Wed, 28 March 2012
'All nonsense, but why not enjoy the best bits?' In conversation with Alain de Botton, on 'Religion for Atheists'
Claudia Cragg speaks here for KGNU with philosopher and author Alain de Botton about his latest book 'Religion for Atheists'. De Botton argues "What if religions are neither all true or all nonsense?' as the traditional debate between believers and their non-believing debaters contend. De Botton maintains that "this boring debate between fundamentalist believers and non-believers is finally moved on" in his new book, which boldly argues that the supernatural claims of religion are of course entirely false and yet that religions still have some very important things to teach the secular world. "Even if religion isn't true," he says, "Can't we enjoy the best bits?" He explores the book in this convesation looking at amongst other ideas the potential of rituals in secular life and the need for modern day non-religious 'saints' or people to look up to as everyday heroes. One of De Botton's for example is Warren Buffett.
The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work (2009) is a survey of ten different jobs, including accountancy, rocket science and biscuit manufacture, which includes two hundred original images and aims to unlock the beauty, interest and occasional horror of the modern world of work.In August 2009, de Botton replied to a competition advertised among British literary agents by BAA, the airport management company, for the post of "writer-in-residence" at Heathrow Airport. The post involved being seated at a desk in Terminal 5, and writing about the comings and goings of passengers over a week. De Botton was duly appointed to the position. The result was the book, A Week at the Airport, published by Profile Books in September 2009. The book features photographs by the documentary photographer Richard Baker, with whom de Botton also worked on The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work.