Jeff's Reviews > Religion for Atheists: A Non-believer's Guide to the Uses of Religion

Religion for Atheists by Alain de Botton
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May 02, 12

bookshelves: 2012, non-fiction
Read from April 24 to May 02, 2012

Certainly not my favorite of the handful of de Botton books i've read, but it did grow on me. At first i found myself contending with his every idea and suggestion, but i think i finally see his main point and can agree that (even if there isn't such a Thing as a soul within each human) humanity benefits from many religious traditions, rituals, and practices. Even the most hyper-secular mind—perhaps especially the most hyper-secular minds—would benefit from similar nourishment of "the soul," which is the aspect of humanity that the science age has discarded in favor of vapid pleasures and techno-marvels.

I doubt there's any chance such an institution as Auguste Comte's Universal Religion will ever evolve (an atheist church) to help us spiritually impoverished unbelievers, but i'm glad de Botton mentioned it—i'm tempted to add Comte's works to the list of Holy Shit. The chances are just as slim that museums/art galleries will rearrange themselves as de Botton suggests or that the Western idea of education will restructure itself to teach its students how to be well-rounded People as opposed to well-prepared wage earners.

You can't say de Botton didn't try, but you can say that all he did was write yet another book. Read his "books vs. institutions" section and you'll realize i'm not really slamming him.

Recommended especially for atheist do-gooders and religionistas who'd like some evidence that not all atheists hate all religions and all god-worshipers. Just because we don't believe in your god(s) doesn't mean we think you are idiotic for doing so.
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Reading Progress

04/25/2012 page 23
7.0% "I've only read the set-up/intro chapter, which apparently was SPOILED for me by somebody's review of the book on Amazon. :-)"
04/30/2012 page 58
18.0% "I've not felt in sync with de Botton as with the other books."
05/01/2012 page 196
61.0% "Simply because the title is so perfectly designed for this -- not because i wish to poke fun at AdB -- how about this for a parody: *Atheists for Religion: A User's Guide to the Religion of Non-belief* by Le Bottom d'Alain?"

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