I found the interview with Karen Armstrong to be very interesting. I really liked learning more about whom the author we are reading. I would have never thought that she had the story she did being The History of God is so focused and deep into religion. I would have thought she grew up close to God and that followed her throughout her life. I was wrong though. She had a bad encounter with God… Actually, there was no encounter at all. To grow up Catholic and most likely in a Catholic family church, praying, God etc is a big thing and tends to be a very strict religion. Armstrong felt as though she thought she was close with God and even joined a convent at 17!! That is a huge step to take into your faith. Then to later feel so lost and distant from God to the point you describe yourself as an atheist. She went from one side of the spectrum to another. It is as if after she went deeper into her faith she realized what she felt wasn’t true. Following God and being a Christian became a habit by what you grew up with. Being a teenager you are still very immature to actually feel and believe so deeply. You basically do what you are told and learn what you have too and it was what Armstrong knew but didn’t necessarily believe truthfully in it. I think When she joined the convent and really explored her faith she realized how lost she was and had no connection with God.
I wouldn’t expect someone to go back to religion after having the fallout with God that she experienced. I really think what made the turn around was the approach she took. She didn’t just learn it because she had to she came back to religion with a much more opened heart and mind. With that you are so much more accepting and can find a deeper meaning in your studies and beliefs. She didn’t just go back to the Catholic Church she went much farther into religion. She explored several others too. She learned the other faiths and who they worshiped. She found that religion is art and there is so much beauty within. I think if everyone were to open up and find the beauty within each religion everyone would gain so much more appreciation just like Karen Armstrong did.
After reading and hearing Armstrong’s story I felt like I could relate a little. I grew up in a Catholic household and basically was forced to learn the religion. We had no choice but to go to church on Sundays, to go through confirmation classes and receive the sacraments. It made us much more closed minded and we wanted nothing to do with it. The part that really reminded me of myself was when she talked about herself meditating. “I could not keep my mind on my prayer for more than two minutes. My mind would go skittering off, or else be sunk in a sort of sloth of boredom and torpor and sleep.” This felt like every Sunday of mine growing up and it wasn’t until recently that I actually started turning to God and was more appreciative of my faith. I think once you have the freedom to actually go into faith on your own and really accept it you find the appreciation in it and you find yourself with God.
ON BEING Archive Broadcast on Karen Armstrong (Audio and Transcript)http://being.publicradio.org/programs/armstrong/transcript.shtml
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