Power of Compassion

090316tgt_dsc9541lss“I’m not expecting the whole world to fall into a daze of compassion.” Said Karen Armstrong on the Bill Moyers show this week. My public broadcasting station once again bumped Bill Moyers, but hooray for podcasting. I urge you to go to Moyers’ website and download the podcast of this week’s interview. Karen Armstrong is a fine religious historian. Her enthusiasm is a joy to watch, and Moyers — an interviewer who knows when and how to listen. Something we all need to practice

As I reported on the sixth of this month, Karen Armstrong has received the TED award, which includes $100,000 and a wish to be fulfilled. Her wish was to gather leaders in the three major monotheistic religions to create a charter for compassion. To begin the process of building a global community where people can live together in harmony. This wish is now being fulfilled on the web, where you can participate, and in the meeting rooms.

The Charter does NOT assume:

* all religions are the same
* compassion is the only thing that matters in religion
* religious people have a monopoly on compassion

The Charter DOES affirm that:

* compassion is celebrated in all major religious, spiritual and ethical traditions
* the Golden Rule is our prime duty and cannot be limited to our own political, religious or ethnic group
* therefore, in our divided world, compassion can build common ground

2 Responses

  1. Really interesting! Armstrong’s particular theory comes through in her introduction to A Case for God. In my view, she comes very close to reducing religion to ethics, which is something liberal Protestantism has been criticized for doing. Take, for example, “God is love.” I interpret this as teaching that love is the source or basis of existence. Even though our acts of love (and feelings!…which Armstrong also discounts relative to conduct) involve “God is love” being actualized, there is also the sense irrespective of one’s conduct that existence itself is love. I take the transcendent wisdom of the latter to be just as important as conduct in religious terms. I’ve just posted a critique (http://deligentia.wordpress.com/2009/10/10/a-case-for-god/).

    • Hello Free Spirit,

      Intellectual is fun, isn’t it? I have been accused of being an intellectual, but I’m only a scientist, which in this case I think means I like to relate the intellectual realities to the physical realities at my front door. What is most interesting to me is that I wrote today’s blog — https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2009/10/11/behavior/ — and also my other blog, theonecreation — before I read your commentary above. I love your commentary and fortuitously my blogs of today are have already outlined my response. So what do you think? It feels like we are almost on the same wave length. Only my perception is that Karen Armstrong is relating religion more to history and something I would think of in more evolutionary terms, human need perhaps.

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