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In April, 2018, the PWR proudly co-sponsored the conference, “Grappling with the Global Ethic: Multi-Religious Perspectives on Global Issues,” organized by staff member, Dr. Myriam Renaud. This conference’s presentations and responses, now available on the PWR’s YouTube Channel, contribute to the understanding of world religions, various social issues, and the PWR’s signature document, Toward a Global Ethic: An Initial Declaration, also known as the Global Ethic.
Perhaps at no time in its twenty-five year history has the Parliament’s Global Ethic been more needed. People all over the globe are grappling with unprecedented ethical crises. For billions, a peaceful life, a just economic order, and equal rights seem out of reach.
The conference presenters are grounded in specific religious traditions and are scholars of religion and in ethics. They explore an issue of their own choosing using the Parliament’s Global Ethic and their particular religious tradition as resources. The traditions represented are: Catholicism, Sunni Islam, Shi’a Islam, Engaged Buddhism, Protestantism, Judaism, African Religions, Native American, Chinese philosophy, Hinduism, and Human Rights. Scholars who are expert in the same religion offered brief responses to each presenter; by so doing, they highlighted intra-religious nuances and differences.
Throughout the two-day conference, the Parliament’s Global Ethic serves as the foundation across which inter- and intra-faith conversations occurs. It is unique for several reasons.
It identifies the values, standards, and attitudes already shared by the world’s religious and secular traditions (even if too often ignored and transgressed).
It was drafted through a collaborative process. More than 200 scholars and leaders from many of the world’s religions, including faculty from the Divinity School (e.g. William Schweiker, David Tracy, Martin E. Marty, and more) were consulted. The breadth of this outreach gives the Parliament’s Global Ethic additional authority and credibility.
It encompasses the norms held in common not only by religious people but by people who are atheistic or whose faith traditions are non-theistic. For this reason, the Parliament’s Global Ethic, though it emerged from the religions, contains no explicitly religious language.
It is accessible to all publics and contains no technical jargon.
Its directives, though strong, are intentionally general. The religions are expected to identify resources within their own texts, rituals, and teachings to enrich the Global Ethic with tradition-specific details and enliven it with narratives.
The conference presentations and responses emphasize the status of the Parliament’s Global Ethic as an ethic that crosses religious and cultural borders and states principles that are useful when confronting contemporary moral issues. They demonstrate how the Global Ethic provides a platform across which members of religious and secular traditions can engage each other fruitfully even when they disagree about much else.
Individuals who seek interfaith understanding are often individuals who want to help improve the lives of others. The conference’s presentations and responses explore various ways in which the Parliament’s Global Ethic offers a common framework to those seeking to work with others to address issues of economic injustice, religious violence, gender inequality, environmental threats, and more.
William Schweiker and Richard B. Miller (University of Chicago)
Dr. Sumner B. Twiss (Florida State University) | Reflections on the Relationship Between Human Rights and Global Ethics
Presenters | Respondents
Dr. Hille Haker (Loyola University Chicago) | Decolonizing Religion(s) – A New Direction for the Global Ethic
Respondent: Richard Miller (University of Chicago)
Dr. Martin Nguyen (Fairfield University) | The Ethical Paradigm of the Stranger: The Displaced, the Disenfranchised, and the Islamic Prophetic
Respondent: Franklin Lewis (University of Chicago)
Dr. Hsiao-Lan Hu (University of Detroit Mercy) | Networking as Equals? Engaged Buddhists’ Egalitarian Ideals and Hierarchical Habits
Respondent: Paul Copp (University of Chicago)
Dr. Scott R. Paeth (DePaul University) | Globalization, Global Ethics, and the Common Good: Economic Justice and Prophetic Proclamation
Respondent: Christine Kulp (University of Chicago)
Dr. Amanda Mbuvi (High Point University) | Avadim Hayinu: An Intersectional Jewish Perspective on the Global Ethic of Solidarity
Respondent: David Gottlieb (University of Chicago)
Dr. Teresia Hinga (Santa Clara University) | Grappling Towards a Global Ethic: Tapping the Moral Wisdom of Africa’s Triple (Plus) Heritage of Religion
Respondent: Ralph A. Austen (University of Chicago)
Dr. Huaiyu Wang (Georgia College & State Univ) | Gu Hongming and the Religion of Good Citizenship: A Confucian Vision beyond Moral and Cultural Relativism
Respondent: Brook Ziporyn (University of Chicago)
Dr. Samaneh Oladi Ghadikolaei (Virginia Commonwealth University) | Women’s Religious Authority in Shiʿi Tradition: A Quest for Justice
Respondent: Alireza Doostdar (University of Chicago)
Dr. Anatanand Rambachan (Saint Olaf College) | Are There Principles In The Hindu Tradition ‘Consonant With Liberty, Equality and Fraternity?
Respondent: Wendy Doniger (University of Chicago)
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