Currently, there is a little flap among atheist authors. I don’t know anything about the “temple” they are arguing about, but the general views of British author, Richard Dawkins, and Swiss author, Alain de Bottom, are both worth considering.
de Botton is generally critical of Dawkins because of Dawkins’ broadside attacks on religion. Dawkins sees mostly negative results from the practice of religions across the world. de Botton, on the other hand sees a benefit to human kind from them.
What strikes me as curious is the benefit de Botton assigns to religion. He says religions place people in a vast universe where they find themselves insignificant. This humbles people and benefits us all.
This is counter intuitive. While I don’t think there is anything harmful about religion when kept out of politics and government, and many feel they are helped by religion, I have to take a different view on the humility issue.
Real humility comes from people seeing themselves as not important. The messages of all religions is that each of us is a big deal.
Religion tells people their god knows them. Their god is talking to them, listening to them and watching over them.
To worship a god is to feel self important, to be noticed by someone important. To not have a god is to have more humility.
Unlike faith, building egos is not part of the atheist, agnostic or freethinking heritage. This, even though some, like me, could benefit from a little more humility.