Alain de Botton: Atheism 2.0

I’m a big fan of TED and an equally big fan of Alain de Botton. This is one of my favourite TED talks.

It might be worth noting I’m also a deconverted Christian and someone who has spent a considerable amount of time thinking about and studying religions, gods, and faith, as well as life and how we should live it. In this brilliant talk, Alain talks about the real value of religion and the parts we should be incorporating into secular life. I couldn’t agree more.

While I don’t often label myself (atheist/agnostic/etc), there are a few things I identify with that give me a more meaningful perspective than religion ever did, such as Buddhist philosophy, mindfulness meditation, practicing the Humanist Manifesto (although I’m not a fan of the AHA) and celebrating the wonders of our world through the sciences (physical and social). The problem with these practices and perspectives is they are more valuable to the individual than the group. So the value to the group (humanity) is more indirect than community engagements would be.

Hopefully we’re moving toward Atheism 2.0 so we can get the best of both approaches without all the unnecessary mythical allegories that continue to deceive the followers of the world’s religions. They simply aren’t needed. It’s funny, one of the criticisms Christians have about Catholicism is “We don’t have to go through a priest to get forgiveness - we can go straight to God.” I’ve learned we don’t have to go through a fabricated deity to find meaning, purpose, and joy - it already exists within all of us, but as Alain points out, this is the starting place.