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reading

I just started reading two books – The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel and The Case for God by Karen Armstrong.  The Case for Faith is easy reading and seems to have some interesting soundbites from various philosophers and theologians.

The Case for God is something else altogether.  Karen Armstrong isn’t presenting a case for the existence of God, but for the validity and value of religion in the human experience.  She presents a detailed long view of religion throughout human history which really puts our current theological debates in perspective.  I am only a chapter or two in and so far it is blowing my mind.  It really didn’t occur to me that thinking of religion as “believing in a set doctrine” is a recent interpretation, rooted in our scientific/logical cultural values.  Throughout most of human history religion was about practices, rituals, and mythology.  Armstrong suggests that the benefit of religion/faith comes from these elements.  Rituals and myth help us with meaning making.  Rituals and practice give us, through discipline, the experience of the transcendent.

Again, I’ve only just started reading but this book is changing how I am thinking about my spiritual journey.  It is reinforcing some of my thoughts about how looking at doctrine alone is inadequate and that practice is the heart of faith.  It is making me rethink the importance of myths.

 

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