Author Topic: Alain de Botton on Atheism 2.0  (Read 754 times)

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Offline Kwisatz Haderach

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Alain de Botton on Atheism 2.0
« on: January 18, 2012, 07:31:28 AM »
Finally, a voice of reason:

Alain de Botton on Atheism 2.0

Seriously, though... what he is calling "Religion for Atheists" is what I call "Religion for any thinking human being." 

Offline Lancezh

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Re: Alain de Botton on Atheism 2.0
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2012, 12:29:27 PM »
Weak points to underline his main claim that atheists just mock religious people. Everything he states can be seen and observed practiced without Religion.There is no connection between the two whatsoever. I agree with hitchens on that thing, it doesnt go along and it shouldnt. Bullshit stays bullshit nomatter wether you do good in its name. However i think you should never call someone else an idiot just because he believes in any religion, hitchens didnt do that as well by the way, he was strongly against that elitisim but had his rough edge which was his natural british humour. Whereas this speaker comes of as one of those silky smartasses.

The whole talk sounds to me as they wish to distinguish from the "other" atheists, the "dirty ones" since there is a "real" way they go on about. Way to abstract and i've been down this road many times when people start to lay out their reason why their thing is "real", all they say is quite reasonable but none of it really connects to the initial point, plus the most important thing you could break it down to one line:

Its not ok to mock anyone because of their belief whatsoever, its a moral question End of Story.

And since we agree that moral values are not coming out of religions (otherwise only religious people would have them) the rest is irrevelant he talks about anyway.

"Oh look, heroin gives a good feeling as well. lets just look only at that aspect of it therefore yeah heroine is so cool."



Quote
Seriously, though... what he is calling "Religion for Atheists" is what I call "Religion for any thinking human being."

Wikipedia: Religion (from O.Fr. religion "religious community," from L. religionem (nom. religio) "respect for what is sacred, reverence for the gods,"

You can Rape the word "Religion" as much as you like, i could call my cat a tree as well if i'd like to but in my understanding what you say, no it isnt, unless you clarify what you mean by that, because Religion it cant be.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2012, 12:33:22 PM by Lancezh »
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Offline Ajzzz

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Re: Alain de Botton on Atheism 2.0
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2012, 01:31:59 PM »
It depends on your definition of religion. I consider religion to be the ideology and practices that are derived from superstitious beliefs. So a quick test for whether something is religious or not: does the person doing or thinking the thing believe an intelligent conscious supernatural agent is directly involved? If you're an atheist you're not religious, you don't do anything religious, you don't think religious thoughts, you don't have religious beliefs. So if you're coming from the starting point that all religious beliefs are obviously nonsense then you're not really religious.

Alain de Botton: Atheism 2.0 (TEDTalk)

And all the things Alain de Botton talks about are present in non-religious communities, and none of the people arguing that religion is untrue that I can see have been arguing against them because of their use within religion. Who actually says that because they don't believe they can't have community, or they're cut off from morality?

Modern art isn't exactly popular among secular people, people don't get their culture from modern art galleries, and popular forms of art aren't dissimilar to religious inspired art. Poets and cinematographers are isolated individuals but then so were prophets and theologians.

I can't stand the rhetorical style of "black" American pentecostal preachers. They remind me of the type of socialists and communists I can't stand, e.g. George Galloway. I'd argue those styles aren't educational, persuasive, or particularly popular. It's not like religion doesn't have examples of poor public speakers and that secular society doesn't have examples of good ones.

People will create rituals if there are none, the problem isn't lack of using ritual, it's getting people to care about something in the first place. Secular people do try to assign days with people(that represent ideals) and causes(that are motivated by ideals). If something is important you will come across it, people resent repetition, they want novel experiences.

Alain de Botton refers to Richard Dawkins but then uses two examples of things Dawkins says he enjoys, Christmas carols and church architecture.

Offline Drewish

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Re: Alain de Botton on Atheism 2.0
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2012, 01:39:30 PM »
But when a charismatic secular leader attempts to create secular morality, art, and culture, literature, and community (basically an atheistic religion) she get's labelled as a cult leader ;)
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Re: Alain de Botton on Atheism 2.0
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2012, 02:14:32 PM »
It depends on your definition of religion. I consider religion to be the ideology and practices that are derived from superstitious beliefs. So a quick test for whether something is religious or not: does the person doing or thinking the thing believe an intelligent conscious supernatural agent is directly involved? If you're an atheist you're not religious, you don't do anything religious, you don't think religious thoughts, you don't have religious beliefs. So if you're coming from the starting point that all religious beliefs are obviously nonsense then you're not really religious.

Alain de Botton: Atheism 2.0 (TEDTalk)

And all the things Alain de Botton talks about are present in non-religious communities, and none of the people arguing that religion is untrue that I can see have been arguing against them because of their use within religion. Who actually says that because they don't believe they can't have community, or they're cut off from morality?

Modern art isn't exactly popular among secular people, people don't get their culture from modern art galleries, and popular forms of art aren't dissimilar to religious inspired art. Poets and cinematographers are isolated individuals but then so were prophets and theologians.

I can't stand the rhetorical style of "black" American pentecostal preachers. They remind me of the type of socialists and communists I can't stand, e.g. George Galloway. I'd argue those styles aren't educational, persuasive, or particularly popular. It's not like religion doesn't have examples of poor public speakers and that secular society doesn't have examples of good ones.

People will create rituals if there are none, the problem isn't lack of using ritual, it's getting people to care about something in the first place. Secular people do try to assign days with people(that represent ideals) and causes(that are motivated by ideals). If something is important you will come across it, people resent repetition, they want novel experiences.

Alain de Botton refers to Richard Dawkins but then uses two examples of things Dawkins says he enjoys, Christmas carols and church architecture.


Well said.

I found this talk annoying. This guy apparently thinks that art, culture, philosophy, morality, and community are all "religion." And seems to think that all atheists care about are...what was it? "Television and Wal-Mart," or something equally banal? Talk about painting a group with one brush. As though "religion" produces deep, thoughtful, contemplative souls while secularists walk about like shallow, little robots. Spare me.

Offline jomike

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Re: Alain de Botton on Atheism 2.0
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2012, 05:08:51 PM »
Alain de Botton: Atheism 2.0 (TEDTalk)


De Botton:  "Of course there's no god.  Of course there are no deities or supernatural spirits or angels or whatever.  Now let's move on.  That's not the end of the story, that's the very beginning."

Maybe in the UK, but to the vast majority of believers in the U.S. and Latin America and vast swaths Asia the magical stuff is hardly "the end of the story;" it's the freaking point.  For a couple billion people, without the miracles there's no Christianity, no Islam.  Over and over this point gets made and remade, hashed and rehashed, world without end (e.g. Julian Baggini's recent series in The Guardian, ably commented on by Eric MacDonald).  It's just so much tiresome wheel-spinning.

This supercilious condescension regarding "new atheism" -- the hipper-than-thou above-it-all posing -- the lecturing about how we need to move "beyond" mere pedantic atheism, and so on... gah.  It's all so tiresome.  As though atheists and agnostics are somehow completely blind to the human condition, the need for ritual and wonderment and beauty.  As though the "new atheism" was actually, like, new.  FFS, Voltaire was said to have been developing, at the time of his death, a secular religion complete with sacraments and hymns and rituals.

Offline ting-bu-dong

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Re: Alain de Botton on Atheism 2.0
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2012, 05:24:06 PM »
FFS, Voltaire was said to have been developing, at the time of his death, a secular religion complete with sacraments and hymns and rituals.

And for a lot of atheists the ritual is what's the turnoff. I have been to church a couple times in my life (weddings, funerals and such) and I found nothing redeeming in either the ritual or the sermons. Way too much fluff with way too little substance that rarely became more sophisticated than 'being nice to each other is good'.

Offline jomike

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Re: Alain de Botton on Atheism 2.0
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2012, 05:38:07 PM »
And for a lot of atheists the ritual is what's the turnoff. I have been to church a couple times in my life (weddings, funerals and such) and I found nothing redeeming in either the ritual or the sermons. Way too much fluff with way too little substance that rarely became more sophisticated than 'being nice to each other is good'.

No doubt -- I skew in that direction, myself.  Still, it's clear that for many people ritual fulfills important social and psychological needs.  I get that, and so do the vast majority of agnostics and atheists, I'm willing to bet.  What irks me is the lazy straw-manning, the insinuation (or sometimes the outright assertion) by the de Bottons of the world that the "new atheists" are callow and shallow and blind to that human need.

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Re: Alain de Botton on Atheism 2.0
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2012, 07:04:20 PM »
this man is completely clueless. we don't need more repetition of dogma and rituals, we need LESS. His ideas are not the way to make free thinkers. They are the exact opposite.

I disagree with the notion that humans "need" rituals. Just because we can easily become comfortable with them doesn't mean it's a basic need. We do need social interaction and a sense of community, but it need not be so codified and mindless.

TED, you just jumped the shark.
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Offline worldslaziestbusker

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Re: Alain de Botton on Atheism 2.0
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2012, 07:30:41 PM »
Finally, a voice of reason someone who agrees with me:

Alain de Botton on Atheism 2.0

Seriously, though... what he is calling "Religion for Atheists" is what I call "Religion." 


FTFY
« Last Edit: January 19, 2012, 08:06:39 PM by worldslaziestbusker »
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Offline worldslaziestbusker

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Re: Alain de Botton on Atheism 2.0
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2012, 05:18:34 AM »
Quote
The philosopher and writer Alain de Botton is proposing to build a 46-metre (151ft) tower to celebrate a "new atheism" as an antidote to what he describes as Professor Richard Dawkins's "aggressive" and "destructive" approach to non-belief.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/jan/26/alain-de-botton-temple-atheism

Alain de Botton can go sit on his New Atheism monument when it is complete.  He can spend his money and energy as he sees fit, but I would not support his idea if it came with free steak knives.
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Offline Daws

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Re: Alain de Botton on Atheism 2.0
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2012, 04:28:27 AM »
this man is completely clueless. we don't need more repetition of dogma and rituals, we need LESS. His ideas are not the way to make free thinkers. They are the exact opposite.

I disagree with the notion that humans "need" rituals. Just because we can easily become comfortable with them doesn't mean it's a basic need. We do need social interaction and a sense of community, but it need not be so codified and mindless.

TED, you just jumped the shark.

+1

Yeah I saw that talk as "hey, let's take all the stuff that's intellectually shitty about religion, and put it into Atheism cause it's good marketing!"
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Offline Trinoc

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Re: Alain de Botton on Atheism 2.0
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2012, 06:46:12 AM »
I went to Alain be Botton's talk about this at the LSE yesterday. His ideas have been wildly blown up by the media. In particular, the idea about building a secular temple was just a "for the sake of argument" idea; it was never a serious suggestion. The suggestion that he wants to set up a sort of secularist cult is equally wide of the mark.

His main point (IMO) was that religions are organisations, not just sets of ideas. They provide community and support which people are reluctant to let go of even if they can't take the beliefs seriously. Atheists, particularly lone voices, will not defeat superstitious beliefs by reason alone, since those beliefs are not based on reason. Secularism needs to provide not just an absence of nonsensical beliefs, it needs to provide the sense of belonging to a community that religions provide at the moment, otherwise the people who need these things will continue to follow religion, no matter how irrational it seems.
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Offline ting-bu-dong

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Re: Alain de Botton on Atheism 2.0
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2012, 07:25:52 AM »
Having watched his TEDTalk, which the media hardly have power over, that's not the impression I got. There, his emphasis was on atheism emulating the most superficial parts of religion, in particular empty ritual and repetition. What bothers me most about it is his caricature of modernity, in particular the assertion that if we abandon religion, all that's left is mindless consumerism, or the idea that modern academia doesn't appreciate the necessity of repetition for learning (bwuh?), which is something you usually get from religious propagandists like the pope.

I can get that sort of perspective coming from somebody who has never experienced life without fundamentalist religion, but this guy is from Europe and should have plenty exposure to secular life and the countless ways in which people find meaning and community without dogma, doctrines or clergy.

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Offline Daws

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Re: Alain de Botton on Atheism 2.0
« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2012, 04:29:21 AM »
Quote
Atheists, particularly lone voices, will not defeat superstitious beliefs by reason alone

Disagreement or not aside, on the other hand is that, for me, reason seems to be the only morally right way to change a belief, otherstuff just seems like manipulation and shadyness...

I wouldn't want to change someone's mind via a social-psychological mindfuck, to me process is just as important as the end belief, if not even more so. In that I suppose, might be the difference from an atheist and a skeptic...not that I want to bring up that whole topic again.
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