In recent years the number of Atheists (believe there is no God, in the sense of an ultimate Being) and Agnostics (believe we cannot know whether or not God exists) have grown significantly, and the last couple of decades have seen churches founded for both religious groups. As this link shows (http://www.londonnet.co.uk/news/2012/jan/richard-dawkins-rejects-plan-%C2%A31m-atheist-church-city-london.html) there is also now discussion about buildings raised in the name of such religions.
Now if you read the comments on sites such as the one above you’ll see that mostly the reactions have been negative. But as an Atheist myself I completely agree with De Botton not only that Dawkin’s rhetoric has been symptomatic of a ‘destructive’ kind of Atheism, but also that there is a profound spiritual element to Atheism that should be celebrated and discussed. In fact I believe the case for spiritualism within Atheist beliefs is far stronger than the case for it existing within other major religions (with the exception of Buddhism, for which I would say there is a possible overlap with Atheism depending on your viewpoint). My reasoning for this is based on my answer to the following question:
Would you rather live in a world where you were created by one Being to accomplish one ultimate goal after which life would cease to exist or be utterly meaningless; or would you rather exist in a world where no one’s perception of value is any more important than anyone else’s, where everyone perceives wonder through their own eyes, and where everyone decides on not one but many purposes for themselves?
Surely the latter answer means more spirituality right, for rather than a rigid adherence to what you are being told from a certain source about a finite existence, you are exploring an infinite reality with wonder and purpose all around you.
Would you agree with me and De Botton about the merits of coming together to celebrate and discuss such spirituality? Or do you agree with Dawkins and most of De Botton’s critics that such efforts are futile, silly, and a waste of resources?