Religion For Atheists: A Non-believer's Guide To The Uses Of Religion

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Religion For Atheists: A Non-believer's Guide To The Uses Of Religion

by Alain De Botton

McClelland & Stewart | March 6, 2012 | Hardcover

Religion For Atheists: A Non-believer's Guide To The Uses Of Religion is rated 3 out of 5 by 2.
From the author of The Architecture of Happiness, a deeply moving meditation on how we can still benefit, without believing, from the wisdom, the beauty, and the consolatory power that religion has to offer.
 
Alain de Botton was brought up in a committedly atheistic household, and though he was powerfully swayed by his parents'' views, he underwent, in his mid-twenties, a crisis of faithlessness. His feelings of doubt about atheism had their origins in listening to Bach''s cantatas, were further developed in the presence of certain Bellini Madonnas, and became overwhelming with an introduction to Zen architecture. However, it was not until his father''s death -- buried under a Hebrew headstone in a Jewish cemetery because he had intriguingly omitted to make more secular arrangements -- that Alain began to face the full degree of his ambivalence regarding the views of religion that he had dutifully accepted. Why are we presented with the curious choice between either committing to peculiar concepts about immaterial deities or letting go entirely of a host of consoling, subtle and effective rituals and practices for which there is no equivalent in secular society? Why do we bristle at the mention of the word "morality"? Flee from the idea that art should be uplifting, or have an ethical purpose? Why don''t we build temples? What mechanisms do we have for expressing gratitude? The challenge that de Botton addresses in his book: how to separate ideas and practices from the religious institutions that have laid claim to them. In Religion for Atheists is an argument to free our soul-related needs from the particular influence of religions, even if it is, paradoxically, the study of religion that will allow us to rediscover and rearticulate those needs.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 320 pages, 8.36 × 5.53 × 1.08 in

Published: March 6, 2012

Publisher: McClelland & Stewart

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0771025971

ISBN - 13: 9780771025976

Found in: Religion and Spirituality

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Possibly the Kindest, Most Insightful Book About the Benefits of Religion Ever Written By An Atheist This book is not about religion bashing. It is written by an atheist for atheists, so it does take for granted that there is no deity. That said, it is completely unlike the books written by Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins in that it delves into what religion can teach nonbelievers and how it does benefit its practitioners. For example, religions have festivals as well as daily or weekly rituals that remind people of their core values. As a nonbeliever myself, I don't think one needs religion to be a good person, but I agree with de Botton that without a way of reminding oneself about core values it is so easy to forget them in this busy, noisy world. Religious people often have a sense of community that atheists might not have. Anyone who has ever participated in the atheist community knows that getting skeptical people to agree upon or do anything is like herding cats. Some people might criticize the author for "cherry-picking" some elements of religious beliefs while disregarding others, but that is one of the great things about our society in general. We take the things that are good, clever and helpful and set aside ideas that are not. We can learn from many other people's beliefs without having the subscribe to them all. Anyone looking for contemporary, accessible philosophy that really takes the sting out of modern life, read Alain de Botton! The Consolations of Philosophy is particularly great. He takes 6 philosophers--Socrates, Seneca, Epicurus, Montaigne, Schopenhauer, and even Nietzsche--and shows how their teachings can help us in our daily troubles.
Date published: 2014-11-22
Rated 1 out of 5 by from nope it just a religion basher, no real guidance
Date published: 2013-03-27

– More About This Product –

Religion For Atheists: A Non-believer's Guide To The Uses Of Religion

by Alain De Botton

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 320 pages, 8.36 × 5.53 × 1.08 in

Published: March 6, 2012

Publisher: McClelland & Stewart

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0771025971

ISBN - 13: 9780771025976

From the Publisher

From the author of The Architecture of Happiness, a deeply moving meditation on how we can still benefit, without believing, from the wisdom, the beauty, and the consolatory power that religion has to offer.
 
Alain de Botton was brought up in a committedly atheistic household, and though he was powerfully swayed by his parents'' views, he underwent, in his mid-twenties, a crisis of faithlessness. His feelings of doubt about atheism had their origins in listening to Bach''s cantatas, were further developed in the presence of certain Bellini Madonnas, and became overwhelming with an introduction to Zen architecture. However, it was not until his father''s death -- buried under a Hebrew headstone in a Jewish cemetery because he had intriguingly omitted to make more secular arrangements -- that Alain began to face the full degree of his ambivalence regarding the views of religion that he had dutifully accepted. Why are we presented with the curious choice between either committing to peculiar concepts about immaterial deities or letting go entirely of a host of consoling, subtle and effective rituals and practices for which there is no equivalent in secular society? Why do we bristle at the mention of the word "morality"? Flee from the idea that art should be uplifting, or have an ethical purpose? Why don''t we build temples? What mechanisms do we have for expressing gratitude? The challenge that de Botton addresses in his book: how to separate ideas and practices from the religious institutions that have laid claim to them. In Religion for Atheists is an argument to free our soul-related needs from the particular influence of religions, even if it is, paradoxically, the study of religion that will allow us to rediscover and rearticulate those needs.

About the Author

ALAIN DE BOTTON was born in 1969 and is the author of non-fiction essays on themes ranging from love and travel to architecture and philosophy. His bestselling books include Essays in Love, How Proust Can Change Your Life,The Architecture of Happiness, The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work, and A Week at the Airport. He lives in London and founded The School of Life and Living Architecture.

Editorial Reviews

"This is a wonderfully provocative book.... De Botton excels at exposing the emptiness of contemporary self-congratulation. He has a fine eye for the senselessness of hypermodern urban life." Globe and Mail

"[De Botton''s] thoughtfulness encourages atheists and believers alike to ponder the accrued knowledge and insight that all religions can offer to a troubled world." Vancouver Sun

"A compelling, thought-provoking work." Edmonton Journal
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