Krista Tippett, host of the show On Being, recently spoke with philosopher Alain de Botton about moving beyond the “Does God exist?” aspect of atheism. Once we’ve answered that question for ourselves, then what?
… how to live, how to die, what is good, and what is bad — these are questions religion has sophisticated ways of addressing. So [de Botton] created The School of Life — where people young and old explore ritual, community, beauty, and wisdom. He explains why these ideas shouldn’t be reserved just for believers.
It’s a topic that some of you will love… and others will scream, “Atheism is just about God AND NOTHING ELSE!”
de Botton even discusses the pushback he gets in the interview:
The religious people say, “Hang on a minute, he’s impious.” And the non-believers — I’ve had emails from atheists saying things like, “You’ve betrayed atheism.” And I email back going, “Well, I’m not sure what that means.” They say, “Well, you’ve been far too kind to religion.” I say, “I didn’t know that’s what atheism was supposed to be about, being mean to religion.”
Maybe that’s easier to say when you live in the U.K., where atheism is more permissible than it is in the U.S.
A transcript is also available here.
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