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Alain de Botton: Atheism 2.0

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I don't fully agree with his view of Atheism. What I do find common ground with is the notion that Religions do things beneficial to society and interact with society in novel ways. This has been a theme of my personal life as I've used martial arts, meditation, volunteer work, etc... to fill the role that organized religion played in my formative years. I've always been fascinated with the question: Why did we develop religion? (Know thy enemy and all that jazz...)

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  • Here's comment on that video from PZ Myers. After that they got into a twitter spat that I found mostly funny, but also made me realize de Botton is kind of a douche. More posts on this: http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/?s=alain&x=0&y=0

  • I'm disappointed with Alain de Botton because I feel as if there is a valid point to make here and it's not being made. Take Prayer. Might prayer be an example of an element of religion that may not need religion, yet is thrown out of Atheist thought because it is considered a religious action? Mediation is the term for a similar function, but it focuses on (in my experience) the mind body connection. Prayer in contrast seems to be meditation on a topic, like a loved one's passing or ill health, in a structured ceremonial way. There may be therapeutic and beneficial effects to the "prayer's" psyche. It seems that the study of prayer in this fashion would be beneficial. Of course it would be interesting to see if it was harmful, or if different types of prayers (like help vs. harm, prayer about self control or action vs. prayers for God or others to do things) actually had real world impacts on the subjects thoughts and decisions.

    Anyway, I think there is a lot of things to dig out of religions that is useful, and a lot of things that should never be used again.

    • Might prayer be an example of an element of religion that may not need religion, yet is thrown out of Atheist thought because it is considered a religious action?

      The closest to that that I can think of is The Secret. Still as dumb though, if not more. I think that at least if you believe in a god, in your mind there's someone listening.

      I'm pretty sure most people who pray don't do it in a "meditation" way, but in an "asking for" way. I would find it unsurprising if any kind of prayer helped the person doing it psychologically, but still you have to balance it out with the harm of believing in such stuff.

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