Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Lecture by Karen Armstrong on A Charter for Compassion

On Fora Tv a lecture by author, theologian, and former nun, Karen Armstrong on the Charter for Compassion was delivered at Chautauqua. You can watch her wise and very important lecture here

On the website Armstrong explains why the Charter for Compassion is so important:

"It is bitterly ironic that our world is so dangerously polarized at a time when we are linked together -- electronically, financially and politically -- closely than ever before. The powerful nations can no longer ignore trouble spots in other parts of the world; what happens in Iraq, Gaza or Afghanistan is likely to have repercussions tomorrow in London or New York. But the atrocities of September 11, 2001 and its tragic aftermath split the world into rival camps that are growing daily more estranged.

The religions that should help to heal these divisions have themselves been gravely implicated in the terrorism and violence of our time. Actually, the chief cause of our present troubles is political but in regions of the world where warfare has become chronic -- the Middle East, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Chechnya -- religion has been sucked into the vicious cycle of aggression, strike and counter-strike.

Yet at the core of every single one of the world religions is the virtue of compassion, which does not mean "pity"; its Latin root means to feel with the other. Each one of the world religions has developed its own version of the Golden Rule -- Do not treat others as you would not like to be treated yourself -- and maintained that this is the prime religious duty." You can read the entire article here

Armstrong describes her work on Bill Moyers Journal ,

"My work has continually brought me back to the notion of compassion. Whichever religious tradition I study, I find at the heart of it is the idea of feeling with the other, experiencing with the other, compassion. And every single one of the major world religions has developed its own version of the Golden Rule. Don't do to others what you would not like them to do to you.

....We've got to do better than this. Compassion doesn't mean feeling sorry for people. It doesn't mean pity. It means putting yourself in the position of the other, learning about the other. Learning what's motivating the other, learning about their grievances."

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