What is the Global Ethic?
The Global Ethic is a landmark declaration of the Parliament of the World’s Religions stating the universal values and principles shared by the world’s religious, spiritual, and cultural traditions. Though it emerged from consultations with scholars and religious leaders from many of the world’s religions and regions, the Global Ethic is a statement of basic ethical commitments shared by people throughout the globe, religious or not.
The Need for a Global Ethic
The Global Ethic responds to an urgent practical need as well as a deep spiritual hunger for clear moral guidance on the most fundamental issues of human life and conduct. It expresses a minimal set of principles for committed action in a world torn by violence, religious and racial hatred, oppression of women and minority groups, extremes of wealth and poverty, and the growing threat of climate change and destruction of the natural world. A major achievement of the Global Ethic is to demonstrate that there is agreement on these issues. It recognizes that beyond legislated laws and conventions there must be changes in people’s minds, hearts, and ways of life.
The Parliament’s Call
The Parliament of the World’s Religions calls all people, religious or not, to commit themselves to the values and principles of a global ethic. The Parliament also calls for people all over the world to signal their support for the Global Ethic by signing it.
The Principles of a Global Ethic
We recall the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations. What is 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 human with each other.
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.