Alain de Botton on Religion for Atheists

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Alain de Botton, author of The Consolations of Philosophy and How Proust Can Change Your Life, has a new book out called Religion for Atheists. It encourages atheists to appreciate things religions do well--ranging from fostering community to orchestrating rites of passage--and come up with
comparably effective atheist versions of them.

De Botton, himself a confirmed atheist, is surprised by how much blowback he's gotten from prominent atheists over this idea. Here he discusses that, and further down the page he talks about (1) how universities could do a better job of one thing religion has long done--conveying wisdom; and (2) how atheists might develop rirtuals comparable to a bar mitzvah or Catholic confirmation.


On bringing wisdom into the college curriculum:

Imagining an atheist version of a bar mitzvah or confirmation:

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Robert Wright is the author of, most recently, the New York Times bestseller The Evolution of God and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic. More

Wright is also a fellow at the New America Foundation and editor in chief of Bloggingheads.tv. His other books include Nonzero, which was named a New York Times Book Review Notable Book in 2000 and included on Fortune magazine's list of the top 75 business books of all-time. Wright's best-selling book The Moral Animal was selected as one of the ten best books of 1994 by The New York Times Book Review.Wright has contributed to The Atlantic for more than 20 years. He has also contributed to a number of the country's other leading magazines and newspapers, including: The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Foreign Policy, The New Republic, Time, and Slate, and the op-ed pages of The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Financial Times. He is the recipient of a National Magazine Award for Essay and Criticism and his books have been translated into more than a dozen languages.

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