Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Karen Armstrong: Charter for Compassion

As she accepts her 2008 TED Prize, author and scholar Karen Armstrong talks about how the Abrahamic religions -- Islam, Judaism, Christianity -- have been diverted from the moral purpose they share to foster compassion. But Armstrong has seen a yearning to change this fact. People want to be religious, she says; we should act to help make religion a force for harmony. She asks the TED community to help her build a Charter for Compassion -- to help restore the Golden Rule as the central global religious doctrine.

Religious thinker Karen Armstrong has written more than 20 books on faith and the major religions, studying what Islam, Judaism and Christianity have in common, and how our faiths shaped world history and drive current events.

A former nun, Armstrong has written two books about this experience: Through the Narrow Gate, about her seven years in the convent, and The Spiral Staircase, about her subsequent spiritual awakening, when she developed her iconoclastic take on the major monotheistic religions -- and on the strains of fundamentalism common to all. She is a powerful voice for ecumenical understanding.

Armstrong's TED Prize wish asks us to help her assemble a Council on Compassion, where religious leaders can work together for peace.

Listen to the talk: Karen Armstrong - Charter for Compassion TED 2008 Prize

Books by Karen Armstrong:
Karen Armstrong


Krishna. N. C. said...

My Dear Solitaire,
Hello! Just dropped by to be pleasantly surprised...!!
I really like the new look of your blog :)
How are you doing? I hope you are fine, its been a longtime, not heard from you..:)
I will surely lay my hands on Karen Armstrong's books..sounds really interesting.
I totally agree with her when she says all these major religions have diverted from preaching their fundamental teachings- of Love, peace and compassion amongst all the creations of The Almighty.
Thanks so much for this post.
Keep up the good work and keep sparkling :))
My Love and prayers for you!

solitaire said...

Hello Krishna. Thank you for asking - I am fine :-) I hope you are keeping well too. Yes, i thot the blog needed a new look, something brighter and hopefully more refreshing..

Yes, you've said it well. Indeed, religions pay so much attention on doctrinal differences that we've forgotten that the heart of all religious traditions is the teaching of love and compassion for all beings. I remember HH Dalai Lama said that his religion is "kindness - just like all religions".

Thank you so much for your kind words as always - blessings to you and your loved ones :-)

G said...

Hi Solitaire.
I read a number of Karen Armstrong's books a few years back. Her 'A History of God' is a monumental work which deals with the histories of the three Abrahamic religions with great insight.

I also recall reading her biographies of Muhammad & the Buddha which were both nice introductions to the stories behind these important figures in world history.

Reading her books show how religions evolve, emphasizing their very human origins, whilst not negating the Origin that they all ultimately aspire to.

Karen Armstrong's push for a 'Council on Compassion' sounds a good idea, & I'll be checking out the link tot he TED site.

G at 'Forest Wisdom'.