Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Charter for Compassion vs. The Boy Scout Law

in one corner:
The Boy Scout Law

A Scout is:

  • Trustworthy,
  • Loyal,
  • Helpful,
  • Friendly,
  • Courteous,
  • Kind,
  • Obedient,
  • Cheerful,
  • Thrifty,
  • Brave,
  • Clean,
  • and Reverent.

and in the other corner:
The Charter for Compassion

A call to bring the world together…

The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.

It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others—even our enemies—is a denial of our common humanity. We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion.

We therefore call upon all men and women ~ to restore compassion to the centre 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.

We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensible to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.


What a stinking pile of thinly-disguised (if that) Christian self-loathing guilt-tripping tripe the "Charter" is, while still somehow managing to say absolutely nothing. It's really a shame to see the Dalai Lama associated with this kind of blather (although I suspect that he suspects that this pabulum is about as much as self-hating westerners are able to handle). To tell you the truth, I'm starting to worry about His Holiness' choice of playmates. I recently got an email from The Dalai Lama Renaissance folks bragging breathlessly and cluelessly about how their new "documentary" features "innovative New Thought thinkers like Dr. Michael Beckwith (from 'The Secret')". THE SECRET?!?!?!?!? Haven't these guys heard about James Arthur Ray?? And weren't "The New Thought Thinkers" one of the folk bands featured in Christopher Guest's Mighty Wind?

At least the Boy Scouts teach young boys the sublime pleasures of playing with fire and sharp objects surrounded by the beauty of nature and with minimal adult supervision, and many other invaluable life lessons.

Isn't it time to stop "flattering the bully"?

The following comprises the Preface to Sita Ram Goel's book Jesus Christ: Artifice for Aggression:

The first glimpse of the Jesus of the gospels came to me in 1956. My Jesuit friend who had tried to convert me, had failed in the attempt. When we were back at the mission headquarters in Patna, the following dialogue took place between us.

"You believe that Jesus was an avatar," he asked.
"Yes, I do," I replied.
"Can an avatar tell a lie?"
"He is not supposed to."
"What if Jesus says he is the only God?"
"He can't say that."

My friend picked up a copy of the New Testament and read out several passages from the gospels. Jesus did say in so many words not only that he was the only God but also that those who did not accept his claim would burn for ever in the infernal pit. I realized with painful surprise that Jesus was not all Sermon on the Mount as I had been led to believe by his Hindu votaries.

Years passed, and I had no time to spare for Jesus. I turned to him again in the eighties when Ram Swarup made me wise about the character of monotheistic creeds. It was then that I turned to the gospels. I was horrified. Now I could see why the history of Christianity had been what it had been. The source of the poison was in the Jesus of the gospels. The rest of my studies followed.

A few years ago I was discussing the menace of Christian missions with a Gandhian friend. He agreed with me that there was something sinister about them. I told him that we shall have to tell our people the truth about Jesus if we wanted to tackle the missions. He was visibly shaken, and said to me in a voice choked with emotion:

"Sitabhai. Jesus ko kucch mat kahiye (Brother Sita, do not touch Jesus)!"
"Have you read the gospels," I asked him.
He was annoyed, and shot back, "That is a personal question."

I had to drop the subject. Every time I have asked opinionated people about the source of their opinion on a particular question, I have been accused of being personal. I am thinking of writing an essay — "Advantages of Being An Ass".

I have wondered over the years why we Hindus have remained preoccupied with the behaviour patterns of Muslims and Christians and not with the belief systems which create those behaviour patterns. We object to Christian missions, but refuse to discuss Christianity and its God, Jesus. We object to Islamic terrorism, but refuse to have a look at Islam and its prophet, Muhammad. I see no sense or logic in this Hindu habit.

In fact, we go a step further. We appeal to the Christian missionaries in the name of Jesus, and ask them not to do what they have been doing. We appeal to the Muslims in the name of Muhammad, and ask them to stop doing what they have been doing. In the process, we have invented a "real" Jesus and a "true" Christianity. We have also invented a "real" Muhammad and a "true" Islam. The missionary and the mullah smiles at our inventions but goes ahead and makes good use of our soft- headedness. That is why we have failed to solve the "communal problem" all these years. We have never tried to find out why our own people, which both Christians and Muslims are, should become alienated from us when they pass under the spell of Christianity and Islam.

Flattering the bully may become necessary when the bully is powerful and there remains no other way of softening him except by extolling his heroes or his cult. Hindus have experienced such emergencies vis-à-vis both Islam and Christianity. But there is no reason for their continuing with the same psychology. Hindus should not convert an apaddharma into Sanatana Dharma.

New Delhi
Sita Ram Goel
15 April 1994