Top 100

Top 200 Karen Armstrong Quotes (2023 Update)
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Karen Armstrong Quote: “There is a linguistic connection between the three words “myth,” “mysticism” and “mystery.” All are derived from the Greek verb musteion: to close the eyes or the mouth. All three words, therefore, are rooted in an experience of darkness and silence.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “Often when religious leaders come together, they talk about a particular sexual ethic, or an abstruse doctrine, as though this, rather than compassion, was the test of spiritual life.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “But during the nineteenth century, Europe was reconfigured into clearly defined states ruled by a central government.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “One of the characteristics of early modern thought was a tendency to assume binary contrasts. In an attempt to define phenomena more exactly, categories of experience that had once co-inhered were now set off against each other: faith and reason, intellect and emotion, and church and state.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “There is always a moment in warfare when the horrifying reality breaks through the glamour.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “The word qur’an means “recitation.” It was not designed for private perusal, but like most scriptures, it was meant to be read aloud, and the sound was an essential part of the sense. Poetry was important in Arabia. The poet was the spokesman, social historian, and cultural authority of his tribe, and over the years the Arabs had learned how to listen to a recitation and had developed a highly sophisticated critical ear.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “In the eleventh century, a Jerusalem rabbi still recalled with gratitude the mercy God had shown his people when he allowed the “Kingdom of Ishmael” to conquer Palestine.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “Today mythical thinking has fallen into disrepute; we often dismiss it as irrational and self-indulgent. But the imagination is also the faculty that has enabled scientists to bring new knowledge to light and to invent technology that has made us immeasurably more effective.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “At the beginning of the twentieth century, every single leading Muslim intellectual was in love with the west, and wanted their countries to look just like Britain and France.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “The Qur’an was attempting to give women a legal status that most Western women would not enjoy until the nineteenth century. The emancipation of women was a project dear to the Prophet’s heart, but it was resolutely opposed by many men in the ummah, including some of his closest companions.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “As we develop our compassionate mind, we should feel an increasing sense of responsibility for the suffering of others and form a resolve to do everything we can to free them from their pain.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “In any previous empire the religion of the ruling class had always been distinct from the faith of the subjugated masses, so the Christian emperors’ attempt to impose their theology on their subjects was a shocking break with precedent and was experienced as an outrage.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “Remember that we can become twinned with an enemy and come to resemble him. Our hatred may become an alter ego, a part of our identity.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “Remember that in a threatening environment, the human brain becomes permanently organized for aggression.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “Human beings cannot endure emptiness and desolation; they will fill the vacuum by creating a new focus of meaning. The idols of fundamentalism are not good substitutes for God; if we are to create a vibrant new faith for the twenty-first century, we should, perhaps, ponder the history of God for some lessons and warnings.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “The unity of God could be glimpsed in the truly integrated self.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “Paul’s letters were occasional responses to specific questions rather than a coherent account of a fully articulated theology.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “The idols of fundamentalism are not good substitutes for God; if we are to create a vibrant new faith for the twenty-first century, we should, perhaps, ponder the history of God for some lessons and warnings.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “But Enki wants to save Atrahasis,50 the ‘exceedingly wise man’ of the city of Shuruppak.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “The ancients had believed that nothing came from nothing, but Heidegger reversed this maxim: ex nihilo omne qua ens fit. He ended his lecture by posing a question asked by Leibniz: “Why are there beings at all, rather than just nothing?”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “This rationalized interpretation of religion has resulted in two distinctively modern phenomena: fundamentalism and atheism. The two are related.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “There is a distinction between belief in a set of propositions and a faith which enables us to put our trust in them.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “The Sufis, the Sunni mystics with whom the Ismailis felt great affinity, had an axiom: “He who knows himself, knows his Lord.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “Yet the study of the Koran revealed that Muhammad himself had had a universal vision and had insisted that all rightly guided religions came from God.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “Humanism is itself a religion without God – not all religions, of course, are theistic.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “This continues to be the case: the religion of compassion is followed only by a minority; most religious people are content with decorous worship in synagogue, church, temple and mosque.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “Indeed, God is dependent upon man when he wants to act in the world – an idea that would become very important in the Jewish conception of the divine. There are even hints that human beings can discern the activity of God in their own emotions and experiences, that Yahweh is part of the human condition.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “The rationalism of Plato and Aristotle is also important because Jews, Christians and Muslims all drew upon their ideas and tried to adapt them to their own religious experience, even though the Greek God was very different from their own.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “Aristotle’s account of the Katharsis of tragedy was a philosophic presentation of a truth that Homo religiosus had always understood intuitively: a symbolic, mythical or ritual presentation of events that would be unendurable in daily life can redeem and transform them into something pure and even pleasurable.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “In his last impassioned speech, Stephen had claimed that the Temple was an insult to the nature of God: “The Most High does not live in a home that human hands have built.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “When these early people looked at a stone, they did not see an inert, unpromising rock. It embodied strength, permanence, solidity and an absolute mode of being that was quite different from the vulnerable human state. Its very otherness made it holy.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “It seems that when human beings contemplate the absolute, they have very similar ideas and experiences. The sense of presence, ecstasy and dread in the presence of a reality – called nirvana, the One, Brahman or God – seems to be a state of mind and a perception that are natural and endlessly sought by human beings.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “Thomas Aquinas may have given the impression that God was just another item – albeit the highest – in the chain of being, but he had personally been convinced that these philosophical arguments bore no relation to the mystical God he had experienced in prayer. But by the beginning of the seventeenth century, leading theologians and churchmen continued to argue the existence of God on entirely rational grounds.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “Our experience tells us that the world has objective reality and a perfect God, who must, be truthful, could not deceive us. Instead of using the world to prove the existence of God, therefore, Descartes had used the idea of God to give him faith in the reality of the world.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “A disorderly spirituality that makes the practitioner dreamy, eccentric, or uncontrolled is a very bad sign indeed. In.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “Rudolf Otto, the German historian of religion who published his important book The Idea of the Holy in 1917, believed that this sense of the “numinous” was basic to religion. It preceded any desire to explain the origin of the world or find a basis for ethical behavior.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “The Buddha did not deny the gods, therefore, but believed that the ultimate Reality of nirvana was higher than the gods. When Buddhists experience bliss or a sense of transcendence in meditation, they do not believe that this results from contact with a supernatural being. Such states are natural to humanity; they can be attained by anybody who lives in the correct way and learns the techniques of Yoga. Instead of relying on a god, therefore, the Buddha urged his disciples to save themselves.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “In a theologian such as Lessius we can see that as Europe approached modernity, the theologians themselves were handing the future atheists the ammunition for their rejection of a God who had little religious value and who filled many people with fear rather than with hope and faith.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “Ideas about God come and go, but prayer, the struggle to find meaning even in the darkest circumstances, must continue.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “Human beings seem framed to pose problems for themselves that they cannot solve, pit themselves against the dark world of uncreated reality, and find that living with such unknowing is a source of astonishment and delight.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “A journey to the depths of the mind involves great personal risks because we may not be able to endure what we find there. That is why all religions have insisted that the mystical journey can only be undertaken under the guidance of an expert, who can monitor the experience, guide the novice past the perilous places and make sure that he is not exceeding his strength, like poor Ben Azzai, who died, and Ben Zoma, who went mad. All mystics stress the need for intelligence and mental stability.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “After his death, his followers decided that Jesus had been divine. This did not happen immediately; as we shall see, the doctrine that Jesus had been God in human form was not finalized until the fourth century.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “Unlike Descartes, who had proved the existence of the self, God and the natural world in that order, Newton began with an attempt to explain the physical universe, with God as an essential part of the system. In Newton’s physics, nature was entirely passive: God was the sole source of activity. Thus, as in Aristotle, God was simply a continuation of the natural, physical order.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “Henceforth women were marginalized and became second-class citizens in the new civilizations of the Oikumene. Their position was particularly poor in Greece, for example – a fact that Western people should remember when they decry the patriarchal attitudes of the Orient.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “But human beings fall easily into despair, and from the very beginning we invented stories that enabled us to place our lives in a larger setting, that revealed an underlying pattern, and gave us a sense that, against all the depressing and chaotic evidence to the contrary, life had meaning and value.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “Had the notion of God not had this flexibility, it would not have survived to become one of the great human ideas.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “A veil was, as it were, suddenly stripped away from a reality that had been there all the time, but which we had not seen before.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “Culture was felt to be a fragile achievement, which could always fall prey to the forces of disorder and disintegration.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “The right to liberty was crucial: it is difficult to find a single reference to imprisonment in the whole of rabbinic literature, because only God can curtail the freedom of a human being. Spreading scandal about somebody was tantamount to denying the existence of God.104 Jews were not to think of God as a Big Brother, watching their every move from above; instead they were to cultivate a sense of God within each human being so that our dealings with others became sacred encounters.”
Karen Armstrong Quote: “Just as there are only a given number of themes in love poetry, so too people have kept saying the same things about God over and over again. Indeed, we shall find a striking similarity in Jewish, Christian and Muslim ideas of the divine.”
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