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Karen Armstrong, author and self-described failed nun, answers questions on religion in the NY Times. Some excerpts:
It depends on what you mean by God. I believe in holiness and sacredness in other people. It doesn’t mean that the clouds part and I see God. That’s a juvenile way of thinking about it…I am not interested in the afterlife. Religion is supposed to be about losing your ego, not preserving it eternally in optimum conditions…A lot of people see God as a sacred seal of approval on some of their worst fantasies about other people…We live in a culture where we think we shouldn’t be depressed and we demand things, including good moods. But you should be depressed if, say, your child dies. It’s a shame to miss it by blocking yourself off…(suffering) can help us to appreciate the suffering of other people…Jung once said that a great deal of religion shields us from religious experience.
On a related note, The Altered Human Is Already Here argues that our pill popping culture has created “a social change on the same order as the advent of computers, but one that is taking place inside the human body.”