In every civilization at every period of history people have devoted time and energy to sacred things. The sacred, like the beautiful, includes every category of object. There are sacred words, sacred gestures, sacred rites, sacred clothes, sacred places, sacred times. Sacred things are not of this world: they are set apart from ordinary reality and cannot be touched or uttered without rites of initiation or the privilege of religious office. To meddle with them without some purifying preparation is to run the risk of sacrilege. It is to desecrate and pollute what is holy, dragging it down to the sphere of everyday events.
Roger Scruton in Beauty: A Very Short Introduction
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