Karen Armstrong says in a Wapo article, The Case for 'Faith', not 'Belief', this morning:
Like a myth, a religious doctrine is essentially a program of action. It makes no sense unless it is translated into practical action that helps you to dethrone egotism, selfishness and greed by practicing compassion to all living beings. In the book, I try to show how doctrines like the Incarnation or Trinity were originally a summons to selflessness and compassion and that we only discover their truth by making these qualities a reality in our own lives.
Finally, in the pre-modern world people knew that it was very difficult to speak about God, because God could not fit neatly into a human system of thought. People like Aquinas, Maimonides or Avicenna would find much of our modern certainty about God frankly idolatrous. They knew that we could not prove 'his' existence, that even revelation did not provide us with privileged information about the divine but simply made us aware of what we did not know, and that all our God-talk - even the language of scripture - could only be symbolic, pointing beyond itself to transcendence, because when we speak about God we are at the end of.what words or thoughts can do.
And this only sounds amorphous and vague if you are not a dedicated practitioner. If you don't 'do' religion - you don't 'get' it!
Good point indeed and should "christians" for instance, actually act like Christians, the atheists probably wouldn't have to rag on them so much... there might even be a lot of agreement from both sides. I'm interested in what else she has to say. There might be some good topics for discussion.