Readings: “Homo Religiosus,” by Karen Armstrong.
“The Ecstasy of Influence: A Plagiarism,” by Jonathan Lethem
In “Homo Religiosus,” Karen Armstrong argues that religion is close to art, that both religion and
art have “the power to change our perception in ways that we not be able to explain logically but
that seem incontestably true.” Armstrong develops her argument along these lines, insisting that
deep religious truth can’t be accessed by reason alone. Lethem writes about his own ecstasies
as a consumer of art, and likens art to a gift that “the empiricists of our market” can’t understand.
Using both texts, answer the following question.
Is religion a form of art? Why or why not?
Before writing your paper, be familiar with the following terms or ideas:
-Reason vs Belief in Armstrong
-The Brahmodya and the Upanishads
-Yoga, as explained by Armstrong
-The Gift Economy
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