Richard Dawkins Rejects Plan for £1M Atheist 'Church' in City of London


'There are better things to spend this kind of money on,' says non-believer-in-chief

Richard Dawkins Rejects Plan for £1M Atheist 'Church' in City of London.

RICHARD DAWKINS has hit out at plans to build a network of atheist 'churches' across the UK, starting with a £1 million monument in the City of London.

Probably Britain's most famous atheist, Dawkins might have been expected to support fellow non-believer Alain de Botton's scheme, but instead the Selfish Gene scientist has cried foul.

"Atheists don't need temples," said Dawkins.

"There are better things to spend this kind of money on. You could improve secular education and build non-religious schools which teach rational, sceptical critical thinking."

Given Dawkins' well-known feistiness, that quote qualifies as a mild rebuke, especially since de Botton deliberately picked out Dawkins as one of the problems with modern "destructive" atheism, to which his monuments are meant to be an antidote.

"Because of Richard Dawkins, atheism has become known as a destructive force, but there are lots of people who don't believe but aren't aggressive towards religions," said De Botton, a philosopher.

De Botton's plans for the London monument involve a 150ft/46m tower, designed so that every ten centimetres represents a million years of life on earth, presumably as a counter to Bible-based, creationist views on the history of our planet.

"You can build a temple to anything that's positive and good," said De Botton.

"That could mean: a temple to love, friendship, calm or perspective."

De Botton's new tower of London represents the "perspective" angle as it would offer City types a chance to reflect on things. Plans for other atheist landmarks include a Temple of Love featuring rose-tinted windows and a Shrine to Care, complete with glass statues filled with blood.

Half the £1 million has already been raised towards the tower. De Botton - who is currently promoting his new book: Religion for Atheists: A non-believer's guide to the uses of religion - hopes to raise the rest through public donations.

See an artist's impression of the tower here

Is Dawkins right to reject plan for an Atheist 'church' or 'temple'?
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Submitted by Anonymous on Tue, 2012-01-31 07:09.

Making an "Atheist Church" is more of emotional outburst. Richard Dawkins is right in his rejection because this is all waste of money. Money should be used to establish university and schools to educate science. In history, most of the meditation and research centers in India were converted into religious places and now these are source of income for religious groups. These are place of keeping black money -diamonds, gold jewellery, and currency.

Submitted by Anonymous on Thu, 2012-02-02 12:34.

Most of Charity organisations and target to build church in India and to convert them into christians this is what they do. Money comes to india in the name of charity and these charity organisations and NGO's spend that money to convert Indians into christians and spread wrong messages dividing people in India.

Submitted by Anonymous on Mon, 2012-01-30 07:14.

theyre called libraries

Submitted by Anonymous on Sun, 2012-01-29 02:14.

People wonder how on earth the UK has over 1 trillion pounds of debt. It's crap like this.

The government should be attempting to cut any and all spending in order to try and save itself. Instead, they increase spending, pile on more debt, and kick the can out to the next party, who does exactly the same thing.

Stuff like this contributes to the eventual collapse of the pound.

Submitted by Peter on Sun, 2012-01-29 06:59.

In fairness to Alain de Botton, he did not request that the remaining funds should come from the taxpayer. He wants the public to fork up for the balance needed.

Submitted by Anonymous on Sat, 2012-01-28 22:39.

If you really wanted to show something 'good' about humans and our nature, raise 1 million (or more) and share it between the failing hospitals of London, and those in South London which are going to be forced to shut down. This is a PRACTICAL act of COMPASSION and represent more truthfully the idea Mr. De Bottom wants us to recieve.

I think our Philosopher friend is just trying to turn himself and his idea into a brand. Not shocking, really, since that's all anyone wants to do in the world anymore. Stop trying to be avant-garde and 'DEEP' and just HELP for once.

Submitted by Anonymous on Sat, 2012-01-28 19:52.

most religions build temples and churches for their god, gods, or goddesses. the churches are built for worship, not knowledge. Why would atheists go to a church, to worship a god they don't believe in? it is quite counter-productive. Also, saying that an atheist's "temple" is a library, or museum, implies that religious people are stupid, or unintelligent. which is false, in some cases.

14 Year Old Canadian

Submitted by Anonymous on Sat, 2012-01-28 18:47.

I am with Richard Dawkins. London is full of fine art and cultural places to chill, I too love religious architecture of all religions. I see it as history, just the same as I see art galleries and stately homes. We need to put more in to education and in to publicising atheism as an intelligent choice for people to make. That is where the money should go.

Paul Sanders.

Submitted by Anonymous on Sat, 2012-01-28 16:41.

Atheist do not need monuments. As life is a pointless exercise in futility we should put our energy in removing all rules and laws that imprison us. Everyone should be free to do what ever they want when they want. That is the natural order and evolution proves it.

Submitted by Anonymous on Sat, 2012-01-28 18:26.

You are either a fool or a religious troll trying to make atheists look bad.

Submitted by Anonymous on Sat, 2012-01-28 18:06.

I'm a stalwart atheist but I think you have a very dim view of reality, especially within evolution.

Evolution has shown that sticking together and being positive is a beneficial trait for our species, consequently our civilisation is a natural extension of our evolutionary development.

As for an exercise in futility, indeed we are (at least for now) inevitably marching towards our ends, but again evolution offers us a mercy: What we are today sets the course for what those after us become. We have children, we ensure their safe futures, we learn new things so that others beyond us will be able to learn other new things.

And, as the gamer in me likes to think, life in truth is not unlike a power-up in a video game. It's inherently a limited experience, but instead of moping and doing nothing while we have it, we make the absolute most we can from it while it's around.

Submitted by Anonymous on Sat, 2012-01-28 14:48.

Churches are for theists. Atheists should be building colleges, universities, museums, etc. Those are our temples...

Submitted by Anonymous on Sat, 2012-01-28 12:19.

I think calling it a temple gives it a really weird vibe. Something along the lines of a museum would make more sense no?

Also waste of money.

Submitted by Anonymous on Sat, 2012-01-28 11:01.

There are better ways to spend this money. We do not need a temple mr. Button when we have evidence and facts.

Submitted by Anonymous on Sat, 2012-01-28 09:49.

This reminds me of the Tower of Babylon.... A.d.Botton seems to be what we call a devout atheist, or a cultural christian. If he likes the relligious architecture, the music, the art, he's more than free to visit and enjoy that in a religious entourage. It's childish to establish a 5th confession, whatever you call it. Non-theistic, secular weltanschauung should, through education, critical thinking, empowerment of the individual vs group pressure finally lead to a situation where atheist is the default setting. IMO A.d.Botton is just riding the tide, for nowadays it seems that "religion sells".

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