Saturday, February 25, 2012

Atheism for the Incorrigibly Religious

Alain de Botton is a Swiss Philosopher currently in Australia promoting he latest book: On Religion for Atheists.  Dan (who is a philosophy graduate and studying for his Ph D as well as working in University student ministry) went to hear him speak at the Sydney Opera House.

Here is an excerpt from his reflections on the event:
The reason that religions have much to teach atheists, according to De Botton, begins with the insight that humans are basically ‘not ok’: the basic human condition is one of vulnerability, fragility, lostness. For De Botton, this is the fundamental truth behind the Christian doctrine of original sin. And it’s a truth that New Atheism, proclaimed from the High Tables of Oxbridge, abjectly fails to reckon with. The modernist humanistic project has been altogether too quick to leave us to our own devices and what is needed is a thoroughgoing reappraisal of our need for an education in the disciplines of living well. Religions understand this, they understand that education is not about skilling people for tasks, but a process of moral formation and guidance to help us navigate the twin uncertainties of our world and our hearts. The rationalist education produces better hairdressers; the religious, better people.
De Botton’s sampling at the bain-marie of religion is guided by his desire to introduce atheists into these effective practices of moral formation. . . .
Do check out his brilliant review here: Papermind/atheism-for-the-incorrigibly-religious/.

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