Monday, September 10, 2012

Religion for Atheists

I have a good number of atheist and/or agnostic friends. This might seem weird for a devout Christian, but honestly, I don't think it should be. In fact, contrary to what you've been told by the media (or even from certain high profile atheists), a lot of atheists and agnostics are deeply spiritual people. This doesn't mean that they believe in God (or even spirits for that matter), and some of them will say straight out that their spiritual experiences are probably biological responses hardwired into them, but regardless, I find it pretty easy to have meaningful, deep conversations about life with my secular friends.

Last night on Krista Tippet's radio show "On Being" she did a really fascinating interview with an atheist philosopher named Alain de Botton. You can listen to the show here. He talks about how he was raised in an atheist home and taught that religion was stupid and silly, but in his 20s he had a "crisis of faithlessness" when he discovered a lot of things about faith that were, in his words, "Rather nice." He went on to explore some different things about faith that he thinks that secular society would be wise to adopt from religion. He also made an interesting point, that as we're working hard to create a secular society in which no religion is being allowed to publicly force its message on others, we're allowing corporations and marketing to fill the spaces we're clearing out which, in his view, is bankrupting us morally. Great insight.

Anyway, I haven't read the book yet, but here's his book, Relgion for Atheists, and here's his website.

What do you think?

Atheists: would you describe yourself as spiritual? What do you think of de Botton's thought that there are things secular society should rip off from religion?

Theists: What do you think? Anything of interest to you from the show? Would you be willing to hang out and talk about an atheist's views on spirituality and religion?

P.S. If you're an atheist/agnostic kid with Christian parents or the Christian parent of an atheist/agnostic kid, send me an email and I'll connect you with a facebook support group that a friend of mine and I have going. Both groups are encouraging, supportive, and focused on helping you process your emotions and live life well with your family.