It has been a while since I watched Alain de Botton talk on TED.com talk about Atheism 2.0 and most importantly his idea of Institutionalizing  atheism. He is curious like many as to how the world over religions work. The various components they employ which are so similar in pattern.

How the religions are so efficient in getting the jobs done or more importantly get ideas across ?

Thing which fascinated me more was when he said that organizational capabilities of various religions could be studied and employed on the corporate scenario.

One wonders the amount of efficiency one could achieve and it also gives deep insight into how many spiritual gurus use organizational building skills to build and strength their religions. It made me think that religion as whole is an amalgamation of music therapy, counseling therapy, group counseling, color therapy, meditation, building exercise strategies, loss coping exercises and confidence building exercises.

His comment which stood out and set the course for the 20 minute speech was very interesting (something of a view which I kind of subscribe to)

I think there is an alternative. I think there are ways — and I’m being both very respectful and completely impious — of stealing from religions. If you don’t believe in a religion, there’s nothing wrong with picking and mixing, with taking out the best sides of religion. And for me, atheism 2.0 is about both, as I say, a respectful and an impious way of going through religions and saying, “What here could we use?”

what strikes most in his conversation is a different view point that he brings into Atheism and how many people appreciate little things in many religions and are not harsh and dismissive about them out right. They however choose to dwell over them, choose to think about them and see how it is impacting many people’s lives and how psychologist (more so behavior psychologist ) could learn from such studies of human society.

The points being that people enjoy many holidays like Christmas carols, Diwali light, the colors of Holi, the mysticism of sufi saints (their poetry and songs to be precise), the hard-work oriented martial and spiritual nature of the Sikhs and constant evolutionary, inquisitive and peaceful learning of the Buddhists. The most important point being that CULTURE of any nation leads to the guidance and morality which is build in the people (children to be precise) and sustained through their life via ritualistic norms.

Finally, while having a conversation with the host , Alain de Botton talks how we can agree to disagree, which is a trait which could certainly handy in Democracies of the world and in handling sensitive issues.

Though a contrary view point that I got on another blog said that religion isn’t a salad bar, where you can nibble on the parts you like and elide the nasty bits; the pieces fit together to form a larger whole. ” this is utter horseshit, because exactly this thing happens in religion all the time. ever hear of syncretism?

Well that may be but what needs to be seen in the context is that many new religions were formed on those very doctrines, nibbling on the salads and reforming the old views and loop holes, eg : Christianity from Judaism, Islam from both Christianity and Judaism plus other local religions, Buddhism and Jainism from Hinduism and Sikhism from Islam and Hinduism. So may be he  (Alain de Botton ) is about to form a new religion as the  host suggested  or  he has given us good reason to think about religions and how they are build and sustained.  One can say that then it amounts to very fascinating piece for sociology lecture though not sermon (as I doubt sermons are up for debates)  🙂

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