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Dec 03

The Explainer: Global Ethics

That was a scene from Monty Python’s “the Meaning of Life.”

One man’s religion is another man’s heresy; one man’s faith is another man’s obscurantism. The film clip you saw is sacrilege to some, pointed, yet truthful, satire, to others.

This holiday season marks an uneasy seesawing between the religious spirit of the season, and the worship of commerce. Yet for those who hold to spiritual values, there comes another question: can there be values that transcend individual religions?

Tonight, we’re going to look at a group that thinks this is possible. The idea of global ethics, is what we’ll explain tonight.

 

I. Kung had a dream

 

The question of a Global Ethic stems from Professor Hans Küng’s book “Global Responsibility” (1990), which was first published in English in 1991. This book developed programmatically the idea that the religions of the world can make a contribution to the peace of humankind only if they reflect on those elements of an ethic which they already have in common: on a fundamental consensus on binding values, irrevocable standards and personal attitudes.

 

http://www.weltethos.org/dat_eng/index1_e.htm

 

Underlying the Global Ethic project is the basic conviction that there can be:

No peace among the nations without peace among the religions.

No peace among the religions without dialogue between the religions.

No dialogue between the religions without investigation of the foundations of the religions.

 

With this declaration, for the first time representatives of all the religions reached agreement on principles for a global ethic and committed themselves to four irrevocable directives, which took the following concrete form:

 

Commitment to a culture of non-violence and respect for life.

Commitment to a culture of solidarity and a just economic order.

Commitment to a culture of tolerance and a life of truthfulness.

Commitment to a culture of equal rights and partnership between men and women.

 

As part of this endeavor, an exhibition recently reached our shores. To tell us more about it, is Dr. Peter Schier.

Welcome to the show, Dr. Schier. ..

When we return, a look at the scrolls from the exhibition.

 

II. Scrolls from an exhibition

 

That was a scene from Mel Brook’s “History of the World.” Mel Brooks made fun of it, but the Inquisition wasn’t just a fearsome aspect of a past time and place, it’s a continuing threat from those who would impose their faith on others.

With us still, is Dr. Schier, and now we’re going to look at some scrolls from the traveling exhibit made possible by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and Global Ethic Foundation.

When we return, we’ll explore the experiences Dr. Schier has had, here in the Philippines and elsewhere.

 

III. Interview

 

With us is Dr. Schier…

Let’s return to the four realizations of the Global Ethic movement:

Commitment to a culture of non-violence and respect for life.

Commitment to a culture of solidarity and a just economic order.

Commitment to a culture of tolerance and a life of truthfulness.

Commitment to a culture of equal rights and partnership between men and women.

 

IV. My view

 

We are, sadly, too used to seeing religion used to justify violence and repression. Yet each of us, whether we are individuals of religious faith, or who hold fast to secular ideals, recognizes that for peace to reign, pluralism is required. We may worship various Gods, or no God, but we must grant others the right to hold fast to their faiths, without imposing it on others. It begins, as the Global Ethic Foundation has attempted, with identifying what we can hold in common with others.

 

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