Religion, Interfaith, & Spirituality for Earth (RISE)


Compassion is no longer an option—it is the key to our survival. If our religious and ethical traditions fail to address these challenges, they will fail the test of our time. - Karen Armstrong

The Test of Our Time

Religions and spiritual traditions have provided humankind with a variety of paths to personal enlightenment, various teachings for developing a relationship with an entity or entities outside ourselves in a universe full of mystery, and to a number of scriptures that not only tell the story of these paths and teachings but also guide us in how to live in community with other human beings and the world we inhabit.

The seed for the Charter for Compassion is this latter point—the idea that all world religions share a common thread about how to relate to other human beings—our mothers and fathers, our families, our communities, as well as the strangers beyond our boundaries.

Charter founder Karen Armstrong, who has studied and written widely about world religions and religious traditions, urges a more global perspective by all those involved in particular religions, faith traditions, and interfaith efforts. That global perspective is the realization that all human beings—not just those with whom we share a community—
urgently need our compassion, and the conviction that we must act to provide such compassion wherever there is suffering.


The Charter’s Call to Compassionate Action

Recognizing that “the principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religions, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves,” the many world luminaries from a variety of faith traditions who contributed to writing the Charter made a specific call to all men and women:

  • To restore compassion to the center of morality and religion
  • To return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate
  • To ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures
  • To encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity
  • To cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings—even those regarded as enemies


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