Saturday, October 31, 2009

Karen Armstrong: Think again about God

Karen Armstrong, British author and scholar of world religions, writes in Foreign Policy magazine that trying to dismiss or oppress religion only serves to bring out its worst inclinations. God and religion aren't going away so we need to figure out how to live with them, contra the "new atheists" like Dawkins and Hitchens.

These writers are wrong -- not only about religion, but also about politics -- because they are wrong about human nature. Homo sapiens is also Homo religiosus. As soon as we became recognizably human, men and women started to create religions. We are meaning-seeking creatures. While dogs, as far as we know, do not worry about the canine condition or agonize about their mortality, humans fall very easily into despair if we don’t find some significance in our lives. Theological ideas come and go, but the quest for meaning continues. So God isn’t going anywhere. And when we treat religion as something to be derided, dismissed, or destroyed, we risk amplifying its worst faults. Whether we like it or not, God is here to stay, and it’s time we found a way to live with him in a balanced, compassionate manner.

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