Christian Long

Karen Armstrong: TED Prize wish — the Charter for Compassion

In TED Talks on May 20, 2010 at 10:45 pm

Reflection by TAYLOR C.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Karen Armstrong: TED Prize wish — the Charter for Compassion

I would first like to say that of all of my ted talks, I feel that this has been by far the most inspirational one. I also would like to thank Ms. Armstrong for speaking about something that many people shy away from…religion.

When most people refer to religion and what goes into practicing in it they only seem to pay attention to the fundamentals. You know, the praying, going to church, reading the bible, maybe even participating in the choir. But the main reason or intention of religion seems to have been lost, and that’s simply learning to become an all around good person, who is equally considerate of all people regardless of their race, social statues, intelligence, other basic religious beliefs, life style choices, etc. The list is endless. People have forgotten that religion is not a weapon given to the ‘worthy’, to judge the ‘heathens’, or damn people to hell. Religion, regardless of its type, is or should be a template for peace, and the guide lines of compassion.

Nowadays people are using religion to cause uproars of violence and conflict among each other, or using it to justify horrific acts. For example September 11th, the terrorists began to “cite Qur’anic verses to justify their atrocities.” Or justifying the poor treatment of people who choose to live a homosexual lifestyle. Yes, the bible does say that marriage and sexual acts are supposed to be between a man and a women, but the bible also says that only he, the father, God, can be our judge. Meaning you don’t have to accept a persons lifestyle choices, but you do have to respect them regardless, or as the Golden Rule says “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor” or in simple terms “treat others the way you want to be treated”.

“Lose your ego, find your compassion”

This quote came up in a past ted talk of mine. It simply means quit thinking about yourself so much and start thinking of others. The issues we are experiencing today were created by all of us as a species, and they will only be resolved if we work together as a species. So we need to stop just ‘tolerating’ each other and start to really care and love for one another, because faking it is obviously not working for us anymore. It is time for us, not only as a country, but as a species to stop being afraid and just face that change must come for us to grow together into a healthier and happy society.

One of the many ideas that will contribute to this new era of ‘change’ is Dr. Armstrong’s “Charter for Compassion”. The charter will be a national document that is “crafted by a group of inspirational thinkers from the three Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and is based on the fundamental principle of the Golden Rule.” Dr. Armstrong doesn’t want this document to only be shared among the elite of society but for also the average person, children, etc. She wants this document to be hanging in all churches, temples, mosques, schools, etc. This “Charter of Compassion” will stand as a peace treaty signed by both the leaders and the citizens of countries all over the world, promising to end toleration, and begin true compassion for one another.


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