Karen Armstrong tells her much-recycled story again. Once she tried to be a nun, then she got fed up with it and tried to be an academic and was all skeptical and shit. Then she sat down to read quietly and she discovered religion was right about everything after all.
I suddenly found that I was learning a great deal from other religious traditions. From Judaism, I learned to never stop asking questions — about anything! — and never to imagine that I had come to the end of what I could know and say about God.
But you don’t need Judaism to learn to never stop asking questions about anything. And then, why should you think there is a god in the first place, to never imagine you’d come to the end of what you could know and say about? How can you “know” anything about a presumed god?
Jews even refuse to speak God’s name, as a reminder that any human expression of the divine is so limited that it is potentially blasphemous.
Blah blah blah. So you always say, and you want us to be impressed, but I’m not impressed. I’m not impressed that people assume there is such a thing as “the divine” and then construct stupid rules about it, and I’m not impressed that gasbags like Armstrong come along thousands of years later to gape in bovine astonishment at the profundities people have uttered about this imaginary “divine.”
Divinity is a kind of candy, and much more useful than “the divine.”
From the Eastern and the Russian Orthodox Christians, I learned that Jesus was the first human being to be totally possessed by God — just as Buddha was the first enlightened human being in our historical era — and that we can all be like him, even in this life.
Blah blah blah. From watching Loony Tunes I learned that Bugs Bunny spoke with a Brooklyn accent; so what?
From the Quran, I learned that all religious traditions that teach justice, compassion and respect for all others have come from God.
Oh yes? For all others including the women stoned to death for “adultery” which includes being raped? Including the little girls raped to death by their “husbands”? Including the “infidels” and “apostates” put to the sword?
And I was enthralled to find this quotation from the great 13th-century Sufi philosopher Ibn Arabi:
Do not praise your own faith so exclusively that you disbelieve all the rest; if you do this you will miss much good. Nay, you will fail to realise the real truth of the matter. God the omnipresent and omniscient cannot be confined to any one creed, for he says in the Quran: “Wheresover ye turn, there is the face of Allah.”
Well then you’re very easily enthralled, I must say.
It seems odd to finish my quest by realizing how little I know. But that is the way human beings experience the world. No matter how much we know, something always eludes us. If we can just let go of our desire to know it all and be in control — which brings us so much anxiety — we experience great freedom. The world is no longer cut down to suit our tiny minds; instead, we see fresh possibility and mystery in every thing and everybody around us. Unknowing is built into the human condition.
No. Shut up. Stop saying that shit. It’s bad and dangerous. It’s not about any “desire to know it all,” it’s about a desire to know more than we do right now, and that is a good thing. Stop misrepresenting it and stop talking emetic bullshit about the joys of ignorance while simultaneously peddling the same old theistic crap.