I rarely ever say anything negative about other atheists. The way I see it is that we are all in this fight together and we each have our own approaches to the problem. With that said, Alain de Botton’s “Atheism 2.0” is stupid.
Alain de Botton is basically the British equivalent to Greg Epstein, but worse. Greg Epstein is the Humanist Chaplin at Harvard University and for the most part I don’t have much of a problem with his approach. I don’t like that he is trying to make Humanism more like the traditional theistic religions except without the God, but that’s his thing. But it seems that de Botton takes it much further and the fact that he confuses atheism with humanism makes it even worse.
Atheism is just a lack of belief in deities. It is not in and of itself a system of belief. Not all atheists are rational, nor do all atheists value rationality, reason, and science. These are Humanist values. While all Humanists are atheists and most atheists are Humanists, not all atheists are actually Humanists. When de Botton labeled his ultra-religious Humanism as “Atheism 2.0” he is confusing the already confused theists.
Take for example, the recent Huffington Post article, “Atheist Temple: Nonbelievers To Get Place Of ‘Worship’ In UK.” The fact is that Humanists already have meeting places so de Botton isn’t doing anything new really. There are Ethical Humanist Societies all over America and much of Europe too. But by labeling it as an “Atheist Temple” de Botton gets people’s attention. Plus, it seems like de Botton’s idea of an “Atheist Temple” would even make most Humanists cringe.
Again, while I disagree with Alain de Botton’s “Atheism 2.0,” I would support his efforts in that I think we need to take multiple approaches to the problem of religion. However, I don’t like his terminology which I think is confusing at best. For more on “Atheism 2.0,” check out de Botton’s TED Talk.
- Atheism 2.0: Alain de Botton on TED.com (ted.com)
- Against Atheism 2.0 (resnikoff.wordpress.com)
- Do we need an atheist religion? (whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com)