Notre-Dame de Paris has burned

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To my friends and loved ones in and of Paris, and of France, I am so very very sorry.

Notre-Dame de Paris has burned. This is a real tragedy. Time will tell how bad the damage is, but we already know enough to say that if this structure stands again on the Île de la Cité, it will be mostly as a reconstructed, not restored, cathedral.

There is a mere handful of sites that if destroyed by fire would be as tragically destroyed, because of its architecture and history. The building was built between 1163 and 1345 and served as a keystone center for the same exact civilization so many of us, on this day and in this year, strive to save and also change for the better.

I am a member of a large community of atheists, and I’m sure the vast majority of my atheist friends join in lamenting this loss. For the small subset who will find this to be not a tragedy, because the building is merely a building, or because it has housed the high ceremony of European oppression, or because anything Catholic is simply worthy of disdain, please read this post about the significance and the sanctity of the Dead Sea Scrolls to an atheist such as myself, and you can substitute a centuries-old iconic Catholic church in Paris for a library of ancient writings on the Dead Sea.

Vive La France.


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7 thoughts on “Notre-Dame de Paris has burned

  1. It is indeed a tragedy. The loss of historic structures and artifacts like the Bamiyan Buddhas, the Parthenon, or this grand cathedral harms us all, be we atheists, protestants, Catholics, or followers of Zeus.

    * The Parthenon was not lost, but was damaged during the Great Turkish War (1683-1699) when the gunpowder the Turks had stored in it was set off by shelling.

  2. Thanks Greg.

    I’d never been there but I’m connected, as you so nicely point out, to this historic site in more ways than I know.

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