I just started Karen Armstrong’s The Case for God last night. I laughed out loud at the first line of the Introduction:
We are talking far too much about God these days ….
The whole Introduction is brilliant, but I’ll just quote a few more lines from the beginning.
We are talking far too much about God these days, and what we say is often facile. In our democratic society, we think that the concept of God should be easy and that religion ought to be accessible to anybody. “That book was really hard!” readers have told me reproachfully, shaking their heads in faint reproof. “Of course it was!” I want to reply. “It was about God.”
Ms. Armstrong makes a point in the Introduction that seems important to me: that religion used to be a matter not of what you believed but of what you did. Not in the sense of good deeds, either, but in the sense of what you practiced in order to improve your connection with and understanding of God, or the Tao, or the Kingdom of Heaven or whatever you called it. Faith wasn’t about belief, but about devotion to your practice.