I'm still reading Karen Armstrong's new book, "The Case For God." I'm deeply impressed by its candor and sincerity and erudition so far. I'll try and write up more detailed thoughts when I've read and tried to think and pray on it some more. But for now, a reader sent me this video of Armstrong's TED lecture of last year. This blog has tried to offer a forum whereby we can have an honest, free-wheeling debate and an argument about religion today. I got a little tetchy recently, a little battered by the constant barrage of atheist argument. Forgive me. I've had a lot on my plate recently and my moods are hard for me to disguise when writing so much so often in real time. But the reason I blog about this and air it on what is a mainly political blog is because, to my mind, it remains the vital matter of our time - not just an attempt to rescue faith from bigotry and certainty, but an attempt to acknowledge the limits of our own understanding, wherever we sit.
I've written and thought a lot about doubt as inherent in genuine faith. What I have failed to do is emphasize the role of action as religion.
My doctoral thesis focused on Oakeshott's understanding of religion not as part f the world of philosophy, or of poetry - but of practice. Religion, in one profound sense, is simply what we do every day, the practice of daily compassion and spiritual discipline that brings us closer to God and to our highest nature as humans. The obsession with doctrine is rather modern, let alone the imposition of doctrine through politics or, worse, violence. Religion, properly understood, is less the assertion of facts we cannot prove than the living of a love that transcends fact into mindful compassion. This is so so so hard. I fail every day. I fail on this blog.
But our religion is simply and best exemplified by the way we live, rather than what we say we believe. At least that is how it increasingly seems to me; and it acts simultaneously as a rebuke and a salve.
Anyway, here's a lengthy video that I recommend nonetheless. Maybe save it for later. But she gives me hope.