An Evening with Karen Armstrong - Reflection Paper


Sungmoon lee


Think logically, Act bravely


In this lecture, Ms. Karen Armstrong talks about the idea that “What is a true religion?” by considering the relation among God, human beings and the created world.

First of all, she points out the way of expressing transcendent existence, God, in human language. Usually, in the scripture, God is described Love of God, God is good, Father etc. But she concerns this matter and gives a question to the problem how we’re able to express God. How can we apply the word “good, great” to God who has a number of qualities? Her answer is No, we can’t. She says we cannot contain God even though we use thousands of adjective words since God is not like human beings. For this problem, symbolism is collapsed, she insists. Symbolism is where an image that human imagines can connect with someone or something beyond us. Nevertheless, not all of the way to reach to God is disconnected. It is reasoning power, thinking ability that we can know God, she says.

The lecturer says that human is “meaning seeking creature”. It means that human has a tendency of pursuing superior one. In India, barman experienced God with Yo-Ga and practice in silence. The reason why they stay quietly during their practice is based on the thought that God is indescribable. However, in the west Europe, especially Greek philosophers, they try to demonstrate the existence of God logically. Thomas Aquinas and Isaac Newton are well known as putting their effort to prove God’s existence systematically. Ms. Karen Armstrong makes a point that these two way of experiencing God, Think and Practice, should work together. She says, in Greek philosophy, the way of persuading truth is “Logos” and “Mythos”. Logos is where people think the external world accurately and Mythos informs us what to do and how to behave. These two principles to know and feel God can give why we live in the society to us. In a sense of that, she says creation myth is not just to identify a nation but, specially to Jewish people, a standard of acting and judging as their theology and belief.

Whenever I heard the sermon, “Live as what the bible says. That is how the real Christians live”. It makes me a question how I can live through the bible. If reading and learning a scripture is just the way to live though bible, there are few people called true disciples. Also, the other side of people who prefer to experienced the act of the Holy Spirit. These people would be on a wrong way to what scripture teaches and accept just a part of it. In order to be real Christian, the effort of balancing between the two is required, I think. When we consider the integrity of Christianity, each side of the believers needs to have generous and permissive mind to the opposite.