We've already reported about the fact that some atheist scientists bring their children to church and that skeptics are also advocating to install atheist military chaplains. These developments may seem quite odd, especially considering non-believers' sometimes intense rhetoric against faith and religion. But now -- there's another more bizarre project in the works, as a new "atheist temple" is being planned in London, England.
For years, atheists have denied that their lack of belief actually follows religious structure. But as time goes on, new developments seem to indicate that non-believers are embracing some of the same strategies and parameters that are championed by those who hold religious views. The temple, which was announced by author Alain de Botton, seems to be reflective of a worship center of sorts.
In DeZeen Magazine, which covers architectural design, de Botton announced the plans to build the 150 foot building (measuring 46 meters in an effort to honor the earth's alleged age -- 4.6 billion years).
The project, which does not yet have a completion date, will be built in collaboration with Tom Greenall Architects. Dezeen explains de Botton's motivation:
Author Alain de Botton has announced a bold new plan for a series of Temples for Atheists to be built around the UK.
‘Why should religious people have the most beautiful buildings in the land?’ he asks. ‘It’s time atheists had their own versions of the great churches and cathedrals’.
Alain de Botton has laid out his plans in a new book, Religion for Atheists, which argues that atheists should copy the major religions and put up a network of new architectural masterpieces in the form of temples.
‘As religions have always known, a beautiful building is an indispensable part of getting your message across. Books alone won’t do it.’
And yes, you read that correctly. De Botton's plans call for a series of temples, with this first proposed structure simple serving as a "kick off" for other beautiful worship buildings for non-believers. In the author's view, one doesn't need a god or gods to serve as the basis for a temple, as a house of worship, he says, can be devoted to anything -- even a benign concept like "calm" or "friendship."
De Botton's book, which comes out in Europe today and will be available in America on March 8, is being launched along with an ad campaign to "reposition atheism." Below, see one of the images from this initiative:
The author maintains that famous atheists like Richard Dawkins can't convince individuals, through written word alone, that atheism is a proper lens through which to view the world unless communities are grown and rituals are employed. This, of course, includes architecture. In an interview with the Guardian last week, he said, "I guess my insight was: 'What is there here that's useful, that we can steal?'"
And steal de Botton will, as he leads the charge toward a new brand of atheist architecture.