Compassion without Religious Allegiance

Can compassion be considered a universally accepted ethical and religious standard?

Karen Armstrong recently developed the Charter for Compassion as a way of extrapolating the Golden Rule—a rule that the Charter argues is reflected in every major world religion—into a statement of compassionate thinking and action.

At the moment, about 17000 people have called themselves affirmers of the Charter, and the list includes such celebrity signatories as the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Paul Simon and Meg Ryan.

Here’s the first paragraph from the Charter for Compassion. Although, it’s worth reading the entire thing:

“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.”

The Charter has garnered quite a bit of global religious support. Do you think it’s compatible with Christianity? Is this truly a document that we can all agree on? Should Christians sign it?

One Response to “Compassion without Religious Allegiance”

  • Andrea C says:

    I agree. 1. We are told to be merciful to the extent that we want mercy from God. 2. We are told to give revenge to the Lord. 3. We are told to do Justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with the Lord. 4. We are told that when we are sinless we can cast the first stone. 5. As we learn from the Good Samaritan, we are called to alleviate pain in anyone who our path crosses, as they are now our neighbor, who we should love more than ourselves. (This can be interpreted sometimes as pain from the recipient, but as long as it leads to restoration, then we are justified- such as interventions, jailing, etc…) Our war is “not against flesh and blood.” Christ never encouraged violence. He encouraged truth, love and mercy. -Now, as far as other religions. I haven’t studied them enough. Obviously, Satan can construe anything of God into a tool for his destruction and leading sheep astray.