ROZ’S MUSINGS – Religion for Atheists
I think there is potential for us all to learn from Alain de Botton’s latest book Religion for Atheists. What gives Botton’s book appeal is his opinion that the supernatural claims of religion are false but that religions still have many worthwhile lessons to teach us.
Botton suggests that rather than mocking religions, agnostics and atheists should instead take the best from them. Because religions are packed with good ideas on how we might live and arrange our societies. He points out that for a long time non-believers have faced a choice between either accepting ‘lots of peculiar doctrines or doing away with a range of consoling and beautiful rituals and ideas’.
As planetary citizens our compass in how we manage life seems to be askew. The looming global financial crisis, the fear of difference, the lack of compassion and the greed of many are having a deleterious impact on us all.
Is it too much to think that we could learn from the past? Imagine what would be possible if we are prepared to look collectively at the wisdom of various religions and sages?
Imagine if we could move our thinking from a moral stance of what is right or wrong towards one that consider the power of what works. What would bring workability to unemployment for example? What would bring more peace to the planet? What would give more meaning to all of our lives?
We do ourselves a disservice by ignoring what religion can offer. In the western world many rituals and symbols have been lost because they are no longer relevant to modern lives. What has also been lost though is the sense of community and belonging that was enhanced with these rituals. The vital need for connectedness has been downgraded in many societies. Technology is playing a part but is not enough.
What is it that your religion or belief system could offer the world? And what is it that you could take from others?
Live! Love! Laugh! Read!
Roz Townsend www.roztownsend.com