The Case for God

The Case for God

Book - 2009
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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."
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, c2009.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780307269188
0307269183
Characteristics: xviii, 406 p. ; 25 cm.

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1aa
May 24, 2016

Sympathetic and passionately argued. She avoids getting bogged down in recent controversies and gives a fascinating, if too brief, historical background (roughly the first one hundred pages), which is the best part of the book. The latter two thirds one can almost feel her slogging with ever greater effort until she reaches the end. Lengthy footnotes, full bibliography, and useful glossary.

patienceandfortitude Oct 11, 2011

If you are interested in the history of Theology or the conflict between science and theology, this is a great book. I particuarly liked her insights into the importance of practice and faith, that belief is more about doing and less about agreement or acceptance of dogma. But ultimately, this book was a little too intellectual for my taste.

ser_library Apr 18, 2010

KA covers belief systems from pre-history to 2010 and beyond.

If you have time to read nothing else, read the final chapters on Unknowing.

It is amazing how themes re-occur throughout time.

p
P_loane_1
Jan 19, 2010

Well-argued, reasoned thesis on the existence and nature of God. Quite dry in parts but worth the effort needed to read it through.

graphiste Jan 10, 2010

A persuasive entry into the atheist/theist debate. Armstrong argues that it isn't God that has become irrelevant, but our own way of thinking. Thought provoking and reflective - academic but far from dry.

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