What are we missing? What aspects of religion could atheists beneficially adopt? Alain de Botton suggests -- call it Atheism 2.0 -- incorporating some religious forms and traditions to satisfy our human need for connection, ritual and transcendence.
Religion offers nothing that we can't find outside of it. Faith in ourselves, worship of our community or environment if that's what you need, social support in our community. Perhaps if our general community was more supportive, encouraging and mutually protective we wouldn't need to imagine a god to provide it. That imaginary thing could not then be coopted to meet the purposes of predatory people or organisations
I get offended by people who think atheists aren't good people. I don't think you need religion, rituals or anything else to teach compassion, empathy and the differences between right and wrong.
Maybe psychopaths need the structure of religion and ritual to learn right from wrong as they don't feel compassion and empathy.
Though I got fatigue before I could skim through all the comments on just the first page, it's blaringly obvious to me that the touchiness of the subject requires a different framing of the question: 1) Find a more inclusive label than "Atheist" 2) "Incorporating some religious forms and traditions" is understandably a trigger for many. Same with "ritual". Focus instead on the aspects of connection & community. 3) And the word "transcendence" I think is problematic for many, conjuring ideas of "nebulous woo nonsense". But I am in favor of finding ways to acknowledge/celebrate those things in life (such as awe, wonder, mystery, love, compassion, art) which takes life out the dry and literal.
I saw this video just a few days after declaring myself an atheist, so I very much liked it. I was liking everything atheism related at that point. I was on a high from my newfound freedom. Thinking back on it now, I still think he has a point when it comes to art. These days, so much of so-called art is literally garbage. Religion has produced great art. However, it's not as if it ever had an exclusive hold on meaningful art, so we can certainly have greatness there again.
My sense is that little more planning is needed than a weekly meeting. All the pomp and circumstance of various institutions I feel mostly reinforces the bureaucracy ( omg! Even with spellcheck I couldn’t spell that)instead of having any beneficial effect on the practitioners. I have little to no respect for tradition or ritual. It seems to me they end up being practiced for their own sake.
A story I heard once involved a little girl asking her mother why she chopped off the end of the Christmas ham. “It’s how my mother did it” came through reply. The little girl walked into the living room and asked grandma why she did it. “Well that’s how my mother taught me to do it “ came the reply. Latter in the day while visiting great grandma in the nursing home the three generations of daughters asked her “how come we cut off the end of the Christmas ham”? After looking really confused great grandma’s expression changed to amusement. She said “ oh dearies, when I was young we couldn’t afford much and the only pan I had was kinda small so I chopped off the end of the ham so it would fit”
That’s my view on ritual and tradition. It’s true meaning is usually lost to time and often there’s no real reason left to follow it.
It isn't an unreasonable question. Religion or religious experience has been an important component in human cultures going back as far back as we can peer and seemingly everywhere. Perhaps there is something about all that which could help us understand ourselves better? Maybe.
Personally I wouldn't emphasize the ritual/community aspect so much. I tend to see all established churches as being too rigid and instilling a follower-mentality on its membership. But transcendence means something quite apart from the supernatural or afterlife woo. I do think our society puts too much emphasis on living rationally. I find artistic pursuits to be transcending in a way, and when I was younger various physical pursuits had that effect. But just reading literature or poetry can also be transporting.
I couldn't get the video to play this time but I'm pretty sure have watched it before. (I do like me some TED talks.)
I agree with the Aussies. Atheists that need social connections can find them in ways other than an atheist organization. I also think that as we integrate into the human community and demonstrate our peace and happiness, we can become a beacon for reason to the rest of the world. I do need to emphasize though that judging and debating other people's religious choices will not make that happen.
Y’all will need a pope and some cathedrals I suppose. Some sort of power hierarchy, priests and all that.
You’ll want some way to keep out apostates such as agnostics and spiritual types—some sort of iron-clad oath to adhere to your creed. God forbid that one of the members should start wondering about the ground of all being or thinking metaphysical thoughts about ultimate reality beyond the sense realm.
Some people miss much because of their aversion to organized religions, while others reject everything associated with organized religions. I have accepted that many of the principles which religions promote are useful and functional to living a satisfying life.
But many religious leaders are hypocritically ignoring and often breaking their own written commandments. So i learned years ago to not 'throw the baby out with the bath water' when i evaluated anything in life. It's about finding the value in anything, even if i have to tweak my view of it to see what is with clear lenses.
Honesty, civility, humanity, truth, and respect are just 5 of the metaphorically articulated values described in most bibles i have read. If humans generally lived by these rules, the world would be a very different and probably a more welcoming place.
I have proven to myself, and others, that many of organized religion's principles can affect our lives in positive ways, physically, emotionally, and psychologically. I've never connected such values to religion, but i can't honesty claim that i invented the values i live by. LOL
In the context of the Universe, we're a very young and barely evolved race but if we don't learn, we'll probably go the way of other species which have become extinct when they couldn't evolve. This coronavirus pandemic is just such an opportunity for change and growth.
And one day historians, human or alien, will evaluate how we did. LOL
De Botton is a marvelous guy and a great thinker, his School of Life is a valuable resource. He seeks a better, softer way for human beings to act towards one another.
I think we can probably all do with some of the social structure and support churches offered, if only in theory in some cases. It is good to get together with like-minded people. Having said that, most of us have a really bad reaction to anything related to a church, or quasi-church. The fact that people are here, bickering endlessly about who is right, agnostics or atheists, as if we're opposing political parties, tells me nothing will ever come of De Botton's ideas.
You can start by dropping the Atheism and backing up so as to include everyone with our shared sentiments, no matter what they may or may not call themselves. Atheists can still be atheists. However, they are just one segment of the cohort, not THE cohort.
We will forever be looking forward at the gains of the religious (and increasingly fascist) right if we don't get this sorted.
Apart from this, our theism replacement has to be about more than just answering a question a certain way. Though this is obviously adequate for some people, there is far more to it for others.
What is religion good at doing? What is religion to people aside from the apparent?
This is an interesting dilemma since non-believers are a hugely diverse group. What we would all call an ideal replacement to theism likely means something very different depending on where you live, what your ethnic background is, etc. Rather than a roadblock, however, this is an excellent place to start.
Churches are good at being there for their local community. Both for worship, and many other areas.
When it comes to the secular community, I too, have struggled to see exactly what my part was in it. Even before I developed such strong critiques against the atheist community, I struggled to see my place in it. Aside from a ragtag group of millions of like-minded independents scattered around the internet, there were the prominents. Those ranging from the academics famous debaters to the Youtubers. And all they seemed to do was interview each other, debate hideously dumb theists, or fly to conventions in cities far far away.
And then there is the other baggage. The unfortunate exposures one has to deal with when the typical American patriarchal mindset intersects with yet another power structure. Notice that I am not naming names (nor should any of you!). Just making an observation.
All in all, I can fully understand why non-belief (or Atheism) can mean so little to people. Because even our most prominent faces to the world come across as elitist. A fun social ride for those of enough means, but little more than spectacle for the rest of us in the real world.
I don't know what replacing religion looks like for the rest of the non-believers in my city, but i'm sure we could come to a consensus if we were to put our minds to it. Just as I don't know what it means for anyone else , anywhere else. But they could likely also come to some sort of agreement.
How can thousands (or tens of thousands) of little independent groups all consolidate their power into 1 strong entity?
Again, I don't know exactly what this looks like. Or how many such lobbying entities they may end up in creating. However, what I do know is such power alignment would be a force to be reckoned with in any democratic nation.
If the theists can do it, so can we.
"What aspects of religion could atheists beneficially adopt?"
The ten commandments would be good... Rituals and such? Why? They're many ways to connect and bond with others without turning to things found in religion.. Seems like a trap! Foot in the door kinda thing