Karen Armstrong's Wish: Thoughts?

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Karen Armstrong's Wish: Thoughts?

In my addiction to TED.com, I just ran into this TEDtalk by one Karen Armstrong, who is a new name for me. She is apparently a religious scholar, and her angle is that she believes all the religions of the world (or the Abrahamic religions at any rate) are basically aiming for the same thing, but people are ugly and abuse or misinterpret them. The real point of any religion is 1) compassion, 2) the golden rule.


Link: http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/234

I know this is all stuff we've heard before, but I was wondering about a few things.


1) Since she is apparently a religious scholar, have any of our local history/religious studies junkies heard of her before?

2) What is your opinion on her wish to start a school of compassion through the U.N., apparently uniting the Abrahamic religions under their common principles? (If I understood her correctly.)

3) Isn't compassion possible without the extra baggage? Why can't we just have compassion without inviting scripture to the party? Any good reasons?

4) Thoughts? Jibes? Kudos? Laughs?

A place common to all will be maintained by none. A religion common to all is perhaps not much different.

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Karen Armstrong was, if I

Karen Armstrong was, if I remember correctly, a Nun before losing her faith...or at least becoming an apostate.  She is still a theist.  She rails against atheism in her books a bit, but she has an interesting story which she writes about in "The Spiral Staircase" I believe.  I do not like her ideas much, but she still is interesting enough to read.  I don't condone her scholarship.

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 I tried to read The Battle

 I tried to read The Battle for God a few years ago.  It's her take on the rise of fundamentalist movements in the Abrahamic faiths.  It's not such a bad book but for her assertion that Christian fundamentalism and Jewish fundamentalism really are religious movements, but Islamic fundamentalism is really just nihilism brought about by political oppression.  She used  the 9/11 hijackers as an example, zeroing in on their night of drinking and strip clubs just prior to carrying out their deeds.  Apparently "no true Muslim" would do so.  Ha ha.

I was about to challenge that point, but I don't think I really need to.  I mean, why do anything?  Everything's meaningless.  I think I'll just go to a strip club.


"The whole conception of God is a conception derived from ancient Oriental despotisms. It is a conception quite unworthy of free men."
--Bertrand Russell