Could Atheist Alain de Botton have come up with a way of having a civilising influence on modern life? As we live in an increasingly secular society that sees Judeo-Christian teaching such as the original 10 Commandments out of date and no longer relevant.
Indeed it is hard to see how anyone could argue with de Botton's on how to be a 'nice person', and equally could any person of faith argue that all these characteristics are not in keeping with their religions beliefs?
Whereby many see the 10 Commandments as a form of social control, this list for atheists is a 21st-century guide to pleasant coexistence with which no one could argue. Perhaps with the exception of Richard Dawkins, because this list is mostly definitely all about the 'Unselfish Gene'.
It does raise some questions, does sacrafice have a place in 21st centruty living? Whcih de Botton repies, "We won't ever manage to raise a family, love someone else or save the planet if we don't keep up the art of sacrifice."
Psychologist Jacqui Marson claims, "Religion doesn't have a monopoly on ethics, and this list is an excellent, thoughtful guide to behaviour. It places the onus back on the individual to listen to their humanity and trust in other people, rather than laying out rigid instructions for living."
de Botton says that his list is aimed to "ignite a vital conversation around moral character to increase public interest in becoming more virtuous and connected as a society". Something that he claims doesn't often happen for the non-religious.
How does this compaire to the 10 Commandments? Do atheists and the non-religious really not strive to be more virtuous? Does this list function in the same way as the 10 Commandments? Do you think de Botton is in danger of moving towards his own cult, in a similar fashion to 'Dawkinism?'
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/lifestyle/life/the-10-commandments-for-atheists-20130205-2dw83.html#ixzz2K16eaghz
Alain de Botton's 'list for life'
- Resilience: Keeping going even when things are looking dark.
- Empathy: The capacity to connect imaginatively with the sufferings and unique experiences of another person.
- Patience: We should grow calmer and more forgiving by being more realistic about how things actually happen.
- Sacrifice: We won't ever manage to raise a family, love someone else or save the planet if we don't keep up with the art of sacrifice.
- Politeness: Politeness is closely linked to tolerance, -the capacity to live alongside people whom one will never agree with, but at the same time, cannot avoid.
- Humour: Like anger, humour springs from disappointment, but it is disappointment optimally channelled.
- Self-awareness: To know oneself is to try not to blame others for one's troubles and moods; to have a sense of what's going on inside oneself, and what actually belongs to the world.
- Forgiveness: It's recognising that living with others is not possible without excusing errors.
- Hope: Pessimism is not necessarily deep, nor optimism shallow.
- Confidence: Confidence is not arrogance - rather, it is based on a constant awareness of how short life is and how little we will ultimately lose from risking everything.