36 Days To Go: The Universal Message of Christmas

This series has spent a lot of time on the true meaning of Christmas. In that spirit, we present the following videos. Since 2005, the famous TED conference has announced three annual prize winners, each of whom is given $100,000 and asked to deliver “one wish to change the world.” 2008 winner Karen Armstrong is one of my favorite theologians. She is a former Catholic nun who rose to prominence by comparing the Abrahamic religions with an engaging writing style. I haven’t yet read her latest book, The Case for God, but as Tyler Cowen says, it’s self-recommending. Her wish to change the world was for diverse religious leaders to agree on a “Charter of Compassion,” a set of universal morals that we can all live by. It’s hard to imagine a better way to continue our meditation on the true meaning of Christmas.

In response to this wish, TED asked six speakers from very different backgrounds to address compassion from their philosophy. You should carve out some time this weekend to listen to all six, but if you can only listen to one or two, step out of your comfort zone by listening to the ones that are most distant from your own philosophy or religion.  

Jewish Rabbi Jackie Tabick: “The Balancing Act of Compassion”

Muslim Imam Faisal Abdul Raif: “Lose Your Ego, Find Your Compassion”

Hindu Swami Dayananda Saraswati: “The Profound Journey of Compassion”

Christian Reverend James Forbes: “Compassion at the Dinner Table”

Buddhist Professor Robert Thurman: “Expanding Your Circle of Compassion”

Agnostic Journalist Robert Wright: “The Evolution of Compassion”

If you liked these talks, you’ll love this book. Just saying.