A Temple to Atheism
Writer, and now architectural visionary, Alain de Botton announces his plan to build an atheist temple in the UK. “Why should religious people have the most beautiful buildings in the land?” he says, “its time atheists had their own versions of the great churches and cathedrals.” With the imminent release of his new book “Religion for Atheists,” de Botton is inspired by the idea of creating a beautiful place for contemplation of one’s place in the universe—for those who don’t believe in a God.
Leaving behind the ornate architecture of Catholic churches and mosques, this first proposed monument dedicated to "Anything Positive and Good" will be a thin concrete tower that rises 150 feet over London—each centimeter represents every million years of the earth’s existence. One meter above the ground, a band of gold 1 millimeter thick will be etched into the tower’s walls signifying the short extent of human life on planet earth. The concrete will be poured slowly in order to create gradations in the appearance of the walls, which will imitate the earth’s composite surface. The exterior will be etched with the human genome sequence. All this detail is created to foster an atmosphere where people can reflect on the history of the galaxy and humanity’s minuscule existence therein.
While many cheeky philosophers would retort that an atheistic worldview is just as chock full of metaphysical claims and assumptions as any religious one, the designer of this towers insists, “The tower is intended as a temple to perspective not a tower to atheism. I would agree that atheists do not need temples.”