Karen Armstrong’s Facebook page


Is the link to an ongoing conversation about the Charter for Compassion.

Because some people have told me that the charter is not practical or even that it is a lie (something I do not believe) I have asked a question in that forum. I believe the answer would help me explain to the “naysayers”. Here is my question:

Dear Karen,

I have affirmed and I am promoting the charter, but I would like to hear your answer to a question that would guide me in responding to those people who say “it’s not practical”.

Here’s the question (it’s related to the Golden Rule.)

“I would not want to be incarcerated, yet I accept the idea that society needs to be protected from, let’s say, a violent offender. I would expect that in prison this person would be treated humanely, but I do not want them out in society if there is risk that they might offend again. This seems compassionate to the potential victims. Is it also compassionate to the offender? It’s taking away his or her freedom — something I would not want to have ‘done unto me'”

(Actually, when I think about this I believe that if something snapped in me that turned me into a violent offender, I actually would want to be taken away from society – so maybe this isn’t a perfect example, but hopefully it expresses the point.)


2 Responses to Karen Armstrong’s Facebook page

  1. amya says:

    hello karen
    a simple response for you from my own expanding and breathing heart – perhaps it is not important to convince anyone, to have the intellect respond to someone’s questions. perhaps it is enough for you to find your own answers in the mundane and simple acts you do each day, in whatever way you can, in whatever time and place there is a chance for your own understanding and inner truth to be shared. each of us is drawing in the reflections we see to help us to move forward, and the person asking that question can do their own searching for their own answer, as would the people in the situation you were describing.
    it is my growing experience that my mind does not have the capacity to reason out the miracles my heart can vision and create – and so, i say thank you, and move forward with my vision.

  2. ewellburn says:

    Amya has left a beautiful thought here. It helps me to see the striving in myself to want to go beyond simply sharing something that I love (the charter for compassion).

    As an educator, I know there can be a struggle between trying to provide an environment where learning can occur and “inserting information into the empty vessel”. Questions and conversations help with the former and “lecturing” is what tends to happen if we go with the latter.

    I do want a clear way of having ongoing conversations with those who identify problems they see in the compassionate viewpoint. “Convincing” someone has a violent sound to it. Having real clarity about my own point of view, sharing it, and then letting go — that feels better 🙂

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