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The Case for God: What religion really means

Karen Armstrong

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Published by Bodley Head, part of Vintage Publishing

Format: Hardback


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EAN: 9781847920348
Published: 2 Jul 2009


About the book


* The enormous popularity of books by Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and others shows that despite the religious revival that is under way in many parts of the world, there is widespread confusion about the nature of religious truth. For the first time in history, a significantly large number of people want nothing to do with God. In the past people went to great lengths to experience a sacred reality that they called God, Brahman, Nirvana or Dao; indeed religion could be said to be the distinguishing characteristic of homo sapiens. But now militant atheists preach a gospel of godlessness with the zeal of Christian missionaries in the age of faith and find an eager audience. What has happened?

* Karen Armstrong argues that historically atheism has rarely been a denial of the sacred itself but has nearly always rejected a particular conception of God. During the modern period, the Christians of the West developed a theology that was radically different from that of the pre-modern age. Tracing the history of faith from the Palaeolithic Age to the present, Armstrong shows that until recently there was no warfare between science and religion. But science has changed the conversation. The meaning of words such as belief, faith, and mystery has been entirely altered, so that atheists and theists alike now think and speak about God - and, indeed, reason itself - in a way that our ancestors would have found astonishing.

* Why has the modern God become incredible? Has God a future in this age of aggressive scientific rationalism? Karen Armstrong suggests that if we draw creatively on the insights of the past, we can build a faith that speaks to the needs of our troubled and dangerously polarized world.

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What the critics say

One of our best living writers on religion....prodigiously sourced, passionately written
- FT

Karen Armstrong invites us on a journey through religion that helps us to rescue what remains wise from so much that to many in Britain today no longer seems true....Armstrong is one of the the handful of wise and supremely intelligent commentators on religion
- Observer

Comprehensive and measured
- The Independent

This is a stunned appreciation of an 'otherness' beyond the reach of language, and for Armstrong, constitutes the heart of every religion
- New Statesmen

It isn't an easy read - why should it be? - and at times her expertise in theology and its technical terms get in the way of layman's understanding. But at her best, she is wonderfully clear and insightful - and not out to convert anyone
- Daily Mail

Impressive new book...great eloquence
- The Scotsman

The Case for God is a tour de force of learning. A hefty history of theology, philosophy and science, and how they converge, it knocks Dawkins and Hitchens into an intellectual cocked hat.
- The Sunday Herald

Dense and brilliant, chastening and consoling. Whether or not it sells as well as the latest Hitchens or Dawkins will be a measure of us, not the book
- Sunday Times

She writes well, is fair and judicious, and is extremely well read
- Evangelicals Now

A tour de force of learning. A hefty history of theology, philosophy and science, and how they converge, it knocks Dawkins and Hitchens into an intellectual cocked hat...Armstrong rejoices in the unknowableness of life and searches, logically enough for meaning therein
- Sunday Herald

Forget Richard Dawkins - just read it with an open mind
- Jeanette Winterson

It isn't an easy read - why should it be? - but she is wonderfully clear and insightful - and not out to convert anyone
- Daily Mail

This is smart work
- Telegraph

Learned and passionately argued
- Telegraph

Cogent and lucid historically based reply to Dawkins and Hitchens. As she reminds us with this excellent study, religion was the first philosophical system.
- Herald

Armstrong is excellent as a historian and explicator of religions.
- Sunday Herald

Armstrong makes a wise and passionate case for a God of myth rather than reason, of wisdom rather than knowledge
- Financial Times, Politics & religion books of the year

About the Author

Karen Armstrong is one of the world's leading commentators on religious affairs. She spent seven years as a Roman Catholic nun in the 1960s, but then left her teaching order in 1969 to read English at St Anne's College, Oxford. In 1982, she became a full time writer and broadcaster. She is a best-selling author of over 15 books. An accomplished writer and passionate campaigner for religious liberty, Armstrong has addressed members of the United States Congress and the Senate and has participated in the World Economic Forum.

Karen Armstrong

More about Karen Armstrong

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