After last week’s lengthy discussion on religion and atheism, commenter Jim Royal pointed to a recent lecture by TED Prize winner Karen Armstrong. (If you’re not familiar with the TED lectures – “Inspired talks by the world’s greatest thinkers and doers” – you should make a point of looking into them.)
In the lectures, Armstrong discusses the idea that what lies at the heart of the Abrahamic religions is the simple notion of the Golden Rule: “Do onto others as you would have them do onto you.” (Also available in variations such as “Do not do to others what you would not have them do to you.”) She argues that the nasty aspects of religion that we’ve become so familiar with in recent years are a function of ego and human nature, not something within religion itself. Rather, the core of religion is human compassion as expressed in the Golden Rule.
She calls on people to help create a “Charter for Compassion” among all the people of the world, and in particular those of the three Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), based on the Golden Rule.
The video is 21 minutes long, but well worth it.