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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.
I really hated this book, and I so wanted to like it since I am a spiritual but nontheistic person. First, I felt the author set up strawmen (in the guise of libertarians) to... Read morePublished 4 days ago by CS
If you're looking for a Richard Dawkins state tirade against religion, this isn't it. De Botten argues that secular society can learn from religion.Published 6 days ago by Matthew Patterson
I've read several of Mr. De Botton's books. He gets to the point succinctly. There is much to consider in these pages. Read morePublished 14 days ago by Rachel S. Jerdin
This is well balanced account of the spiritual needs of men and woman. Even if one rejects religious faith, it is abundantly clear that religion brings a host of benefits to... Read morePublished 15 days ago by Mark Landeau
Religion for Atheists provides new ways to look at religion. The author gives great history and explains why religions have done the things they have. Read morePublished 26 days ago by Lynn A. Ellsworth
A valuable resource for my teenage son who isn't into religion but still needs something to fascinate and guide himPublished 1 month ago by Jeane Bicket
I expected a lot more from this book after hearing Alain's TED podcast. Love the premise, don't love the execution. A bit obvious at times and a bit redundant. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Alex Iskold
I'm a life-long agnostic, not an atheist. Nevertheless, I felt that this book is full of interesting insights. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Richard Lyle McClure
He makes a good case for Atheism to be considered as a religion and it is clear that the Atheists need a book like the bible in which writings containing the principles of Atheism... Read morePublished 2 months ago by ALEXANDER GARDNER