When God and belief are stripped out of the equation, we are left with rituals and practices that are primarily hedonistic and hollow. What de Botton offers us is "religion for atheists," but what he gives us is pseudo-religion and empty routine.
Jobs was a workaholic who regretted that he had not spent more time with his kids. But we were left to balance this regret with the thought that these kids were left with the legacy of a hard-working father who found a kind of spiritual redemption in his work.
As Houston's family and close friends mourn, do our "RIP Whitney" posts mean something, sandwiched between posts about cereal and recaps of The Bachelor, especially after we've watched, over many years, her slow-motion fall from grace?
That Hitchens took a glass-half-full approach to agnostics is notable because it's sharply at odds with the line of his compatriot, Richard Dawkins, whose thoughts on agnostics are almost uniformly negative.
The studies that do find gender differences conclude men might have a slight advantage over women in coming up with good jokes. But such research misses the fact that men's advantage may come at a cost.
In presenting the secular rationalist versus the religious fanatic, Hitchens obscured the fact that the greatest slaughters of human history were not the result of religious wars, but the result of secular or non-religious ideologie
So it was with shame and guilt that broadcast and print journalism devoted so much vastness of coverage to his demise. It was because they seemed small and insignificant compared to Hitchens, that they took the opportunity to flagellate themselves through his very apotheosis.
This past week we lost a writer and a major intellectual, and we lost a brutal, confounding dictator. We also lost a playwright, a rebel, a rockstar, a chain-smoker, a renowned artist, a non-profit leader, and one of the most beloved presidents in history.