This review appears in today's Leicester Mercury:
Accentuating the positives of faith
By Alain de Botton, published by Hamish Hamilton
Review by Claire Ennis
In an age where debates surrounding religion often focus on the negative – wars, sectarianism, fanaticism, fundamentalism, abuse, terror – philosopher Alain de Botton demonstrates the many positives religious beliefs bring to the world.
Steering clear of any theological arguments, he shows in Religion For Atheists how religious rituals, rules and its sense of community help to bind a society, appeal to our primitive needs, provide guidance and help us experience art in a meaningful way.
The author says that even if you assume the supernatural claims of religion are entirely false, religions still have some very important things to teach the secular world.
He argues that, once it is disconnected from any "supernatural" aspect, many of religion's ideas can be used to solve the problems we face.
While some of the concepts may jar with many it is difficult to disagree with the notion that, whether a believer or not, religion's more honourable ideals and rituals can enrich individuals and help bind communities.
Religion for Atheists suggests that rather than mocking religions, agnostics and atheists should instead steal from them – because they're packed with good ideas.
I've downloaded the audiobook of this title, from the excellent Audible. I don't get much chance to read these days, but I do make the most of opportunities to listen to good books on my iPhone. Hard as it may seem to believe, I've not been sponsored for this entry or any of the links on it. Missing a trick there, clearly.