Compassion – quotes from Karen Armstrong

Karen-ArmstrongReligions have always stressed that compassion is not only central to religious life, it is the key to enlightenment and it the true test of spirituality. But there have always have been those who’d rather put easier goals, like doctrine conformity, in place.

If your understanding of the divine made you kinder, more empathetic, and impelled you to express sympathy in concrete acts of loving-kindness, this was good theology. But if your notion of God made you unkind, belligerent, cruel, of self-righteous, or if it led you to kill in God’s name, it was bad theology.

If it is not tempered by compassion and empathy, reason can lead men and women into a moral void.

Jesus did not spend a great deal of time discoursing about the trinity or original sin or the incarnation, which have preoccupied later Christians. He went around doing good and being compassionate.

Compassion doesn’t, of course, mean feeling sorry for people, or pity, which is how the word has become emasculated in a way.

The family is a school of compassion because it is here that we learn to live with other people.

Look into your own heart, discover what it is that gives you pain and then refuse, under any circumstance whatsoever, to inflict that pain on anybody else.

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