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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 think it would be even more fun reading the book drunk yourself.
"Religion for Atheists" beautifully portrays many of the wonderful things religion gets right and many would be wiser to check this book out.
I would also recommend this book to freethought reading groups, as the resulting discussions could become very interesting.
No one will agree with all de Botton's ideas, but all encourage thought. I did prefer his Architecture of Happiness.Published 17 days ago by Douglas Murray
As religious person, I found this book to be insightful for myself, but also in understanding some of my agnostic friends. Read morePublished 28 days ago by Michael D. Maxwell
The most compelling book for seeking out a faith community, from an unexpected source. Enjoyed his Atheism 2.0 TED talk and later found his book.Published 28 days ago by A. Carter
A good book in terms of the core idea (how can an atheist admire and benefit from religious performance (art, arhitecture, ritual) and a good collection of facts and descriptions... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Nonsider
Courageously bold. A few good ideas. Somewhat repetitive. All in, worth reading to understand the utility go western religions in a secular context.Published 2 months ago by Rasheed Sabar
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 2 months 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 2 months 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 2 months ago by Rachel S. Jerdin