Karen Armstrong–defender of Islam

Daily Telegraph journalist Damian Thompson is often a bit too effete for my liking, but his writing is more robust lately, and I’m on his side as he attacks an awful British ex-nun Karen Armstrong. Armstrong is a darling of the atheistic chattering classes in Britain. She’s written a series of predictably dull books on comparative religion. If you’ve read any liberal religion at all you’ll know the weary old routine: “religion is a human construct, determined by the culture in which it was founded, it has developed and become more sophisticated as humanity has developed, it is now a very interesting human and sociological phenomenon…blahblahblah. ad infinitum ad nauseam.

Armstrong, our fearless feminist comparative religion expert now steps in to explain to all of us poor, dumb Christian men how peace loving and kind the religion of Islam is. Thompson exposes her silliness quite neatly.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06735175874152541268 Stephen Wikner

    Yes, I rather share your view of Mr Thompson mainly because of his extraodinary and to my mind unnecessarily vitriolic attacks in recent months on Rowan Williams. One may be critical of Anglicanism and the attitudes and utterances of many current senior (and junior) Anglicans but the sheer nastiness of Damian Thompson’s attacks on a good and I think holy man with an impossible job cries out for, shall we say, an ‘extra-curricular’ explanation. Quotations from Hamlet act 3 scene 2 come to mind.But yes, he’s got Karen Armstrong taped in this piece. Wrong though she may be on many things, I have however always found her quite readable – right back, indeed, to 1983 when her book ‘The First Christian’ allied to a Channel 4 TV series on St Paul came out. I don’t agree with much of what she says but it was this book more than anything else that got me thinking about how dependent we are on St Paul and his literary successors in the early centuries of the Christian era who had the task of thinking through (and writing up) from scratch what the existence, life and teachings of Our Lord really meant.

  • Mark

    It must be true :Secretary-General Announces Complete Composition Of High-Level Group For Alliance Of Civilizations, Naming Two More MembersMs. Karen Armstrong (United Kingdom) Historian of ReligionHelp!

  • bernadette

    She hasn`t read The Koran, then. The Penguin translation is a very reliable one for anyone wanting to know more about this peace-loving religion.

  • Maureen

    Poor Karen,A nun for less than a decade, and for the rest of her life, a professional ex-nun, sad.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12373317560249811006 Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    it is sad. She wears ‘ex nun’ as some sort of silly red badge of courage, like saying ‘I used to fight for teh Taliban.’ In fact shouldn’t she be branded, ‘failed nun’ instead?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06735175874152541268 Stephen Wikner

    Careful. ‘Failed nun’ verges on the harsh. Religious and monastic communities have a good deal less trouble attracting people than retaining them for one very straight forward reason. There’s a tendency these days with the growth in lay literature on the subject to idealise the life or at least to look at it through rose-tinted spectacles. The reality is of an order of difficulty rarely encountered in the outside world.OK Ms Armstrong doesn’t help herself by some of what she writes but her book about leaving her order has the ring of truth even to someone whose experience of a similar situation was very, very different.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12373317560249811006 Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    You’re right. It is a complicated business. I haven’t read her book, so shouldn’t judge. She just gets up my nose with her pious ‘chattering classes’ attitude. by the way, that fellow John Inge is with us here at the moment…over to take the wedding of a nephew.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06735175874152541268 Stephen Wikner

    Greetings to His Lordship of Huntingdon! ‘That fellow’ forsooth! These colonials!

  • Anonymous

    Karen Armstrong’s convent can’t have been that repressive if it put her through Oxford!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09356738924839809045 Andrew

    First off, Archbishop Williams was just in Malaysia last weekend for the consecration of the Anglican Bishop of West Malaysia. The Province of South East Asia is very conservative, theologically. I wonder how the after-dinner conversations went.My friend’s dad is a non-stipendiary pastor in the Anglican Church here.Secondly, I just wish that Karen Armstrong had the gumption to follow her head and embrace Islam and their Prophet whom she praises so effusively. But I think she knows that speaking tours with a burqa and hijab just ain’t as fun.Just be happy that she’s a former nun and not a current nun.

  • Anonymous

    The First Christian wasn’t Paul, it was Mary (according to the Gospel of Luke). Paul came along much later–the 14th “Apostle.” Even he says he was untimely born.Re Karen being an ex-nun, thank God she had the decency to leave. Would that many more apostate nuns would have followed her. Instead they stayed and mangled their convents.In Amazon comments about her books, people praise her for embracing spirituality without the necessity of faith.Now THAT reminds me of St Paul–I know the Unknown God to whom you pray! Let me tell you about Him!kentuckyliz