This past weekend I happened across an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal which contained excerpts from Alain de Botton’s newest book, Religion for Atheists: A Non-Believers Guide to the Uses of Religion. The title of the op-ed was changed to read “Religion for Everyone”, probably because the editors felt it would attract a broader audience. While I have not read the book (it publishes in the US in March), the extra-long op-ed piece — presumably inclusive of the “choicest” portions of the book — grants enough of a basis for this response.
De Botton’s goal is quite simple: “to reclaim our sense of community…without having to build upon a religious foundation”. To this end, he chooses idealized religious customs and considers how to clone them for society-at-large. This has been done before, of course (see: Socialism). Read the rest of this entry