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Karen Armstrong

“A personalized God can be a mere idol carved in our own image- a projection of our limited needs, fears, and desires. We can assume that he loves what we love and hates what we hate, endorsing our prejudices instead of compelling us to transcend them. When he seems to fail to prevent a catastrophe or seems even to desire a tragedy, he can seem callous and cruel. A facile belief that a disaster is the will of God can make us accept things that are fundamentally unacceptable. The very fact, as a person, God has a gender is also limiting: It means that the sexuality of half the human race is sacralized at the expense of the female and can lead to neurotic and inadequate imbalance in human sexual mores. A personal God can be dangerous, therefore. Instead of pulling us beyond our limitations, “he” can encourage us to remain complacently within them; “he” can make us cruel, callous, self-satisfied and partial as “he” seems to be. Instead of inspiring the compassion that should characterize all advanced religions, “he” can encourage us to judge, condemn, and marginalize.”


Karen Armstrong
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