95 of 110 people found the following review helpful
Far below par for Alain de Botton,
This review is from: Religion for Atheists: A non-believer's guide to the uses of religion (Kindle Edition)
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 arguments collapse at stage b. For example:
a) Churches get strangers talking to one another
b) Restaurants don't
c) Set up new restaurants
The problem, of course, is that the assignment of this quality to restaurants is arbitrary. There are plenty of secular places and events, from knitting circles to Skeptics in the Pub, where strangers are encouraged to talk and interact. I simply don't accept the premise that this is a function of religious society that is absent from secular society.
a) The church guides us on practical life skills
b) Universities teach fact-based courses like history, with little regard for life skills
c) Change universities' curricula
I studied at a university with an Institute for Health and Society and a Campus for Ageing and Vitality: I don't accept the premise that universities only offer impractical courses.
And so it goes on. Almost every chapter is built upon one of these illogical leaps - and, not only that, but the structure of the book gives little expression to the downsides of the prescribed form of living encouraged by religion, and its secular reversioning encouraged by de Botton.
Overall, this was a disappointing and frustrating read from one of my favourite authors. I sorely hope he returns to form!
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Initial post: 7 Nov 2012 11:40:53 GMT
Last edited by the author on 11 Feb 2013 09:36:16 GMT
Sally Burdyke says:
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