do better than him. And we built, and kept building, and shut Him out of our cities. And so, men forgot.
If we are to remember, to find God again, we need to return to nature, and rebuild those magnificent buildings that seeked to honor Him.
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