The Golden Rule and the Charter for Compassion
"Do not do to others what you would not have them do to you." I think I like that formulation of the Golden Rule a bit better than the one I have heard more often, "Do unto others what you would have them do unto you." For one thing, it makes it that much more difficult to justify the kind of logic that we Karen Armstrong quotes it in her recent TED Talk . It's 20 minutes long, but worth it.
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 was particularly struck by the notion that religious scriptures are nothing more than commentaries on the Golden Rule. I'd never heard that said quite that way before, and it's a interesting way to look at it. The entire speech is well worth listening to, I believe. (There's also an interesting bit about the original meaning of the word "belief".)
Tip o' the hat to Greg Laden's Blog , where I heard about the speech.