Friday, February 10, 2012

Atheism and growing up

I've my regular ABC column up today, 'Atheism and growing up'.

Prompted by Alain de Botton's new book Religion for Atheists, I'm arguing for a more mature, judicious atheism - one that can reject dogma, without being blind to religious wisdom or shrewdness. A sample:
A healthy atheist psyche requires neither infantile helplessness, nor adolescent rejection of all help. Because we can be forgetful, biased, weak or vague, we often need assistance: talismans, role models, keepsakes, calendars, scripts. De Botton's wise recommendation is to introduce these knowingly and shrewdly, without supernaturalism and its pathologies. Against superficial optimism or paralysing pessimism, historical traditions can be judiciously reclaimed or rejected; can be treated as tools, not faux-eternal truths to be humbly swallowed or angrily spat on.

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