Charter for Compassion

Karen Armstrong

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.




I like her...

by AmirT on

... accent!

But seriously, I respect her too. :-)

(I've only read her A Short History of Myth and seen her give a talk once.)

Ari Siletz

I respect this author.

by Ari Siletz on

Her books on Mohammad and Islam helped dampen anti-Muslim fervor after 9-11. Her writings reassured an uncertain peace camp that Muslims were not an evil community.


Religion has always been about politics

by ramintork on

Religion has always been about politics; when the tsunami of conflict arises the love thy neighbour message becomes just an advertising campaign with a small print that it does not apply to certain groups.

This time these conflicts are the fruits of the Cold War policy gone horribly wrong, and emerging superpowers are busy trench digging for resources in a world troubled by climate change and population explosion.

The few wishful faith leaders who would work with Karen Armstrong would shout but not be heard by the enchanted masses that have given muscles to these conflicting forces and the sheepishly silent majority dare not raise their voice too loud for the fear of being witch hunted. Going by the Richard Dawkins school of thought there is something fundementally wrong with religion.

Having said that in a mad world like this what can you do but to shout, at least you can tell your grandchildren I did not keep quiet! I think my glass is half empty on this one.


An Italian journalist

by Anonymousmm (not verified) on

An Italian journalist conspired with the Pope today to exercise actual freedom of religion:

Pope Benedict led the world's Catholics into Easter on Saturday at a Vatican service where he baptized a Muslim-born convert who is one of Italy's most famous and controversial journalists....

One of the seven adults he baptized on Saturday night was Magdi Allam, 55, an Egyptian-born journalist who, as deputy director of the leading newspaper Corriere della Sera, is one of Italy's best-known intellectuals.

Allam, a fierce critic of Islamic extremism and a strong supporter of Israel, is protected by a police escort because of threats he has received.


His conversion to Christianity was a well-kept secret, disclosed by the Vatican in a statement less than an hour before the Easter eve service started.

Think, for a minute, about the implications of that last sentence: "His conversion to Christianity was a well-kept secret...." How can anybody possibly argue that Islam is not attacking the most fundamental freedoms of the West and winning when the Pope must keep the conversion of a Roman secret for fear of violence against the worshiper and the Church?

Nevertheless, huge props to the Pope for stepping up and baptizing Magdi Allam in public for all the world to see. If the Roman church does not draw a line against Islamist intimidation, who will?



Beautiful ..

by Shaer on

Absolutely "Beautiful" ..

Many Thanks .. :)


I think the time for all religions are over

by mahmoudg on

As much as I liked what she said, but I think after 2000 and 1400 years of failed religios ethos most of us are ready to denounce religion as a hole if we haven't done so already.  As she mentioned most of Europe has done it, the US and the rest of the world should be next.  Although cleansing religion from the psyche of humans would probably take most part of the current century to be completed.

Jahanshah Javid


by Jahanshah Javid on

Very true: There's no justification for violence in the name of any god or religion. Political motives and human ego are the roots of evil not religions by themselves. With universal compassion should also come the demystification of religious authority in political institutions -- namely in the Islamic Republic. Although the religious establishment in Iran is doing a pretty good job of discrediting and delegitimizing itself.