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Hall of Shame:

Think Again: God

by Karen Armstrong
Posted: October 20, 2009.

Print: Foreign Policy

Karen Armstrong attempts to defend religion against what she considers common critiques.  Instead she ends up making excuses for the problems religion creates while shifting the blame onto “overly aggressive secularization” and “so-called new atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens.”   Foreign Policy has given her a serious platform to make blatant misrepresentations, “In claiming that God is the source of all human cruelty, Hitchens and Dawkins ignore some of the darker facets of modern secular society” and begins the article in error claiming The Economist published a “God is Dead” cover in 1999.   To Armstrong it’s all about not “giving unnecessary offense.”  This shameful article boils down to “Think Again” atheist! Keep your mouth shut.

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Comments (17)

Wow, she changed history to make her argument into a better story… wonder if that’s ever happened before.

posted on October 21, 2009
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2. John Wilkinson

(Makes jerking off motion with hand)

posted on October 21, 2009
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I used to respect Armstrong, but she is growing less and less connected to reality.

In this case, I might have to come back and finish reading the article later. I got halfway through before my mind couldn’t stand it any longer.

posted on October 21, 2009
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Armstrong’s attempt to revive apophatic theology from the Middle Ages is an irresponsible avoidance of accountability for religious violence - then and now. 

Shame on her.

posted on October 21, 2009
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This website is supposed to be one of “reason” and integrity, or so I thought and am lead to believe by the masthead and mission. I’m no sure that some of the entries here are representing those values well, this one in particular.

Books, like all things, are left to interpretation. Perhaps we can be less quick to judge and offer more opportunity for dialogue and have a discussion. That too is something I thought The Reason Project is supposed to allow for.

I’m losing interest, fast. Especially given that the authors on this blog do not reveal their identities. I mean, come on… author anonymity on a blog, especially this one?

posted on October 21, 2009
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6. Ubiquitous Che

“Ironically, it was the empirical emphasis of modern science that encouraged many to regard God and religious language as fact rather than symbol, thus forcing religion into an overly rational, dogmatic, and alien literalism.”

Interesting… Yoda is a symbol, but does not factually exist.

If Karen could bring herself to admit that she considered ‘God’ to exist in the manner of any other fictional character, I might complain: I thought I was reading an article written by a theist.

But if Karen recognizes that God is a symbol and not fact, isn’t that the exact bloody point we atheists have been making all along?

posted on October 21, 2009
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^ I agree, Armstrong is trying to play both sides of the fence here. Why? I don’t know. Maybe she thinks if she keeps it more and more ubiquitous she’ll sell more books.

posted on October 21, 2009
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Everything said that is offensive to religion is a necessity!

posted on October 22, 2009
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“As soon as we became recognizably human, men and women started to create religions.”

What?

I couldn’t get past the first page.

posted on October 22, 2009
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“As soon as we became recognizably human, men and women started to create religions.”

And as soon as we became recognizably human, men and women figured that the Sun orbits the Earth.

Does that mean it’s right ?

posted on October 22, 2009
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I made a full response to this article on my blog, please check it out, thanks.

http://reasonsciencemetal.blogspot.com/

posted on October 22, 2009
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Oh dear Karen. This time the piffle is worse than usual. Let me see if I understand your argument:

“People have always been religious therefore there is a god.”

The proposition only has to be made for its vacuity to be made obvious.

posted on October 23, 2009
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Step 1 - Select a religion.
Step 2 - Write an 8 page apologist article with ads on every page.
Step 3 - Profit.

posted on October 23, 2009
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Oops. I meant to say…

Step 3 - “Prophet”. Always get those two confused.

posted on October 23, 2009
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I have immense respect for Karen Armstrong.  “A History of God” is one of my favorite books.  With that said she would probably be disappointed to know that it aided my journey to atheism more than it stemmed my urges to abandon faith.  In my view “A History of God” does much to explore why and how we got to where we are with religion.  The question I don’t think Armstrong answers adequately is why we should continue to embrace religion given our current knowledge and sophistication.  While religion may have been a necessary construct in our history we have outgrown its usefulness.

posted on October 27, 2009
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Dang. I am getting fed up of this faith vs reason nonsense. Come on guys, why to get so tensed up? Take it easy! There are better things to do. Dawkins, Dennett, Harris and Hitchens need to just relax.

posted on October 27, 2009
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There is nothing nonsensical about clear hard debate over the value of reason over faith in society.  It is one of the most important issues facing American democracy, impacting everything from the education of children to foreign policy.  One big difference is that voices like Dawkins, Dennett, Harris and Hitchens were not widely available in the past, often due to fear or outright persecution.  Save the “nonsensical” comments for the violent, anti-intellectual, and hypocritical believing community.

posted on November 27, 2009
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