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 Declaration toward a Global Ethic 

Introduction and Comments

A group that meets to discuss God, Life, Death and the hopes for humanity brought this Declaration to my attention.  I found it on the internet and copied it here for reflection and understanding. 

The dates 1991 and 1993 are significant, as is the current date February 13th, 2011 approximately 20 years later!  Read this Declaration and think about it.  Consider the great desire behind it to foster a better world and know that these individuals feel the dispair and tragedy of this world.  It is not enough to talk about the most significant change needed on this planet but it does head us in a positive direction.  As stated often in this web site the most fundamental changes must originate in the hearts and minds of every individual that walks this earth.  Not only must we agree on really basic ethics of living but we must begin at the individual level to raise our awareness of what we do, what we think, what we feel and how we behave in all of our relationships.

If one person in a family can let go of what they were and begin the transformation into what they can be their level of conscious awareness will spread to all around them.  Change occurs when there is a demand for change. Through out the world this demand for change is rising to a crescendo.  It becomes the rallying cry of suppressed people and all people that want to experience the act of living in freedom and peace. But despite all of this demand for change it is now very obvious that it is the individual that must change first. From that beginning all institutions of any kind will transform in kind.  Why, because the leadership will be different and those that follow that leadership will be much different than we see today. 

 

 

Parliament of the Worlds Religions

Declaration Toward a Global Ethic

4 September 1993
Chicago, U.S.A.

Introduction

The text entitled ?Introduction' was produced by an Editorial Committee of the ?Council' of the Parliament of
the Worlds Religions in Chicago on the basis of the Declaration itself composed in Tübingen (here headed
?Principles'). It was meant to serve as a brief summary of the Declaration for publicity purposes.

The world is in agony. The agony is so pervasive and urgent that we are compelled to name
its manifestations so that the depth of this pain may be made clear.
Peace eludes us - the planet is being destroyed - neighbors live in fear - women and men
are estranged from each other - children die!


This is abhorrent.
We condemn the abuses of Earth's ecosystems.
We condemn the poverty that stifles life's potential; the hunger that weakens the human
body, the economic disparities that threaten so many families with ruin.


We condemn the social disarray of the nations; the disregard for justice which pushes citizens
to the margin; the anarchy overtaking our communities; and the insane death of children
from violence. In particular we condemn aggression and hatred in the name of religion.


But this agony need not be.


It need not be because the basis for an ethic already exists. This ethic offers the possibility
of a better individual and global order, and leads individuals away from despair and societies
away from chaos.


We are women and men who have embraced the precepts and practices of the world's
religions:


We affirm that a common set of core values is found in the teachings of the religions, and
that these form the basis of a global ethic.


We affirm that this truth is already known, but yet to be lived in heart and action.
We affirm that there is an irrevocable, unconditional norm for all areas of life, for families and
communities, for races, nations, and religions. There already exist ancient guidelines for
human behavior which are found in the teachings of the religions of the world and which are
the condition for a sustainable world order.


We declare:


We are interdependent. Each of us depends on the well-being of the whole, and so we have
respect for the community of living beings, for people, animals, and plants, and for the preservation
of Earth, the air, water and soil.


Declaration Toward a Global Ethic, page 1
Parliament of the World's Religions


We take individual responsibility for all we do. All our decisions, actions, and failures to act have consequences.

We must treat others as we wish others to treat us. We make a commitment to respect life and dignity, individuality and diversity, so that every person is treated humanely, without exception. We must have patience and acceptance. We must be able to forgive, learning from the past but never allowing ourselves to be enslaved by memories of hate. Opening our hearts to one another, we must sink our narrow differences for the cause of the world community, practicing a culture of solidarity and relatedness.


We consider humankind our family. We must strive to be kind and generous. We must not
live for ourselves alone, but should also serve others, never forgetting the children, the aged,
the poor, the suffering, the disabled, the refugees, and the lonely. No person should ever
be considered or treated as a second-class citizen, or be exploited in any way whatsoever.
There should be equal partnership between men and women. We must not commit any
kind of sexual immorality. We must put behind us all forms of domination or abuse.


We commit ourselves to a culture of non-violence, respect, justice, and peace. We shall not
oppress, injure, torture, or kill other human beings, forsaking violence as a means of settling differences.


We must strive for a just social and economic order, in which everyone has an equal chance
to reach full potential as a human being. We must speak and act truthfully and with compassion,
dealing fairly with all, and avoiding prejudice and hatred. We must not steal. We must move beyond the dominance of greed for power, prestige, money, and consumption to make a just and peaceful world.


Earth cannot be changed for the better unless the consciousness of individuals is changed first. We pledge to increase our awareness by disciplining our minds, by meditation, by prayer, or by positive thinking. Without risk and a readiness to sacrifice there can be no
fundamental change in our situation. Therefore we commit ourselves to this global ethic, to understanding one another, and to socially beneficial, peace-fostering, and nature-friendly ways of life.


We invite all people, whether religious or not, to do the same.


Declaration Toward a Global Ethic, page 2
Parliament of the World's Religions


The Principles of a Global Ethic

Our world is experiencing a fundamental crisis: A crisis in global economy,
global ecology, and global politics. The lack of a grand vision, the tangle of
unresolved problems, political paralysis, mediocre political leadership with little
insight or foresight, and in general too little sense for the commonweal are seen
everywhere: Too many old answers to new challenges.

Hundreds of millions of human beings on our planet increasingly suffer from
unemployment, poverty, hunger, and the destruction of their families. Hope for
a lasting peace among nations slips away from us. There are tensions between
the sexes and generations. Children die, kill, and are killed. More and more countries are shaken by corruption in politics and business. It is increasingly difficult to live together peacefully in our cities because of social, racial, and ethnic conflicts, the abuse of drugs, organized crime, and even anarchy. Even neighbors often live in fear of one another. Our planet continues to be ruthlessly
plundered. A collapse of the ecosystem threatens us.

Time and again we see leaders and members of religions incite aggression, fanaticism, hate, and xenophobia-even inspire and legitimize violent and bloody conflicts. Religion often is misused for purely power-political goals, including war. We are filled with disgust.

We condemn these blights and declare that they need not be. An ethic already
exists within the religious teachings of the world which can counter the global
distress. Of course this ethic provides no direct solution for all the immense
problems of the world, but it does supply the moral foundation for a better individual
and global order: A vision which can lead women and men away from
despair, and society away from chaos.

We are persons who have committed ourselves to the precepts and practices of the world's religions. We confirm that there is already a consensus among the religions which can be the basis for a global ethic?a minimal fundamental consensus concerning binding values, irrevocable standards, and fundamental moral attitudes.

Declaration Toward a Global Ethic, page 3
Parliament of the World's Religions


I. No new global order without a new global ethic!
We women and men of various religions and regions of Earth therefore address all people, religious and non-religious. We wish to express the following convictions which we hold in common:

? We all have a responsibility for a better global order.
? Our involvement for the sake of human rights, freedom, justice, peace,
and the preservation of Earth is absolutely necessary.
? Our different religious and cultural traditions must not prevent our common
involvement in opposing all forms of inhumanity and working for
greater humaneness.
? The principles expressed in this Global Ethic can be affirmed by all persons
with ethical convictions, whether religiously grounded or not.

? As religious and spiritual persons we base our lives on an Ultimate Reality,
and draw spiritual power and hope therefrom, in trust, in prayer or
meditation, in word or silence. We have a special responsibility for the
welfare of all humanity and care for the planet Earth. We do not consider
ourselves better than other women and men, but we trust that
the ancient wisdom of our religions can point the way for the future.


After two world wars and the end of the cold war, the collapse of fascism and nazism, the shaking to the foundations of communism and colonialism, humanity has entered a new phase of its history. Today we possess sufficient economic, cultural, and spiritual resources to introduce a better global order. But old and new ethnic, national, social, economic, and religious tensions threaten the peaceful building of a better world. We have experienced greater technological progress than ever before, yet we see that world-wide poverty, hunger, death of children, unemployment, misery, and the destruction of nature have not diminished but rather have increased.

Many peoples are threatened with economic ruin, social disarray, political marginalization, ecological catastrophe, and national collapse.

In such a dramatic global situation humanity needs a vision of peoples
living peacefully together, of ethnic and ethical groupings and of religions
sharing responsibility for the care of Earth. A vision rests on hopes, goals,
ideals, standards. But all over the world these have slipped from our
hands. Yet we are convinced that, despite their frequent abuses and failures,
it is the communities of faith who bear a responsibility to demonstrate
that such hopes, ideals, and standards can be guarded, grounded, and
lived. This is especially true in the modern state. Guarantees of freedom

Declaration Toward a Global Ethic, page 4
Parliament of the World's Religions


of conscience and religion are necessary but they do not substitute for
binding values, convictions, and norms which are valid for all humans regardless
of their social origin, sex, skin color, language, or religion.

We are convinced of the fundamental unity of the human family on Earth.
We recall the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United
Nations. What it formally proclaimed on the level of rights we wish to confirm and deepen here from the perspective of an ethic: The full realization of the intrinsic dignity of the human person, the inalienable freedom
and equality in principle of all humans, and the necessary solidarity and
interdependence of all humans with each other.

On the basis of personal experiences and the burdensome history of our
planet we have learned:

? that a better global order cannot be created or enforced by laws, prescriptions,
and conventions alone;
? that the realization of peace, justice, and the protection of Earth depends
on the insight and readiness of men and women to act justly;

? that action in favor of rights and freedoms presumes a consciousness
of responsibility and duty, and that therefore both the minds and hearts
of women and men must be addressed;
? that rights without morality cannot long endure, and that there will be
no better global order without a global ethic.


By a global ethic we do not mean a global ideology or a single unified religion beyond all existing religions, and certainly not the domination of one religion over all others. By a global ethic we mean a fundamental consensus on binding values, irrevocable standards, and personal attitudes.


Without such a fundamental consensus on an ethic, sooner or later every community will be threatened by chaos or dictatorship, and individuals will dispair.

II.
A fundamental demand: Every human being must be
treated humanely


We all are fallible, imperfect men and women with limitations and defects.
We know the reality of evil. Precisely because of this, we feel compelled
for the sake of global welfare to express what the fundamental elements
of a global ethic should be-for individuals as well as for communities and organizations, for states as well as for the religions themselves. We trust

Declaration Toward a Global Ethic, page 5
Parliament of the World's Religions


that our often millennia-old religious and ethical traditions provide an ethic which is convincing and practicable for all women and men of good will, religious and non-religious.

At the same time we know that our various religious and ethical traditions
often offer very different bases for what is helpful and what is unhelpful for
men and women, what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is
evil. We do not wish to gloss over or ignore the serious differences among
the individual religions. However, they should not hinder us from proclaiming
publicly those things which we already hold in common and which we jointly affirm, each on the basis of our own religious or ethical grounds.

We know that religions cannot solve the environmental, economic, political,
and social problems of Earth. However they can provide what obviously
cannot be attained by economic plans, political programs, or legal regulations
alone: A change in the inner orientation, the whole mentality, the
"hearts" of people, and a conversion from a false path to a new orientation
for life. Humankind urgently needs social and ecological reforms, but it
needs spiritual renewal just as urgently. As religious or spiritual persons we
commit ourselves to this task. The spiritual powers of the religions can offer
a fundamental sense of trust, a ground of meaning, ultimate standards,
and a spiritual home. Of course religions are credible only when they eliminate
those conflicts which spring from the religions themselves, dismantling mutual arrogance, mistrust, prejudice, and even hostile images, and thus demonstrate respect for the traditions, holy places, feasts, and rituals of people who believe differently.

Now as before, women and men are treated inhumanely all over the world.
They are robbed of their opportunities and their freedom; their human
rights are trampled underfoot; their dignity is disregarded. But might does
not make right! In the face of all inhumanity our religious and ethical convictions
demand that every human being must be treated humanely!

This means that every human being without distinction of age, sex, race,
skin color, physical or mental ability, language, religion, political view, or
national or social origin possesses an inalienable and untouchable dignity,
and everyone, the individual as well as the state, is therefore obliged to
honor this dignity and protect it. Humans must always be the subjects of rights, must be ends, never mere means, never objects of commercialization and industrialization in economics, politics and media, in research institutes, and industrial corporations. No one stands "above good and evil"-no human being, no social class, no influential interest group, no cartel, no police apparatus, no army, and no state. On the contrary: Possessed of reason and conscience, every human is obliged to behave in a

Declaration Toward a Global Ethic, page 6
Parliament of the World's Religions


genuinely human fashion, to do good and avoid evil!

It is the intention of this Global Ethic to clarify what this means. In it we wish to recall irrevocable, unconditional ethical norms. These should not be bonds and chains, but helps and supports for people to find and realize once again their lives' direction, values, orientations, and meaning.

There is a principle which is found and has persisted in many religious and
ethical traditions of humankind for thousands of years: What you do not
wish done to yourself, do not do to others. Or in positive terms: What you
wish done to yourself, do to others! This should be the irrevocable, unconditional
norm for all areas of life, for families and communities, for races,
nations, and religions.

Every form of egoism should be rejected: All selfishness, whether individual or collective, whether in the form of class thinking, racism, nationalism, or sexism. We condemn these because they prevent humans from being authentically human. Self-determination and self-realization are thoroughly legitimate so long as they are not separated from human self-responsibility and global responsibility, that is, from responsibility for fellow humans and for the planet Earth.

This principle implies very concrete standards to which we humans should hold firm. From it arise four broad, ancient guidelines for human behavior which are found in most of the religions of the world.

III. Irrevocable directives.
1. Commitment to a Culture of Non-violence and Respect for Life
Numberless women and men of all regions and religions strive to lead lives
not determined by egoism but by commitment to their fellow humans and

to the world around them. Nevertheless, all over the world we find endless

hatred, envy, jealousy, and violence, not only between individuals but also

between social and ethnic groups, between classes, races, nations, and

religions. The use of violence, drug trafficking and organized crime, often

equipped with new technical possibilities, has reached global proportions.
Many places still are ruled by terror "from above;" dictators oppress their
own people, and institutional violence is widespread. Even in some countries
where laws exist to protect individual freedoms, prisoners are tortured,
men and women are mutilated, hostages are killed.

a) In the great ancient religious and ethical traditions of humankind we find the directive: You shall not kill! Or in positive terms: Have respect for

Declaration Toward a Global Ethic, page 7
Parliament of the World's Religions


life! Let us reflect anew on the consequences of this ancient directive:
All people have a right to life, safety, and the free development of personality
insofar as they do not injure the rights of others. No one has the
right physically or psychically to torture, injure, much less kill, any other
human being. And no people, no state, no race, no religion has the right
to hate, to discriminate against, to "cleanse," to exile, much less to liquidate
a "foreign" minority which is different in behavior or holds different
beliefs.

b) Of course, wherever there are humans there will be conflicts. Such
conflicts, however, should be resolved without violence within a framework
of justice. This is true for states as well as for individuals. Persons
who hold political power must work within the framework of a just order
and commit themselves to the most non-violent, peaceful solutions
possible. And they should work for this within an international order of
peace which itself has need of protection and defense against perpetrators
of violence. Armament is a mistaken path; disarmament is the commandment
of the times. Let no one be deceived: There is no survival for
humanity without global peace!

c) Young people must learn at home and in school that violence may not be
a means of settling differences with others. Only thus can a culture of
non-violence be created.

d) A human person is infinitely precious and must be unconditionally protected.
But likewise the lives of animals and plants which inhabit this
planet with us deserve protection, preservation, and care. Limitless
exploitation of the natural foundations of life, ruthless destruction of the
biosphere, and militarization of the cosmos are all outrages. As human
beings we have a special responsibility-especially with a view to future
generations-for Earth and the cosmos, for the air, water, and soil. We are
all intertwined together in this cosmos and we are all dependent on each
other. Each one of us depends on the welfare of all. Therefore the dominance
of humanity over nature and the cosmos must not be encouraged.
Instead we must cultivate living in harmony with nature and the cosmos.

e) To be authentically human in the spirit of our great religious and ethical
traditions means that in public as well as in private life we must be
concerned for others and ready to help. We must never be ruthless and
brutal. Every people, every race, every religion must show tolerance and
respect-indeed high appreciation-for every other. Minorities need protection
and support, whether they be racial, ethnic, or religious.

Declaration Toward a Global Ethic, page 8
Parliament of the World's Religions


2. Commitment to a Culture of Solidarity and a Just Economic Order
Numberless men and women of all regions and religions strive to live their

lives in solidarity with one another and to work for authentic fulfillment of
their vocations. Nevertheless, all over the world we find endless hunger,
deficiency, and need. Not only individuals, but especially unjust institutions

and structures are responsible for these tragedies. Millions of people are
without work; millions are exploited by poor wages, forced to the edges of
society, with their possibilities for the future destroyed. In many lands the
gap between the poor and the rich, between the powerful and the powerless
is immense. We live in a world in which totalitarian state socialism as
well as unbridled capitalism have hollowed out and destroyed many ethical
and spiritual values. A materialistic mentality breeds greed for unlimited

profit and a grasping for endless plunder. These demands claim more and
more of the community's resources without obliging the individual to contribute
more. The cancerous social evil of corruption thrives in the developing
countries and in the developed countries alike.

a) In the great ancient religious and ethical traditions of humankind we find the directive: You shall not steal! Or in positive terms: Deal honestly and fairly! Let us reflect anew on the consequences of this ancient directive: No one has the right to rob or dispossess in any way whatsoever any other person or the commonweal. Further, no one has the right to use her or his possessions without concern for the needs of society and Earth.

b) Where extreme poverty reigns, helplessness and despair spread, and
theft occurs again and again for the sake of survival. Where power and
wealth are accumulated ruthlessly, feelings of envy, resentment, and
deadly hatred and rebellion inevitably well up in the disadvantaged and marginalized. This leads to a vicious circle of violence and counter-violence. Let no one be deceived: There is no global peace without global justice!

c) Young people must learn at home and in school that property, limited
though it may be, carries with it an obligation, and that its uses should at
the same time serve the common good. Only thus can a just economic
order be built up.

d) If the plight of the poorest billions of humans on this planet, particularly
women and children, is to be improved, the world economy must be
structured more justly. Individual good deeds, and assistance projects,

indispensable though they be, are insufficient. The participation of all
states and the authority of international organizations are needed to build just economic institutions.

Declaration Toward a Global Ethic, page 9
Parliament of the World's Religions


A solution which can be supported by all sides must be sought for the debt
crisis and the poverty of the dissolving second world, and even more the

third world. Of course conflicts of interest are unavoidable. In the developed
countries, a distinction must be made between necessary and limitless
consumption, between socially beneficial and non-beneficial uses of
property, between justified and unjustified uses of natural resources, and
between a profit-only and a socially beneficial and ecologically oriented

market economy. Even the developing nations must search their national
consciences.

Wherever those ruling threaten to repress those ruled, wherever institutions
threaten persons, and wherever might oppresses right, we are obligated to

resist-whenever possible non-violently.

e) To be authentically human in the spirit of our great religious and ethical
traditions means the following:

? We must utilize economic and political power for service to humanity
instead of misusing it in ruthless battles for domination. We must
develop a spirit of compassion with those who suffer, with special care
for the children, the aged, the poor, the disabled, the refugees, and the
lonely.

? We must cultivate mutual respect and consideration, so as to reach a
reasonable balance of interests, instead of thinking only of unlimited
power and unavoidable competitive struggles.
? We must value a sense of moderation and modesty instead of an
unquenchable greed for money, prestige, and consumption. In greed
humans lose their "souls," their freedom, their composure, their inner
peace, and thus that which makes them human.
3. Commitment to a Culture of Tolerance and a Life of Truthfulness
Numberless women and men of all regions and religions strive to lead lives of honesty and truthfulness. Nevertheless, all over the world we find end less lies and deceit, swindling and hypocrisy, ideology and demagoguery:

? Politicians and business people who use lies as a means to success;
? Mass media which spread ideological propaganda instead of accurate
reporting, misinformation instead of information, cynical commercial
interest instead of loyalty to the truth;


Declaration Toward a Global Ethic, page 10
Parliament of the World's Religions


? Scientists and researchers who give themselves over to morally
questionable ideological or political programs or to economic interest
groups, or who justify research which violates fundamental ethical
values;
? Representatives of religions who dismiss other religions as of little
value and who preach fanaticism and intolerance instead of respect
and understanding.
a)
In the great ancient religious and ethical traditions of humankind we
find the directive: You shall not lie! Or in positive terms: Speak and act
truthfully! Let us reflect anew on the consequences of this ancient directive:
No woman or man, no institution, no state or church or religious
community has the right to speak lies to other humans.

b) This is especially true

? for those who work in the mass media, to whom we entrust the freedom
to report for the sake of truth and to whom we thus grant the
office of guardian. They do not stand above morality but have the obligation to respect human dignity, human rights, and fundamental values. They are duty-bound to objectivity, fairness, and the preservation of human dignity. They have no right to intrude into individuals' private spheres, to manipulate public opinion, or to distort reality;

? for artists, writers, and scientists, to whom we entrust artistic and academic
freedom. They are not exempt from general ethical standards
and must serve the truth;
? for the leaders of countries, politicians, and political parties, to whom
we entrust our own freedoms. When they lie in the faces of their people,
when they manipulate the truth, or when they are guilty of venality
or ruthlessness in domestic or foreign affairs, they forsake their credibility
and deserve to lose their offices and their voters. Conversely,
public opinion should support those politicians who dare to speak the truth to the people at all times;

? finally, for representatives of religion. When they stir up prejudice,
hatred, and enmity towards those of different belief, or even incite or legitimize religious wars, they deserve the condemnation of humankind and the loss of their adherents.

Let no one be deceived: There is no global justice without truthfulness and
humaneness!

Declaration Toward a Global Ethic, page 11
Parliament of the World's Religions


c) Young people must learn at home and in school to think, speak, and act
truthfully. They have a right to information and education to be able to
make the decisions that will form their lives. Without an ethical formation
they will hardly be able to distinguish the important from the unimportant.

In the daily flood of information, ethical standards will help them discern
when opinions are portrayed as facts, interests veiled, tendencies exaggerated,
and facts twisted.

d) To be authentically human in the spirit of our great religious and ethical
traditions means the following:

? We must not confuse freedom with arbitrariness or pluralism with indifference
to truth.
? We must cultivate truthfulness in all our relationships instead of dishonesty,
dissembling, and opportunism.
? We must constantly seek truth and incorruptible sincerity instead of
spreading ideological or partisan half-truths.

? We must courageously serve the truth and we must remain constant
and trustworthy, instead of yielding to opportunistic accommodation to
life.


4. Commitment to a Culture of Equal Rights and Partnership
Between Men and Women


Numberless men and women of all regions and religions strive to live their
lives in a spirit of partnership and responsible action in the areas of love,
sexuality, and family. Nevertheless, all over the world there are condemnable
forms of patriarchy, domination of one sex over the other, exploitation
of women, sexual misuse of children, and forced prostitution. Too
frequently, social inequities force women and even children into prostitution
as a means of survival-particularly in less developed countries.

a) In the great ancient religious and ethical traditions of humankind we find the directive: You shall not commit sexual immorality! Or in positive terms: Respect and love one another! Let us reflect anew on the consequences of this ancient directive: No one has the right to degrade others to mere sex objects, to lead them into or hold them in sexual dependency.


b) We condemn sexual exploitation and sexual discrimination as one of the
worst forms of human degradation. We have the duty to resist wher-

Declaration Toward a Global Ethic, page 12
Parliament of the World's Religions


ever the domination of one sex over the other is preached-even in the
name of religious conviction; wherever sexual exploitation is tolerated,
wherever prostitution is fostered or children are misused. Let no one be
deceived: There is no authentic humaneness without a living together in
partnership!

c) Young people must learn at home and in school that sexuality is not a
negative, destructive, or exploitative force, but creative and affirmative.
Sexuality as a life-affirming shaper of community can only be effective
when partners accept the responsibilities of caring for one another's happiness.


d) The relationship between women and men should be characterized not
by patronizing behavior or exploitation, but by love, partnership, and
trustworthiness. Human fulfillment is not identical with sexual pleasure.
Sexuality should express and reinforce a loving relationship lived by
equal partners.

Some religious traditions know the ideal of a voluntary renunciation of the full use of sexuality. Voluntary renunciation also can be an expression of identity and meaningful fulfillment.

e) The social institution of marriage, despite all its cultural and religious variety, is characterized by love, loyalty, and permanence. It aims at and should guarantee security and mutual support to husband, wife, and child. It should secure the rights of all family members.

All lands and cultures should develop economic and social relationships
which will enable marriage and family life worthy of human beings,
especially for older people. Children have a right of access to education.
Parents should not exploit children, nor children parents. Their relationships
should reflect mutual respect, appreciation, and concern.

f) To be authentically human in the spirit of our great religious and ethical
traditions means the following:

? We need mutual respect, partnership, and understanding, instead of
patriarchal domination and degradation, which are expressions of violence
and engender counter-violence.
? We need mutual concern, tolerance, readiness for reconciliation, and
love, instead of any form of possessive lust or sexual misuse.
Only what has already been experienced in personal and familial relationships
can be practiced on the level of nations and religions.

Declaration Toward a Global Ethic, page 13
Parliament of the World's Religions


IV. A Transformation of Consciousness!

Historical experience demonstrates the following: Earth cannot be changed
for the better unless we achieve a transformation in the consciousness of
individuals and in public life. The possibilities for transformation have already
been glimpsed in areas such as war and peace, economy, and ecology,
where in recent decades fundamental changes have taken place. This
transformation must also be achieved in the area of ethics and values!

Every individual has intrinsic dignity and inalienable rights, and each also
has an inescapable responsibility for what she or he does and does not do.
All our decisions and deeds, even our omissions and failures, have consequences.


Keeping this sense of responsibility alive, deepening it and passing it on to
future generations, is the special task of religions.

We are realistic about what we have achieved in this consensus, and so we
urge that the following be observed:

1. A universal consensus on many disputed ethical questions (from bio- and
sexual ethics through mass media and scientific ethics to economic and
political ethics) will be difficult to attain. Nevertheless, even for many controversial
questions, suitable solutions should be attainable in the spirit of
the fundamental principles we have jointly developed here.

2. In many areas of life a new consciousness of ethical responsibility has
already arisen. Therefore we would be pleased if as many professions as
possible, such as those of physicians, scientists, business people, journalists,
and politicians, would develop up-to-date codes of ethics which
would provide specific guidelines for the vexing questions of these particular
professions.

3. Above all, we urge the various communities of faith to formulate their very
specific ethics: What does each faith tradition have to say, for example, about the meaning of life and death, the enduring of suffering and the forgiveness of guilt, about selfless sacrifice and the necessity of renunciation, about compassion and joy. These will deepen, and make more specific, the already discernible global ethic.

In conclusion, we appeal to all the inhabitants of this planet. Earth cannot
be changed for the better unless the consciousness of individuals is
changed. We pledge to work for such transformation in individual and
collective consciousness, for the awakening of our spiritual powers through reflection, meditation, prayer, or positive thinking, for a conversion of the

Declaration Toward a Global Ethic, page 14
Parliament of the World's Religions


heart. Together we can move mountains! Without a willingness to take risks and a readiness to sacrifice there can be no fundamental change in our situation! Therefore we commit ourselves to a common global ethic, to better mutual understanding, as well as to socially beneficial, peace-fostering, and Earth-friendly ways of life.

We invite all men and women, whether religious or not, to do the same.

The Basic Literature

Hans Küng, Global Responsibility. In Search of a New World Ethic (SCM Press, London/Continuum,
New York 1991).

Hans Küng - Karl-Josef Kuschel (Eds.), A Global Ethic. The Declaration of the Parliament of the
World's Religions (SCM Press, London / Continuum, New York 1993).

© 1993 by Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions, Chicago,

Prepared by Hans Küng and published with commentaries by Piper Verlag (München), Continuum
Publishing (New York), SCM Press (London), Arator Oy (Helsinki), Editorial Trotta (Madrid), Les Éditions
du Cerf (Paris), Gün Yayincilik (Ankara), Bon-Books (Tokyo), Rizzoli Libri (Milano), The Amity
Foundation (Nanjing - Hong Kong)

Declaration Toward a Global Ethic, page 15


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