Do atheists have anything to learn from religion? (USA Today)
Stripped of its supernatural elements, does religion have anything to offer atheists? What can nonbelievers borrow from the organizations, practices and rituals of believers — without borrowing a belief in God?
According to Swiss philosopher Alain de Botton, a lot.
In his new book, Religion For Atheists: A Non-believer’s Guide to the Uses of Religion he outlines an array of things he contends religions get right and that atheists can adopt to create a better, richer secular society.
“The starting point of all religions is that humans are weak and vulnerable and needing direction,” de Botton said shortly after arriving in the U.S. from his home in England to promote the book.
Read more at USA Today
I think he makes many valid points. That said, I can fully understand and appreciate why many atheists are very wary about this book, and I really hope religious people don’t use this an an excuse to point to atheists and say “See? They REALLY want (my) religion deep down after all!”
I mean, I can totally see any number of believers finding this book and essentially saying: “Religion For Atheists? If they want religion, why don’t they just convert to my One True Faith already instead of beating around the bush?”