Loving Religion, The Atheist Way

I wasn’t planning to jump on the bandwagon of those who have watched the viral video about loving Jesus, but hating religion (which got 15 million views in its first 10 days). Not only are lots of people watching it, they’re blogging about it, from a number of angles. I’ve cynically smirked at several emerging church bloggers, because of the conundrum the video puts them (us?) in. On the one hand, they’ve been deconstructing and sniping at the religion side of Jesus-following for the past ten+ years.  On the other hand, two things are happening – first, many emerging church folks have been at the deconstruction/reimagining thing long enough to have learned that the institutions of religion aren’t all bad all the time after all; and second, even if they agree with the sentiments of the video, the viral “success” of the video means they’re not on the hipster fringe saying these things any longer.

What changed my mind about posting on this wasn’t that I thought I have something fresh to say about it. No, I’m posting because as a lover of juxtaposition, I found it terribly interesting that TED has also recently posted a video about religion . . . I don’t think it’s gone viral yet, though (see me staking my claim on the hipster leading edge?). Except this is a PRO religion talk. Oh, and it’s given by a famous atheist, Alain de Botton, who proposes what he calls “Atheism 2.0.” He readily admits that he believes in no supernatural deities or sub-deities, but argues that atheists have a lot to learn from the institutional life of religions – the ordering of time, the repetition of closely-held important values, the use of art as a didactic tool. He’s actually arguing for the religioning of atheism! It’s actually a quite fascinating presentation on several levels.

So, while some Christians are trying very hard to argue their way out of religion, some atheists are trying to argue their way in. Brilliant!

Here’s the TED video

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What do you think?

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