Summary

The boring debate between fundamentalist believers and non-believers is finally moved on by Alain de Botton's inspiring new book, which boldly argues that the supernatural claims of religion are of course entirely false - and yet that religions still have important things to teach the secular world. Rather than mocking religions, agnostics and atheists should instead steal from them - because they're packed with good ideas on how we live and arrange our societies.
Blending deep respect with total impiety, de Botton (a non-believer) proposes that we should look to religions for insights into how to build a sense of community, make our relationships last, get more out of art, overcome feelings of envy and inadequacy, and much more.
For too long, non-believers have faced a stark choice between either swallowing peculiar doctrines or doing away with consoling and beautiful rituals and ideas. At last Alain de Botton has fashioned a far more interesting and truly helpful alternative.
©2012 Alain de Botton (P)2012 Audible Ltd
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By M on 27-10-12

Heavenly

This is a beautiful little book wonderfully narrated by Kris Dyer. The author is challenging our liberal, secular, capitalist society to put our human needs back to the forefront, and to do this by taking the best of what religion has to offer. As an atheist he immediately renounces the need for a supernatural deity to guide our search for happiness but instead describes how the institutions and rituals of religion can show us how to interact with our fellow flawed human beings. Introducing ourselves to strangers, atoning for our misdemeanors and dealing with life's ups and downs are all abilities we have lost in our modern urban world, and religion gave us techniques to deal with. (I particularly enjoyed his idea of challenging how we have put the written word on a pedestal - and the lone intellect - whilst removing the need for emotive and concise public rhetoric so that ideas can be put into the reach of all people.) So overall an interesting and thought-provoking read with a mixture of the scholarly and personable.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By Colin Finlay on 28-03-18

Boring , repetitive simply not worth the time

It takes 7 hours for something that needs 20 mins.. Hitchens and Dawkins much better bets!

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Eric on 14-04-12

Narrator < Book

I HEREBY DECLARE: This book is a "Must Read" for any atheist, particularly those who have read anything by Dawkins.

After dispensing with the "is God real or not" argument in the first paragraph of the book, de Botton spends the rest of the book explaining why so many religious rituals are valuable ANYWAY.

Existence of a deity notwithstanding, I have a new respect for religion and religious rituals. There are lots of aspects that I now have a much clearer understanding of, and I understand that I was unfairly denigrating the practices of religious people, because I didn't understand the reason those practices were created. I'm still a committed atheist, of course -- but now I'm a smarter atheist. And that's what atheism is all about, right?

Although I can't praise this book highly enough, I wish I could have reached through my headphones and slapped the narrator. I managed to make it all the way through the book, but it wasn't great. Two stars because the sound quality & production was superb, but that's all.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Anne on 20-03-12

attention atheiests

Would you listen to Religion for Atheists again? Why?

Yes I would. It is easy to follow de Botton's arguments but he says quite a lot and I will probably listen again

Who was your favorite character and why?

There was no main character

What about Kris Dyer’s performance did you like?

Yes he sounded a lot like de Botton himself

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

no

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