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The Case for God (Thorndike Nonfiction) Hardcover – Large Print, November 1, 2009


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Product Details

  • Series: Thorndike Nonfiction
  • Hardcover: 767 pages
  • Publisher: Thorndike Press; Lrg edition (November 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1410421538
  • ISBN-13: 978-1410421531
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (163 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #814,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

NATIONAL BESTSELLER
A Globe and Mail Best Book
A New York Times Notable Book

"The Case for God does not try to explain or prove the existence of a deity. But it shines unexpected light on modern views of religion.... The book provides a wealth of challenging ideas and perspectives."
Winnipeg Free Press

"The time...is ripe for a book like The Case for God, which wraps a rebuke to the more militant sort of atheism in an engaging survey of Western religious thought.... This is an eloquent case for the ancient roots of the liberal approach to faith."
— The New York Times

"In over a dozen books [Armstrong] has delivered something people badly want: a way to acknowledge that faith can be taken seriously as a response to deep human yearnings without needing to subcribe to the formality of organized belief."
— The Economist


From the Hardcover edition. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Karen Armstrong is the author of numerous other books on religious affairs; including A History of God, The Battle for God, Holy War, Islam, Buddha and The Great Transformation, and an autobiography, The Spiral Staircase. She lives in London.


From the Hardcover edition. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Karen Armstrong is the author of numerous other books on religious affairs-including A History of God, The Battle for God, Holy War, Islam, Buddha, and The Great Transformation-and two memoirs, Through the Narrow Gate and The Spiral Staircase. Her work has been translated into forty-five languages. She has addressed members of the U.S. Congress on three occasions; lectured to policy makers at the U.S. State Department; participated in the World Economic Forum in New York, Jordan, and Davos; addressed the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington and New York; is increasingly invited to speak in Muslim countries; and is now an ambassador for the UN Alliance of Civilizations. In February 2008 she was awarded the TED Prize and is currently working with TED on a major international project to launch and propagate a Charter for Compassion, created online by the general public and crafted by leading thinkers in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, to be signed in the fall of 2009 by a thousand religious and secular leaders. She lives in London.

Customer Reviews

You'll have to read the book to understand why.
Gregory J. Casteel
Unfortunately, her arguments are only convincing if you have faith and have no interest is rational fact based arguments.
jomojomo
Let's be clear about this...Dr. Armstrong is very well read.
Gerard D. Launay

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

229 of 248 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Enter the caverns of Lascaux and step back into the world of our early hunter ancestors of the Paleolithic era. We find record of a people who took life and the taking of the life they hunted very seriously and recorded on the stone walls of the caverns their rites performed to return the animals they killed for sustenance to a second life. Enter another cave where Plato paints a picture of humanity groping in darkness until some are able to step out into the light, seeing the world for the first time are faint able to make those still in the darkness of the caves comprehend their new vision. Humanity has a history, a long encounter with the sacred. It is expressed in different ways such as God, Brahman, Nirvana, Allah, and Dao among others. With all the diverse manners of approaching it humanity has a long, intimate relationship with the transcendent and it is important for anyone to understand the religious impulse in order to understand a vital element of what it means to be human. Karen Armstrong provides a thorough and compelling resource toward this kind of understanding in her book "The Case for God".

It is useful to know before reading this book that it is not a tract attempting to prove the existence of God. It is rather a case for God, not the existence of God. Amid the arguments made by New Atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens, Armstrong makes the case that the religious life can be valuable and healthy.
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273 of 309 people found the following review helpful By Student of Life on September 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Karen Armstrong is able to do two things which are individually remarkable, and in combination perhaps unique.
- provide a credible, erudite, historical overview of all the main religions in a way that shows how they fit together. ie. the key ideas they have borrowed from each other
- do so in a way which is vivid, accessible and often inspiring.

Some religious readers will be shocked to discover that "their" religion is based on ideas that are far more widespread than they may have realized. And they may be uncomfortable that the God Armstrong is arguing for is not one actively involved in day-to-day human concerns, checking off prayer requests or directing the weather, but deeper, mysterious, perhaps ineffable. Some non-religious readers will be shocked by how compelling a case Armstrong makes for a religious mindset based, not so much on "belief" or "faith" but on spirituality and compassion. But all, if they approach this book with an open mind, are likely to emerge with a richer understanding of life's most important questions.
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94 of 112 people found the following review helpful By Gerard D. Launay on September 25, 2009
Format: Audio CD
I believe what Karen Armstrong is trying to do is refine the definition of God and to respect all the real life experiences of so many people, of so many ages, and of so many faiths. Contrary to what some other reviewers have said, I find her argument - her case for "God" - scrupulously argued. Let's be clear about this...Dr. Armstrong is very well read. Time and again, she finds evidences in the thinking of the Bible writers, the early Christian theologians, the Talmudic rabbis of the Middle Ages, the important philosophers of the Islamic Golden Age...or even in practices such as those of the Sufi or Christian mystics. And yes, even the scientists! In a nutshell, the book is an Intellectual History of how the idea of God has been understood and argued, from prehistory to the present, including the recent populism of the New Atheists (as opposed to the 19th century agnostics).

One of the most interesting chapters talks about the early history of Christianity when the idea surfaced that God created the universe from "nothing" as opposed to the idea God shaped and formed what already existed as chaos. Once that new idea surfaced, there were two camps, those who believed that Jesus was divine but had been elevated to that status by an immensely powerful being and those who believed that God could never be characterized as being at all and therefore Jesus could be God from the beginning.

Do not be distracted by "petty disputes" about her presentation. As an example, whether the "antiChrist" is described once or twice in the Bible is irrelevant. To Dr. Armstrong, we must not confuse the reality of God with the language about the existence of God. No one can accurately describe the marvelous ecosystem, power, interconnectedness, and beauty of the ocean in mere words...
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436 of 542 people found the following review helpful By J. A Magill TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Can I really be the only person who finds Karen Armstrong, the author of fifteen books on religion, writing in her latest that one cannot comment on the divine with words but only with silence, more than a little ironic?

To be fair, Armstrong does offer several interesting insights. Her effort to find universal "truths" that run across faiths is worthwhile and thought provoking. One might even imagine that there are many members of exclusivist faiths for whom this would be a revelation, though one can hardly imagine many of them reading Armstrong's work. At the same time, Armstrong offers an intelligent and evocative response to the new wave of atheistic polemicists - Dawkins, Hitchens, etal - and offers a muscular retort to their rather juvenile view of the divine, as almost all of them seem to have decided that they learned all there was to know about religion as teens in Anglican Sunday School. Armstrong deserves great praise for reminding people that theology is an intellectual pursuit, the attempt to seek to understand God, as opposed to what much of religion seems to be today, namely the effort by many to project their own narrow petty views onto the divine.

That said, this work suffers from the same shortcoming of all Armstrong's voluminous work. Were she a theologian, one might forgive her for ignoring all those arguments that ran against her claims of universality, though it would still be intellectually sloppy. However, Armstrong claims to be a historian of religion, and as such she is guilty of appalling sins of omission. When a fact contradicts her thesis, she does not even give it the due regard of inconvenience and seek to reconcile, but simply pretends it is not there.
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