23 November 2009

Charter for Compassion

An Episcopalian priest here in town has just pointed me to the website http://charterforcompassion.org

The website's introduction reads: "On February 28, 2008 Karen Armstrong won the TED Prize and made a wish: for help creating, launching and propagating a Charter for Compassion. Since that day, thousands of people have contributed to the process so that on November 12, 2009 the Charter was unveiled to the world.

Here is a small snippet from Karen Armstrong's speech in accepting the TED Prize:

Religion is about behaving differently. Instead of deciding whether or not you believe in God, first you do something, you behave in a committed way and then you begin to understand the truths of religion. And religious doctrines are meant to be summons to action. You only understand them when you put them into practice.

Now, pride of place in this practice is given to compassion and it is an arresting fact that right across the board in every single one of the major world faiths, compassion - the ability to feel with the other - ...is not only the test of any true religiosity, it is also what will bring us into the presence of what Jews, Christians and Muslims call "God" or the Divine. It is compassion, says the Buddha, which brings you to Nirvana. Why? Because when we feel with the other, we dethrone ourselves from the center of our world and we put another person there. And once we get rid of ego, then we are ready to see the Divine.

Hear the entire 21-minute speech here:


Sally said...


Teri said...

Hi Pam. I saw Karen Armstrong interviewed by Bill Moyers, talking about this project. It was a program we watched at our church. Excellent site. I tend to over-think most things & especially do in matters of theology. I guess I have the 'God gene'. Her work reminds me what the over-arching point is--it's compassion and living that. Hope you're doing well back in the states!

PamBG said...

Sally and Teri, thanks for your comments. Afraid I've only just seen them. Wishing you a happy new year.