by Rev. Gerald J. Jud, Ph.D.
"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes."
Can the religions of the world cooperate in putting together that which is broken in our world?
The human community of the planet Earth is in severe crisis.
In Chinese the meaning of crisis is “dangerous opportunity.”
Our present global crisis is a dangerous opportunity for the religions of the world to wake from their sleep and to find ways of bringing their powers together for the healing of that which is broken in our world.
We live on a planet of limited resources.
The severity of the present world crisis calls the most self-righteous and hard hearted among us to hear the call to a new attitude - a search for meaning for the human community and the planet.
We are all one people living upon one world that shares a common destiny
Eighty years ago the population of the Earth was a little over a half billion. Today the world’s population is close to seven billion and still growing.
Population growth has created poverty, disease, and intense conflict over the limited resources of the Earth. Whether the Earth of limited resources can sustain so large a population is questioned by many experts. Serious lack of food and water confront a billion people every day with many suffering from the maldistribution of goods.
People need more than food and water.
They also need social dignity, interpersonal relatedness, and some form of self-authentication. For many this is hard to find. This is the justice issue of the world community.
Our awareness of our unity holds the answer to our tragic situation.
The function of religion is to overcome cosmic loneliness.
Religion has a bright side.
Religion is the source of great literature and art, the motivator of deeds of love and mercy and self-development, and the doorway to transcendence and mystical experience.
Religion is the chrysalis of the meanings, values, and norms of society, supporting the different rituals which mark the turning points of our lives.
Religion has a shadow side.
The shadow side of religion has an ugly face.
Religions claim to speak the truth for all, making all other religions wrong,
Religion makes its bed with politics, war and extreme forms of nationalism.
Religion often gives imprimatur to terrorism and sanctions control of others.
Religion is involved in ugly wars around our globe.
Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims are killing each other in their homeland and in Cashmere.
Christians kill Christians in Ireland.
Buddhists and Hindus are hurling grenades in Sri Lanka. Jews and Muslims are slaughtering one another in the Middle East.
We live in a global village.
The option of going it alone, unaware of or withdrawn from others, has died.
No nation or religion can live wholly unto itself in isolation.
The surviving options are cooperation or conflict.
We’ve seen the ugly face of religion in its worst form in the September 11 event.
The ugly face of religion is present also in the long history of cruelty to other human beings: lynching, human torture, the mistreatment of women and children, evil racial attitudes, the bombing of abortion clinics, and the slaying of their office personnel.
Religion’s ugly face is present when we view that which is different as evil and something to be feared.
Competition is at the heart of the world’s religions.
Competition is built into the very purpose of religion.
While we must honor their differences, the religions of the world must find a way to transcend the differences for the sake of the world community and for the sake of our Mother Earth.
We can draw closer together to work for the good of all if we acknowledge and celebrate what religions hold in common.
An honest and courageous conversation among our religions is possible, but we have not yet achieved it.
A single stream runs under and through all of the great religious traditions.
Even while the surface waters of the traditions are vastly different, a single stream of mystical experience, belief, and practice unites the world’s religions in a subtle way.
Where Religions Agree
While all religions of the world have a “that without which” part of their belief systems, the areas on which they agree are so vast that we should have hope that a new dawn can be born out of our present world crisis.
Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam agree on many points.
The Golden Rule
- Heaven is within the heart
- Love thy neighbor
- Conquer with love
- Blessed are the peacemakers
- We do not live by bread alone
- Blessed are they who forgive
- We are created in God’s image
- There is one God
- Tell the truth
- It is more blessed to give than to receive
- A man is known by his deeds, not by his religion
- Examine thyself
- The importance of ruling the self
- Wisdom is more than riches
- Do not harm anything
- Be slow to anger
- Judge not
- Follow the spirit of the scriptures, not the letter
- Start when young to seek wisdom
- Be wholehearted
- Honor the elderly
- Our true strength is in the inner life
- Live in unity
The Golden Rule – One of many points of agreement.
Hinduism “This is the sum of all truth righteousness: treat others as thou would be thyself treated. Do nothing to thy neighbor which hereafter thou would not have thy neighbor do.”
Confucianism Tzu-Kung asked: “Is there one principle upon which one’s whole life may proceed?” The master replied, “Is not reciprocity such a principle?
What you do not yourself desire, do not put before others.”
Buddhism “Hurt not others with that which pains yourself.”
Judaism “What is hurtful to yourself, do not to your fellow men. That is the word of the Torah and the remainder is commentary.”
Christianity “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, for this is the law.”
Islam “Not one of you is a believer until you desire for one another that which you desire for yourself.”
With so much agreement, we can have hope and move on to a new day.
Hope springs eternal in the human breast not because it is logical.
Hope is part of our dreaming which carries us into the future.
While the nature and divergent messages of the world’s religions are competitive, the world of the 21st Century calls and requires them to be cooperative.
Our hope lies in the possibility of cooperation among the world’s great religions.
Our hope lies in Interfaith Dialogue.
There has been a quickening of interfaith dialogue in the past 20 years that began more than one hundred years ago with the meeting of the Parliament of Religions in 1893.
A broad variety of institutional and typological branches and various forms of dialogue among believers and institutions has blossomed. They have different starting points, dialogue partners, goals, and methods.
The Global Ethics Project is a branch of the interfaith movement.
In 1993 the Charter of the Global Ethics Project was adopted by more than 200 religious and spiritual leaders at the Second Parliament of Religions in Chicago.
At the heart of the Global Ethics Project is the conviction that religious believers and institutions can and should be in interfaith dialogue to tackle the burning
issues of our planet.
The dialogue transcends differences in belief and draws upon the shared ethical convictions of the world’s great religions.
The Global Ethics Project
Sharing interfaith ethical convictions
A global ethic is a minimal basic consensus relating to binding values, irrevocable standards and moral attitudes which can be affirmed by all religions despite their undeniable dogmatic or theological differences and should also be supported by nonbelievers.
A global ethic is nothing but the necessary minimum of common values, standards and basic attitudes.
At the heart of The Global Ethics Project is a set of shared interfaith ethical convictions.
No peace among nations without peace among religions.
No peace among the religions without dialogue among the religions.
No dialogue among the religions without a consensus on shared ethical values, a global ethic.
No new world order without a global ethic.
Four irrevocable directives guide and sustain a truly human culture:
Commitment to a culture of non-violence and respect for life, recalling the ancient directive: “You shall not kill! Have respect for life!”
Commitment to a culture of solidarity and a just economic order: “You shall not steal! Deal honestly and fairly!”
Commitment to a culture of tolerance and a life of truthfulness: “You
shall not lie. Speak and act truthfully!”
Commitment to a culture of equal rights and partnership between men and women: “You shall not commit sexual immorality! Respect and love one another!”
For more information about The Global Ethics Project, contact:
World Council of Churches
475 Riverside Drive
New York, NY 10115
The United Religions Initiative (URI)
Another splendid illustration of Interfaith Dialogue
Read the URI Charter here
United Religions Initiative
P.O. Box 29242
San Francisco, CA 94129
Take your spiritual life seriously.
Commit to your religious path.
Commit to learn its deep truths.<br>
Commit to love which binds us all together.<br>
Learn the skills of loving.
Join or create a group composed of different religions or cultures.
Join the United Religions Initiative.
Founded only a few years ago, the URI now has thousands of groups meeting to build global interfaith cooperation around the world
Beloved, let us love one another; for love is God, and everyone that loves is born of God and knows God.
Toni Petrinovich, Ph.D.
4604 San Juan Avenue
Anacortes, WA 98221