An interesting combination of cultural icons are coming together to make chowder out of the world’s religions.

A website launched Friday with the backing of technology industry and Hollywood elite urges people worldwide to help craft a framework for harmony between all religions.

The Charter for Compassion project on the Internet at springs from a "wish" granted this year to religious scholar Karen Armstrong at a premier Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) conference in California.

"Tedizens" include Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin along with other Internet icons as well as celebrities such as Forest Whittaker and Cameron Diaz.

Wishes granted at TED envision ways to better the world and come with a promise that Tedizens will lend their clout and capabilities to making them come true.

Indeed, this group of intellectual heavyweights wants to reconcile all world religions into one, bland, least common denominator.  And here’s where they’re starting from.

Armstrong’s wish is to combine universal principles of respect and compassion into a charter based on a "golden rule" she believes is at the core of every major religion.

The Golden Rule essentially calls on people to do unto others as they would have done unto them.

Except that, if I may speak for Christianity, that’s not "at the core" of my religion.  From the Old Testament, the 10 Commandments might be closer to the core.  And from the New Testament, you’d have this from Mark chapter 12:

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?"

"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these."

While that second commandment sounds like the Golden Rule, one must remember that it is predicated on the first commandment.  Thus, it’s not just a case of simple actions, but one of attitude.  It requires that how to love your neighbor be a shared value between you and God, and that who God is is also a shared value. 

Thus, simply doing unto others is of no eternal consequence or value if the attitude behind it is not there.  It’s pretty clear who Jesus was referring to by "God"; Israel’s God.  And when Jesus said later that the only way to God the Father was through Himself, He left no options open for this chowder-izing of major world religions. 

Much like other new-age-type religions that seek to do the same thing, this effort is simply a way to water it all down.  Christianity is, at its core, a relationship, not a religion.  As much as others may contend that it’s nothing but a bunch of rules, I’d note that this effort is more deserving of that type of scorn; turning a relationship with a loving God into just a set of do’s and don’ts. 

Filed under: ChristianityReligion

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