Karen Armstrong squares the circle
It’s not a newsflash that Karen Armstrong is not one of the clearest thinkers in the world – but nevertheless the opening sentence of her sermon on compassion at Comment is Free set me back a little.
The practice of compassion is central to every one of the major world religions – but sometimes you would never know it.
But sometimes you would never know it – good one. Did she write this while taking a bath and watching Celebrity Big Brother, or what? But more to the point is the fundamental and pathetic incoherence of the basic thought: the practice of compassion is central to every one of the major world religions, and yet oddly enough in real life the very opposite is enacted daily and hourly. Hum hum hum. So in what sense is it central then? Eh? Eh? If sometimes we would never know it, how does Armstrong know it? If sometimes we would never know it, in what sense is it fucking true?
It’s not true. It’s flattery. It’s a greasy smear of flattery for a nasty institution that perpetrates stupid or vicious cruelties everywhere you look.
Instead, religion is associated with violence, intolerance and seems more preoccupied by dogmatic or sexual orthodoxy.
It seems more preoccupied by dogmatic or sexual orthodoxy because it is. Armstrong perhaps wants to persuade it to better by heaping coals of fire on its head – but she shouldn’t talk nonsense in the process.