De Botton’s vacuous religion

An excerpt from a review of Alain de Botton’s Religion for Atheists:

Despite its striking description of the symptoms of the modern malaise, Religion for Atheists fails to address the cause of the disease. De Botton tries to re-pot the bright flowers plucked from religion’s garden into the drab flower box of atheism but he fails to realise that the flowers will not survive torn from their transcendental roots.

Even more than the Dawkins brigade, which has been criticised by foe and friend alike for its lack of clear thinking, de Botton’s argument is opaque. The book’s appeal is not to reason but to aesthetic sensibilities. As poetic prose this book will find some favour but as serious thinking about religion and atheism it will win few friends in its confusion of an aesthetic appreciation of faith with the hard intellectual work of making sense of religion without God.

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