Essay on Karen Armstrong 's A History Of God

Essay on Karen Armstrong 's A History Of God

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Karen Armstrong’s A History of God is an extremely thorough and comprehensive piece of work which explores the complexities of how human beings have perceived God historically and presently. Karen Armstrong, a British journalist, is well-known for her published works, which include Through the Narrow Gate and The Spiral Staircase, typically concerning comparative religion. As a former nun, Armstrong is able to reflect not only about her experiences, but also her spiritual awakening in which she discovers and relates the intricate fundamentals of the three major monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The purpose of this review is to provide an elaborate analysis of how effectively Karen Armstrong was able to demonstrate her viewpoints and findings about God and religion in an unambiguous manner. Armstrong’s work deals primarily with exploring the topic of how God has shaped history, and whether or not God has any importance to the present world. In analyzing A History of God, Armstrong’s ability to determine how God has shaped history in comparison to how God is perceived presently will be criticized based on the strength of clarity, intellectualism and capability to create a rather inspiring and enlightening piece of work.
In A History of God, Armstrong explores the historical context and characteristics of Judaism, Islam and Christianity whilst comparing them to the presently accustomed beliefs of each religion. The beginning of the book contains information on the major themes and fundamentals of historical Jewish, Christian and Islamic ideas of God. Armstrong provides detail about the evolution of each religion, tracing back to the historical context of the merging of Hebrew tribes in Canaan which formed Isr...


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...ween fundamental reasoning and religion, a topic which most clearly demonstrates how religion changes throughout time. She circulates around the idea that human being’s religious perspectives are established by geographical, intellectual, political and historical situations. Armstrong describes how philosophers “evolved rational proofs of God’s existence to articulate their religious faith with their scientific studies and to link it with other more ordinary experiences” (Armstrong, pg. 207), which exemplifies her idea that based on the situation people are in, their religious perspectives will change. Armstrong provides more evidence of this idea during the Reform by stating “Like the philosophers and scientists, post-Reformation Christians had effectively abandoned the imaginative God of mystics and sought enlightenment from the God of reason” (Armstrong, pg. 292).

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