This is the charter for compassion website that as its goal has to increase compassion among people of all religions (I assume also useful for agnostics and atheists), all creeds and nationalities. It supports also Humanistic ethical principles and is the answer to all strive between old fundamentalists and new fanatics, so prevalent in the current times. For those who know me: no, I have not turned religious and will not likely do so any time soon. However, I see the need for a charter for compassion: the reason that I advocate for the website.
Today I am dedicating my blog post to the Charter for Compassion and will be quoting widely from the website.
We desperately need more people to adopt the charter for compassion and apply its principles in their daily life, inour world that is prepared to set aside billions in tax funds to bail out:
– fraudulent banks,
– unresponsive and environmentally destructive automobile manufacturers,
– nations with a spend now-worry later attitude, causing global economic mayhem
– fund armies to ensure strategic oil reserves,
but can watch and stand by again when millions of people–many kids and women–are starving in the drought-plagued and war-torn nation in Africa: Somalia. There must be something desperately wrong with us if we can ignore that again, just as the western world ignored the killing of over millions of citizens over five years under the Nazi regime last century, or over a million within a few days in the tribal war in Rwanda in 1993/4 described by Romeo Dallaire so passionately in his book, Shake Hands with the Devil, just to name two examples of the world’s destructive apathy .
The Charter for Compassion
The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.
It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others—even our enemies—is a denial of our common humanity. We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion.
We therefore call upon all men and women ~ to restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion ~ to return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate ~ to ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures ~ to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity ~ to cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings—even those regarded as enemies.
We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensable to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.
Why a Charter for Compassion?
The Charter of Compassion is a cooperative effort to restore not only compassionate thinking but, more importantly, compassionate action to the center of religious, moral and political life. Compassion is the principled determination to put ourselves in the shoes of the other, and lies at the heart of all religious and ethical systems. One of the most urgent tasks of our generation is to build a global community where men and women of all races, nations and ideologies can live together in peace. In our globalized world, everybody has become our neighbor, and the Golden Rule has become an urgent necessity.
Who is Karen Armstrong?
Armstrong is a former Roman Catholic nun who left a British convent to pursue a degree in modern literature at Oxford. She has written more than 20 books around the ideas of what Islam, Judaism and Christianity have in common, and around their effect on world events, including the magisterial A History of God and Holy War: The Crusades and Their Impact on Today’s World. Her latest books are The Case for God and Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life. In The Case For God, her meditations on personal faith and religion (she calls herself a freelance monotheist) spark discussion — especially her take on fundamentalism, which she sees in a historical context, as an outgrowth of modern culture.
What is the Fetzer Institute?
A private operating foundation based in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the Fetzer Institute engages with people and projects around the world to help bring the power of love, forgiveness and compassion to the center individual and community life. The Institute’s work rests on a deep conviction that each of us has power to transform the world by strengthening the connection between the inner life of mind and spirit with the outer life of service and action. The Charter for Compassion is the result of Karen Armstrong’s 2008 TED Prize wish and made possible by the generous support of the Fetzer Institute. It was unveiled to the world on November 12, 2009.
If you have read this post, liked it, and agree with it, maybe you will then send now some money to Oxfam or to your preferred organization to beat the famine, preventing more refugees from leaving their homes and prevent kids from dying a preventable death in Somalia.