Why Atheists Need A Temple

Even if religion isn't true, asserted writer and philosopher Alain de Botton, why can't we enjoy the best bits? To that end (and to circumvent the "boring debate between fundamentalist believers and non-believers" about religion and God), de Botton proposed in his new book "Religion for Atheists" that what atheism needs are ... temples!

As religions have always known, a beautiful building is an indispensable part of getting your message across. Books alone won’t do it.

De Botton argues that you definitely don’t need a god or gods to justify a temple.

You can build a temple to anything that’s positive and good. That could mean: a temple to love, friendship, perspective, calm, generosity…

This proposal is part of a wider argument de Botton makes that atheists should stop being merely negative about religion and engage with what people actually enjoy about religion. They should then copy it – simply without the God-bit.

With architect Tom Greenall and artist Jordan Jon Hodgson, de Botton proposed a Temple to Perspective, a 150-foot (46 m) tall black tower in the heart of the City of London. Each centimeter of the tower's height equates to one million years of life. At the bottom, there's a single line of gold - no more than a millimeter thick - that represents the entire existence of humankind.


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