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