An old video which may well have been superseded by now. But even so, I like the enthusiasm Mr de Botton displays, and I empathize with some of his opinions. I’m also guessing that any complaints I could express would be either a miscommunication on his side, or more likely a misunderstanding on mine. But the point that I think he gets right is the need for a sense of community among atheists. One of the reasons religions are so successful in keeping converts is that the people who step through the door looking for answers end up staying for the fellowship.
Many atheists spend a lot of time consumed with being in opposition to theism. They appear like surly teens who wear black t-shirts and jeans and rebel against whatever. But in doing so they’re not keeping their eye on the bigger picture – what do you do when the word ‘atheism’ has no currency because there’s no more theism to be in opposition to. If we want to show others that atheism is more than having arguments with those who believe in the supernatural, then we ourselves have to find other things to do with atheism. I like his suggestion of atheist tours, rituals, and festivals with the caveat that these aren’t meant as opportunities to be didactic about our non-beliefs, but as launching pads for like-minded people to get together and enjoy a sense of community. They don’t even need to be advertised as atheist events, but instead have a theme of atheism behind them. Much like a Club Med tour is ostensibly riding around in a bus to take pictures of foreign tourist traps, but it’s really about drinking too much cheap beer before trying to hook up with as many people as possible who are on the same journey.