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Alain de Botton, Religion for Atheists: A...

Nov 18, 2012
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Alain de Botton, Religion for Atheists: A Non-believer’s Guide to the Uses of Religion


  The most boring and unproductive question one can ask of any religion is whether or not it is true…


I was fully prepared to hate this book. I’d never read a de Botton book before, but Mark Larson gave it a thumbs up, and not a whole lot makes me seek out a book like a good review from Mark.

The genesis of the book was de Botton’s thought, “there might be a way to engage with religion without having to subscribe to its supernatural content,” which isn’t, of course, a new thought at all — Thomas Jefferson cut the parts out of The Bible he didn’t like and kept the rest.


  Early Christianity was itself highly adept at appropriating the good ideas of others, aggressively subsuming countless pagan practices which modern atheists now tend to avoid in the mistaken belief that they are indelibly Christian… The premise of this book is that it must be possible to remain a committed atheist and nevertheless find religions sporadically useful, interesting and consoling – and be curious as to the possibilities of importing certain of their ideas and practices into the secular realm.


There are tons of downright goofy ideas in the book, and there were several times where I thought, “Isn’t it just easier to, you know, actual be Catholic?” but what I like is the very simple idea that you don’t have to agree with or believe in something in order to find something valuable and worth stealing in it. Again, go read Mark’s review.

Filed under: my reading year 2012

Alain de Botton, Religion for Atheists: A Non-believer’s Guide to the Uses of Religion

The most boring and unproductive question one can ask of any religion is whether or not it is true…

I was fully prepared to hate this book. I’d never read a de Botton book before, but Mark Larson gave it a thumbs up, and not a whole lot makes me seek out a book like a good review from Mark.

The genesis of the book was de Botton’s thought, “there might be a way to engage with religion without having to subscribe to its supernatural content,” which isn’t, of course, a new thought at all — Thomas Jefferson cut the parts out of The Bible he didn’t like and kept the rest.

Early Christianity was itself highly adept at appropriating the good ideas of others, aggressively subsuming countless pagan practices which modern atheists now tend to avoid in the mistaken belief that they are indelibly Christian… The premise of this book is that it must be possible to remain a committed atheist and nevertheless find religions sporadically useful, interesting and consoling – and be curious as to the possibilities of importing certain of their ideas and practices into the secular realm.

There are tons of downright goofy ideas in the book, and there were several times where I thought, “Isn’t it just easier to, you know, actual be Catholic?” but what I like is the very simple idea that you don’t have to agree with or believe in something in order to find something valuable and worth stealing in it. Again, go read Mark’s review.

Filed under: my reading year 2012

74 notes

  1. inspirationchamber reblogged this from austinkleon
  2. eternal-soliloquy reblogged this from austinkleon and added:
    so far so good
  3. moreleftthannot reblogged this from austinkleon
  4. princess-fuck reblogged this from mothia and added:
    THIS IS RELEVANT THIS IS RELEVANT
  5. mothia reblogged this from austinkleon
  6. lpdesa reblogged this from austinkleon and added:
    […]Finding common ground among faiths can help us bridge needless divides at a time when unified action is more crucial...
  7. bbpratt reblogged this from austinkleon and added:
    Clearly I need to check this out.
  8. dreaming-nai-high reblogged this from austinkleon
  9. jenninsandiego reblogged this from jedsundwall
  10. fuckeverlasting reblogged this from austinkleon
  11. jedsundwall reblogged this from austinkleon and added:
    This sounds right up my alley.
  12. the-phoenix-will-rise reblogged this from austinkleon
  13. pamelab reblogged this from austinkleon and added:
    The biggest fallacy I’ve found people have about religion is that in order to be a Christian you must believe everything...
  14. meaghano said: yeah it was clumsy but thought-provoking, i thought.
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