A friend of mine recommended this TED video on Atheism 2.0 and I found it to be fascinating (wrongheaded...but fascinating nonetheless). Atheism 1.0 is about the angry atheists - he singles out Richard Dawkins - who think religion is dangerous and the intellectual equivalent of believing in the tooth fairy. I have written a book responding to this brand of atheism and am convinced that Christianity is not only true, but there are good reasons to believe its true. But I will let the reader decide if that was successful. I mention that because in Atheism 2.0, Botton starts by asserting (not arguing) "of course God doesn't exist. But let's not throw out religion, let's learn from it." There are things we can pick and choose and assemble. We can have mystery and spiritual experiences without the existence of anything spiritual. Romanticism meets atheism. There is no purpose so we must create our own. Culture must replace Scripture. Why? Because no one is teaching us how to live. Secularism simply gives us information and data. But what people long for is human flourishing and community (BTW - the Christian worldview really sparkles here). So Botton suggests there is much to learn from religion even if we don't believe any of it.
There is much that can be said, but I want to suggest the main reason the project of Atheism 2.0 will fail: It's not aiming at truth. Transcendence without truth will lead to despair in the end. Truth is not an "open source" kind of thing. It's not a wiki project.
In response to this video,
I want to recommend two resources. First the book I wrote with Sean McDowell Is God Just a Human Invention? which largely deals with Atheism 1.0. If you would like a thoughtful response to the themes of Atheism 2.0, I would recommend Saving Leonardo by Nancy Pearcey.
The teachable moment from a video like this is that people are hungry for meaning, purpose, and a vision for human flourishing. But that must be grounded in an objective answer to the question - what is a human being for? And Christianity of course has much to offer here. Humans are created by God for an everlasting relationship with Him and each other.