I've just started reading 'The Case for God' today. In the introduction the author posits that atheism and fundamentalism are polar opposites in the arena of thought. Despite apparently being an atheist herself Karen Armstrong has some critical words for the 'New Atheist' authors, criticisms that have been sort of on the periphery of my mind as well. She argues that religiosity will not fade away the louder and more prevalent atheism becomes but will only rise to match the phenomenon, much like a war of escalation.

I have seen this to an extent. Much of the fundamentalism that we see today is a relatively recent phenomenon and is likely very much a response to the scientific progress and abandonment of age old ways of living life which modern rationalists promote. I am quite curious what other arguments she will present.

Tags: Armstrong, Karen, books

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she explain how the myths were relevant for the time period (and not outside of that time period).

Sorry I'm not impressed. I expect myths to be "relevant for the time period." So what? So that means we should keep the concept of god in our society? I don't think so.
My impression of Armstrong’s thesis is that the mythical, mystical, ritualistic, tradition-steeped, stained-glass-windowed, incense-burning, ornaments, hung on the Christmas tree of religion, are becoming more important to the preservation of the institution of religion than actual faith in the existence of a god.

As Faith in God’s existence becomes less and less defensible (“provable”), the attention of “believers” will change its focus to the “accoutrements” of religion as the inarguable aspects of the advantages of “belief”.

Pretty soon it will be the potluck dinner fellowship in the basement of the church which will be the most appealing aspect of religion.

Humanists can have potlucks too.
Don't forget bingo.
If Humanists/freethinkers or atheists met in church basements, bingo might be the entertainment of choice.
BUT
I prefer the pub or coffee shop, and it appears that, on this site at least, I am not alone.
I wonder what “traditions” Humanism/atheism will establish as the rituals that bind them together, as faith has the religious community?
As Faith in God’s existence becomes less and less defensible (“provable”), the attention of “believers” will change its focus to the “accoutrements” of religion as the inarguable aspects of the advantages of “belief”.

Belief in belief is a second-order delusion. (I've been waiting for weeks to find a time to use that!)
I'm glad you did, I'll propagate the meme.
"Belief-in-belief" and the possibly elitist utility of belief are what can have especially detrimental outcomes. Atheists such as Prof. Leon Strauss, Paul Wolfowitz, and ultimately Karl Rove have corralled "belief" to great utility in their political and societal aims.

As Prof. Daniel Dennett has written,
"Sometimes the maintenance of a belief is deemed so important that impressive systems of propaganda are erected and vigorously defended by people who do not in fact share the belief that they think is so important for society to endorse."
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2009/jul/16/daniel-d...
I'm almost finished with Chapter 3, "Reason" and the next chapter is titled "Faith". I strongly suspect your impression is accurate. The history was fascinating. Reading Armstrong's discourse on Socrates' teachings, along with his students, in order to build a foundation for reason seems facile and disingenuous. I'm pretty sure she knows it too.

The history was interesting, and perhaps her previous book, 'A History of God', was the one to read.

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