To Paraphrase Karen Armstrong


It is not so much what your worship as it is how you worship. The purpose of religion should be to profoundly change the worshippor.


So does God like it just as much when people worship themselves as when they worship Him?


I don’t know. I can’t think of a religion where people worship themselves.


I think the word for that idea is “Nominalism.”

It is not compatible with catholicism. Catholicism, by contrast, values those elements of other religions which coincide with catholicism, but does not pretend that contradictory beliefs, morals or social norms are somehow equivalent in value.


It depends how we frame the concept of “contradictory.” If the goal is to profoundly change who we are and how we view the world, so that we are more concerned for our souls and our neighbor’s well being (instead of being concerned for our neighbor’s souls and our own well being), then we can have many religions that are not contrary to the extent they seek to accomplish this, although how they accomplish this will vary.


I sounds good to me.


Nope. I still don’t buy it.

Jesus didn’t come to be the ultimate self-help guru. He came as Messiah, Redeemer and Sanctifier.

You can theoretically have a man who strives with all his heart and being all his life to better the world, be fair to all, to help the needy and generally be light to the world and have him head right to hell upon his death.

Sounds awful doesn’t it? But ponder it. All other religions of the world are about man seeking God. Christianity differs in that in addition to the above, God is seeking man! The man in the example above can wind up in hell if he never rids himself of his pride and surrenders to the Grace of God. God sometimes seeks man so passionately that he finds him in ways not easily recognizable to us catholics. But that is NOT the same as what you are proposing!


Well, organized satanists (such as the Church of Satan) and Shirley MacLaine-style new agers do. Remember her running on the beach yelling, “I am God!”? I used to know a lot of people who worshipped themselves. I doubt God enjoys the sight of it much.


That was not an element in Roman religion - which was about getting the gods “on side” (sometimes, Roman religious ideas seem very “American” :slight_smile:

I think you’re right - but ISTM that the idea was historically quite late, & I’m interested in knowing how you would apply it to ancient religions - Abraham (assuming him to have lived about 1800; & making a few others too) seems to be more concerned with worshipping God as he knows him, than with ethics, at least as compared with Isaiah or Second Isaiah.

I think that worship tends to transcend itself - like love; so that both go beyond, fulfil, & leave behind duty & obligation, by losing themselves. ##


In what way is the God of Judaism not seeking man? If Jews, Christians and Muslims are indeed all worshipping the same God, how can that God be seeking man in only one of them, if God’s nature is unchanging, as all three teach?


I would agree. For the ancients, in the Classical world at least, and all the Indo European religions with which I have at least a passing familiarity, worship is more about maintaining a right relationship with the Gods. Worship was about piety. For the Greeks and Romans, ethics was the realm of the philosophers, not the priests.


Judaism isn’t another religion. Its an earlier version of ours.

Islam manifests a very remote and distant, unknowable God. He may be nominally the same, but muslims in my limited experience and reading do not experience him as ABBA like we do.


Last I heard, Karen Armstrong went from being Catholic, to Muslim, to a “freelance monotheist”.

Seems like Karen’s worship has profoundly changed her.

Have you read “A History of God” by her? It was a very good book, but she really seems to pooh pooh Christianity.


I’d have to agree that not all ‘profound change’ is good.

What if the person wasn’t too far off the mark to begin with, eh? And what if they DO change for the worse?


Out of curiosity, at what point do two religious groups diverge enough to be considered different religions? How far and on which teachings does a group within Christianity diverge enough from what are considered orthodox Christian teachings to no longer be considered the same religion?


the purpose of worship is to render to God all honor, glory, praise, adoration, and thanksgiving due to him in justice. It is the role of grace, freely given by God, to change the worshipper. The spiritual growth of the soul is something effected by God, with which the worshipper tries to cooperate.


Having read a few of Karen Armstrong’s books myself, what she seems to emphasize is that religion is not merely accepting a set of rational or propositional beliefs, but is an existential encounter of the human being with the wholly Other which is completely transforming and transfiguring to life. She makes the excellent argument that whoever dwells in God also dwells in love and compassion, which means being truely religious also means a transfiguration away from selfishness into something new and better. She has also done some good studies on how religion often merely becomes another form of egoism.


That’s the sorry limitation,the inadequacy of the heathen religions and the philosophers. In Judaism and Christianity,piety,or a right relationship with the Creator,is inseparable from ethics and morality.


This is the sort of relativistic religious mentality that is fashionable nowadays. People want a personal religious “experience”,personal “transcendence” – as if that is what truth is all about.Religion becomes self-indulgence and excapism. What people don’t want is the kinds of moral demands and commitment that Christianity requires,like giving to the poor and needy;praying to a God who is a person who sees,hears,answers and judges;repenting of sins;forgiving others. Since the truth makes those kinds of demands on us,people would rather believe in many lesser “truths” that do not make such demands and where there is no need to commit.


We don’t worship to ‘get’ something, we worship to give something. In True Worship we give God the Glory that He deserves. In True Worship we give God ourselves.

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