Sunday, March 15, 2009
Karen Armstrong on God, Religion, Secularism, Fundamentalism and Dialogue
KAREN ARMSTRONG: Let me say this. In our discourse, it is not enough for us in the western democratic tradition simply to seek the truth. We also have to defeat and humiliate our opponents. And that happens in politics. It happens in the law courts. It happens in religious discourse. It happens in the media. It happens in academia. Very different from Socrates, the founder of the rationalist tradition, who when you had dialogues with Socrates, you came thinking that you knew what you were talking about.
Half an hour later, with Socrates, you realized you didn't know anything at all. And at that moment, says Socrates, your-- quest can begin. You can become a philosopher, a lover of wisdom because you know you don't have wisdom. You love it. You seek it. And you had to go into a dialogue prepared to change, not to bludgeon your conversation partner into accepting your point of view. And every single point in a Socratic dialogue, you offer your opinion kindly to the other, and the other accepts it with kindness.
BILL MOYERS: But you can't have a dialogue with people who don't want to have-
KAREN ARMSTRONG: No.
BILL MOYERS: -a dialogue.
KAREN ARMSTRONG: But that doesn't mean we should give up altogether. Because I think the so called liberals can also be just as hard lined in their own way.
Posted by Robin Varghese at 03:52 PM | Permalink