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The Case for Godby Karen Armstrong
Karen Armstrong writes about religion the way that Michael Pollan writes about food methodically, insightfully, and with an obvious passion for the subject matter. Covering everything from antiquity's caves deep below the earth to the modern fundamentalist heavens above, Armstrong's scope never exceeds her depth of knowledge.
Synopses & Reviews
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. And she makes a powerful, convincing argument for drawing on the insights of the past in order to build a faith that speaks to the needs of our dangerously polarized age. 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.”
"Armstrong's argument is prescient, for it reflects the most important shifts occurring in the religious landscape." Newsweek
"The Case for God should be read slowly, and savored." Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Armstrong's thesis is provocative, and her book illuminates a side of Christianity that has recently been overshadowed." Columbus Dispatch
"Though mostly focused on the West, Armstrong maintains a global perspective, masterfully weaving in her solid understanding of the world's panoply of faiths. Accessible, intriguing study of how we see God." Kirkus Reviews
"Presenting difficult ideas with utter lucidity, this registers at once as a classic of religious and world history." Booklist
Focusing especially on Christianity but including other religions, Armstrong examines the diminished impulse toward religion during a time when a significant number of people either want nothing to do with God or question the efficacy of faith.
About the Author
Karen Armstrong is the author of numerous other books on religious affairs, including A History of God, The Battle for God, Holy War, Islam, Buddha, and The Great Transformation, and two memoirs, Through the Narrow Gate and The Spiral Staircase. Her work has been translated into forty-five languages.
Table of Contents
Part I The Unknown God (30,000 BCE to 1500 CE)
One Homo religiosus
Six Faith and Reason
Part II The Modern God (1500 CE to the Present)
Seven Science and Religion
Eight Scientific Religion
Twelve Death of God?
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