Thursday, December 17, 2015

Karen Armstrong - Religion and the History of Violence

Karen Armstrong is one of my favorite scholars of theology and spirituality. I love her because she has that eclectic vision so necessary to unravel the conundrums of the present intellectual morass. We are happy to hear her explain her understanding of religion and violence. Too often we want to attribute world issues to one cause or another, sometimes politics, religion, economics, ecology, but Karen is careful to sift through all such isms, schisms, ideologies and mythologies to arrive at some modicum of truth that we can savor. She is not always optimistic at the human condition. After one lecture on her current book, she said she felt dreadful. We share her dread, for the world has become very dreadful. She notes that men are essentially predators or killers. She told how men kill and plunder often because they are bored. This hit us in the gut because we recall when some young men in the ghetto told us, "OG, you what we do when we get bored? We get our bulletproof vests, UZIS and ride through the hood killing nigguhs." This made me consider that we have become lower than the KKK, at least they killed because they hated us, certainly not because they were bored. But I tried to think deeper on this predatory condition of men. As I grew up in the country where men used to go hunting, I wondered was it because in our move to urbanity we were unable to exercise the hunter myth/ritual. In the absence of deer, duck, pheasants, quail and other animals to hunt, we must now resort to hunting each other, brothers hunting brothers in lieu of animals. How can we back up from this precipice and return to some level of civility? Is there any possibility of us reclaiming our divinity which I am want to maintain is our essential nature although this notion of the predatory nature being our essence appears to be on a slippery slop of nothingness and absurdity.-- Marvin X

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