As we search for meaning in the holiday season, trying to elevate the atmosphere of Christmas above the commercialism of it, various moral principles come to the fore of our minds at this reflective time of year: giving, forgiveness, love, kindness, and most of all, compassion.
The former nun and interfaith proponent Karen Armstrong’s latest book, “Twelve Steps To A Compassionate Life” argues that compassion as a principle lies at the heart of all religions. Others would argue that this is wishful thinking, as did philosopher Ophelia Benson in her straightforward response to Armstrong’s book: “The principle of obedience to God lies at the heart of many religious traditions, and it is a modern illusion to think that is identical to compassion.”
In any case, it seems clear that compassion is not a regular enough part of the practice of either the faithful or the faithless, whether or not it’s a principle we fancy ourselves as espousing.
By this I don’t mean to say that we don’t take care of own, but that much of the time,...More >>