1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
An atheist in praise of religion, 20 Dec 2013
This is a really engaging, funny and intelligent book. A manifesto for non supernatural religion.
De Boton is an atheist (like me) who has written a book in praise of religion, or rather the very powerful and important things that religion does well. He left me realising that as an atheist I have a void in my life which should be filled, if only I could get over the supernatural stuff which I cannot believe.
More importantly, he points out that secular societies as a whole have many voids which have been left by the retreat from religion.
But he goes further: he sets out how these voids could be filled if there was a will to do so, using the art, architecture and intellectual and creative capital of our societies. It would involve us not backing away from the big questions in life, or understanding that we all face dilemmas and fears, but harnessing secular ideas to tackle them. Could museums and galleries become places themed around the big issues in life rather than the period of origination? Could luxury hotels be spiritual as well as physical retreats? Could restaurants be places where people are encouraged to meet and welcome strangers? Could we harness nature and great art to give us all a sense of perspective and peace?
I had a lovely moment this morning while walking the dogs where I was confronted by a beautiful natural scene, and realised this book had made me determined to be more aware of quasi-religious moments.
The author concludes accurately: if only we could find another word, instead of the heavily loaded 'religion', many more of us could embrace these ideas.