Mary Johnson's Reviews > Religion for Atheists: A Non-Believer's Guide to the Uses of Religion

Religion for Atheists by Alain de Botton
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Mar 12, 2012

it was amazing

"Religion for Atheists" tackles questions of the soul in a secular world. As someone for whom religion once structured my worldview (I was a Catholic nun for twenty years and have since left religion altogether), I agree with Alain de Botton's analysis that religion has much to offer unbelievers--not for its stories of the supernatural, but for its response to genuine human needs through community, art, education, and architecture over millennia.

De Botton's prose is lucid and precise. The book's use of photographs and white space makes this series of essays something of a secular illuminated manuscript, a book of meditations on being human.

As the best religions do, de Botton's book appeals not only to the mind, but also opens a human response through aesthetic beauty, playfulness and an appeal to the emotions and imagination. De Botton envisions a world both free from religion's superstitions and open to the needs of humans for community and inspiration. I enjoyed dreaming along with him.
18 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Religion for Atheists.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

Started Reading
March 12, 2012 – Shelved
March 12, 2012 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

Ietrio Thank you for your review. After reading the book, I had no idea why de Botton wrote it. One speculation was to make himself pope. But to whom? Most reviews give the book a poor rating.

After reading your review it is clear to me: to the people used to have a pope, not only the catholics. You begin with 'soul in a secular world' and end with 'a world [...] free from religion's superstitions'.

My comment might sound sarcastic. Or ironic. But it is not. It helped me understand de Botton better than the long reviews that got more likes.

back to top