On the latest On Being podcast with Krista Tippett, philosopher and best-selling author Alain de Botton talks about his new book Religion for Atheists: A Non-believer’s Guide to the Uses of Religion.
Alain de Botton is an atheist, but his perspective on religion is far more complicated. Instead of debunking religion in thinking that all pious people are idiots–as some atheists may presume–he shines a light on some of the things where religion excels: in values, wisdom, communions, and “the wonders of religious architecture.” As he says nearly eight minutes in:
“These religions at their highest points, at their most complex and subtle moments, are far too interesting to be abandoned merely to those who believe in them.”
His book is therefore not for atheists alone, but for the believers who may find Botton’s perspective reconfirming. Above all, Botton proposes toleration, not necessarily that we agree with each other but we “make space for the stranger” who holds different views and accepts them as is. ‘Developing emotion intelligence’ is at the heart of Botton’s own academy, The School of Life.
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