Religious fundamentalism and the hope of peace…

My friend and former neighour Terry sent me a link to this;

This seems to be a move to bring together different religion around a central universal higher law of compassion. Here is a quote from the Charter for compassion site;

The Charter for Compassion is a collaborative effort to build a peaceful and harmonious global community. Bringing together the voices of people from all religions, 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. The Charter will change the tenor of the conversation around religion. It will be a clarion call to the world.

The woman who appears to have been the catalyst for this move is called Karen Armstrong. It seems that she is a former Nun, who has become a controversial figure after writing about her own experience of religion, and increasingly becoming a proponent of comparative religion.

I found another clip from a TED speech that Karen Armstrong gave;

I found Karen’s point about religious people ‘preferring to be right rather than compassionate’ to be all too true.

Terry and I are chewing on this a little. Is it good, or bad, or indifferent?

Is fundamentalism always bad? I have seen Christian fundamentalism at close quarters, red in tooth and claw, and can no longer stand close to much of it. The damage that can be done in this context is great but…

I have also seen passion and fervency lead to great compassion, and acts of service and self sacrifice.

And as a follower of Jesus, I do believe him to be the place and person towards whom we are all heading. I am happy to engage with other faiths, but I would always approach them, as much as I am able, through my understanding of who Jesus is.

So what would he think of this charter?

I wonder if he would look at Karen Armstrong, see all that she is and say- ‘well done, good and faithful servant…’

What do you think? I reckon it’s time for another vote…

7 thoughts on “Religious fundamentalism and the hope of peace…

  1. I think Armstrong cuts straight to the centre of what we should be about. I’ve just finished Rob Bell’s book Velvet Elvis in which he writes: ‘If it’s not Good News for everybody then it’s not Good News for anybody.’ His explaination is that if person X becomes a follower of Christ then that should make them a better neighbour and that’s good news for everybody. That’s what Armstrong’s charter is about.

  2. I think these are very important conversations, looking at orthodoxy versus orthopraxy. Certainly at least two of the Gospels have to do with how one treats others rather than about dogma. However, I would not want to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Doctrine has its place. We simply need to get a better perspective on what that place is. Certainly Jesus put compassion ahead of religious rules. His message is to love God and to love one’s neighbor.

    God Bless.

  3. Pingback: how you respond to violence depends on how you choose to understand it… « this fragile tent

  4. Pingback: Beyond our Differences- peace and reconcilliation in an age of fundementalism and war. « this fragile tent

  5. Pingback: Charter for compassion « this fragile tent

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