Karen Armstrong reviews the history of approaches to understanding God. She focuses primarily on Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, with frequent comparisons to other religions, including Buddhism and Hinduism. Three aspects of the history stand out.
How each religion has each gone through many different relationships to God.
How science has gone through similar relationships to understanding the world.
How science has affected attitudes toward God.
The book is more than history of ideas. Armstrong argues that religion is not primarily about belief. We are unable to describe God in words. We need to relate to God directly through commitment and action, individually and in community. An important corollary is that we need to remain open to examination of our own approach and respect others’ approaches to God. She applies these ideas not only to the religious, but also to those critical of religions. This book is especially important for understanding where the current religious-political climate fits in the course of history and how to react to what seem to be extreme positions.