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128 Reviews
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An atheist in praise of religion
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...
Published 16 months ago by StuartM

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97 of 112 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


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, 29 Jun. 2013
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Well written. Makes it's point well. Why should we throw out the baby with the bath water? I'll see art in a new light
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting approach to the subject, 7 Mar. 2013
By 
Edward M. Sedgwick (Eastleigh, Hampshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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We atheists often live in a sterile world and those who were religious realise that the church (religion) had something going for it but it got lost when we threw out all the superstition. A baby and bathwater situation. de Botton resuscitates those attributes of religions which he feels are lacking in today's life and explores their uses and mechanisms of action.
He looks at Buddhism and Christians and Jews but not Muslim and Hindu or any others.
It is a good and interesting thesis but will be improved upon by others and include other belief systems. So far (75%) he has not constructed an Atheist set of rituals and ceremonies.
Easily read, not too long and not too detailed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit underwhelmed, 7 Dec. 2012
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I was a bit underwhelmed by this book. The essential thesis, that the life of an atheist lacks and needs the kinds of frameworks and supports provided by all major religions, is thought-provoking. Many of Alain de Botton's observations are engaging and illuminating but, even in such a short book, he seemed to run out of puff quite soon and the last few chapters seemed to me to be little more than a repeated canter round territory that had been well-hooved earlier on.
Worth having, but only just.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 16 May 2013
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A thought provoking, easy to read book. Gives the reader another option of being either hard-line believer or non-believer. Suggests you can take the good of religious theory without the cant and intolerance of 'you're either for or against'.
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28 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly Witty., 30 Jan. 2012
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S. Brown (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Religion for Atheists: A non-believer's guide to the uses of religion (Hardcover)
Alain de Botton provides a tremendous, intellectual insight into religion, and what draws people towards it. He recognises the importance of some religious practises and teachings, and the effects they have on today's society. He also describes the impact that the decline in religion is having on society. I bought it having read the god delusion and god is not great, expecting it to be of similar ilk, but I find it to be much softer. It's a very good read and proposes some good ideas.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Right subject, completely wrong book, 30 May 2013
This book takes an interesting and important subject and sadly butchers it. De Botton is obsessed with the paternalistic and institutional dimensions of religion, which are precisely the parts that the secular world can and must do without. He suffers from a basic failure to understand the problem of authority: secular thought is necessarily fragmented precisely because no human thinker has divine wisdom or authority. He is complacently dismissive about concepts of liberty, and makes not a single acknowledgment of the possible pitfalls of humans telling each other (or institutions telling individuals) how to live. 'We are most of us lambs and need good shepherds,' he wistfully writes. But there are no shepherds, and he'd better get used to it.

Sometimes I wondered if the whole book was a subtle joke, purporting to match the strengths of religion with the weaknesses of secularism, but demonstrating their exact opposite characteristics through a series of bizarre choices and banal straw men. Lecturers whipping their students into a frenzy? The joys of owning just one book? Is he serious?

De Botton is right to argue that religion is merely a vehicle for many different cultural practices and products of human thought, and that atheists should not abandon all of it. But if any secular application of religious wisdom is to remain compatible with liberty (the best first aim of civilization), it must remain a private undertaking. What atheists can learn (or re-learn) from religion is the habit of ritual reflection that transcends material concerns, and considers what is right, what is beautiful, and what on earth we are here for. That is all, in my humble and inescapably fallible human opinion. Readers fortunate enough to own or read many books, rather than just this poor one, and to be free to consider many different ideas, can decide for themselves.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking, 3 July 2013
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I am a seeker rather than an atheist, and was delighted with the approach to how the best bits of religions could be put into a new way of thinking. Thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who has lost their faith.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book for the enquiring mind, 4 Aug. 2013
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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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 5 Mar. 2013
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A. S. Darrall-rew (Cornwall, UK) - See all my reviews
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This book is so good. It is very well written and easy to follow. I have had problems having to stop reading in order to get other things done. I thoroughly recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing new here, 27 July 2013
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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.
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Religion for Atheists: A non-believer's guide to the uses of religion
Religion for Atheists: A non-believer's guide to the uses of religion by Alain de Botton (Hardcover - 26 Jan. 2012)
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