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 know 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 to hunt, 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 rabbits and other animals to hunt, in our urbanity we must now resort to
hunting each other, humans killing humans in lieu of animals. How
can we back up from this precipice and return to some level of humanity and/or civility?
Is there any possibility of us reclaiming our divinity which I am want
to maintain is our essential nature. Karen never imagines we are capable of such high spirituality.
This notion of our predatory nature being essential appears to be pervasive in our
slippery slop into nothingness, dread and absurdity.
-- Marvin X