Alain de Botton on Religion for Atheists

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:

Presented by

Robert Wright is the author of The Evolution of God and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A Stop-Motion Tour of New York City

A filmmaker animated hundreds of still photographs to create this Big Apple flip book

Video

The Absurd Psychology of Restaurant Menus

Would people eat healthier if celery was called "cool celery?"

Video

This Japanese Inn Has Been Open For 1,300 Years

It's one of the oldest family businesses in the world.

Video

What Happens Inside a Dying Mind?

Science cannot fully explain near-death experiences.

More in National

Just In