Episode 84 – An Interfaith Look at Compassion

 In Podcast

In the documentary, A Prayer for Compassion, filmmaker Thomas Jackson traverses the globe on a quest to seek answers to the question, “Can compassion grow to include all beings?” Interviewing dozens of people from multiple faith traditions, he finds the common theme among all faith traditions is Compassion, and being compassionate toward animals, while generally overlooked today, is a key teaching of every tradition. In this episode we share our experience of this ground-breaking film, what/who inspired us and how we were changed by it.


A Prayer for Compassion:

“The film follows [filmmaker] Thomas Jackson on a quest across America, that ultimately takes him to Morocco for the UN Climate Conference and throughout the Indian subcontinent to ask the questions, “Can compassion grow to include all beings? And can people who identify as religious or spiritual come to embrace the call to include all human and nonhuman beings in our circle of respect and caring and love?”

Drawing on traditions including Christianity — evangelical, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Friends (Quakers), Seventh Day Adventism, Unity, and more; Judaism; Islam; Hinduism; Buddhism; Jainism; the Native American tradition; Unitarian Universalism; Zoroastrianism; and the “spiritual but not religious” point of view — A Prayer for Compassion calls on people of faith and spiritual seekers of every stripe to come together to bring about a world in which ‘The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.” (Isaiah 11:6 and 11:9)

“As a species, we’ve lived with using and abusing animals for so long it is nearly invisible to us. Even the most highly conscious peace lovers and social justice warriors have a hard time seeing this. But it is in plain sight when we do the difficult work to look.” wolfandthelamb.com

We’ve been conditioned to believe these things:

Animals are here for our use

We need to eat meat

We need to drink milk

Animals live on happy farms

Animals don’t suffer like humans

Humane labels means animals aren’t harmed

Killing is okay as long as it is humane

We need meat for protein

We need milk for strong bones

The human body is designed to eat animals


To learn about whether we are meat eaters or herbivores: https://ocoy.org/humans-are-we-carnivores-or-vegetarians-by-nature/?fbclid=IwAR11gUAlO75e8zHhn7uIOVkd5c0puCoPgCkJlhHxbNpqbJWE3ihSnnNgQyU )

To learn about factory farming: https://sentientmedia.org/factory-farming/

The world has changed, but our habits have not! We live in today’s world, not yesterday’s. We no longer…

Live in a kill or be killed environment

Live in barren areas that don’t support plant life (or without readily accessible food in grocery stores)

Have to store meat to survive through the winter

Need animal skins to keep us warm

Some excerpts from A Prayer for Compassion

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz:

“We are ashamed of our ancestors who owned slaves. We are ashamed of our ancestors who believed in segregation. So too. will our grandchildren be ashamed of what we allowed to happen on our watch. Each of us have to ask ourselves the spiritual question, “What side do I want to tell my grandchildren I was on? Was I on the side of mercy and compassion? Or was I on the side blind side that helped to perpetuate suffering?”

Image result for rabbi shmuly yanklowitz

Bruce Freidrich, Executive Director of the Good Food Institute:

“So, for a few moments when we are enjoying what is really a palette preference, we are taking what is most essential to animals – their very lives. And that is the opposite of Compassion.”

Image result for bruce friedrich, executive director of the good food institute

Sailish Rao, Founder Climate Healers:

“I have asked hundreds of people the simple question, ‘Would you ever deliberately hurt an innocent animal unnecessarily? And so far, 100% of the people I’ve asked have said absolutely not I would never do that. So it means that compassion is at the core of our being. That’s who we really are. This is reason why collectively, compassion is going to win.”

Other speakers mentioned during our dialogue:

Suzy Welch:

Image result for suzy welch

If you want to learn more about early Unity and the Fillmore’s teachings on animals and how our relationship with them is connected to our ability to manifest love and peace: Charles Fillmore’s forgotten teachings about animals:

Vegan Spirituality Retreat at Unity Village:

Resources to Learn More About Plant-based Living

Veg Starter Kits

There are many free Veg Starter kits available online. You can find one published by Mercy for Animals (mercyforanimals.org), Physicians for Responsible Medicine (pcrm.org), ChooseVeg (chooseveg.com), Farm Sanctuary (farmsanctuary.org) and many others. 

Rich Roll (richroll.com)

Fifty pounds overweight and physically defeated by a single flight of stairs, 50-year-old Rich Roll dramatically changed his life with a vegan diet. Now an Ultraman competitor (3-day / 320 mile double-ironman distance triathlon), he is also a full-time wellness & plant-based nutrition advocate, best-selling author of Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World’s Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself, and podcast host with over 60 million downloads.  He is very inspirational person, especially for those who believe that they cannot be healthy without meat.

Dr. Joel Fuhrman (drfuhrman.com)

Dr. Furhman is a board-certified family physician, six-time New York Times best-selling author and internationally recognized expert on nutrition and natural healing, who specializes in preventing and reversing disease through nutritional methods. He coined the term “Nutritarian” to describe a nutrient-dense eating style, designed to prevent cancer, slow aging, and extend lifespan.

Street Vegan podcast on Unity radio

Each week host Victoria Moran interviews all sorts of people about vegan living, health, environment and compassion. Victoria was raised in Unity by her nanny, whose minister was Unity co-founder, Charles Fillmore. She was asked by Unity World Headquarters many years ago to host this podcast with the express purpose of ‘bringing Unity back to its roots.’

Hooked on Plants (hookedonplants.ca)

Julia Murray, registered Holistic Nutritionist, founder of 80/20 plants, certified plant-based chef from Roouxbe Culinary School and certified Main Street Vegan lifestyle coach, helps people restore health, lose weight and smoothly make the transition to eating more plants.

Game Changers documentary on Netflix

Presented by James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jackie Chan, Lewis Hamilton, Novak Djokovic and Chris Paul — a revolutionary new film about meat, protein and strength

Dialogue and Inquiry

What is your overall reaction to the film? 

What feelings arose in you?

Of the many speakers in the film, who inspired you the most and why? 

Did you learn anything new? If so, what? How will that inform your life going forward?

Are you moved to make any changes in your life (tiny, small, medium or large)?

For those who struggled with a willingness to watch the film, can you shed light on the instinctual response we have to shut out information that might help us live lives more aligned with our values?

Closing Thought

I am not bound by my past or the past of humankind. I am willing to awaken and become aware of how I can live more compassionately. As a creative being, I cast away old thoughts and ideas and open myself to new ways of thinking living and being that are aligned with Universal Love, World Peace and Freedom for all. I bring myself as Compassion to every aspect of my life.

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