Poor old Alain de Botton came in for a lot of stick after he unveiled plans for a grand atheist Temple in The City. One of the problems identified with the idea is that people won’t know what to do once inside.
There’s no superior being to pray to, unless you count de Botton himself, a super-rich member of a top banking family, and few rituals atheists are known for, apart from pulling their hair out when they come across religious stupidity.
De Botton says that “people would probably behave as they would in a museum”, which isn’t much of a guide. If they follow the example of my kids, they’d be moaning all the way around until we got to the gift shop. What would that sell? The empty space where God isn’t?
You’d think de Botton would be cool with bored children asking when they can go home, as he says his temple is “all about thinking for yourself and not having a central authority”.
But here’s what he told one critic: “I will hate you till the day I die and wish you nothing but ill will in every career move you make.”
As curses go, it’s not exactly the fire ‘n’ floods of Jehovah, but I don’t really want my kids to be cursed for the rest of their lives just because they dont like a ropey vanity project.