Customer Reviews


118 Reviews
5 star:
 (50)
4 star:
 (25)
3 star:
 (20)
2 star:
 (8)
1 star:
 (15)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


64 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute joy to read
This really is a wonderful, engaging book that was an absolute joy to read. I had a religious upbringing but have been an atheist since my teens. I've always felt ambivalent towards Christianity, because there's so much about it I can never accept, and yet I've seen firsthand the sense of community it provides, the consolation it brings in times of trouble, and the acts...
Published on 21 Feb 2012 by CN

versus
95 of 110 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Far below par for Alain de Botton
I really like Alain de Botton and his accessible, absorbing approach to philosophy. But I really didn't enjoy this book, I'm afraid.

The structure of each chapter the book is very formulaic:
a) Identify a positive aspect of religion
b) Muse that this is lacking in modern society
c) Propose a secular solution

The majority of his...
Published on 5 July 2012 by Dr. Simon Howard


‹ Previous | 1 2 312 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Of service to the secular and the religious world, 1 Dec 2013
Very commendable for its attempt in redeeming practices that are virtually only known in religious circles.

One of the most obvious pieces of critique one might have against de Botton, is that his book - and this one is no different - is superficial. It lacks the depth and breadth of analytical philosophical works. He does mention a few philosophers, but doesn't go into much detail on what they have said, how their lines of argument looked like and how his reflections do or do not fit within their frameworks.

But that is beside the point, since de Botton is not trying to write such a work. His work may be described as experiential philosophy. He takes some very practical and concrete (and thus recognizable) experiences, writes them down and muses a bit on what they might mean. This method is interesting, because it opens up the world as we know it in new and different ways. He helps his readers see new things and develop new insights, that can be used in daily life almost directly. If that's no philosophy...

There are many details that I don't agree with necessarily, but I won't go into those, since there is a larger objection to be made. One of the things religion does very effectively is bond people together. Be it through a shared vision on the afterlife, a shared vision of the good life on earth, the belief that God wants them to do certain things in life or act in certain ways, or something entirely different, but this shared vision bonds together. It makes people come to church or the mosque each week, it makes certain that dropping out of the religious community is no easy thing, and it makes the religious community look attractive because they do good.

Every religion has a story to tell about metaphysics and secularists do not, since for them it's only the current life that counts and is of value. For them, nothing exists outside of the here and the now. But if metaphysics are missing from a secular worldview and if a God who expects certain things in life from his followers is missing from that same worldview, why should individual people decide to stick to the behaviors and acts de Botton proposes? Why should people become loyal followers of this secular faith, if their only reward is that they will become better people?

I don't believe they will do so freely, because otherwise they would have already developed the behaviors, activities and institutes that de Botton proposes. It's not without a reason that the secular world (including its universities, museums and restaurants) look like they do right now, it's - at least partly- because earthly promises (money, wealth) seem to be better rewards then becoming a better person. In other words, if there is only a small group interested in becoming a better person, how will the new community of believers in this secular faith sustain its activities and institutes in the long run?

I belief this work to be of service to the world, both the secular and the religious world. I have highly enjoyed it and look forward - albeit skeptically - to the reformation of the secular world that this book proposes.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read, 20 Sep 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I was brought up a Catholic (but I'm all right now!) and although I am very content to be non-religious and for schools to be the same, I have wondered over the years, 'How can we fill that gap? How can children and society in general be urged to be moral and law-abiding without the influence of the daily prayers, readings and sermons etc. which all encourage decent, self-less behaviour. Alain de Botton has made a useful analysis of the problem and makes some sensible suggestions although I feel he jumps to conclusions too readily in some instances. Still a good read though and a sound basis for some worth-while discussion.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting subject, 19 Sep 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this book as a present for my friend. She found it very informative
and interesting, it was thought provoking.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From a lapsed Welsh Baptist, 11 Sep 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Because the book articulated all my built in prejudices, in a sober and non aggressive fashion. Loved the historical truths it contained. Thought it was a logical and understandable approach to atheism and pointed out the untruths and fables of religious beliefs
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book for the enquiring mind, 4 Aug 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Religion for Atheists (Paperback)
I am reading this book very slowly as I need time to digest and mull over the content. The subject matter interests me greatly but it is a book which needs to be savoured and read slowly.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Food for thought, 31 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
De Botton offers a rather interesting and, for me novel, critique of the value of many institutionalized religious practices. Consequently I shall have to reapprais my hitherto dismissal of all things religious without of course accepting anything of the fundamental supernatural tenets of faith. My only criticism of the book is that it is a little over long due to a degree of repetition and unnecessary elaboration. De Botton could have offered a much more succinct argument without any loss of impact
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Balanced, 29 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Very balanced and sympathetic whichever side of the divide you are on acknowledges that faith has a role to play in society
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing new here, 27 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This book was ok but just that. I didn't feel that the author had researched enough to make this memorable. The title is catchy but didn't live up to expectation.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, 13 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Bought for an atheist who likes religion should therefore go down well. I liked it too, the pictures a good addition.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 312 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Religion for Atheists: A non-believer's guide to the uses of religion
15.29
Not in stock; order now and we'll deliver when available
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews