What do you make of Alain de Botton’s Ten Commandments for Atheists?

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Click here to buy Alain de Botton's Religion for AtheistsReligion for Atheists: A non-believer’s guide to the uses of religion

by Alain De Botton

A non-believer’s guide to the uses of religion

All of us, whether religious, agnostic or atheist, are searching for meaning. And in this wise and life-affirming book, non-believer Alain de Botton both rejects the supernatural claims of religion and points out just how many good ideas they sometimes have about how we should live.

And he suggests that non-believers can learn and steal from them.

Picking and choosing from the thousands of years of advice assembled by the world’s great religions to get practical insights on art, community, love, friendship, work, life and death, Alain de Botton will show us a range of fascinating ideas on topics including relationships, work, culture, love and death – that could be of use to all of us, irrespective of whether we do or don’t believe.

‘A serious and optimistic set of practical ideas that could improve and alter the way we live.’ Jeanette Winterson, The Times

‘There isn’t a page in this book that doesn’t contain a striking idea or a stimulating parallel.’ Mail on Sunday

‘Packed with tantalizing goads to thought and playful prompts to action.’ Independent

‘Smart, stimulating, sensitive. A timely and perceptive appreciation of how much wisdom is embodied in religious traditions and how we godless moderns might learn from it.’ Financial Times

‘Beautifully written . . . de Botton is enjoying himself here, and we should take him in good humour.’ Evening Standard

‘Surprisingly illuminating.’ Church Times

Click here to buy Religion for Atheists from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore

VIDEO INTERVIEW: Caroline Baum talks to Judith Lucy – Australia Funniest Spiritual Guide

DRINK, SMOKE, PASS OUT – An Unlikely Spiritual Journey

by Judith Lucy

Caroline Baum: I wasn’t sure whether Judith Lucy’s deadpan drollery would work as well on the page as it does in her stand up shows and TV series. But the good news is it does. She had me giggling helplessly in chapter one, and it doesn’t let up.

She doesn’t spare herself. In fact she lays herself bare in all her drunken mess as she stumbles and staggers her way towards spiritual enlightenment. Intoxicated, needy, confused, vulnerable and endowed with a heightened sense of absurdity which just about rescues her from toppling over the edge, she is raw in her revelations without it ever feeling ickily self-indulgent as it would if she were some gushy over-sharing US soapie star .

You don’t have to be on a search for meaning or interested in religious belief to find this highly entertaining – sceptics and heathens included.

Blurb: At last, a book about life that discusses liquor and lovemaking as much as it does the point of it all.

Judith Lucy has looked everywhere for happiness. Growing up a Catholic, she thought about becoming a nun, and later threw herself into work, finding a partner and getting off her face. Somehow, none of that worked.

So lately, she’s been asking herself the big questions. Why are we here? Is there a God? What happens when we die? And why can’t she tell you what her close friends believe in, but she can tell you which ones have herpes? No-one could have been more surprised than Judith when she started to find solace and meaning in yoga and meditation, and a newfound appreciation for what others get from their religion.

In her first volume of memoir, the bestselling The Lucy Family Alphabet, Judith dealt with her parents. In Drink, Smoke, Pass Out, she tries to find out if there’s more to life than wanting to suck tequila out of Ryan Gosling’s navel. With disarming frankness and classic dry wit, she reviews the major paths of her life and, alarmingly, finds herself on a journey.

Click here to buy Drink, Smoke, Pass Out from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore

Alain de Botton, author of Religion for Atheists, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Alain de Botton

author of Religion for Atheists, The Consolations Of Philosophy, The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work , Status Anxiety and many more…

Ten Terrifying Questions

——————-

1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born in Switzerland, raised speaking French, then swapped country at the age of eight and switched to English. I’ve been living in the UK ever since – desperately dreaming of living somewhere else, though ultimately always falling back on the idea of ‘better the Continue reading

Religion for Atheists: A non-believer’s guide to the uses of religion by Alain de Botton

The battle being fought between atheists and believers has raged for centuries. In one camp stand those quoting holy writ and in the other stand those quoting Richard Dawkins.

With his new book, Religion for Atheists, Alain de Botton steps into the firing line, deciding bravely to walk a path up through the middle of ‘no man’s land’.

This is a book which will certainly get people talking. And arguing. And I am sure the warring parties will leave off shooting at each other for a time to take aim at the lonely figure standing between them. But I do not fear for Alain de Botton. He is a very clear thinker. Easily a match for most hotheads.

Here’s a little bit about it and a short extract…

Religion for AtheistsA non-believer’s guide to the uses of religion

What if religions are neither all true nor all nonsense?

The boring debate between fundamentalist believers and non-believers is finally moved on by Alain de Botton’s inspiring new book, which boldly argues that the supernatural claims of religion are of course entirely false – and yet that religions still have some very important things to teach the secular world.

Religion for Atheists suggests that rather than mocking religions, agnostics and atheists should instead steal from them – because they’re packed with good ideas on how we might live and arrange our societies. Blending deep respect with total impiety, de Botton (a non-believer himself) proposes that we should look to religions for insights into, among other concerns, how to:

  • build a sense of community
  • make our relationships last
  • overcome feelings of envy and inadequacy
  • escape the twenty-four hour media
  • go travelling
  • get more out of art, architecture and music
  • and create new businesses designed to address our emotional needs.

For too long non-believers have faced a stark choice between either swallowing lots of peculiar doctrines or doing away with a range of consoling and beautiful rituals and ideas.

At last, in Religion for Atheists, Alain de Botton, the author of the bestselling The Consolations of Philosophyand How Proust Can Change Your Life, has fashioned a far more interesting and truly helpful alternative.

Order your copy of Religion for Atheists click here now

VISIT our Alain de Botton author page here

Photograph: Eamonn McCabe

EXTRACT:

Religion for Atheists:

1

The most boring and unproductive question one can ask of any religion is whether or not it is true, – in terms of being handed down from heaven to the sound of trumpets and supernaturally governed by prophets and celestial beings.

To save time, and at the risk of losing readers painfully early on in this project, let us bluntly state that of course no religions are true in any god-given sense. This is a book for people who are unable to believe in miracles, spirits or tales of burning shrubbery, nor have any deep interest in the exploits of unusual men and women like the thirteenth-century saint Agnes of Montepulciano, who was said to be able to levitate two feet off the ground while praying and to bring children back from the dead – and who, at the end of her life (supposedly) ascended to heaven from southern Tuscany on the back of an angel.Click here to read more…

REVIEWS etc…

Alain de Botton’s attempt to encourage secular society to steal religion’s most fruitful ideas is admirable but ultimately hollow by Richard Coles

Alain de Botton: a life in writing : ‘The nirvana would be if the questions raised by Oprah Winfrey would be answered by the faculty at Harvard’ by Stuart Jeffries

In his new book, the best-selling philosopher ponders how we can all learn a lesson or two from religion, writes STEVE MEACHAM.

Religion for Atheists: A non-believer’s guide to the uses of religion by Alain de Botton

Sorry, but this is a bit of a tease. Religion for Atheists  isn’t actually available till January next year. Doh! But with so many Alain de Botton fans hanging out for his next book I thought I’d put their minds at ease. Yes, it’s true, a new book is coming… eventually.

Here’s a little bit about it and a short extract…

Religion for AtheistsA non-believer’s guide to the uses of religion

What if religions are neither all true nor all nonsense?

The boring debate between fundamentalist believers and non-believers is finally moved on by Alain de Botton’s inspiring new book, which boldly argues that the supernatural claims of religion are of course entirely false – and yet that religions still have some very important things to teach the secular world.

Religion for Atheists suggests that rather than mocking religions, agnostics and atheists should instead steal from them – because they’re packed with good ideas on how we might live and arrange our societies. Blending deep respect with total impiety, de Botton (a non-believer himself) proposes that we should look to religions for insights into, among other concerns, how to:

  • build a sense of community
  • make our relationships last
  • overcome feelings of envy and inadequacy
  • escape the twenty-four hour media
  • go travelling
  • get more out of art, architecture and music
  • and create new businesses designed to address our emotional needs.

For too long non-believers have faced a stark choice between either swallowing lots of peculiar doctrines or doing away with a range of consoling and beautiful rituals and ideas.

At last, in Religion for Atheists, Alain de Botton, the author of the bestselling The Consolations of Philosophyand How Proust Can Change Your Life, has fashioned a far more interesting and truly helpful alternative.

VISIT our Alain de Botton author page here

EXTRACT: Continue reading

Mary Johnson, author of An Unquenchable Thirst, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Mary Johnson

author of An Unquenchable Thirst: Following Mother Teresa in Search of an Authentic Life

Ten Terrifying Questions

——————————–

1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born?

Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA – a college town with an international population. Raised? I lived in Ann Arbor until my family moved to Beaumont, Texas, when I was twelve. Life in Texas was hard to get used to. Schooled? At the University of Texas in Austin for a year, then I became a nun with the Missionaries of Charity, the Sisters of Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Eventually Mother Teresa sent me to study theology at Regina Mundi, a Pontifical Institute in Rome. After I left the sisters I studied English at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, and creative writing at Continue reading

AC Grayling, author of The Good Book, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

AC Grayling

author of The Good Book

Ten Terrifying Questions

 ——————————–

1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born to a British expatriate family in central Africa where my father was working as a banker, and spent most of my early years there, part of them at boarding schools.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

Before the age of twelve I wanted to be a Spitfire pilot, a cowboy, a rugby international, a spaceman, and various other things. By twelve I wanted to learn, write, and make a contribution; that was still what I wanted at Continue reading

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