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On not being “too” religious

Summary

Karen Armstrong comments on what we want – and don’t want – from religion.

Summary

Karen Armstrong comments on what we want – and don’t want – from religion.

Transcript

People don’t want really to be fully religious. They simply – a lot of people just want to go to church, sing a few hymns, and go back for Sunday lunch and not allow the stringent demands of the faith to impinge on their ordinary life.

The religions all say lose the self, forget the self, and get beyond the self. Because it’s egotism, greed, pure selfishness – either on a personal or a political scale – that causes the pain in the world, and causes … makes us shrink. It makes our horizons shrink to little Number One. And all the traditions, East and West, say if you get beyond ego, this selfishness, then you live a fuller humanity. And that’s what the religions are calling to.

But, you know, it’s not something that most people want to do. They often want their religions to give … make them – me – more so, enhance their sense of me rather than letting that go.