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An Atheist for Religion

In Religion for Atheists, Alain de Botton urges nonbelievers to pick and choose religions’ best offerings

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Essayist and philosopher-for-the-masses Alain de Botton is best known for How Proust Can Change Your Life, in which he plumbs Remembrance of Things Past for lessons on how to live a more fulfilling life. De Botton has also written books on love, travel, and architecture. In his newest book, Religion for Atheists, de Botton tackles religion. Here he argues that, in rejecting religion wholesale, atheists are unnecessarily depriving themselves of world religions’ prodigious cultural, spiritual, and ethical offerings. His “pick and choose” approach to religion–rejecting central tenets like, say, a belief in God, while borrowing concepts like Judaism’s Day of Atonement–will surely rub some believers the wrong way. But de Botton is addressing a different audience, including many self-identified “cultural Jews” whose ignorance of Judaism he laments. London-based reporter Hugh Levinson spoke to de Botton in London about his own religious background (or lack thereof), the possibility of being religious without having faith, and how the secular world holds on to the memory of religious tyranny while it ignores the religious world’s ability to transmit knowledge.

Here’s their conversation. [Running time: 18:53.] 

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41953 says:

In the US and North America, there is are organizations including the Society for Humanistic Judaism, the Congress of Secular Jewish Organizations and the Workmen’s Circle that provide a home for atheists, agnostics and those uncomfortable with conventional Judaism by providing alternative holidayobservances, life-cycle ceremonies, children’s schools, adult education etc.

The magazine Jewish Currents is the voice of many secular jews who also consider themselves politically progressive. 

These institutions take their Judaism/Jewish seriously, although not in a religious framework.
 

rebmoshe says:

To approach all religion, especially Judaism, without sophistication is the cause of this atheist distress.
Haven’t they read Art Green’s Radical Judaism  among other books by Kaplan and others.

zil ugmor- go and study!

deanrd says:

The right wing says they are the most religious people in the country.

They are the most patriotic.

They know how to “protect” America.

Except for every one of their policies being disasters in the last 15 years.  Except for costing the lives and maiming tens of thousands of Americans and no WMDs in Iraq.  Except for their economic policies which ruined the economy, they could be right.  Except for the constant lying.  Except for the fact they have put forth 42 constitutional amendments in the last three years.  The 360 plus filibusters.  Let him die.  Feed the poor and they’ll breed.  Helping other Americans is “socialism”.  In spite of all that:

The right wing says they are the most religious people in the country.

They are the most patriotic.

They know how to “protect” America.

roberthagedorn says:

Google First Scandal.

2000

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An Atheist for Religion

In Religion for Atheists, Alain de Botton urges nonbelievers to pick and choose religions’ best offerings

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