The Charter for Compassion

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A global campaign to apply religion’s "golden rule" — treat others as you would like them to treat you — has been launched by Christians, Jews and Muslims.

Religion’s “golden rule”? More on that later.

The campaigners, claiming that compassion is at the heart of most religions, have launched an online Charter of Compassion and invited atheists and others to join them.

EVEN invited the atheists, how noble of them.

Karen Armstrong, …, says many people associate religion with violence, intolerance and dogma rather than compassion.

Surprising that.

Because compassion is not confined to religious people, the charter’s founders hope that atheists and agnostics will help work for a more compassionate world rather than berate religion. [emphasis mine]

Ah, now the real reason they want is involved.

(quotes from The Age.com.au)

The organisers of the charter want people from all over the world of all faiths, or lack thereof, to participate and have their input into the final document.

The Charter for Compassion is divided into four segments as follows, each open to public input at various stages over the next four weeks:

  • Preamble – open for comment now
  • Affirmations – open for comment Nov 20
  • Actions – open for comment Nov 27
  • Final Declaration – open for comment Dec 04

So sign in now, have a look at the sample wordings and have your say.

The following is the first sentence of the suggested preamble:

Compassion is a key and universal value in all faiths.

I will be recommending that be changed to the following:

Compassion is a key and universal value.

A simple but vital change, don’t you think?

From their about page:

… the Charter seeks to remind the world that while all faiths are not the same, they all share the core principle of compassion and the Golden Rule.

Problem being that deep down none of these faiths really have any compassion for the other faiths. Go read some literature on what Islam really thinks of other faiths and non-believers then come back and tell me if they really have compassion and can share this “dream” with other faiths. Don’t think the other religions are any better either.

Now back to the Golden Rule.

As John Perkins from the SPA said in his letter to the editor:

The fact that all religions may agree on the Golden Rule does not make it a religious ethic, as Barney Zwartz maintains (18/11). It is actually a universal and secular ethical rule.

As John, the Wikipedia entry and my FAQ 1 state, the Golden Rule, or the Ethic of Reciprocity, has been around for a long time before modern Christianity. It has also been mentioned in many ancient eastern religions and philosophies. It has to be apparent to anyone that thinks about it that this “Golden Rule” is no divine religious imperative, but rather just a humanitarian imperative.

Hence any world-wide “Charter of Compassion” should be based on secular humanist foundations for all humankind, with no religious undertones or overtones.

Compassion, Honesty, Fairness and Tolerance – all part of any “Golden Rule”. All principles able to be conducted by anyone, without need of any influence from some sort of deity.

John Perkins has drafted a “Universal Statement of Moral Obligations” which expounds further on a secular version of the “Charter for Compassion”.

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One has to wonder WHY religious faiths have to make a point of writing a “charter for compassion” in the first place. Isn’t religion ‘supposed’ to be compassionate? Is it perhaps that the recent critical review of religions, and horrific events carried out in the name of religion, have made sane, critical thinking, right minded, people question the role of religion in modern society?

What do you think of this Charter? Are you going to provide input to it? What are your thoughts on the “Golden Rule”, especially that it’s “religions ethic”?

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9 Comments

Filed under agnostic, atheist, charter for compassion, christianity, compassion, golden rule, morals, Muslim, religion, secular

9 responses to “The Charter for Compassion

  1. novparl

    Did the Soviets believe in the golden rule? Why did they have to kill so many people?

    11.30 a.m. Pomtime

  2. everyone has the opportunity to use the golden rule, some just choose not to.

    some people are just evil and some just succumb to evil influences.
    (yep, I am still working on the ‘evil’ post)

    11:10pm Aussie-time

  3. everyone has the opportunity to use the golden rule, some just choose not to.

    some people are just evil and some just succumb to evil influences.
    (yep, I am still working on the ‘evil’ post)

    11:10pm Aussie-time

  4. AV

    Because compassion is not confined to religious people, the charter’s founders hope that atheists and agnostics will help work for a more compassionate world rather than berate religion.

    Because atheists spend 100% of their time berating religion and 0% of their time being compassionate, and religious people spend 100% of their time being compassionate and 0% of their time berating atheists and other people who don’t subscribe to their worldview. Got it.

  5. drunkdreamer8

    Hi,

    Just wondering around the blog world and want to say have a good thanksgiving, from my blog to yours. And posted a funny thanksgiving card to view for my fellow bloggers, so stop by at drunkdreamer8.com and enjoy

    Be blessed
    C. Apana

  6. @drunkdreamer8, erm welcome. An odd introduction to my blog, I hope next visit you may provide something more useful to the topic. I thought the card has a good sentiment:

    Happy Thanksgiving – may you always have much for which to be thankful.

    So to all my American and Canadian friends, have a Happy Thanksgiving, even though this is a bit of a late or early notice dependant on where you live.

    2008 date – October 13, 2008 (Canada), November 27, 2008 (U.S.)
    from wikipedia, I had to look up when it was, we don’t celebrate it here in Australia

  7. Don

    I agree with much you’ve said. The responses so far are very interesting. I do believe that a drastic increase in people exercising compassion and caring is sorely needed in the world. As an atheist, I can understand the sentiment that atheists spend much, most or all of their time berating religions. It’s unfortunate but there is a grain of truth in that statement. It’s difficult to explain what you believe when your beliefs are open-ended and not firmly fixed in code or dogma. So, I think that atheists tend to talk about what they don’t believe because it’s easier and because the typical assumption is that you do accept one or another of the common religions. I do believe that compassion is a wonderful thing and I truly hope that it isn’t the sole domain of those who consider themselves as religious.

    As far as the Golden Rule, I have always believed that has evolved because we live in social groups. An agreement such as this, although certainly no gaurentee, makes it much more likely that we can live a more tranquil life.

    Anyway, thanks for the discussion!

  8. AV

    The corollary of the notion that atheists spend much of their time berating religions is the idea that one is either compassionate or critical of religion—the idea that one cannot be both at the same time.

    There is no reason to accept the latter idea.

  9. drunkdreamer8

    oh funny,
    my thanksgiving is next week….
    sorry
    C. Apana

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