The Battle for God

The Battle for God

Book - 2001
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In our supposedly secular age governed by reason and technology, fundamentalism has emerged as an overwhelming force in every major world religion. Why? This is the fascinating, disturbing question that bestselling author Karen Armstrong addresses in her brilliant new book The Battle for God. Writing with the broad perspective and deep understanding of human spirituality that won huge audiences for A History of God, Armstrong illuminates the spread of militant piety as a phenomenon peculiar to our moment in history.

Contrary to popular belief, fundamentalism is not a throwback to some ancient form of religion but rather a response to the spiritual crisis of the modern world. As Armstrong argues, the collapse of a piety rooted in myth and cult during the Renaissance forced people of faith to grasp for new ways of being religious--and fundamentalism was born. Armstrong focuses here on three fundamentalist movements: Protestant fundamentalism in America, Jewish fundamentalism in Israel, and Islamic fundamentalism in Egypt and Iran--exploring how each has developed its own unique way of combating the assaults of modernity.

Blending history, sociology, and spirituality, The Battle for God is a compelling and compassionate study of a radical form of religious expression that is critically shaping the course of world history.
Publisher: New York, N.Y. : Random House, 2001.
Edition: 1st Ballantine Books ed.
ISBN: 9780345391698
Branch Call Number: 200.9 ARM
Characteristics: xvi, 442 p. ; 21 cm.

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SeattleSaul
Jun 24, 2016

The author presents a tour of the history of the three major monotheistic religions over the past millenium and explains how each of them distilled themselves into their more fundamentalist, extremist elements. Her main thesis is the battle between a belief system (mythos) and a knowledge system (logos) for understanding the world and purpose of man and how each of the three faiths dealt with the challenges of science and the discovery of natural laws. Secondarily she posits that some kind of belief system combined with community and ritual are vital human needs.
The text is clearly written, without bias and with copious sourcing. This is a breath of clarity above the contemporary noise about the three faiths, and I highly recommend it.

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