Karen Armstrong:  annotated study via Cpedia
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There are 3 different pages about Karen Armstrong in Cpedia.

At TED 2008, winner Karen Armstrong was granted a wish to change the world.

TED Prize winners receive a wealth of support from TED members and others, such that numerous religious groups and spiritual leaders such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan, and Britain’s first female Rabbi Julia Neuberger joined a special Council to oversee Karen’s “Charter for Compassion” which launched its website yesterday, November 12, 2009, the “Charter for Compassion” was unveiled to the world. The Berkley Center hosted a roundtable discussion with Karen Armstrong as part of the Charter’s global launch.

Born in England to Irish ancestry, Armstrong briefly served as a Catholic nun before several events in her life compelled her to leave the convent and grow hostile to religion.

Sent to Jerusalem to lead research on a BBC documentary on the life of St. Paul, Armstrong rediscovered her faith and also developed a deep appreciation for the Jews and Muslims. In February 2008, Armstrong developed the “Charter for Compassion,” an interfaith initiative that seeks to apply shared moral principles to foster global interreligious understanding.

Karen Armstrong has written several books on religion and culture, including the best-selling A History of God and The Battle for God, as well as Islam: A Short History, Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet, and most recently, Buddha, a biography in the Penguin Lives series. She teaches at Leo Baeck College for the Study of Judaism in London.

Karen Armstrong, author of twelve books including the best seller, “A History of God,” points out “the centrality of compassion in all the world major faiths.”
She is the author of a celebrated account of Christianity, “A History of God,” and “The Battle for God,” on fundamentalism in the major religions and received the 1999 Muslim Public Affairs Council Media Award.

Through the Narrow Gate

“While she despaired over never managing to feel the presence of God, Armstrong also bristled at the restrictive life imposed by the convent, which she described in her first book, ” Through the Narrow Gate. [2.1] Armstrong now calls herself a “freelance monotheist. [2.2]

Armstrong dismissed the afterlife as insignificant, and drew some intriguing analogies: Just as there’s good and bad sex and art, there’s good and bad religion. [2.3] She has since become a prolific and acclaimed writer on subjects touching on all of the three major monotheistic religions. [2.4] What stuck with me the most was how Armstrong describes herself as a freelance monotheist, drawing nourishment from all three religions of Abraham. [2.5] A former nun, Karen Armstrong left her convent in the late 1960s, and for 13 years she distanced herself from organized religion. [2.6]

The documentary explains that there was an incident in Medina in which one Jewish tribe betraying the agreement they had signed with Muhammad sided with Meccans bent on killing the prophet, and the tribe’s men were put to death, but this was an isolated act and Jews continued to live in Medina. [2.7] Armstrong isolates herself from others and sees a psychiatrist for three years during which she is hospitalized, given drugs, and attends therapy sessions. [2.8]

Karen Armstrong fearlessly, yet respectfully, traces the history of monotheistic thought from its earliest conception to the present day, all in a readable, lay-language book. [2.9]

I’ve got a copy of her [Karen Mattern’s] first book ‘Through The Narrow Gate “in which she details the story of her vocation to the contemplative life and the cloistered convent, how she trusted the traditional and highly disciplined lifestyle to transform her and bring her into union with God, and how that system was falling apart in the nineteen-sixties, so that finally she left. [2.10]


  • Spiral Staircase

    This definition is less useful when discussing Jewish and Islamic fundamentalism, but Armstrong says she has come to believe that the term is here to stay, even though it isn’t perfect. [3.1]

    Armstrong concludes that we can’t be religious in the same way as our ancestors in the pre modern conservative world, when the myths and rituals of faith helped people to accept limitations that were essential to agrarian civilization. [3.2] Unfortunately for people who might think that proving that god exists using logic and reason is a good idea, the more thought that goes into this Armstrong contends, the more it becomes unworkable. [3.3]

    Armstrong is keen to stress that the mystical god is not the emotional outburst of the conversion experience, but requires study and brings calm and peace, saying: [3.4] “Armstrong, ironically, has pushed her new life close to the God she formerly refused to serve. [3.5]

    According to religion scholar Karen Armstrong, whose books include The History of God, The Spiral Staircase, and twenty other must-reads on religion, history and society, all religions of the world have at their core this truth: that to reach God, one must live a compassionate life proactively, passionately, and profoundly. [3.6]

    Religious historian Karen Armstrong was interviewed by Steve Paulson for Salon in 2006. [3.7]

    Quran praises all the prophets of the past, “said the ex-Catholic runaway nun Karen Armstrong. [3.8]

    Karen is a self-appointed apologist for Islam in the West, who discusses the familiar questions of similarities between Abrahamic religions and of Western misrepresentation of Islam from the pre-crusades period. [3.9]

    One of the 2008 winners of the TED Prize, chosen for her world-changing work and continuing potential to inspire others to do something great for the world, Karen in her acceptance of this award talked about how the world’s religions, and especially the Abrahamic religions Islam, Judaism, and Christianity have been diverted from the moral purpose that they share to foster compassion, and that she has seen a yearning throughout the world to change this fact. [3.10]


  • Christianity and Islam

    Whether you find yourself agreeing with Armstrong or not, you will likely find this interview interesting and thought-provoking. [4.1] The best would be to quote some excerpts from the introduction of Karen Armstrong. [4.2] No. As Armstrong reminds viewers, Muslims view Jews as “People of the Book” who follow a religion that like Islam is monotheistic and linked to Abraham. [4.3]

    In The Battle for God: A History of Fundamentalism, Karen Armstrong documents that fundamentalism arises as a backlash to liberalism and modernity. [4.4]

    Together with Syrian Muslim, Presbyterian, Catholic religious leaders, businessmen, and academics we watched Muhammad: Legacy of the Prophet, a documentary moderated by Karen Armstrong that distanced ‘true Islam’ from the ugly daily headlines and emphasized the affinity of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, specifically showing how the Quran reveres Jesus as one of Islam’s most important prophets. [4.5]


  • Krista

    Ms. Armstrong leaves the convent after seven difficult years of beating herself up, as well as being beaten up, spiritually, intellectually, and emotionally She goes there seeking to find intimacy and connection with God, but for her, in that place, it just doesn’t happen as the convent’s structure lays out for her how it should happen. [5.1]

    In the end, Ms. Armstrong comes to a renewed understanding of her spirituality that moves away from what one might call ‘right belief,’ or orthodoxy, and discovers that it is more truly in the practicing of a faith that one might feel more intimate and deeply connected with God. [5.2]

    Although she [Julie Powell] does not come back around to the kind of faith and spirituality many orthodox Christians might want from her, primarily because much of what we Christians expect is based on orthodox belief, Karen Armstrong says much to Christians that we need to hear. [5.3] I’ll speak with Karen Armstrong this hour about her love for figures like the apostle Paul, the prophet Muhammad, and Buddha. [5.4]

    A few months ago I read Karen Armstrong’s A memoir and its sequel; Through The Narrow Gate: A Memoir of Life In And Out of the Convent, and The Spiral Staircase: My Climb Out of Darkness. [5.5] With her trademark depth of knowledge and profound insight, Armstrong elucidates how the changing world has necessarily altered the importance of religion at both societal and individual levels. [5.6]

    Armstrong, who grew up a devout Roman Catholic, spent seven years as a nun before leaving her teaching order in 1969, a painful process that she chronicles in her book “Through the Narrow Gate: A Memoir of Spiritual Discovery. [5.7]

    Speaking of Faith weaves together her views with lessons from prominent figures she’s interviewed for her popular religion program on National Public Radio from historian Karen Armstrong to Muslim mediator Eboo Patel. [5.8] In revisiting her spiral climb out of her dark night of the soul, Armstrong gives readers a stunningly poignant account about the nature of spiritual growth. [5.9]

    On top of this angst, Armstrong spent years suffering from undiagnosed temporal lobe epilepsy, causing her to have frequent blackout lapses in memory and disturbing hallucinations—crippling symptoms that her psychiatrist adamantly attributed to Armstrong’s denial of her femininity and sexuality. [5.10]


  • Golden Rule

    As she accepted the 2008 TED PRize, Karen Armstrong called for a Charter for Compassion to restore the Golden Rule as the central global religious doctrine. [6.1]

    Despite the diversity of teachings in these traditions, Armstrong sees a recurrent moral teaching based on the Golden Rule, which dictated universal love and compassion for all human beings, and perhaps even for all creatures, which therefore required nonviolence. [6.2] Armstrong rejects this, however, as “a militant piety that polarizes complex reality into oversimplified categories of good and evil,” which violates the spirit of “an Axial-style faith” (12). [6.3]


  • Turok

    Dalai LamaCenter TED : Karen Armstrong is giving her TED Talks prize Charter for Compassion at this year’s Vancouver Peace Summit. [7.1]

    This year’s TED Prize winners, Cambridge physicist Neil Turok, author Dave Eggers, and lecturer and writer Karen Armstrong will address the question “How Can We Change the World? [7.2]

    In addition to sponsoring the humanitarian prize, the Fetzer Institute is a major financial supporter of the ‘Charter for Compassion,’ a collaborative effort launched by British religion writer Karen Armstrong to build a harmonious global community. [7.3]

    TED winner Karen Armstrong and the Dalai Lama will call on the world to begin the world-wide, grass-roots movement to restore compassion to the center of religious, moral and political life. [7.4]

    February 29 At the TED2008 conference, Karen Armstrong was one of 3 people who received the TED prize, which provides one hundred thousand dollars and the support of the TED community in making the recipient’s one wish to change the world. [7.5]


  • Richard Dawkins

    Yet if Karen Armstrong is right, they can counter skepticism about their beliefs by insisting that they are merely allegories of a great metaphysical truth beyond our limited understanding. [8.1]

    It is no use, Armstrong writes, magisterially weighing up the teachings of religion to judge their truth or falsehood, before embarking on a religious way of life. [8.2] Like art and music, religion is an attempt to construct meaning in the face of the relentless pain and injustice of life, Armstrong contends. [8.3]

    Her God is not a tangible reality that lends itself to our understanding, but a timeless ideal that remains ineffable to the point that we can approach Him only through the poor approximations of allegory. [8.4]

    Here is an article Sam Harris wrote against Karen Armstrong, and below it is Karen’s Armstrong reply. [8.5] Armstrong assures us that because religion has existed for millennia, it is here to stay. [8.6]

    While Armstrong readily acknowledges many people are angry about having such preaching about God forced on them when they were young, she wants to tell anyone who’ll listen that this totalitarian God is rightfully ‘dead. [8.7]

    Karen Armstrong says that, ‘I’m slightly down on cleverness but then classifies herself as a ‘ Freelance monotheist ‘whatever that means. [8.8]

    Karen Armstrong finds it difficult to deal rationally with secular humanists like Richard Dawkins (who she characterized as ‘Very, very one sided’) because the so called ‘other side which she is obviously invested in is largely smoke and mirrors; affectations that help her ‘ overcome despair ‘in her own life. [8.9] Is it really Dawkins and Harris that have the ‘pathologies Karen? [8.10]

    You may want to read books by Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Carl Sagan, and Karen Armstrong, or listen to routines by George Carlin. [8.11] This will be an event to attend for the religious and non-religious. [8.12]

    Though I have to say that Hitchens random derision of ‘multiculturalists (like Karen Armstrong) because they are too soft on the behaviour of religious people or because they are too sensitive to the beliefs of a given people seems to be counter-productive at best. [8.13]


  • Axial Age

    Furthermore, she contends, the teachings of these historical figures, whom she calls Axial sages, speak to the violence and problems of our times. [9.1]

    Karen Armstrong’s Buddha is a towering figure of an era (roughly 800 to 200 B.C.E.) that the philosopher Karl Jaspers named the Axial Age and that Armstrong characterizes as “the beginning of humanity as we now know it. [9.2] “The Buddha’s Axial Age peers include Confucius, Socrates, and the Hebrew prophets, all of whom called on their contemporaries to radically change their lives. [9.3]

    Recognizing this, each of the three monotheisms, in their different ways, developed a mystical tradition grounded in a realization that our human idea of God is merely a symbol of an ineffable reality. [9.4]

    Armstrong, describes the history of the monotheism of the Abrahamic traditions through the various different types of god that they have described. [9.5] In 1984, Armstrong made her first of many trips to the Middle East, birthplace to the world’s three great monotheisms: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. [9.6] I am only halfway through this dense text, yet Armstrong has given me a lot to contemplate. [9.7]

    The few short sentences Armstrong devotes to Pythagoras has given me as much to consider as the rest of her book. [9.8]


  • Confucianism and Daoism in China

    In the years between 900 and 200 B.C., people in four regions of the world developed traditions that hold sway to this day: Confucianism and Daoism in China, Hinduism and Buddhism in India, monotheism in the Mideast, and philosophical rationalism in Greece. [10.1]

    Armstrong provides context for the developments of these thought systems by succinctly describing the troubles of the time: invasions, epidemics, and the ebb and flow of cultural diffusion and change. [10.2]

    Karen Armstrong has written a few books on the world’s religions and stresses that generally, compassion, justice and forgiveness of sins is a key part of the major world religions, including the ethical monotheisms and the Asian religions (Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism). [10.3]


  • Mystics

    The over-riding principle of Armstrong seems to be that there are essentially three main views that the Abrahamic religions have held about god the personal god, the philosophers god and the mystics god. [11.1]

    Now, in The Great Transformation, Karen Armstrong reveals how the sages of this pivotal ‘Axial Age’ can speak clearly and helpfully to the violence and desperation that we experience in our own times. [11.2]

    With regard to dealing with fear, despair, hatred, rage, and violence, the Axial sages gave their people and give us, Armstrong says, two important pieces of advice: first there must be personal responsibility and self-criticism, and it must be followed by practical, effective action. [11.3] In her introduction and concluding chapter, Armstrong urges us to consider how these spiritualities challenge the way we are religious today. [11.4]


  • Bill Moyers

    Armstrong is also the author of three television documentaries and took part in Bill Moyers television series GENESIS: A LIVING CONVERSATION. [12.1] The audience applauded And backstage in the dark, I thought I heard Karen Armstrong clap. [12.2]

    Later, I wandered over to talk to Armstrong, 64, whose book, The Case for God, I recently reviewed very positively in The Vancouver Sun. [12.3] Become a fan of the Dalai Lama Center to find out how you can watch it live online. [12.4]

    So any one who disagrees with u such as Karen Armstrong is wrong and justifies ‘killings;’ no mention of the Islamic Swiss scholar Tariq Ramadan teaching now at Oxford because neo-cons and AIPAC agents pressured the State Dept from his tenure at Notradame University and denied him a visa to enter the US, Why? [12.5] Armstrong published Through the Narrow Gate in 1982, which described the restricted and narrow life she experienced in the convent (and earned her the enmity of many British Catholics). [12.6] Below: Diana Eck introducing Karen Armstrong. [12.7]

    And, explore additional highlights from BILL MOYERS JOURNAL and the Moyers Digital Archive from former nun turned scholar of religion Karen Armstrong to Rev. [12.8]

    I would love to hear a discussion between the authors of a number of thought provoking and very different books: Brian Greene The Elegant Universe & The Fabric of the Cosmos, Karen Armstrong A History of God, Eckhart Tolle, and Allison DuBois, the medium portrayed in the television series Don’t Kiss Them Goodbye and others. [12.9]

    Karen Armstrong notes that in 1980 Rabbi Israel Hess published an article entitled “Genocide: A Commandment of the Torah” in the official magazine of the Bar-Ilan University. [12.10]

    On November 12, 2009 The Dali Lama Center for Peace and Education globally unveiled Karen Armstrong’s Charter for Compassion. [12.11]


  • Elaine Pagels and Bishop NT Wright

    Read Geza Vermes, Karen Armstrong, Bart Ehrman, John Dominic Crossan, Richard E. Rubenstein, Elaine Pagels, Jonathan Kirsch and the afore mentioned Robert Wright, to name a few. [13.1]

    Let me ask you if you’ve read any of the excellent bookks by authors like Hyam McCoby, Karen Armstrong, Karen King, Bart Ehrman, Bishop John Shelby Spong, just to name a few of the Scholars & Theologians. [13.2]

    The books of the following other On Faith panelists/NT exegetes: Professors Marcus Borg, Paula Fredriksen, Karen Armstrong, Elaine Pagels and Bishop NT Wright. [13.3]


  • Scholar

    This program was recorded in collaboration with the Chautauqua Institution, on August 14, 2009. [14.1]

    Bill Moyers Journal Religious scholar Karen Armstrong on bridging cultural divides with compassion. [14.2]

    The Charter for Compassion, a global spiritual initiative conceived of by Karen Armstrong, embodies the wisdom and hope of religious and secular individuals worldwide. [14.3] Scholar, author, and expert on religions and religious issues, Karen Armstrong envisioned and then realized a mighty, lofty, and daunting goal. [14.4]

    She masterminded the creation of a Charter for Compassion, which brought religious leaders, members of various faiths, and secular individuals together to birth a spiritual document for the world, which encompasses a guiding statement of moral principle and a call to action. [14.5]


  • Pope John Paul II to a Muslim

    Karen Armstrong writes comparative works on Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, including The History of God and, most recently, Islam, a Short History. [15.1]

    For years she was tagged the “runaway nun,” the rebellious ex-Catholic with outspoken opinions about religion–comparing, for example, Pope John Paul II to a Muslim fundamentalist.Now, with her 12th book, Islam, a Short History, Karen Armstrong has changed her image. [15.2]

    The choice of Armstrong makes sense: Her exploration, in “The Battle for God,” of the differences between two modes of thought, “logos” and “mythos,” is an eloquent argument for the value of certain impractical ideas. [15.3]

    Karen Armstrong is an author, feminist and writer on Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Buddhism. [15.4]

    God, says Karen Armstrong, is knowable within the context of ritual and ethical practice that leads to personal transformation. [15.5]

    The truths of religion were not simply metaphysical verities but from the beginning they were delineated as a plan of action that became comprehensible only within a program of ritual and ethical practice that lead to personal transformation,’ said Austin in a brief recapitulation of the previous evenings lectures by Armstrong. [15.6] Westerners who try to read the Quran from cover to cover are completely missing the point, Armstrong lamented. [15.7]

    Karen Armstrong wrote in A Short History of Myth that ìthe maternal, nurturing earth became the Mother Goddessî during the Neolithic Period. [15.8]

    Karen Armstrong, Islam: A Short History (Random House, 2000) William H. O’Neill described this book in the New York Times Book Review as “a valuable corrective to the hostile caricatures of Islam that circulate in the English-speaking world. [15.9]

    Osprey Publishing is tightening the circle still further with a line of books on such momentous events as D-day each running fewer than 100 pages Readers are so enamored of brevity that if you type in the words ” Short history “on Amazon.com, 10,450 titles surface, ranging from ” A Short History of Nearly Everything” by Bill Bryson to ” A Short History of Myth “by Karen Armstrong to ” A Short History of Financial Euphoria” by John Kenneth Galbraith. [15.10]

    Karen Armstrong, in “Going Beyond God” agrees with the writer that Hitler was a secularist. [15.11]


  • Faiths

    Instead, Armstrong has set herself the task of explaining one of the East’s most enigmatic spiritual figures to a Western audience accustomed to encountering the divine with an entirely different set of cognitive tools. [16.1] Holy city, unholy history [book review of Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths by Karen Armstrong]. [16.2]

    In ISLAM: A SHORT HISTORY, the always erudite and engaging religion writer Karen Armstrong meets the needs of those who feel they are, for whatever reason, poorly informed or are just curious about one of the major world religions. [16.3]

    Dr Armstrong stressed the need to develop and work towards a compassionate and selfless attitude to human relations and argued that compassion is a cornerstone of the theology of each religious tradition. [16.4]

    She [Karen Armstrong Speaks] argues that only through compassion could one adopt the ability to empathise with the world at large and that it was the most fundamental principle that could bring about peace. [16.5] A History of God, by Karen Armstrong (Ballantine Books 1994). [16.6]

    Karen Armstrong, author of a bestselling book about Islam, reports that the “vast majority of Muslims are horrified by the atrocity of Sept. 11. [16.7]


  • Roman Catholic

    Though once a refugee from religion, in 1996 author Karen Armstrong completed In the Beginning: A New Interpretation of Genesis, worked closely with a major television series on the book of Genesis: “Genesis: A Living Conversation,” and completed her most ambitious project to date: Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths, a history of Jerusalem from the Bronze Age to the present. [17.1] Armstrong, one of the leading commentators on religion in Britain and once a practicing Roman Catholic, described herself as a “freelance monotheist. [17.2] Armstrong, 61, a former Roman Catholic nun both praised and criticized for her outspoken opinions, spoke recently by phone from San Francisco, where she was on a book tour. [17.3]

    Karen Armstrong became a household name in the United Kingdom in the 1980s, thanks to her best-selling books Through the Narrow Gate and Beginning the World, her autobiographical accounts of her life in a Roman Catholic convent during the 1960s. [17.4] Karen Armstrong, A History of Jerusalem (Harper Collins 1997) [17.5]

    Independent biblical scholar Karen Armstrong offers “In the Beginning: A New Interpretation of Genesis” (Knopf, $20), while theologian Burton L. Visotzky of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America guides readers through a close reading of Genesis in “The Genesis of Ethics” (Crown, $20). [17.6]

    The Evolution of God Robert Wright Little, Brown: 576 pp. $25.99 The Case for God Karen Armstrong Alfred A. Knopf : 432 pp., $27.95 Until the discovery of DNA’s double helix by James Watson and Francis Crick, prehistory was entirely the province of paleontologists and archaeologists. [17.7]


  • Crusades

    I think that Armstrong is arguing that a specific and rather Manichean sense of “other” crept into Medieval European thinking specifically about Moslems and Jews at the time of the Crusades and that its echo is still sounding. [18.1]

    Armstrong explicates the common sources of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and then recounts the life of Muhammad, as he flees Mecca and unites his followers with the people of Medina and other regions; she tells of the first mosques, the Crusades, and the spread of Islam into Africa and Asia, and then carries her history to the current time, with the forming of Pakistan, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and the global eruptions following September 11, 2001. [18.2]

    There is potential for a much richer discussion of that endlessly debatable and misunderstood entity called ‘God,’ ‘Allah,’ ‘Brahmin’ or ‘Nirvana,’ maintains Armstrong, 64, author of previous best-selling books on Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, Jerusalem, fundamentalism, the Crusades, mysticism and her own spiritual and personal struggles (translated into more than 35 languages). [18.3] Armstrong describes the decade-long struggle between Mecca and Medina, which was an economic and political struggle that took religious form, and the eventual triumph of the Muslims of Medina. [18.4]

    9 No doubt to capitalize on recent events, Doubleday has reissued Karen Armstrong’s Holy War: the Crusades and their Impact on Today’s World a work with the same flawed goal as Jones and Ereira but with less preposterous assertions. [18.5]


  • Jeanette Winterson

    Description: A special collection containing the first three books in The Myths series A Short History of Myth by Karen Armstrong, The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus by Margaret Atwood, andWeight: The Myth of Atlas and Heracles by Jeanette Winterson. [19.1]

    By way of introduction, the series kicks off with a nonfiction volume, “A Short History of Myth” by Karen Armstrong. [19.2] Logos, Armstrong explained, is “the rational, pragmatic and scientific thought that enabled men and women to function well in the world. [19.3]

    According to Armstrong, premodern people considered both modes “essential; they were regarded as complementary ways of arriving at truth, and each had its special area of competence. [19.4] A Briton, a former nun and a self-described “freelance monotheist,” Armstrong lives in a mostly secular society set in a larger world roiled by religious fundamentalism. [19.5]


  • Judaism and Islam

    Armstrong traces fundamentalist movements among Jews, Muslims, and Christians, and throughout many time periods in history. [20.1] “While logos can tell us how to grow crops, build cathedrals and split atoms, mythos, often in circuitous ways, speaks of why we do these things. [20.2] Armstrong is no fundamentalist; her very respectable scepticism on the historicity of much of the Bible as ‘fact’ bears witness to that. [20.3]

    On the other hand, her [Faye McMahan’s] opposition of mythos and logos will not appeal to everyone, even if I think there is much to be said for it so long as one realises it has the weakness of all such dichotomies. [20.4] God the Armstrong/Dawkins ‘debate’ which was reprinted in The Australian this weekend: it mostly shows two contrasting sensibilities, in my opinion. [20.5]

    Armstrong states that ‘if fundamentalists must evolve a more compassionate assessment of their enemies in order to be true to their religious traditions, secularists must also be more faithful to the benevolence, tolerance, and respect for humanity and address themselves more empathetically to the fears, anxieties, and needs which so many of their fundamentalist neighbors experience. [20.6]

    This confluence of crises is “highly unusual” but not without precedent, said Karen Armstrong, a scholar of Catholicism, Judaism and Islam, and author of “A History of God. [20.7]

    You appear to suffer from the exact opposite fault to that of JPSHeridan, in apparently assuming that, because Armstrong remains a Catholic, she is somehow responsible for all the crimes committed by Catholicism over the last couple of millenia. [20.8] Armstrong points out how each Abrahamic faith has “fundamentalists” who see the world in exclusivist terms. [20.9]


  • Society of the Holy Child Jesus

    Karen Armstrong spent seven years in the Society of the Holy Child Jesus during the 1960s and later wrote a tell-all book, “Through the Narrow Gate” (St. Martin’s Press, 1982) that bemoaned the restrictive life. [21.1] BJP: In her mid-teens, Karen thought her girl friends too worldly, too trendy, too “boy crazy. [21.2]

    Karen Armstrong was born on 14 November 1944 in England to parents of Irish heritage. [21.3]


  • Prophet Muhammad

    According to Karen Armstrong’s Muhmmad: A Prophet For Our Time, at first the verses mentioned whereby the intercession of the well-known idols worshipped during that time -Al-Laat, Al-‘Uzza and Manaat was accepted through the words of the Prophet and hence, pleasing the polytheists that they did not hesitate to embrace the religion. [22.1]

    The story was more or less described that Satan came and led the Prophet Muhammad in reciting those verses which attributed to the abovementioned idols, claiming that their intercession to God is accepted before the Prophet was rebuked by the archangel Gabriel (Jibrail) and hence, the correction of the verses which maintained the Oneness of God i.e. none has the right to be worshipped by God alone, disregarding anything which associates partners with Him. [22.2]

    “In the her book Armstrong traces the evolution of the concept of God from the moment the Hebrew tribes merged in ancient Canaan to form the nation of Israel instigating the worship of a monotheistic God, through the emergence of Christianity and then the advent of Islam and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad. [22.3]


  • Efraim Karsh and Andrew Bostom

    Yet the media still prefer discredited academics like Karen Armstrong and John Esposito over serious scholars such as Bat Ye’or, Robert Spencer, Ibn Warraq, Efraim Karsh and Andrew Bostom. [23.1] She spoke with John L. Esposito about Western perceptions of Muslims and the issues facing the world’s fastest growing religion. [23.2]

    The available literature on Islam consists mainly of a useless exchange of Koranic citations that show, depending on whether one is Karen Armstrong or Robert Spencer, that Islam is loving or hateful, tolerant or bigoted, peaceful or warlike, or whatever one cares to show. [23.3]


  • Gotama

    You will be disappointed if you read this 187-page biography expecting Karen Armstrong to bring Siddhartha Gotama to life, or if you are hoping to understand the man in the Buddha. [24.1]

    Armstrong observes that in repudiating the “meaningless and trivial” (p. 3) life of a householder, Siddhartha also renounced the life of “the married man kept the economy going, produced the next generation, paid for the all-important sacrifices and took care of the political life of society” (p. 28). [24.2]

    After his [Siddhartha Gotama’s] “six year quest” (p. 85), resulting in Siddhartha’s enlightenment at age 35 under a bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya, Armstrong follows the Buddha to Deer Park, where we find him beating “the drum of deathless Nibbana” (p. 97), committed to saving the world through his teachings. [24.3]


  • Eagleton

    They are Reason, Faith and Revolution, by Terry Eagleton and The Case for God, by Karen Armstrong. [25.1] 3 Eagleton, like Armstrong is a successful critic of those he calls Ditchkins and a successful champion of this other ‘thing’ that isn’t the rational mind. [25.2]

    Must be something in the Zeitgeist because reviewed in today’s Guardian are three books on the topic of this discussion: Simon Blackburn reviews Karen Armstrong’s The Case for God, and Jonathan Bartley reviews God is Back, by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge, and Reason, Faith, and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate, by Terry Eagleton. [25.3]


  • PSA for Pangea Day 2008

    As a member of TED, he is creating socially-conscious works such as his PSA for Pangea Day 2008, the 2006 TED Prize Wish, and the Charter for Compassion, a PSA for the 2008 TED Prize winner, Karen Armstrong. [26.1] Karen Armstrong explains how prior to scientific explosions in the 17th century, early influential Christian, Jewish, and Muslim thinkers understood mythos and logos. [26.2]

    In “The Great Transformation,” Karen Armstrong, the historian of religion, offers a sweeping account of the centuries-long struggle by spiritual seekers to address these problems and transcend them in China, India, Israel and Greece. [26.3]

    Moving back and forth from one culture to another, Armstrong, the author of “A History of God” and histories of Buddhism and Islam, provides a lucid, highly readable account of complex developments occurring over many centuries. [26.4] But Armstrong argues passionately for its relevance to a world still embroiled in military conflict and sectarian hatreds. [26.5]

    Armstrong argues that the radicalism of the great Axial thinkers has yet to be understood. [26.6] She is particularly nimble in working her way through the Bible, tying each book to the historical circumstances of its composition and the preoccupations of its many editors. [26.7]


  • Queen Noor

    COMMERCIAL IMAGE: In this photograph taken by AP Images for TED Prize; TED Curator Chris Anderson, right, and Karen Armstrong, winner of the TED Prize, listen to the reading of the “Charter for Compassion” which was globally launched at the National Press Club on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2009 in Washington. [27.1]

    Karen Armstrong had a desire to impact the violence attributed to religion around the world and wanted to remind people of the core similarity that lies at the heart of all religions the Golden Rule. [27.2] Karen won the TED Prize in 2008 and the Charter for Compassion was her wish. [27.3]

    For a year Armstrong spearheaded a collaborative effort of lay people as well as religious and civic leaders who shared their thoughts on what compassion means for contemporary challenges and problems. [27.4]

    Speakers include Queen Noor of Jordan, Karen Armstrong, Ishmael Beah and yours truly. [27.5]


  • Memorial Church

    Armstrong, an expert on world religions, said many Muslims feel alienated by the war on terrorism. [28.1]

    Bombs won’t stop acts of terrorism committed by Muslim religious extremists because such attacks only strengthen the fundamentalists conviction that modern, secular society wants to destroy them, said British scholar Karen Armstrong in an appearance in Memorial Church last Wednesday evening. [28.2]


  • Reformation

    Shortly following the terrorist attacks in Britain last July, I sat with world-renowned theologian Karen Armstrong in her historic London home. [29.1]

    As we spoke about the spiritual challenges of our time and why it behooves us to learn from religious history, police sirens blared in the background, a reminder of the violent and unstable conditions we face as a human species at the outset of the third millennium. [29.2]

    Driven from a young age by a thirst for the spiritual life, Armstrong entered a convent at seventeen and left seven years later, disillusioned by the traditional structures and mores that, despite her passion for the divine, simply could not bring her spiritual yearning to fruition. [29.3]

    As we spoke together in an atmosphere permeated by disquiet and uncertainty, Armstrong pointed me back to the dawn of the great religious traditions and simultaneously brought my attention to the present a time when once again, she believes, we will need to redefine the notion of the sacred so it can become relevant and enter our lives anew. [29.4]

    From classical philsophy and medieval mysticism to the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the modern age of skepticism, Karen Armstrong performs the near miracle of distilling the intellectual history of monotheism into one superbly readable volume, destined to take its place as a classic. [29.5]


  • Judaism and Christianity

    Armstrong talks of speaking to numerous religious groups about the need for compassion and often noticing both resentment and resistance. [30.1]

    I mentioned Karen Armstrong because I find her writing to be objective, I would not say the same of Richard Dawkin’s ‘The God Delusion‘. [30.2]

    If he would explore the thinking of more progressive theologians of all faiths: Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and Buddhist, he might find that he agrees with the thinking of such people as Marcus Borg, Deepak Chopra, Karen Armstrong, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Thich Nhat Hanh, and others. [30.3] The personal god, Armstrong suggests, is the god that atheists reject (and with good reason) as contradictory. [30.4] There are many fair challenges from the atheist to the believer, so welcome to the debate Karen, the water’s warm. [30.5] Karen Armstrong describes how Islam, Judaism and Christianity have been diverted from a shared moral purpose. [30.6] Recently Armstrong, working with a Council of Conscience and other colleagues, synthesized their thinking and composed the Charter. [30.7]

    Ms. Armstrong’s wish was for the creation of a Charter of Compassion. [30.8] Reading Armstrong after these boys is like listening to a clever and kindly adult after a bunch of strident adolescents. [30.9]

    The new atheists, Armstrong says with impeccable restraint, ‘are not theologically literate’, and ‘their polemic lacks intellectual depth’. [30.10]

    Karen Armstrong, Elie Wiesel, and others explore whether Noah was really righteous. [30.11]

    The Case for God: What Religion Really Means By Karen Armstrong The Bodley Head, 376pp, $32.95 THERE is a vast website, RichardDawkins.net, set up by American fans and fellow travellers of the famous British atheist. [30.12]


  • 4000-Year

    Was this, helpful to you A History of God: The 4, 000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam 0345384563 Karen Armstrong Ballantine Books A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam Books If this won’t shake your thinking, nothing will! A History of God was one of the most important books I’ve read. [31.1]

    On May 22, 2008, the Home Ministry lifted the ban on a book entitled A History of God: The 4000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, by Karen Armstrong, which was initially banned in April 2005 with eight other English-language books. [31.2]


  • Huston Smith

    Three discussions 1. A History of God by Karen Armstrong 2. The Shack by William Paul Young 3. an excerpt from Genesis. [32.1]

    This excerpt is from Link TV’s Global Spirit program “The Spiritual Quest,” which explores the personal, spiritual journey with Karen Armstrong, best-selling author of “A History of God,” and Robert Thurman, the first American ordained a Tibetan Buddhist monk. [32.2]

    Al-Llah (as Ms. Armstrong calls him) is not a deity different from Yahweh of the ancient Hebrews or the Lord of the Christian scriptures. [32.3]

    I am currently reading The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein, A History of God by Karen Armstrong, and My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult. [32.4]

    Nonetheless, Karen Armstrong notes (A History of God, p. 250) notes that the resemblance was ot lost on the 13th-century Kabbalist Abraham Abulafia. [32.5]

    Well-dressed audience members, some of whom paid hundreds of dollars for tickets to the Vancouver Peace Summit, were enthralled as they heard nuggets of wisdom from the Tibetan Buddhist leader; Tolle, the Vancouver-based author of The Power of Now (left), and Armstrong, a British author of numerous best-selling books on world religions. [32.6] Armstrong claims this is a despotic, tribal deity inspiring a narrow tribal theology, but without considering that on another level this might symbolise a theological need for change. [32.7]

    Karen Armstrong is a comically conceited feminist ex-nun who has assumed the duty of defending Islam from its critics. [32.8] Armstrong: Thank you very much, Tavis. [32.9]

    Karen Armstrong mines these early scriptures, as well as later biographies, then fleshes the story out with an explanation of the cultural landscape of the 6th century B.C., creating a deft blend of biography, history, philosophy, and mythology. [32.10]

    Recommended Texts (for your first paper and general reference): Huston Smith, Religions of the World Karen Armstrong, A History of God The New Oxford Annotated Bible (or other version of the Bible) [32.11]


  • Nick Hornby

    Best-selling author and TED prize winner Karen Armstrong has been called the most provocative, original, and inclusive thinker about religion in the modern world. [33.1]

    Best-selling novelist and screenwriter Nick Hornby explains what makes a literary work authentic and discusses whether his process changes when he knows his writing may be adapted for film. [33.2] Religious scholar Karen Armstrong, author of The Case for God, says quarreling about religion is counterproductive. [33.3]


  • Pat Robertson and Osama bin Laden

    Nuclear-armed and reaping the grim harvest of “extremism” resulting from the West’s support for a religious war to drive the Soviet Union out of neighbouring Afghanistan, Pakistan has a big question to answer, says Armstrong. [34.1]

    Last Thursday, Armstrong, whose writings have highlighted the tolerant and pluralistic nature of Islam, met President Pervez Musharraf, who hoped to change Pakistan into a state where “enlightened moderation” prevailed. [34.2]

    During the interview, Armstrong cited the example of Sayyid Qutb, whose writings from an Egyptian jail in the 1950s and 60s helped craft a strain of Sunni Muslim fundamentalism that spawned the global jihad of al Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri. [34.3]

    Attempts to introduce secularism, which took centuries in the West, has been done too quickly in the Middle East, according to Armstrong, resulting in religious movements that tend to become lethal if they occur in regions where violence is endemic. [34.4]

    If we opponents of religious privilege and unreason take Harris’s words seriously, we will draw our battle lines in such a way that we regard Francis Collins, Karen Armstrong, and even Stephen Jay Gould as among our enemies, in the same camp as Pat Robertson and Osama bin Laden. [34.5]