1. Resilience. Keeping going even when things are looking dark.

2. Empathy. The capacity to connect imaginatively with the sufferings and unique experiences of another person.

3. Patience. We should grow calmer and more forgiving by getting more realistic about how things actually tend to go.

4. Sacrifice. We won't ever manage to raise a family, love someone else or save the planet if we don't keep up with the art of sacrifice.

5. Politeness. Politeness is very linked to tolerance, the capacity to live alongside people whom one will never agree with, but at the same time, can't avoid.

6. Humour. Like anger, humour springs from disappointment, but it's disappointment optimally channelled.

7. Self-Awareness. To know oneself is to try not to blame others for one's troubles and moods; to have a sense of what's going on inside oneself, and what actually belongs to the world.

8. Forgiveness. It's recognising that living with others isn't possible without excusing errors.

9. Hope. Pessimism isn't necessarily deep, nor optimism shallow.

10. Confidence. Confidence isn't arrogance, it's based on a constant awareness of how short life is and how little we ultimately lose from risking everything.

I think Alain has made the right faith choice in life. I mean, let's face it, he's far too intelligent, tolerant, caring and downright nice to make it as a Christian. Although it is a bit of a shame as he did go to all the right schools and colleges to get picked for the higher offices in the Church of England. I know Harrow isn't quite Eton but in lean years it would have been good enough to have got him the top job itself.



  1. Sometimes I think there are more non-Christians than Christians who actually follow Jesus.

    And as it has been said by a wiser man than I: Jesus never told people to worship him; he told them to follow him. Would that we did.

  2. Hear me out: I think “Good Atheist” is really an oxymoron.

    I say this, not because I have anything against atheism per se (and certainly not against Botton!).

    But there’s a reason for the relationship, in English, of “Good” and “God”. Whether you call He/She/It Jehovah, Jesus, Allah, Krishna, or Flying Spaghetti Monster, if your highest value is GOOD, then well then. An “o” more, or less, makes not a bit of difference.

    Conversely, if your highest value (power) is NOT GOOD, then all the whingeing in the world re “God” is So Much Foul NOISE!

    Fundies, ultimately, are the atheists. Not Botton.