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Chris Hedges and Alain de Botton: What Atheists Should Take From Religion

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Posted on Apr 1, 2012
C-SPAN

The “Religion for Atheists” author tells Chris Hedges there’s a lot secular society can learn from religious institutions and traditions and he argues for a “neo-religious vision of using culture as scripture.”

Watch it here.

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, April 17, 2012 at 6:35 pm Link to this comment

Just don’t confuse theory (supported by proof) with a hypothesis (an idea waiting to be tested) an then you can function better. Too may lay men an women confuse the two hence the awkward an wrong admonition that Evolution is “just a theory” not proven.

Whether good or bad, we are mixtures thereof, we can do good despite religion an the group or do bad despite it or because of it. Humans are the key. Religions an other philosophy an theosophy are frameworks by which they hang their motivations. As do we all. Though Atheism isn’t such a thing. I consider myself a humanist but only others can so identify me by my actions. Anyone can be a humanist. With or without religion one can aid people because it is right an yes because it does feel good to help others too. Nothing wrong with that an in fact it has biological based behavior in evolution. We do better helping each other than enslaving each other.

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By Sylvia Barksdale, April 17, 2012 at 11:47 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am more afraid of religions than of atheisms.  Of course, I realize than I would be more acceptable to the community in which I live if I attended church every Sunday and adhered to its trappings.  I suppose this makes me one of those fools who’d rather be honest about this than to be accepted on a dishonest basis.

I’m sure that religions can do good for some but it can wreak havoc for others.  While very young, I witnessed a person whom I dearly loved lose his life because of religion.  I witnessed another go so deeply into it that it provoked her to commit an action that destroyed a youngsters life and had her regretting the rest of hers.

There was a time in my life that I believed religion to be the answer to everything.  Many of the people that I considered to be friends got a big kick from my dialogue and the time came that I laughed at myself.  I began delving into other literature such as Plato, Kant and my most beloved author, Omar Khayyam.  These people were, indeed, great thinkers.  Certainly, their thoughts gave new and meaningful direction to my life.

I do not believe any human knows “the” ultimate answer to existance.  Like many, I cannot accept a theory as truth when there is no proof.  I believe that it has to be very difficult for people to blindly accept the bible as the end-all of all.

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, April 16, 2012 at 5:08 pm Link to this comment

I understand the reasoning, I thought about it myself an could come to no conclusion even now. Nietzsche worried that once people were convinced that no god or gods existed they would lean toward nihilism an die. He pondered this fundamental question as well in his own time. The concept of the übermensch was all he could come up with. His view of teleological evolution was that humanity could evolve to a point of not needing religion an could operate successfully without out it—-eventually. A vain hope since evolution doesn’t function that way at all.

The main problem is that Atheism doesn’t function in any way like any kind of religion at all. We have a mutual understanding of the universe an life but that is all. I still see no means of creating a synthetic organization that is like religion. But I do agree that the hostility to all religion an all who practice them is negative an wrong. We need allies not enemies. We are already considered worse than rapists or Muslims in our won country. So it seems suicidal to me to be openly hostile against all religion. Self destructive in fact.

We can have a sense of community without the need for religion which simply uses the normal need of people an so should we. Only how to do it without become a pseudo religious activity? In the mean time we can make friends an build bridges since most people of any religion aren’t violent in the main. That is what we should concentrate on not our differences which lead no where good.

One thing most of us don’t have is leisure time. In fact in this Depression most people are either unemployed or working more than one job to still be unable to make ends meet. And the idea of social mobility is dying as well since it is harder to do it in the USA than in Pakistan. So more people will be clinging to their Bibles an guns than ever before. (Something Karl Marx was against the former because he saw those not fighting for better conditions instead because of it. It has been mistaken for militant Atheism, it wasn’t.)

Building bridges an making friends among the religious community will aid us greatly if we want to survive should the militant minority gaining sufficient control to persecute Atheists an Agnostics, along with all others that don’t agree with their rigid theology.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, April 13, 2012 at 7:41 am Link to this comment

‘Why I Am Not a Christian’ Thanks She, definitely time for a revisit.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, April 13, 2012 at 7:15 am Link to this comment

“You may kill an artist or a thinker, but you cannot acquire his art or
his thought.”  is my favorite line in the Bertrand Russell quote.  And
yes, thank you Sofianitz.  It is encouraging to see there are others who
appreciate BR.

From his Why I Am Not a Christian
“There is, so far as I know, no way of dealing with envy except to make
the lives of the envious happier and fuller and to encourage in youth the
idea of collective enterprises rather than competition.  The worst form of
envy are in those who have not had a full life in the way of marriage or
children, or career.  Such misfortunes could in most cases be avoided by
better social institutions….An artist’s jealousy of a rival does little harm
usually, because the only effective way of indulging it is to paint better
pictures than his rival’s since it is not open to him to destroy his rival’s
pictures.  Where envy is unavoidable it must be used as a stimulus to
one’s own efforts, not to the thwarting of the efforts of rivals.”

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, April 13, 2012 at 6:47 am Link to this comment

sofianitz,

Thanks for the Bertrand Russel quote, he is one of my favorite non fiction people of all times.  actually very refreshing with the divisiveness surrounding our lives, especially here in the USA. I Partiality like the follow sentence and will remember it for posterity.

“The best life is the one in which the creative impulses play the largest part and the possessive impulses the smallest.”

I have some of his works here, and you have reminded me it is time for a revisit.

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sofianitz's avatar

By sofianitz, April 13, 2012 at 4:20 am Link to this comment

Here in Bulgaria it is Good Friday, which was the day the Lord Jesus sacrificed His life to redeem us.  Just now,  after 1 PM, He had been hanging on the cross for over an hour, according to the Gospel myth.

Some say Jesus got a good deal - one day on the cross, three days in Hell, then a place in Heaven on the Father’s right side, in total control of universal destiny.

At Easter-time (Easter is not a Christian word, of course),  I would like to send you the words of one of the great Atheists, Bertrand Russell, who quotes the Gospel to considerably benefit our understanding. Force is impotent.


All best, Chris from

Sofianitz


“There are two kinds of impulses, corresponding to the two kinds of goods. There are possessive impulses, which aim at acquiring or retaining private goods that cannot be shared; these center in the impulse of property. And there are creative or constructive impulses, which aim at bringing into the world or making available for use the kind of goods in which there is no privacy and no possession.

The best life is the one in which the creative impulses play the largest part and the possessive impulses the smallest. This is no new discovery. The Gospel says: “Take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?” The thought we give to these things is taken away from matters of more importance. And what is worse, the habit of mind engendered by thinking of these things is a bad one; it leads to competition, envy, domination, cruelty, and almost all the moral evils that infest the world. In particular, it leads to the predatory use of force. Material possessions can be taken by force and enjoyed by the robber. Spiritual possessions cannot be taken in this way. You may kill an artist or a thinker, but you cannot acquire his art or his thought. You may put a man to death because he loves his fellow-men, but you will not by so doing acquire the love which made his happiness. Force is impotent in such matters; it is only as regards material goods that it is effective. For this reason the men who believe in force are the men whose thoughts and desires are preoccupied with material goods.”


Bertrand Russell, Political Ideals.


http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/4776

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, April 6, 2012 at 8:41 am Link to this comment

As usual I cannot watch the video do to technical inadequacies. I find the concept of one non believer telling other non believers how to hold their face when not believing most amusing. Now this would seem to support the idea of Atheism as a religion. 

Always someone making a buck on telling others how they should live their lives, sounds like religion, politics or opportunism to me?

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, April 5, 2012 at 11:27 pm Link to this comment

The need to sell books far outweighs the need for truth.  “When I
became convinced that the Universe is natural—that all the ghosts
and gods are myths, there entered into my brain, into my soul, into
every drop of my blood, the sense, the feeling, the joy of freedom. 
The walls of my prison crumbled and fell, the dungeon was flooded
with light, and all the bolts, and bars, and manacles became dust. 
I was no longer a servant, a serf, or a slave.  There was for me no
master in the entire wide world—not even in infinite space.  I was
free—free to think, to express my thoughts—free to live to my own
ideal—free to live for myself and those I loved—free to use all my
faculties, all my senses—free to spread imagination’s wings—free to
investigate, to guess and dream and hope—free to judge and determine
for myself—free to reject all ignorant and cruel creeds, all the “inspired”
books that savages have produced, and all the barbarous legends of the
past—free from popes and priests—free from all the “called” and “set
apart”—free from sanctified mistakes and holy lies—free from the fear
of eternal pain—free from the winged monsters of the night—free from
devils, ghosts, and gods. For the first time I was free.  There were no
prohibited places in all the realms of thought—no air, no space, where
fancy could not spread her painted wings—no chains for my limbs—no
lashes for my back—no fires for my flesh—no master’s frown or threat—
no following another’s steps—no need to bow, or cringe, or crawl, or
utter lying words.  I was free.  I stood erect and fearlessly, joyously,
faced all worlds.

And then my heart was filled with gratitude, with thankfulness, and
went out in love to all the heroes, the thinkers who gave their lives
for the liberty of hand and brain—for the freedom of labor and thought
—to those who fell in the fierce fields of war, to those who died in
dungeons bound with chains—to those who proudly mounted scaffold’s
stairs—to those whose bones were crushed, whose flesh was scarred and
torn—to those by fire consumed—to all the wise, the good, the brave of
every land, whose thoughts and deeds have given freedom to the sons
and daughters of men and women.  And then I vowed to grasp the torch
that they had held, and hold it high, that light might conquer darkness
still.”
  Thank you Robert G. Ingersoll

It is more what religion should take from atheism.  How free are
you?

The observation of Hannah Arendt, EmileZ, is poignant and if
anyone would take a look at what is going on in Michigan they would see
that democracy is quite dead thanks to the Republican hatred of
democracy, and if we don’t watch out, I will side with Arendt, and say we
are in extreme danger of losing our political freedom, which will lead to a
loss of all of our freedoms, but not from the priority of leisure, rather
from the leisure of apathy.  Thank you for the link to Hannah and Bock’s
essay on personal freedom but most of all on democracy!

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Justin Case's avatar

By Justin Case, April 5, 2012 at 3:33 pm Link to this comment

“The equal and equitable distribution of resources unfettered”
... by reality.

Such a system is impossible. There is no way to measure what is equal by one’s efforts or by one’s needs for these factors never remain the same.

The flaw in your premise about my writing is that you misunderstand what is capital. Capital is innovation & work-power which is the hands of the workers, not just the raw materials. The raw materials may be stolen or annexed by corporations by they are as you say the property of the people.

This anti-capitalist annexing is the formation of the “nation state” & being poorly represented by our “leaders”. We’d be better off with no such leaders & ownership restored to those it came from before the annexing.

Maximizing profit is simply not as you say - it is not a part of capitalism. It’s a part of survival. Even with no capitalism profit MUST exist because there is loss. Loss & profit are inverted equations & loss is nature itself (entropy, danger, harm, instability). This is not even human nature, this is the weather, the sun, the earth quakes, all of it. Profit is merely attempting to fight back against nature. It is not a part of capitalism.

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By Troy Davis, April 5, 2012 at 8:51 am Link to this comment

@ Justin Case:

I think you comprehensison of capitalism is flawed. It fails to take into account that the “capital” rests in the hands of the Wealthy elite, and in their control and they manipulate the political systems of governments to enhance their profit to feed their greed.

The natural resources of a nation, rightfully belong to the people of that nation. Multinational corporations allegedly acting under the auspices of capitalism have gained control over those resources charging the people who own the resource a “service fee” for conversion of the natural resource into useable products, [such as gasoline] while being subsidized by the very government that allegedly represents the real owners of he resource, the citizens of the country collectively.

Capitalism is a distinctly undemocratic economic system that is antithetical to democracy. Capitalism has much more in common with and is more compatible with totalitarian regimes such as FASCISM.

Under the economic system of capitalism the exploitation of every natural resource, including people, is engaged in to generate more and more profit for the “owners of the capital”.

However, they are not really the owners of the natural resource at all and have usurped the rights of the citizens to hold this resources commonly for the benefit of all of the people.

The equal and equitable distribution of resources unfettered by the profit motive [ie capitalism], is an economic model that if implemented would be more harmonious to a democratic society.

It is the hierarchical nature of corporate [fascist] government that employs and embraces capitalism because it allows for the exploitation of resources while simultaneously using “competition”  to pit citizens against each other in an endless “game” of mutual exploitation wherein the “profit” from these endeavors accrues to the benefit of the wealthy elite who own and control not only the capital but the governments designed to regulate the greed of such corporations.

Capitalism has one goal, the maximization of profit for the owners and stockholders of the corporation. IT is singularly destructive of democratic, egalitarina aspirations in which the people seek a co-operative envirnonment wherein resources can be shared and protected from the excesses of the greed that is the hallmark of capitalism.

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By Justin Case, April 4, 2012 at 9:48 pm Link to this comment

“Inasmuch as capitalism is doing its best to self-destruct “
It’s not.

Actual capitalism is when people actually get a chance to trade what they have or produce or will do for each other.

When no one has control over the quality, the energy, the inventory or the currency because it’s under central control, you have either feudal lordship fascism or monarchy.

Today you don’t control the inventory of what you sell or the currency it’s sold in. It’s very much anti-capitalist & has been more than a century.

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By ACT I, April 4, 2012 at 9:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Religion, as we know it in the United States, is a part of the societal system.  The Economy is the dominant component of that system, and all other components—including religion, of course—are subservient to the dominant sector.  Given this, what is there about our religion that is worth keeping?  (A rhetorical question, obviously.)

Fortunately, our societal system is in the process of collapse (most notably because of global warming), and although few will be alive after global warming has run its course (perhaps as few as 100 million, per James Lovelock), perhaps these survivors will create a religion worth having.

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By gerard, April 3, 2012 at 6:53 pm Link to this comment

P.S. Interestingly enough, I think Hedges is uncharacteristically quiet and noncommittal in this interview.  I think maybe it is because he has his own deep anxieties about the very organizational powers of religion to “mass-produce” beliefs and inculcate false doctrines and rigid “followership” based on those beliefs.
  Yet no doubt ritual and procedure are two strongly “mystifying” aspects of religion that appeal to people’s yearnings.  It’s the “freezing up” of both flexible thought and creative behavior that keeps religion from growing more relevant as the times change.  Yet it would seem impossible to have both traditional ritual and organization and in addition creative ritual and organization in the same social structure.

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By Marcus, April 3, 2012 at 4:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So, Alan Lunn, do you mean you were a fundamentalist atheist or a fundamentalist religious person? Total rabbit trail I know, but I’m curious. :D

As someone who was an atheist and is now religious ( Christian ) it’s an interesting thing he’s talking about here. It’s an hour long, and I’m only part way through, but some of what he says seems to make sense. At least enough so to make it worth digging into further.

Neat interview for sure.

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By bpawk, April 3, 2012 at 5:57 am Link to this comment

It’s a great idea - even though I am an atheist, I always loved italian renaissance paintings, Christmas carols and postcards etc. We need to take what is good about religion - a sense of community no matter what class you’re from, communal feasts perhaps celebrating crop season, seeing things sacred even though they are not supernatural (nature is sacred), etc. - and apply it to our secular world without the superstition.

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Alan Lunn's avatar

By Alan Lunn, April 2, 2012 at 4:08 pm Link to this comment

As someone who has in my life been both an atheist and
a fundamentalist, I think Alain is doing something
constructive here. I appreciate the atheistic tendency
to unearth hypocrisy in religion (so like Jesus). But I
don’t think the two camps of believers and unbelievers
need be as polarized as they think.

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By gerard, April 2, 2012 at 2:55 pm Link to this comment

Emille Z:  I catch something viable behind Troy Davis’s “do nothing”  idea and sometimes wonder ...
Inasmuch as capitalism is doing its best to self-destruct ... and the world is so sick of greed and violence and mass murder and injustice ... and there are signs in many places of democracy trying to break out yet not knowing how ... and the tremendous risk of bringing about “collateral damages” without having any intention of doing so ... and many new things trying to get born at the same time that old things are trying to die ...
  Naturally one wonders whether, in seas as stormy as these, it is better to simply roll up the sails, batten the hatches, and try to ride it out, doing only what is essential to staying alive to all possibilities, and harpooning one as it slides by.
—“Call me Ishmael.”

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By Foucauldian, April 2, 2012 at 11:01 am Link to this comment

Like that, surfboy.  Non-participation can be an
organizational form.

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By diman, April 2, 2012 at 9:55 am Link to this comment

Thou shall keep thy religion to thyself Chris!!!

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By Troy Davis, April 2, 2012 at 9:18 am Link to this comment

@EmileZ:

Please, go speak with the priest. He is waiting for you.

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By Foucauldian, April 2, 2012 at 7:03 am Link to this comment

The co-opting of organized religions by the power
structures is not in question here, Troy, but the
message that all (?) religions, insofar as their
message is concerned, took the side of the
underprivileged and those of low status.

Another object lesson—there’s something to be said
for institutionalizing the politics of resistance if
we’re concerned with permanent results.

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By Troy Davis, April 2, 2012 at 6:52 am Link to this comment

If the OWS movement is to be considered revolutionary and the vanguard of the revolution to overthrow the capitalist rulers, expressed as the 1%, it has been a dismal failure.

On the other hand, if OWS diffused legitimate outrage over the destruction of egalitarian democracy [a dream that has never been achieved in America] or, at the very least, the usurpation of constitutional democracy, that its very existence was a betrayal of the revolutionary spirit, it laid claim to as the vehicle for change.

Ironically, “doing nothing” may be the ultimate energetic and assertive solution to the problem of capitalism.

Capitalism is that distinctly vile and evil economic system that was superimposed upon the blossoming democracy at its creation in 1787, beginning with the continental congress.

The quintessential manifestation of capitalism absolute capitalism found expression in the institution of slavery.

When slavery was codified into law making the buying, selling, trading and ownership of human beings legal, and thus giving it “moral” authority under the law of the land, capitalism demonstrated itself to be unworthy of consideration as the economic expression of a free people “endowed with unalienable[sic] rights” derived not from human intuition or understanding or commom sense but from a “divine” creator responsible for every impulse towards AGAPE!

It was allegedly our universality, our collective recognition of this divine entity that inspired the creation of the United States of America.

Of course, the hyperbole, and hypocrisy inherent in such flowery rhetoric cannot be denied given the origional US Constitution with its incorporation of slavery into it.

Nor can anyone ignore the reality that the only people allowed to participate in the Great American Experiment, as codified in the original constitution were were White, Propertied Males, of a certain age. Everyone else was subservient to, and unequal to them.

Neither should it be forgotten that the so-called Founding Fathers were distinctly non-religious men whose only allegiance to GOD was for political expediency when it enabled them to “rally the forces” against King George III, of England, to overthrow that tyrant [replacing him with an elitist ruling class every bit as vile and evil as King George].

I try to keep in mind, too, that the Founding Fathers were “gentleman farmers” [a euphemissm for slave-owning plantation overlords], who grew hemp and probably smoked marijuana making them all drug addicts who as a result of their “enlightened” state of mind, drug induced by cannabais inhalation was the genuine source of the “revolutionary spirit” that drove our War of Independence.

That faux religion, racial elitism, and exaggerated patriotism co-mingled with greed came together in an expression of the desire to disgard King George III, driven ultimately by the belief that the profit from their endeavors should accrue directly to themselves and not some monarch half a world away, is not surprising.

The myth of egalitarian democracy is what has sustained America for a very long time. The masses have derived some measure of equanimity by relentlessly challenged the status quo, seeking to use the words of the ruling elite against them to obtain some measure of economic justice that would allow them to experience the egalitarian democracy promised to them upon the founding of America.

It is not surprising that religion has played a significant role in frustrating those efforts since religion is most comfortable with the status quo, and has been used by the White Power structure in America to maintain itself in power since the inception of America.

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By Foucauldian, April 1, 2012 at 10:52 pm Link to this comment

Top-notch interview and ideas.  In a way, explains the
successes of OWS as a combination of street-theater
with ritualistic, repetitive qualities, combining thus
the theory of a liberation movement with liberation
practices (such as holding GAs, the occupied spaces,
etc).

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EmileZ's avatar

By EmileZ, April 1, 2012 at 9:21 pm Link to this comment

I feel pretty ho-hum about this guy, at least as far as this interview goes.

He seems to deliberately steer clear of politics, perhaps to make his book more appealing to a larger swath of privileged readers in search of more spiritually meaningful travel and entertainment, though I may be wrong about that.

I don’t get epiphanies in museums either, and I am an artist. They usually just make me want to go outside and get some fresh air or something. I can dig most of what he is saying in fact, but it seems to me that something vital is missing.

I was much more interested in this article on Hannah Arendt which was is linked to in an article linked to in a previous truthdig post which can also be accessed by clicking on the link here:

Work is Half of Life? Hannah Arendt and the Disease of the Modern Age

http://www.goethe.de/ges/soz/wsc/en4240890.htm

On education I would recommend this Chomsky lecture:

Education For Whom and For What?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_EgdShO1K8

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By gerard, April 1, 2012 at 8:59 pm Link to this comment

Regarding “spiritual enlightenment”: Much of what deBotton attributes to “religion” (for example, ideas of respect, awe, ethical values,plus a “resource to live by” and a support which draws people to a “higher level” than secularization) is actually not present in the lives of many, many church-going people, and yet is clearly evident in some non-religious persons. So it’s not thatsimple.
 
Further, the lack appears to be due to the very “didactics” and the heirarchical organization of churches which deBotton feels are lacking in secularized education. How people learn to adopt moral/spiritual values, and who teaches those values—and how they are sidetracked and perverted—probably can’t be attributed to organized religion or the lack of it. 

It is also probably true that these valuable characteristics are “picked up” by “susceptible” children and youths, or not, depending on thousands of daily experiences outside of either formal religion or formal education.

This is not to say that deBotton’s thoughts are “wrong” but that perhaps he oversimplifies by drawing too sharp a line between “religion” and “secularism” or everything that is “not religion.” Nevertheless his ideas are interesting and his enthusiasm is contagious and invites further investigating.

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Robespierre115's avatar

By Robespierre115, April 1, 2012 at 7:49 pm Link to this comment

@Egomet Bonmot Actually many scholars agree these days that the modern world was really inaugurated by the Reformation which in turn produced the Radical Reformation from which early egalitarian, socialist, communitarian ideas sprang from. The German Peasants War and Thomas Muntzer were considered so important to the development of socialism that Engels wrote one of his key works on the topic, anarchists like Bakunin and Marxists like Trotsky also cited the importance of the Reformation’s influence on the development of modern thought. You seem to be regressing into the simplistic notion of the “New Atheist” jihadists.

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By Egomet Bonmot, April 1, 2012 at 7:18 pm Link to this comment

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we took our sense of community from religion?

Wouldn’t it be grand if we borrowed our sense of shared responsibility from communism?

Wouldn’t it be beautiful if we got our train schedules from fascism?

Hedges is no stranger to subtlety but I think his religious background blinds him to the basic engine driving all monotheism:  The certain knowledge that one is in posession of the One True Faith.  Cohesion and social good are incidental to the Main Event, they’re gravy.  Monotheism can’t be vaccinated into harmless strains and it can never really serve as inspiration for secular culture.

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By Robespierre115, April 1, 2012 at 6:05 pm Link to this comment

Refreshing to see an intelligent conversation on these topics and not the crazed jihadists like Harris, Hitchens, Dawkins etc. Here we get philosophical ideas and social commentary of actual value.

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By Maani, April 1, 2012 at 5:39 pm Link to this comment

Although I am a believer, I consider Botton’s “The Consolations of Philosophy” to be among the best, most applicable of recent secular/atheist books.

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By waytoomanybottlesofrum, April 1, 2012 at 4:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Alaid de Botton is a wonderful thinker and, I think, his ideas are very important to the future of our society. Indeed his view that the humanities committed suicide and universities harmed themselves by becoming capitalistic and materialistic is probably spot on. Sure, there has been an assault on education, but as Chris Hedges would argue, educational institutions were all too eager to hollow themselves out in the name of careerism.

As a first-generation college student, I naively thought universities should be, as de Botton says, something like monasteries: outside of the rat race and careerism, focusing on higher things like learning and knowledge. I knew this wasn’t the case, but I was still struck by just how shallow and un-admirable many professors are, relishing personal status above knowledge. They seemed like the nerd versions of corporate managers - and bitter that they weren’t getting the attention and respect of corporate managers.

It’s tarnished my view of academia ever since.

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By gerard, April 1, 2012 at 3:52 pm Link to this comment

Deeply practical.  Way too much about which to make a simple comment. So much of modern life seems like a very deliberate effort to avoid what might be called “spiritual intelligence.”  Instead we offer vast rewards for answering “questions” on Jeopardy or Who Wants to Be ...? But when one dares to ask: “What is modern war doing to the human soul?” the attentions of Power turn away as if the question were somehow scatalogical. And when the secrets of organized murder are revealed, the exposure is grasped as evil, dangerous and destructive, and the revealers are thrown into prison.

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