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InterAct Cleveland

Compassion, Charity, and Interfaith Culture

Karen Armstrong’s The Great Transformation (2007) suggests that compassion became a dominant theme in human experience for the first time between 800 to 200 BCE, called the Axial Age by German philosopher Karl Jaspers. Armstrong notes that over this 600-year period a religious revolution occurred in four different regions of the world: Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism on the Indian sub-continent; Confucianism and Taoism in China; monotheism in the Middle East; and philosophical rationalism in Greece. In each case we discover ancient traditions calling followers to compassionate, ethical behavior.