Karen Armstrong and the Charter for Compassion

In 2008 Karen Armstrong undertook an effort to spread the word on a "Charter for Compassion" among the world religions.

A video of her acceptance of a TED prize is here:

FYI, TED is "a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design."

TED, "was established in 1996 by Chris Anderson, who was at that time a magazine publishing entrepreneur."
The goal of the foundation is to foster the spread of great ideas. It aims to provide a platform for the world's smartest thinkers, greatest visionaries and most-inspiring teachers, so that millions of people can gain a better understanding of the biggest issues faced by the world, and a desire to help create a better future. Core to this goal is a belief that there is no greater force for changing the world than a powerful idea.
The charter for compassion sponsored by TED and Ms. Armstrong can be found here.

It propounds, "The Charter for Compassion is a document that transcends religious, ideological, and national difference. Supported by leading thinkers from many traditions, the Charter activates the Golden Rule around the world."

In our view of religious typology, compassion is indeed central to one of the six archetypes of Judaism, the meditator. It is, in our scheme of analysis, diametrically opposed to the core value of another of our ideal categories, that of the celebrity-monotheist.

Accordingly, we do not fully agree that the world's religions are, "based on the principle of compassion" as Armstrong states in her wonderful 2010 book, Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life, page 24. That value is an important one among many others in Judaism and in most of the religious traditions that we know.

But we do agree that we ought to press forward towards a world more full of compassion and less populated by the religion-based triumphalism that feeds on, "pet hatreds and prejudices that give us such a buzz of righteousness (p. 23)."

Bravo to Ms. Armstrong for her efforts that we need to revisit more vigorously and frequently in these days of religious egotism.

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