Karen Armstrong: Once Rejecting Religion, She Now Sees it as a GuidepostHistorians in the News
Seventeen books later, she is recognized as one of the great religious historians, and she has reconsidered her label.
She regards herself to be deeply religious but with no denomination. "Sometimes I call myself a freelance," she says in her melodious English accent. "I can't see any one of the great religions as superior to others. . . . I'm seeking to make sense of life, looking for its meaning and how we can have a better humanity."
Borrowing for the moment from Buddhism, she explains, "Nirvana is something within you. It is not an external reality. No god thunders down from the mountaintop. Just as the great mystics in the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths all discovered, God is within the self. God is virtually inseparable from ourselves."
"Religion," she says, "is very complicated. Some do it very well. Some do it badly. It's an art form. Not everyone who plays the piano plays like Vladimir Ashkenazy."
Karen Armstrong is sitting in a restaurant in Manhattan sipping white wine and musing over her beliefs, her life, her work. Her new book, "The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions," is the second in a two-book deal, the first being "The Spiral Staircase," her enthralling account of her Catholic upbringing and her falling away from the church after leaving the convent in England. Knopf, her publisher, is so confident of its success that it has printed 100,000 copies.
comments powered by Disqus
- Letters collection offers unique glimpse into ordeal of Australian aborigines
- War, More Than ISIS, Is Destroying Syria's Ancient Sites
- Pew Poll: Trust in government is at historic lows
- If "The Donald" Said It Happened, It Happened! And Don't You Forget It!
- Solved: the mystery of Britain’s Bronze Age mummies
- Anne Frank Faced Challenges Similar to Syrian Refugees, Richard Breitman Says
- Douglass North, Nobel Prize-winning economics historian, dies at 95
- Craig Shirley says Ted Cruz is right and the Huffington Post wrong about Ronald Reagan’s 1980 Presidential Campaign
- Mystery at Notre Dame: A priest-historian has been forced to back off a project promoting authentic Catholic education
- William & Mary launching a gay history project