Q: If we were to replace religion with a secular equivalent, who would be our gurus?
A: We don't need a central structure. We are beyond the age of gurus and inspirational leaders. We are in the age of the Wiki structure. This means that it is up to all of us to look at religion and see what bits we can steal and place into the modern world. We might all contribute to the construction of new temples, not the government, but the concerned, interested individual. The salvation of the individual soul remains a serious problem--even when we dismiss the idea of God. In the 20th century, capitalism has really solved (in the rich West) the material problems of a significant portion of mankind. But the spiritual needs are still in chaos, with religion ceasing to answer the need. This is why I wrote my book, to show that there remains a new way: a way of filling the modern world with so many important lessons from religion, and yet not needing to return to any kind of occult spirituality.Q: Don't you think that, in order to truly appreciate religious music and art, you have to be a believer--or, at least, don't you think that non-believers miss something important in the experience? A: I am interested in the modern claim that we have now found a way to replace religion: with art. You often hear people say, 'Museums are our new churches'. It's a nice idea, but it's not true, and it's principally not true because of the way that museums are laid out and present art. They prevent anyone from having an emotional relationship with the works on display. They encourage an academic interest, but prevent a more didactic and therapeutic kind of contact. I recommend in my book that even if we don't believe, we learn to use art (even secular art) as a resource for comfort, identification, guidance and edification, very much what religions do with art.
We can do well without the supernatural, bigoted nonsense from the ancient world. But coming together regularly, in an atmosphere that inspires wonder and transcendence, that... Read morePublished 7 days ago by Robert K. Mateja
Like another reviewer, I found this book difficult to follow. I also thought that the author may be a latent/lapsed Catholic, as he constantly extolls the virtues of the Catholic... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Louise D. Somes
A call to thought and perhaps to action - in book form. This is a bit ironic, and acknowledged as such, in a book that urges us beyond books to the difficult and lengthy... Read morePublished 1 month ago by jinindy
I am a big fan of Alain and all his books. I have been reading almost all his book. He has good ideas. Nninoss.comPublished 1 month ago by Ninos
I love reading Alain de Botton because he goes straight to the essence of the subject and then describes it
in an extremely digestible narrative. Would recommend this book.
As an interfaith hospital spiritual care worker, I read this book to learn more about the spirituality of my atheist patients. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Roxi
deliveredrapidlyingreatshapehavenotreadityethoweverilikeeverythingivereadsofarbydebotton.Published 4 months ago by Ralph
"Religion is too important and valuable to all people to be simply dismissed, even by atheists,"... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Ilya Grigorik