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Book Review: The Case for God

God will need a bigger book

William Page

Special to The Nation November 14, 2011 2:02 am

God will need a bigger book

An ex-nun climbs into the ring with ‘the new atheists’ and loses every round

The Case for God: What Religion Really Means

By Karen Armstrong

Published by Vintage

Available at Asia Books, Bt450

Reviewed by William Page

Karen Armstrong is a historian of religions and former Roman Catholic nun. She made her name in 1993 with "A History of God, from Abraham to the Present", a monumental survey of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.


This book is divided into two parts: "The Unknown God", which takes us from 30,000BCE to 1500CE, and "The Modern God", from 1500 to the present.

Basically it's another history of religions, but with emphasis on the ever-growing conflict between religion and science. Obviously it covers some of the same ground as her earlier books, but it is to Armstrong's great credit that she never repeats herself - at least not in exactly the same words. Different emphasis dictates different treatment.

Readers will learn a lot from this book. Never having studied Catholic theology, I've never blamed St Augustine for the doctrine of Original Sin. I had always thought that Paul of Tarsus was responsible for that pernicious creed.

Well, Paul may have been the architect, but it turns out that Augustine was the builder. He fleshed out the dogma, dotted the i's and crossed the t's, and in doing so traumatised generations of innocent Christian children yet unborn. We can thank both of them for a worldview calculated to drive the human race to madness and despair.


The most interesting part of the book comes toward the end, when Armstrong takes on the "new atheists" and tries to make her case for God. Alas, she doesn't do a very good job. Theists will be disappointed; atheists will rub their hands in glee; only agnostics are likely to give her a passing grade.


Throughout the book, she insists upon God's essential unknowability. One of the most perverse faults of religionists is to admit that God is ultimately unknowable - but then to go on and try to tell us exactly what he's like.

Armstrong doesn't try to tell us what he's like, but "unknowability" won't satisfy those of us who want to know. Even so, in the absence of a conclusive theophany, in the absence of convincing empirical evidence, and considering our ignorance about the universe we live in, a hopeful (and humble!) agnosticism isn't a bad way to go.


Please see this link to access the entire article...

The title of the article really caught my eye - of course, God HAS a much bigger book - The Urantia Book, to be specific...

As for God's "unknowability"... consider this Urantia Book passage:

1:5.8 Notwithstanding that God is an eternal power, a majestic presence, a transcendent ideal, and a glorious spirit, though he is all these and infinitely more, nonetheless, he is truly and everlastingly a perfect Creator personality, a person who can “know and be known,” who can “love and be loved,” and one who can befriend us; while you can be known, as other humans have been known, as the friend of God. He is a real spirit and a spiritual reality.

Looking for God? Spend a little time HERE...

And, for a further bit of inspiration, try this link - a short video flash called Finding God

Link to External Source Article

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