I’ve been reading Karen Armstrong’s A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam for the last few months. She isn’t trying to prove the existence of God, but traces how people have imagined God and the kinds of relationships they think they’ve had with him. Fundamentalism, the brand of Christianity I’m most familiar with, tries to claim that God has always been the same and that their particular take on God was the first (and is the only perspective that is correct). The history Armstrong presents shows very clearly how ridiculous those claims are. She’s also very compassionate and does well at getting inside various religious thinkers’ minds. It would be easy to belittle many of the people she profiles – their beliefs seem outlandish. A History of God shows how historical context influences how people choose to see God.