'Religion for Atheists': How to Get Past An Argumentative Impasse

Monday, March 05, 2012

Religion plays a fundamental role in daily life, and in political life, to believers and non-believers both. And while wars have been fought and era-defining antagonisms built for centuries between opposing religions, the relatively recent antagonism between believers and non-believers has reached something of a fever pitch. You can trace it to the Enlightenment, but the likes of Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens have brought the argument to a head … or maybe to a standstill. Is any kind of progress possible in a debate between religious-believers and atheists? Or is there just a never-breakable impasse between the two worldviews?

Alain de Botton tries to get past the heated, divisive, and potentially stifling conflicts between believers and atheists in his new book "Religion for Atheists: A Non-believer's Guide to the Uses of Religion."

Guests:

Alain de Botton

Produced by:

Ben Gottlieb and Jillian Weinberger

Comments [6]

tom LI

To Ed from Larchmont -

Re; contraception-health insurance. Ones beliefs are not part of the economic contract employees have with their employers, vice versa. There are plenty of things "I" pay for in a group policy that I do not think is right for me to have to share. Like the meds for the fat people who refuse to take care of their health while I take great care.

Mar. 27 2012 04:24 PM
Bill Fox from Massapequa (at work in MetroTech)

Look at Mary Midgley's insightful book "Evolution as a Religion: Strange Hopes and Stranger Fears" from 1985 addressing how poor understandings of evolution develop into religious-like reasoning.

Mar. 27 2012 11:36 AM
Liz from Topsfield

I think Alain de Botton might want to consider how his beliefs fit into Unitarian Universalism. As I listened to him this morning, I wondered if he had ever hear of this faith tradition.

Mar. 05 2012 04:59 PM
Ed from Larchmont

The debate is not about contraception but about the free exercise of religion: should people be required to pay if it's against their conscience.

Mar. 05 2012 09:38 AM
Ed from Larchmont

The question of religion isn't that we need help: the question is does God exist? and what is God's nature?

Mar. 05 2012 08:42 AM
Ed from Larchmont

We can work together if we respect each others' consciences; if not, we can't.

Mar. 05 2012 07:21 AM

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.