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Eager reader of history, mystery, classics, biographies, steampunk, lit fic, science, scifi, and etc. My reviews are mostly positive--I rarely finish or write about books I don't enjoy. My TBR is too high for that.

The Case for God

The Case for God - Karen Armstrong The title of another book out last year excited me--The Evolution of God--but when I heard the author speak I was disappointed. (There was a lot of talk about zero sum game.) Armstrong's book is what I had hoped for from the other. It covers the changing ways people have viewed God and religion, from 30,000 BCE, when humans crawled deep into caves to cover their walls with paintings of animals and maybe shamans, to the present, when both fundamentalists and atheists insist on a strict literal interpretation of scriptures--a legacy of the modern scientific revolution that has left everyone, including the devout, looking for unambiguous, objective truth derived from some kind of logical deliberation. The modern way is simplistic; Armstrong believes religious life involves hard work, pushing finite hearts and minds to the edges of their understanding, toward the infinite.I took a long time to read this book and as soon as I finished I started reading it again. There is a lot to absorb and a lot that challenged my unexamined beliefs, a mind-blowing experience that's my drug of choice. As an an agnostic leaning toward a non-belligerent atheism, reading is almost my religion, so when Armstrong wrote convincingly about the printing press's drawback of moving learning and religion in a depersonalized and inflexible direction, leading in religion's case to ridiculous disagreements over finer and finer dogmatic distinctions, I was shocked into a speechless, apophatic state. One of many I experienced while reading her book. Which is maybe, or maybe not, ironic because that apophatic experience I got from reading is the right place, Armstrong believes, to begin transcending our everyday world and experiencing God. Religion, Armstrong writes, historically has been and should be more about practice and experience and less about blind belief in particular doctrines. Sounds great to me.