Compassion and the Golden Rule

Scarboro Missions

Karen Armstrong is a former Roman Catholic, a leading expert on the Abrahamic religions, an author on comparative religion, and a founding developer of the “Charter for Compassion,” an interfaith initiative that seeks to apply shared moral principles to foster global inter-religious understanding. Armstrong believes,

we need to somehow find a way to implement the Golden Rule globally, so that we treat other nations, other peoples, whoever they may be, as we would wish to be treated ourselves.

In the following short video, Armstrong and other commentators argue that “the only solution to the pain of our divided and conflicted world is the practice of compassion – the Golden Rule. Compassion is not an option — it’s key to our survival.”

If compassion is the key to our survival, be compassionate by following the Golden Rule.  Teach by example. When we model compassion, we demonstrate behavior rather than just saying you should do something.

So how do we model compassion when we teach online? Karen Armstrong, in Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life, suggests the following twelve steps.

  • The First Step: Learn About Compassion
  • The Second Step: Look at Your Own World
  • The Third Step: Compassion for Yourself
  • The Fourth Step: Empathy
  • The Fifth Step: Mindfulness
  • The Sixth Step: Action
  • The Seventh Step: How Little We Know
  • The Eighth Step: How Should We Speak to One Another?
  • The Ninth Step: Concern for Everybody
  • The Tenth Step: Knowledge
  • The Eleventh Step: Recognition
  • The Twelfth Step: Love Your Enemies

Here is a summary of each of the 12 steps. 

The Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life Reading Groups is a guide designed to help you organize, promote, and facilitate your own reading group.


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