5. COMPASSION: Compassion is a word which can sum up the purpose of life as I understand it if only one word could be used. A powerful new movement to promote compassion has been created by Karen Armstrong, the author of A HISTORY OF GOD and many other books about our many wisdom traditions on this planet of ours. She called together many colleagues who were concerned about the negative role religions were taking in all too many places on the planet. They developed The Charter for Compassion. Here it is as found on The Charter for Compassion website:
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.
It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others—even our enemies—is a denial of our common humanity. We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion.
We therefore call upon all men and women ~ to restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion ~ to return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate ~ to ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures ~ to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity ~ to cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings—even those regarded as enemies.
We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensable to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.
Do you agree with this charter? Have you signed it yet? If not, please do so now and please spread the word. The website offers many ways people are working to spread compassion on the planet and suggestions for us to be involved as well. Let's spread the gift of compassion. The world sure needs it. So, LET'S GO!.