Julian Barnes (a prolific English author) finds himself deeply moved by certain works of art that convey a spiritual message —even though he doesn’t belief in God. For example, Mozart’s Requiem relies on the Christian understanding of death, judgment and afterlife. Yet, Barnes rejects these ideas. He believes that nothing follows after death, but extinction. Nevertheless, the Requiem moves him and not merely the arrangements of notes, but the words. “It is one of the haunting hypotheticals for the nonbeliever…What would it be like ‘if [the Requiem] were true’[?]”
Leonard Bernstein (an American composer and conductor) famously admitted that when he heard great music and great beauty he sensed “Heaven.”
[Beethoven] has the real goods, the stuff from Heaven, the power to make you feel at the finish: something is right in the world. There is something that checks throughout, that follows its own law consistently: something we can trust, that will never let us down.
If we are the product of accidental natural forces, then what we call “beauty” is nothing but a neurological hardwired response.Read More