29 April 2016

Karen Armstrong delivers lecture on 21st century understandings of religion

Author Karen Armstrong spoke to Years 8, 9 and 10 about 21st century understandings of religion, depiction of religion and extremism in the media, and developing compassion.

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On Thursday 28 April we were fortunate to welcome British writer Karen Armstrong to give a lecture to Years 8, 9 and 10. 

She spoke about 21st century understandings of religion, depiction of religion and extremism in the media and how developing compassion is a way of addressing injustice and fundamentalism in the world.

Known for her books on comparative religion, Karen Armstrong has written more than 20 books on faith and the major religions, studying what Islam, Judaism and Christianity have in common, and how our faiths shaped world history and drive current events. At the age of 18, she became a Roman Catholic nun and remained in the order for seven years. She left while at St Anne’s College, Oxford, where she studied English.

Karen has given several TED talks and was awarded the TED Prize in 2008. When she was given one wish to change the world through the prize, she wished for the creation of a Charter for Compassion. This is a document that urges the peoples and religions of the world to embrace the core value of compassion.

Karen is also a great believer in The Golden Rule, which is central to all religions: ‘Do not do to others what you would not like them to do to you.’ She believes that the implementation of the Golden Rule in every country in the world is critical to the survival of the global community in an age where religious intolerance is rife. If we seek to understand each other we can be at peace with each other. In her own words, ‘We can either emphasise those aspects of our traditions, religious or secular, that speak of hatred, exclusion, and suspicion or work with those that stress the interdependence and equality of all human beings. The choice is yours.’

The talk she gave us covered all of these subjects and much more, including how many different factors drive terrorism and the way terrorist attacks are reported in the media. We are very grateful for hearing such an interesting talk and everyone who listened enjoyed the experience immensely.

Gabriella FitzGerald

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