The latest salvo in the war between the atheists and the believers comes from the doyenne of religious intellectual history, Karen Armstrong. Her tone is one of high-minded irritation. Her argument is compelling. To oversimplify: “faith” and “reason” are not like political parties. You don’t join one after having been convinced via argument of its validity. What the Greeks called logos and what they called mythos define two different aspects of the world and our experience in it: the knowable and the unknowable. You can believe in both. The bridge between them, Armstrong submits, is not the snarky badinage or righteous browbeating that has so defined faith-versus-reason debates of late, but practice. By practice she means not the occasional yoga class but genuine, difficult, repetitive practice, which over time gives the practitioner—even the reasonable practitioner—glimpses of the transcendent or the divine. Call it God.
About The Author
Lisa Miller is a contributing editor at New York magazine. She is the former religion columnist for the Washington Post, former senior editor of Newsweek magazine, and author of “Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife.” She is a multi-year winner of the New York Newswomen’s Club prize for feature writing and has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award.