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Posts Tagged ‘Karen Armstrong’

I seem to have spent a lot of time recently thinking online about God (or that which we call “God”), rereading all my old theology books, or searching the web for others’ testimony or speculations, or simply thinking things through.  Why is this, and why now?  What am I trying to achieve? (more…)

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“Modern theology is not always easy reading.  It would be helpful if theologians tried to present it in an atttractive, accesible way to enable congregants to keep up with the latest discussions and the new insights of biblical scholarship, which rarely reaches [sic] the pews.”  Karen Armstrong.  The case for God.  London, 2009  p295.

My point exactly; though it is striking that her book does not even mention Marcus Borg, Richard Holloway or Richard Harries, to speak of but three.

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Like many other innocents abroad, I have often blundered into local religious rites or appurtenances that I knew nothing about and could not decode.  Why do worshippers in  Thai temples pray with those little sticks in their hands?  When is it permissible to sit down during an Ethiopian Coptic eucharist?  Why do some Calvinist churches have a sort of fenced paddock as part of their furniture?  Whom can I ask about any of this?  How would I feel when it was all explained to me?  What reaction should I cultivate? How do I show respect? (more…)

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Durer’s Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Let fundamentalists believe what they want.  They must allow the rest of us to exercise our rights, too, and not be adversely affected by their convictions which, it looks evident, are mainly based on fear. (more…)

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Somewhere in her books about God, Karen Armstrong remarks that amongst the great belief systems of humankind, only Christianity agonises about what or who “God” is.  The others give a theological shrug: who can say?  But they all know what the “God” concept is for.  It is to reinforce the idea that it is up to us, all of us, to do what we can foster the well-being of others.  This is the Golden Rule which, as John Hick points out, is to be found in all great religions’ scriptures.  In Christianity, the relevant text is Jesus’ exhortation, Do to others as you would have them do to you (Luke 6:31).

That is not the whole of Christianity, of course, but is surely its tagline; together with the Great Commandment.  If we have got past the idea that God intervenes in the world through signs and wonders, we are stripping the religion down to its core, its essence, its emphasis.  God does not act on earth except through us and the colossal idea that God appeared amongst us as an executed criminal is the relevant object lesson; and perhaps, in some way that I haven’t thought through yet, the true meaning of redemption.

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Diwali lights

Again and again I try and synthesise all that I have read about “God” and then put it into my own words.  All this has been said before: this is only the latest attempt on my part to understand what others have said and what I think. (more…)

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The question “Do you believe in life after death?” must be one of those usually answered with, “Well, it depends on what you mean by…”  This one has been pondered for generations, especially by those who mourn: those for whom the loss of a friend or loved one leaves a gap in the soul which at first sight can never be filled.  They find their separation from the deceased unbearable.  They cannot accept what is death’s chief attribute: its finality. (more…)

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