Alain de Botton, a Swiss-born writer and philosopher now resident in the UK, wants to build a series of “Temples to Atheism” in the UK, Dezeen reports.
Work has apparently begun on the first £1 million “temple” designed by Tom Greenall Architects and Jordan Hodgson designs. A statement from de Botton reads:
“Measuring 46 meters in all, the tower represents the age of the earth, with each centimetre equating to 1 million years and with, at the tower’s base, a tiny band of gold a mere millimetre thick standing for mankind’s time on earth.The Temple is dedicated to the idea of perspective, which is something we’re prone to lose in the midst of our busy modern lives.”
However, it may not be so simple. In his statement, de Botton criticises fellow athiests such as Richard Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchens. The Guardian reports that Dawkins is not too pleased with the “Temples to Atheism” plans.
“Atheists don’t need temples,” Dawkins said. “I think there are better things to spend this kind of money on. If you are going to spend money on atheism you could improve secular education and build non-religious schools which teach rational, sceptical critical thinking.”
Of course, while the idea is wonderful, we wonder how whether it will ever get off the ground, as it were, as the announcement seems suspiciously timed to publicize de Botton’s latest book, Religion for Atheists.
(Incidentally, as Londonist points out, de Botton once told a New York Times reviewer of his book that “I will hate you till the day I die and wish you nothing but ill will in every career move you make”. Let’s hope this one goes better.)