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The Case for God: What religion really means ePub download

by Karen Armstrong

  • Author: Karen Armstrong
  • ISBN: 0099524031
  • ISBN13: 978-0099524038
  • ePub: 1931 kb | FB2: 1823 kb
  • Language: English
  • Category: Religious Studies
  • Publisher: Anchor Books; First Paperbackit edition (2010)
  • Rating: 4.9/5
  • Votes: 297
  • Format: txt azw docx doc
The Case for God: What religion really means ePub download

Coming from a self-critical Christian background Karen Armstrong presents a history of human spirituality and religion, from ancient times to 9/11

Coming from a self-critical Christian background Karen Armstrong presents a history of human spirituality and religion, from ancient times to 9/11. She does focus on the monotheistic religions, and does not in the end, make a case for God. But the journey was fascinating and I could not put the book down. Among other things I find that every 'original thought' I have tried to express has already been expressed more effectively hundreds or even thousands of years ago!

The Case for God is a 2009 book by Karen Armstrong. It is an answer to the recent claims that God does not exist from Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett.

The Case for God is a 2009 book by Karen Armstrong. It covers the history of religion, from the paleolithic age to the present day, with a focus on the three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and on apophatic theology in various religions.

The Case for God book. The Case for God: What Religion Really Means. 0307269183 (ISBN13: 9780307269188). Poor Karen Armstrong has been ploughing a lonely furrow in recent years, trying to show that there is a valid Third Way between increasingly defensive religious groups and increasingly forthright ‘new atheists’. Neither side thinks much of her. For those of us a bit more detached from the arguments, she often seems like the only one talking any sense.

Karen Armstrong is a Great Teacher. com User, September 25, 2009. I believe what Karen Armstrong is trying to do is refine the definition of God and to respect all the real life experiences of so many people, of so many ages, and of so many faiths. Armstrong is very well read. Time and again, she finds evidences in the thinking of the Bible writers

Karen Armstrong is a former Catholic nun who has written highly acclaimed biographies of Muhammad, Buddha and .

Karen Armstrong is a former Catholic nun who has written highly acclaimed biographies of Muhammad, Buddha and, most recently, the Bible. Her new book, with its crucial subtitle, is more of a polemic, albeit of the gentlest sort.

Karen Armstrong, a former nun, wants to rescue the idea of the Deity from its cultured despisers and its more literal-minded adherents alike

Karen Armstrong, a former nun, wants to rescue the idea of the Deity from its cultured despisers and its more literal-minded adherents alike. Such literalism can be taken too far, and The Case for God argues, convincingly, that it needs to coexist with more mythic, mystic and philosophical forms of faith. Most people, though, are not mystics and philosophers, and they are hungry for myths that are not only resonant but true.

There is, perhaps, no symbol more powerful, no word more electric than ‘God’. And because the God of the monotheisms undergirds and sustains the structure of so many people’s worldviews, if you want to command the attention of said millions, all you need to do is invoke God-claim God spoke to you, name your will as ‘His’, or proclaim God wants X, God thinks X -and thank God when all is said and done. For good or bad, the world can be yours. Point being: God-talk can be dangerous. But, insofar as it concerns the core of religion, that’s not the point.

The Case for God: What Religion Really Means. Karen Armstrong is a good blender, which has made her a successful ambassador of religion in a generally irreligious age. Despite the title, her latest book is not so much a case for God as a case against atheism.

There is widespread confusion about the nature of religious truth. For the first time in history, a significantly large number of people want nothing to do with God. Militant atheists preach a gospel of godlessness with the zeal of missionaries and find an eager audience

In the introduction to her epic defence of religion, The Case for God: What Religion Really Means, Karen Armstrong attempts to disarm the so-called ‘New Atheists’ and their forceful rationality by claiming that "Jewish, Christian, and Muslim theologians have insisted for centuries that Go. .

In the introduction to her epic defence of religion, The Case for God: What Religion Really Means, Karen Armstrong attempts to disarm the so-called ‘New Atheists’ and their forceful rationality by claiming that "Jewish, Christian, and Muslim theologians have insisted for centuries that God does not exist and that there is nothing out there". It is a bold statement and it puts Armstrong in the unenviable position of backing this up with the rest of the book

A nuanced exploration of the part that religion plays in human life, drawing on the insights of the past in order to build a faith that speaks to the needs of our dangerously polarized age. Moving from the Paleolithic age to the present, Karen Armstrong details the great lengths to which humankind has gone in order to experience a sacred reality that it called by many names, such as God, Brahman, Nirvana, Allah, or Dao. Focusing especially on Christianity but including Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Chinese spiritualities, Armstrong examines the diminished impulse toward religion in our own time, when a significant number of people either want nothing to do with God or question the efficacy of faith. Why has God become unbelievable? Why is it that atheists and theists alike now think and speak about God in a way that veers so profoundly from the thinking of our ancestors?Answering these questions with the same depth of knowledge and profound insight that have marked all her acclaimed books, Armstrong makes clear how the changing face of the world has necessarily changed the importance of religion at both the societal and the individual level.  Yet she cautions us that religion was never supposed to provide answers that lie within the competence of human reason; that, she says, is the role of logos. The task of religion is “to help us live creatively, peacefully, and even joyously with realities for which there are no easy explanations.” She emphasizes, too, that religion will not work automatically. It is, she says, a practical discipline: its insights are derived not from abstract speculation but from “dedicated intellectual endeavor” and a “compassionate lifestyle that enables us to break out of the prism of selfhood.”
Gashakar
Karen Armstrong has written an insightful summary of the historical development of the God concept from earliest time to the present. The best review of the major contributions of her case study can be found in the book’s prologue and epilogue. Her overview of the ways in which human interpretations of the transcendental “other” have appeared in history is invaluable in sorting out the objects of religious devotion (or the denials thereof) which have challenged human understanding. To convey the scope and artistry of her analyses, I have selected ideas from her book which particularly appealed to me.
She presents her case in two parts; the first is The Unknown God (30,000 BCE to 1500 CE) during which ultimate reality was not a personalized God, but a profound mystery which could never be plumbed (mythos beyond logos). Reality that transcends language must be expressed symbolically, which was variously developed: in Hebrew monotheism, in Greek philosophy, in rabbinical Judaism, in early Christianity, in Eastern orthodoxy and in Islamic revelation. Central to many of these developments were the ideas that accessibility to God involved one or more of: “kenosis” (emptying oneself of selfishness), “pistis” (commitment to engagement), “ekstasis” (stepping out of habitual thought patterns), all of which required long, hard practice or ritual devotion. Attempts to prove God’s existence through logic were proposed, but those who claimed an experience of God seemed to accept the “apophatic assumption” which was that reason was incapable of encompassing what God was.
The second part of the book (1500 CE to the present) covers the period in which religion and science were seen progressively to contradict each other. As the scientific method developed, observational and experimental “truths” contradicted metaphorical “truths” in scripture, which were mistakenly taken literally and suppressed for being at odds with doctrine. The philosophical enlightenment of the 18th century attempted to use logic and reason to explain transcendent experience, and this gave rise to deism and atheism but also to literal fundamentalism as a reaction to any attempt to question the veracity of scripture. But secular ideologies, such as the logical positivist’s limitation of meaningful inquiry to objective sense data, are as deadly as religious bigotry, and both represent inherently destructive idolatries. Armstrong observes that “every single fundamentalist movement, scientific as well as religious, is rooted in profound fear and is fiercely reductionistic”. Just as the monkey trial and the use of suicide bombings illustrate the weaknesses of religious fundamentalism, the holocaust as well as Hiroshima and Nagasaki illustrate the danger of science, unfettered by compassion, as a tool of militarism.
If we can no longer look to an all-powerful, oriental-despot God who, if properly appeased by devotion and praise, may bless us with favors, what kind of god does this case study suggest? An answer postulated by recent German theologians seems to hark back to "that profound mystery which could never be plumbed" – a.k.a. the ground of all being. Gould has suggested that God belongs to a religious magisterium, concerned with values which is separated from a scientific magisterium which deals only with empirical sense data. Science itself is an act of faith whereas religion requires response rather than belief. In this reviewer’s opinion, Armstrong stops short of summarizing her case, perhaps because she has chosen not to include the insights that have come from analyses of those resuscitated from death or near death. There is growing evidence that consciousness, non-localized to the bodies of individuals in these and other circumstances, can expand to realms similar to, if not identical with, those experienced in mystical traditions, in order to sense that overwhelming oneness and love which is the hallmark of the perennial God experience.
Arakus
I have been a big fan of Karen Armstrong since I heard her speak some years ago at a conference. Her wit and humility are as powerful as her scholarship and big picture perspective on the history of religion. Her examination as to the history of God and what that simple three letter word might mean as metaphor rather than simply literal meaning is powerful. One of my favorite quotes (and has been oft-quoted online) is this passage from the book "We have domesticated God's transcendence. We often learn about God at about the same time as we are learning about Santa Claus; but our ideas about Santa Claus change, mature and become more nuanced, whereas our ideas of God can remain at a rather infantile level."
To me, that statement does not at all deny the story of God as written in the Koran, Hebrew and Christian Testaments. God as reality can be valid but only if we understand "God" to be mean many different ideas. Some see God as literal presence; others understand God as metaphor. They are all correct depending on our viewpoint.
Karen Armstrong in the gentlest possible ways invites us (actually holds our feet to the theological fire) to consider God in radically different ways that surely will force us out of our comfort zones. Marvelous book.
godlike
Ms. Armstrong correctly points out that most of the angry noise about religion comes from fundamentalists and atheists. Clearly, the author falls into a more tolerant attitude about the various religious beliefs practiced around the world. She does not, however, give a free pass to Christian, Islam, or Jewish fundamentalism OR narrow-minded atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitches. I've read all four of the atheists' books by the aforementioned and, despite them being highly entertaining and thought-provoking, were of the attitude that we should throw the proverbial religious-belief baby out with the bathwater. Both sides seem hellbent on destroying the other.

The author takes pains to explain the evolving nature of religious practices since we converted to monotheism. Ms. Armstrong focuses primarily on Christianity but gives a very quick overview of the Muslim and Jewish history. It's important to pay close attention while reading 'The Case for God.' Skimming over the history of how religious belief was practiced and then reading the author's conclusions is a waste of time. She covers such areas as the intent of the Holy Trinity, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, the Second Great Awakening, myth vs literalism, many of the movers-n-shakers of religious debate, and religion's complex relationship with science.

For the record, I was raised Catholic but have been agnostic now for almost thirty years. Like the other half dozen other works I've read by Ms. Armstrong, she treats her subject matters with respect. She may not agree with their stances, but you won't find the author calling them rockheads or loony. Once in a great while, sarcasm makes a brief cameo, but Ms. Armstrong saves it for the fundamentalists and atheists such as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. Both Dawkin-wannabes and fundamentalists have a great resistance to acknowledging the "opponents" may have some merit. I have always finished one of the author's works better informed and reminded that religion is a valuable component for many people in living life.
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