Last week the writer and philosopher Alain de Botton announced that he wanted to build some temples to atheism in the city of London. Religious types get their places for spiritual intoxication, he reasoned, so it’s only fair that the non-religious set should also have a place where they can bask in the absence of the divine. “It’s time atheists had their own versions of the great churches and cathedrals,” de Botton claims.
The motion seems to stem directly from the thesis of de Botton’s latest book, Religion for Atheists: A non-believer’s guide to the uses of religion, which looks to religion as a sort of blueprint for society and culture, arguing that there is much the secular world can learn from religion. As such, de Botton rightly recognizes that a temple of worship, a sort of headquarters, is a crucial step towards building a community around a particular school of thought, not to mention an opportunity to flex some artistic muscle and wow the public with a towering, imposing structure.
But judging from the recently released images showing what the proposed buildings might look like, it seems as if this temple of atheism may not quite stack up to the architectural majesty of the spiritual world. The first proposal is Temple to Perspective by Tom Greenall and Jordan Hodgson, a long, black, hollow stone structure that stands 46 metres tall, where each centimeter is equal to one million years of life. At one meter high a line of gold one millimeter thick represents humanity, putting us puny humans in perspective with the entirety of existence.
Check out the pics below and let us know whether you think this motion is long overdue or completely ludicrous.