Things we should not do
Can I just say, “please no, on behalf of everything sane”.
Let’s not start building monuments to non-belief. Let’s not start erecting statues and constructing ceremonies in worship of… nothing.
Not even single, unified, lack-of-belief systems. Because we’re not unified – some atheists are skeptics. Some are not. Some are humanists. Some are not. Some of us are dicks (sorry, “pro-active”). Some of us are accomodating of all religions.
I’m not even going to go begin to ask why atheism would want to be more like a religion. Lets just not go down this route.
Also, £1,000,000? For a tower? Total waste of money.
Lastly, but not leastly: thanks de Botton. Thanks for – yet again – perpetuating the myth that atheism is purely negative, that “new atheists”* are “aggressive” and “destructive”, and for reducing Richard Dawkins to a tone argument again. “Richard Dawkins, why do you have to be so very aggressive all the time. I mean, you could just be nice, right?”
“Because of Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens atheism has become known as a destructive force. But there are lots of people who don’t believe but aren’t aggressive towards religions.”
Believe what you want, but Hitchens and Dawkins aren’t\weren’t that bad**. The reason why they seem so rabid is because people don’t like what they are/were saying. Have you ever read The God Delusion? At no point does it call anyone stupid, willfully ignorant or a borderline fascist.
(I wish I could find the video where Dawkins was called out at an Australian skeptics meet up by an attendee who thought he was too kind. I know I’ve seen it somewhere, even if it was years ago. Ah well.)
It just seems more like de Botton’s trying to distance himself from Dawkins, rather than back him up. That doesn’t seem helpful, especially considering the increasing radicalisation of religion, and the rise of the fundie nutjobs. But I guess trying to become religion’s atheist best friend does have perks…
Anyway, thanks de Botton for continuing this trend, and thanks for using the best intentions to suggest a stupid idea.
* I hate this phrase so much.
** Well, maybe Hitch was.