Let's not imagine, even for a moment, that Really Bad Ideas are the sole preserve of the religious, goodness me no. Just when you think we're all on board with the whole abandonment of religion thing (as a component part of a triumphal march of progress towards rationality and empiricism in a more general sense) someone who should in theory be on the right side suddenly pipes up and demonstrates that they just Haven't Got It At All.
Case in point: Alain de Botton's recent publicity binge in promotion of his truly unspeakably appalling idea of having a giant monument to atheism built, a sort of Atheist Temple if you will. It should be noted that de Botton has some previous in this area, having previously argued that we should adopt lots of the rituals of religion in a sort of pick'n'mix stylee, you know, a Jewish bread-making ceremony here, a Catholic bring'n'buy sale there, a clambake and genital mutilation workshop every alternate Sunday, that sort of thing. Because unless we do we will literally be soulless dead-eyed automatons, or, worse still, Richard Dawkins.
Note in the video how he sneakily equates religion and morality a couple of times, and slips in words like "spirituality" without doing that thing that all right-thinking people do when they hear the word - you know, that instinctive shoving of the tongue down into the gap between the lower teeth and the lower lip and then the grunting straining noises and the frantic head-slapping with alternate hands. NNNGGGSPIRITUALITYNNNGGGGHHHH *slappetyslappetyslap*. You know, that thing.
I suppose this is another Bill Maher-esque stopped clock right twice a day thing, in that obviously de Botton is right about the God not existing bit, but wrong about pretty much everything else. He also sets off various of my finely calibrated arsehole alarms by decrying Dawkins and others' "aggressive" and "destructive" approach towards religious belief. This is particularly ill-timed at the tail-end of a couple of weeks of quite concentrated evil religious apeshittery which throws into sharp relief people pointing out that made up stuff is, well, made up stuff. Frankly the more aggressive and destructive we all are towards that shit the better.
It hardly needs stating that all this ritual-observance and temple-building bullshit plays right into the hands of those who trot out the line that "atheism is just another religion", and is therefore quite obviously a huge own goal. What the hell do we need a temple for anyway? There are monuments to empiricism and rationality everywhere, indeed if it were not for empiricism and rationality there would be no monuments of any kind anywhere higher than you could slop together with a bit of wattle and daub and a couple of dead squirrels. What do you think enabled the guys who built Salisbury Cathedral to work out how high they could build the spire without it collapsing under its own weight? Faith? Fuck off.
There's my temple to atheism, right there. Made in Scotland. From girders.