How and why have concepts of God changed over time and across cultures, yet remained resonant and important? How have the three great monotheistic religions — Judaism, Christianity and Islam — shaped the image of God in their own ways? How have these faith traditions influenced each other?
Join us for a theological and historical exploration of monotheism in its myriad forms and possibilities, guided by Karen Armstrong’s classic, “A History of God.” In the acclaimed book, Armstrong, a renowned author, scholar and spiritual seeker in her own right, traces the epic story of the Abrahamic Faiths across eras of history and empire, through evolving beliefs, and into the inner workings of the human psyche:
“The epic story begins with the Jews’ gradual transformation of pagan idol worship in Babylon into true monotheism — a concept previously unknown in the world. Christianity and Islam both rose on the foundation of this revolutionary idea, but these religions refashioned ‘The One God’ to suit the social and political needs of their followers. From classical philosophy and medieval mysticism to the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the modern age of skepticism, Karen Armstrong performs the near miracle of distilling the intellectual history of monotheism into one superbly readable volume.” [Publisher]
For consideration and discussion, we will also include supplemental material on directions in liberal theology that have been influential since Armstrong’s bestselling book was written, including 21st Century developments in Progressive Christianity, Pantheism, and Religious Naturalism.
Facilitators Sarah Robson and James Witker both bring lifelong interest in the topic, as well as differing personal histories and viewpoints.
Via reflection and sharing throughout the discussion, we will draw upon our own spiritual journeys, questions, and aspirations. Whether you believe in one god, many gods, or none, or are eager to question all answers on the nature of ultimate reality, you are welcome! In our community of theists, non-theists and everyone in between, we will intentionally practice deep listening and hold a space where a diversity of viewpoints are included and celebrated.
Participants are encouraged to read the book, but shorter summaries of the chapters will also be available, and everyone is welcome to join.
Four Saturday Mornings: (11/06,11/20, 12/04, 12/18) 9:30-11:30AM. Additional sessions may be added upon request. Please contact AdultRE@uusm.org for more details and to sign up.