Religion for Atheists has a general format in which de Botton describes a problem in society, discusses how religions (particularly Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism) have attempted to solve this problem, and proposes secular alternatives. Religion for Atheists draws on the work of the 19th century philosophers Auguste Comte, Matthew Arnold and John Stuart Mill. Religion for Atheists particularly pays attention to the way religions draw people's minds to ideas through annual ceremonies and rituals such as Christmas or the Day of Atonement. Religion for Atheists asserts that religions know that people are fundamentally children, in need of comforting and repeated guidance on how to live. The book is divided into ten chapters: Wisdom without Doctrine, Community, Kindness, Education, Tenderness, Pessimism, Perspective, Art, Architecture and Institutions. In an interview with New Scientist, de Botton stated his aim for atheists reading the book: "I want to make sure atheists are deriving some of the benefits of religion."