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Taking To Task The Religious And Atheist Reductionists
on August 19, 2015
Ms. Armstrong correctly points out that most of the angry noise about religion comes from fundamentalists and atheists. Clearly, the author falls into a more tolerant attitude about the various religious beliefs practiced around the world. She does not, however, give a free pass to Christian, Islam, or Jewish fundamentalism OR narrow-minded atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitches. I've read all four of the atheists' books by the aforementioned and, despite them being highly entertaining and thought-provoking, were of the attitude that we should throw the proverbial religious-belief baby out with the bathwater. Both sides seem hellbent on destroying the other.
The author takes pains to explain the evolving nature of religious practices since we converted to monotheism. Ms. Armstrong focuses primarily on Christianity but gives a very quick overview of the Muslim and Jewish history. It's important to pay close attention while reading 'The Case for God.' Skimming over the history of how religious belief was practiced and then reading the author's conclusions is a waste of time. She covers such areas as the intent of the Holy Trinity, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, the Second Great Awakening, myth vs literalism, many of the movers-n-shakers of religious debate, and religion's complex relationship with science.
For the record, I was raised Catholic but have been agnostic now for almost thirty years. Like the other half dozen other works I've read by Ms. Armstrong, she treats her subject matters with respect. She may not agree with their stances, but you won't find the author calling them rockheads or loony. Once in a great while, sarcasm makes a brief cameo, but Ms. Armstrong saves it for the fundamentalists and atheists such as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. Both Dawkin-wannabes and fundamentalists have a great resistance to acknowledging the "opponents" may have some merit. I have always finished one of the author's works better informed and reminded that religion is a valuable component for many people in living life.