TED emails tend to be delightful, with little nuggets of good, or sprightly thinking from all sorts of different sources. TED is part of the whole "Yes we can" zeitgeist,. Capturing the urgent good will that a certain part of the population has, and distributing that energy in the hope that it'll help the "Can" thing to happen.
And then they go and support something which is so totally wrong it makes my eyes bleed.
Trying to get the choicest bits from the email here - I mean the email's not bad or anything, by the way. It explains the concept admirably:
blah blah... the launch of an inspiring global endeavour to celebrate compassion and to promote a new collaboration between the world's religions. What we're doing, starting today, is to begin writing the Charter for Compassion that Karen Armstrong called for earlier this year when she made her TED Prize wish. And the exhilarating twist here is that the writing won't be done behind closed doors. It will be done by you... and perhaps millions of others around the world. Because we're using special collaborative web tools created by the geniuses at Kluster to enable this be truly a charter "created by the world for the world".
Later this week millions of Muslims, Christians, and Jews will be sent an email inviting them to come to the site and offer their choice of words, in their own language, to help create a charter capable of inspiring the world to focus on what the great religions share, as opposed to what divides them. Already people are responding to this amazing idea with passion and excitement. The goal is to obtain all input from global participants within the next four weeks, select the best contributions with the help of a council of religious "sages", and conduct a major launch of the finished document in 2009.
We'd love you, the TED community, who saw the birth of this idea in March, to be among the first to contribute.
The two things you can do to help now:
1. Help us write the Charter! The first writing phase begins now with the Preamble, a concise explanation of why the Charter is necessary and urgent.
2. Send out the ask to everyone in your network. We want this to be a truly global and diverse document that represents all of our voices."
Oh really? Then why wasn't the charter invitation sent out to the world's leading Philosophers? Or peace negotiators? Or, how can I put this plainly: people who are not constrained by a religious doctrine, in their search for enlightenment and peace?
Lovely idea - totally pointless. Let's just say for a moment that having a charter for international peaceful understanding could actually lead to something useful or good (let's just pretend) then why - aaaaargh! this makes me so angry. Sorry. hold on.... Why yet again, does it appear that religions have some authoritative hold over the world "Peace"? Why is any religious doctrine held up as being a definitive interlocutor on this subject?
Ah, but I'm missing the point, aren't I. It's about finding the similarities between religions because only then will global understanding and the path to enlightenment occur. Well... DUH you people. Wouldn't it be helpful then to introduce the voices of those who have gone BEYOND the walls of religious orthodoxies and have searched their whole lives for life meaning *without* introducing a filter?
TED's answer to this would of course be an optimistic puzzlement. Well - for sure, join in why don't you, we'd love to have you as part of the project! Fantastic! But it should have been intertwined in to the very fabric of the original idea. Leading thinkers being asked. Looking over shoulders and saying Oh, yeah... you people, sure - what is it you have to contribute, again? Oh sorry, I got distracted by the important folk who wear religion badges.
What annoys me is the elevation of the status of those in world religions, as if they are in a position of moral authority. They aren't. no more than anyone else. Quit listening to the opinions of those in organised religions First.
Am I a little bit too annoyed about this? Ahaha... er. Yes.