Religion for Atheists

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193 Ratings

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5 out of 5 stars
By John W. B. on 10-05-13

A valuable resource for believers

What made the experience of listening to Religion for Atheists the most enjoyable?

This book is a marvelous resource for believers into the value of their traditions, practices and values to the world in which none-of-the-above is the third largest "religion" in the world. It has helped me reclaim aspects of my faith that have been washed down the drain with the absurd belief systems that are so embarrassing. For the atheist and agnostics, this is freeing, because it allows appreciation of values, beauty, art, music, and community.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Sarah on 09-25-12

A little thin

I was disappointed in this - de Botton's points about the non-theological comforts of religion were somewhat interesting, but it got bogged down in endless reporting on his specific experiences 'trying on' various religions.

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6 of 8 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By chris boutte on 07-03-17

Amazing book

This book was absolutely amazing. I'm not even an atheist (not religious either) and this book is perfection.

I work in the field of addiction, and many people won't do 12-step programs because of spirituality. I think this book is great for people to realize that you don't need to believe in anything, but we should all at least consider doing something to become better people.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By Douglas C. Bates on 11-02-12

Disappointing, Erroneous, Implausible

I've enjoyed de Botton's prior books. This one is a severe disappointment.

One of the things I've enjoyed about de Botton's work is how he brings a far-ranging understanding of canon of Western philosophy to bear on the major issues of modern life, doing so in an understandable and sometimes entertaining way. As I have no particular expertise in Western philosophy, I have always assumed de Botton was reasonably accurate in his understanding. Religion for Atheists gives me now great doubt about that.

In Religion for Atheists, de Botton discusses one subject that I have particular expertise in: Zen Buddhism. I found de Botton to be shockingly inaccurate. For example, he describes the Japanese Tea Ceremony as a ritual used in Zen. It isn't, and anyone who did a little as read the Wikipedia article on the subject could figure that out. Yes, Zen philosophy has heavily influenced the Tea Ceremony, so there is a relationship there. But it's like the US Thanksgiving holiday. The Thanksgiving dinner ritual is heavily influenced by Christianity, but Thanksgiving is not a ritual of the Christian church.

De Botton goes on to make a similar mistake about the Japanese Tsukimi festival, again thinking it's a Zen Buddhist festival. It's not.

Another weakness of Religion for Atheists is the author's numerous suggestions for impractical and implausible ways to implement valuable aspects of religion in an atheistic ways, such that it undermined the concepts the author was trying to promote.

De Botton's TED talk on this subject is pretty good. I suggest listening to that and skipping this book.

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19 of 28 people found this review helpful

1 out of 5 stars
By Paul on 11-08-16

Citations Needed

Don't waste your time; It is as if the author decided purposefully to write this book without out doing any prior research. The author constructs strawman secularists and atheists in order for his weak arguments to somewhat work. There are a couple well written chapters in the middle, but towards the end it was hard to continuing listening. For example, how can some write a book about religion for atheists and not mention Unitarian Universalists...

Overall: ignorance and bad arguments made this book utterly frustrating and ultimately disappointing.

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2 of 3 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Ross on 11-01-17

Profound Possibility

This connected feelings I've had for ages. Illuminates potential for society that secular culture abandons.

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