The Declaration Toward A Global Ethic

The Declaration Toward A Global Ethic is a document that was endorsed by leaders of many religions at the Parliament of the World’s Religions, held in Chicago in 1993.

The 1993 Parliament itself marked the centenary of the World’s Parliament of Religions, also held in Chicago, in association with celebrations of the four hundredth anniversary of the ‘discovery’ of America by Christopher Columbus.

At the 1893 Parliament, its President Charles Bonney, said the Parliament hoped

‘to unite all religion against all irreligion and to make the Golden Rule the basis of this union.’
The document discussed at the 1993 Parliament of World Religions was drafted by the Swiss theologian Hans Küng, who had written in his book Global Responsibility, these lines which have become almost a slogan for this endeavour:

No human life without a world ethic for the nations
No peace among the nations without peace among the religions.
No peace among the religions without dialogue among the religions.

To the document prepared by Hans Küng, the Preparatory Committee for the Parliament added a summary, which was what participants at the Parliament signed and which is reproduced here. For a detailed study you need to consult the full text.
Go to the Declaration Towards a Global Ethic.

The full text begins with the assumptions on which the document is based. The world, it is claimed, is experiencing a fundamental crisis in global economy, global ecology and global politics. There is the lack of a ‘grand vision’. (Read more)

Two principles are affirmed:

1. ‘There will be no new global order without a new global ethic.’
2. ‘Every human being must be treated humanely’ (Read more)
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The Declaration develops this into Four Irrevocable Directives, which are
1. Commitment to a culture of non-violence and respect for life.
2. Commitment to a culture of solidarity and a just economic order.
3. Commitment to a culture of tolerance and a life of truthfulness.
4. Commitment to a culture of equal rights and partnership between men and women.
These are then discussed more fully…..(Read more)

The Declaration raises a number of questions.

1. Do you think that religions do in fact agree on basic ethical principles?
Even within the same religion people may disagree about whether the use of force is ever permissible or they may adopt different attitudes to homosexuality. (Read more)