TED Talk Tuesday: Atheism 2.0

Alain de Botton says religion is a system that works. It knows human nature. So let’s not throw away the template just because the content is questionable. He wants us to use the religious method.

Religion treats us like children. And it is well to. We need to be life-long learners, but we cannot wait on chance occurrences to teach us the important stuff. Botton describes the value of the religious system of education, from the sermons to repeated practice, which the secular world has left to the individual.

Even our higher institutions expect the newly minted adult walking onto their campuses to know what it’s all about. After graduation, the corporation is ready to provide us the structure for our lives, and the branding and clarity.

“…except they’re right down at the bottom of the pyramid of needs. They’re selling us shoes and cars. Whereas the people who are selling us the higher stuff — the therapists, the poets — are on their own and they have no power, they have no might.”

Life is about growth and discovery, and we need to get into our groups and start communicating our ideas in a more organized way. The secular world has fled so far from religion, it’s forgotten that we need to congregate. We need sermons. We need to communicate ideas.

“My concluding point is that you may not agree with religion, but at the end of the day, religions are so subtle, so complicated, so intelligent in many ways that they’re not fit to be abandoned to the religious alone. They’re for all of us.”

Tell it, brother!

2 thoughts on “TED Talk Tuesday: Atheism 2.0

  1. There are times I feel that we have lost a sense of the sacred in every day life. Furthermore, while we as Americans tend to have rights of passage, they aren’t as clearly defined and there isn’t a clear line of demarcation between one phase of life and another. I’m reminded of the vision quests common in many First Peoples tribes — there was a knowledge of the purpose and goal of the quest.

    I look at religion as perhaps a set of guidelines. There needs to be a balance so that one stays away from the extremes following its precepts blindly without question or dispensing with any set of precepts and guidelines whatsoever. Loving guiding as we grow needs to be balanced with encouragement towards critical thinking, tolerance of other belief systems, and asking important questions.

    Great post, Ara.


    1. Thanks, Nicole. Your mention of the vision quest is perceptive. I think we need a modern day vision quest, where the youth is given guidance but not led.

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