- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 5 hours and 5 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Audible Studios
- Audible.com Release Date: March 6, 2012
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B007HRU0DQ
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Religion for Atheists: A Non-Believer's Guide to the Uses of Religion Audible – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
Based on this central principle, he refers to various fields ranging from education to architecture and shows us how religions have traditionally interpreted or dealt with the problems typically associated with those fields. For example, we tend to assume that the purpose of education is to impart valuable information. Hence our puzzlement over a university lecture that focuses exclusively on certain obscure literary works of a foreign thinker who died several thousand years ago, however much importance its lecturer argues they have. This kind of situation happens because of the fact that education has forgotten its original mission: to fill the moral vacuum that was left by the ebbing of the influence of religion. Religions used to teach each of its adherents how to find happiness, how to deal with suffering, and how to become a better, mature person---a kind of therapeutic pedagogy, the need for which remains as strong as ever despite the fact that we are now living in a godless, secular world. Mr.Read more ›
While we are materially very well off today, our souls are parched and under-nourished more than ever. Our secular societies haven't been able to provide the kind of soul nourishment that religions used to. So, even though we should dismiss the super-natural elements of religion, its cosmological stories and so on, we should embrace its moral, ethical and its institutional contributions. The author talks about how religion teaches us kindness and tenderness and points out the positive role played by religious art, architecture and institutions in guiding humanity. As the author says, "We are most of us lambs in need of good shepherds ..." and institutionalized religions and its caretakers can act as shepherds guiding us sheep.
I agree with the author on some of the points while I found myself disagreeing with many. I agree that there is nothing but supreme goodness in the teachings of the founders of some religions, say, Jesus and Buddha (though none of these founders claimed to be super-natural beings). I personally start my day by reading notes I've compiled from the writings of the Stoics. I think most reasonable people would agree that Buddha's teachings or the Sermon on the Mount, the message of kindness, compassion, eliminating the vices of pride and wrath, can only help us lead better and richer lives. However, I cannot seem to agree with the completely positive outlook the author seems to have on the institutionalized versions of these religions.
Institutionalized religions took the founder's teachings as the kernel and, after adding a layer of tropes and myths, built around it a mighty organizational and power structure. Granted, they have made many contributions.Read more ›
With deftness, wit, and a wry tone, de Botton explores some of religion's greatest hits, including wisdom, community, kindness, tenderness, perspective, education, architecture, and art. He shows us how effective religion is at what we might call a customer-centric approach to presenting itself and suggests many secular institutions like universities, art galleries, and museums might be much more effective at engaging us with our culture if they borrowed a few tips from the assorted god squads. My favourite is his suggestion that we order human knowledge and learning in easy to grasp thematic ways (stuff about love, loss, marriage etc) rather than the dull, inaccessible academic boffin way (19th century x-ism, early 20th century z-ism etc) we're all so fond of.
What's implied here is that we have a soul (psyche, imagination, heart, whatever) that used to be fed and sustained by religion, a soul that is now starved and in need of sustenance, a soul that needs regular doses of meaning and wisdom so we can make it through the day, a soul we ignore at our peril, a soul that rewards those who care for it, if only we could remember how to do that.
It's not all plain sailing, and some of de Botton's suggestions ring the "yeah, right" bell. But even when his answers are a big wobbly, the questions are smack on the money and must be asked, pondered, and contemplated. So read on, as I did, and dare to imagine how we as a secular society can better meet our great need for a life filled with soul, perhaps with a little help from religion's vast experience.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
de Botton's book offered me a new look into the Abrahamic religions. An introspection that allowed me to revisit my hardened disdain for them with a new understanding with how they... Read morePublished 2 months ago by G Roy
Very insightful book, a modern take on the best from religious philosophy that makes a lot of sensePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Illustrates many functions performed by religion that we still require in absence of religions, and society can be seen suffering now from the decline of moderate religions. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
Having heard part of de Botton's talk on TED radio, I hoped for more. As an atheist, I share his attraction to religious art, music and architecture and to some aspects of ritual. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Judith Kerman
Critique religion (Mostly Christianity and Judaism ) without putting religious people down.
Love his writing. Needs better pictures.
Interesting topic and much learned here.
Highly recommend for those curious about the future of mankind.
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