The Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions

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Towards a Global Ethic: An Initial Declaration
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Towards a Global Ethic: An Initial Declaration

Parliament of the World's Religions Drafted initially by Dr. Hans Kung, in cooperation with CPWR staff and Trustees and experts drawing on many of the world's religious and spiritual traditions, Towards a Global Ethic: An Initial Declaration identifies four essential affirmations as shared priniciples essential to a global ethic.

Affirming respect for all life, economic justice and solidarity, tolerance and truthfulness, and equal rights and partnership between men and women, the document elaborated eloquently on the significance of each value for our modern world. Endorsed at the 1993 Parliament of the World's Religions in Chicago, USA, Towards a Global Ethic urges all men and women of good will to join in the commitment to these vital shared principles.

Used throughout the world by universities, religious and spiritual communities and interfaith organizations, Towards a Global Ethic has emerged as one of the most significant building blocks in the continuing process of creating global ethical understanding and consensus.


The world is in agony.
The agony is so pervasive and urgent that we are compelled to name its manifestations so that the depth of this pain may be made clear. Peace eludes us ... the planet is being destroyed ... neighbors live in fear ... women and men are estranged from each other ... children die! This is abhorrent! We condemn the abuses of Earth's ecosystems. We condemn the poverty that stifles life's potential; the hunger that weakens the human body; the economic disparities that threaten so many families with ruin. We condemn the social disarray of the nations; the disregard for justice which pushes citizens to the margin; the anarchy overtaking our communities; and the insane death of children from violence. In particular we condemn aggression and hatred in the name of religion. But this agony need not be. It need not be because the basis for an ethic already exists. This ethic offers the possibility of a better individual and global order, and leads individuals away from despair and societies away from chaos. We are women and men who have embraced the precepts and practices of the world's religions: We affirm that a common set of core values is found in the teachings of the religions, and that these form the basis of a global ethic. We affirm that this truth is already known, but yet to be lived in heart and action. We affirm that there is an irrevocable, unconditional norm for all areas of life, for families and communities, for races, nations, and religions. There already exist ancient guidelines for human behavior which are found in the teachings of the religions of the world and which are the condition for a sustainable world order.
We Declare:

We are interdependent. Each of us depends on the well-being
of the whole, and so we have respect for the community of living
beings, for people, animals, and plants, and for the preservation
of Earth, the air, water and soil.
We take individual responsibility for all we do. All our
decisions, actions, and failures to act have consequences.
We must treat others as we wish others to treat us. We make
a commitment to respect life and dignity, individuality and
diversity, so that every person is treated humanely, without
exception. We must have patience and acceptance. We must be able
to forgive, learning from the past but never allowing ourselves
to be enslaved by memories of hate. Opening our hearts to one
another, we must sink our narrow differences for the cause of the
world community, practicing a culture of solidarity and
We consider humankind our family. We must strive to be kind
and generous. We must not live for ourselves alone, but should
also serve others, never forgetting the children, the aged, the
poor, the suffering, the disabled, the refugees, and the lonely.
No person should ever be considered or treated as a second-class
citizen, or be exploited in any way whatsoever. There should be
equal partnership between men and women. We must not commit any
kind of sexual immorality. We must put behind us all forms of
domination or abuse.
We commit ourselves to a culture of non-violence, respect,
justice, and peace. We shall not oppress, injure, torture, or
kill other human beings, forsaking violence as a means of
settling differences.
We must strive for a just social and economic order, in
which everyone has an equal chance to reach full potential as a
human being. We must speak and act truthfully and with
compassion, dealing fairly with all, and avoiding prejudice and
hatred. We must not steal. We must move beyond the dominance of
greed for power, prestige, money, and consumption to make a just
and peaceful world.
Earth cannot be changed for the better unless the
consciousness of individuals is changed first. We pledge to
increase our awareness by disciplining our minds, by meditation,
by prayer, or by positive thinking. Without risk and a readiness
to sacrifice there can be no fundamental change in our situation.
Therefore we commit ourselves to this global ethic, to
understanding one another, and to socially beneficial,
peace-fostering, and nature-friendly ways of life.
We invite all people,
whether religious or not,
to do the same.

Our world is experiencing a fundamental crisis: a crisis in
global economy, global ecology, and global politics. The lack of
a grand vision, the tangle of unresolved problems, political
paralysis, mediocre political leadership with little insight or
foresight, and in general too little sense for the commonweal are
seen everywhere: too many old answers to new challenges.
Hundreds of millions of human beings on our planet increasingly
suffer from unemployment, poverty, hunger, and the destruction of
their families. Hope for a lasting peace among nations slips away
from us. There are tensions between the sexes and generations.
Children die, kill, and are killed. More and more countries are
shaken by corruption in politics and business. It is increasingly
difficult to live together peacefully in our cities because of
social, racial, and ethnic conflicts, the abuse of drugs,
organized crime, and even anarchy. Even neighbors often live in
fear of one another. Our planet continues to be ruthlessly
plundered. A collapse of the ecosystem threatens us.
Time and again we see leaders and members of religions incite
aggression, fanaticism, hate, and xenophobia -- even inspire and
legitimize violent and bloody conflicts. Religion often is
misused for purely power-political goals, including war. We are
filled with disgust.
We condemn these blights and declare that they need not be. An
ethic already exists within the religious teachings of the world
which can counter the global distress. Of course this ethic
provides no direct solution for all the immense problems of the
world, but it does supply the moral foundation for a better
individual and global order: a vision which can lead women and
men away from despair, and society away from chaos.
We are persons who have committed ourselves to the precepts and
practices of the world's religions. We confirm that there is
already a consensus among the religions which can be the basis
for a global ethic -- a minimal "fundamental consensus"
concerning binding "values," irrevocable "standards," and
fundamental" moral attitudes."
I. No new global order without a new global ethic!

We women and men of various religions and regions of Earth
therefore address all people, religious and non-religious. We
wish to express the following convictions which we hold in
* We all have a responsibility for a better global order.
* Our involvement for the sake of human rights,
freedom, justice, peace, and the preservation of Earth is
absolutely necessary.
* Our different religious and cultural traditions must
not prevent our common involvement in opposing all forms of
inhumanity and working for greater humaneness.
* The principles expressed in this global ethic can be
affirmed by all persons with ethical convictions, whether
religiously grounded or not.
* As religious and spiritual persons we base our lives
on an Ultimate Reality, and draw spiritual power and hope
therefrom, in trust, in prayer or meditation, in word or silence.
We have a special responsibility for the welfare of all humanity
and care for the planet Earth. We do not consider ourselves
better than other women and men, but we trust that the ancient
wisdom of our religions can point the way for the future.
After two world wars and the end of the cold war, the collapse of
fascism and nazism, the shaking to the foundations of communism
and colonialism, humanity has entered a new phase of its history.
Today we possess sufficient economic, cultural, and spiritual
resources to introduce a better global order. But old and new
ethnic, national, social, economic, and religious tensions
threaten the peaceful building of a better world. We have
experienced greater technological progress than ever before, yet
we see that worldwide poverty, hunger, death of children,
unemployment, misery, and the destruction of nature have not
diminished but rather have increased. Many peoples are threatened
with economic ruin, social disarray, political marginalization,
ecological catastrophe, and national collapse.
In such a dramatic global situation humanity needs a vision of
peoples living peacefully together, of ethnic and ethical
groupings and of religions sharing responsibility for the care of
Earth. A vision rests on hopes, goals, ideals, standards. But all
over the world these have slipped from our hands. Yet we are
convinced that, despite their frequent abuses and failures, it is
the communities of faith who bear a responsibility to demonstrate
that such hopes, ideals, and standards can be guarded, grounded,
and lived. This is especially true in the modern state.
Guarantees of freedom of conscience and religion are necessary
but they do not substitute for binding values, convictions, and
norms which are valid for all humans regardless of their social
origin, sex, skin color, language, or religion.
We are convinced of the fundamental unity of the human family on
Earth. We recall the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights
of the United Nations. What it 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 humans with each other.
On the basis of personal experiences and the burdensome history
of our planet we have learned
* that a better global order cannot be created or enforced
by laws, prescriptions, and conventions alone;
* that the realization of peace, justice, and the protection
of Earth depends on the insight and readiness of men and women to
act justly;
* that action in favor of rights and freedoms presumes a
consciousness of responsibility and duty, and that therefore both
the minds and hearts of women and men must be addressed;
* that rights without morality cannot long endure, and that
"there will be no better global order without a global ethic."
By a global ethic we do not mean a global ideology or a single
unified religion beyond all existing religions, and certainly not
the domination of one religion over all others. By a global ethic
we mean a fundamental consensus on binding values, irrevocable
standards, and personal attitudes. Without such a fundamental
consensus on an ethic, sooner or later every community will be
threatened by chaos or dictatorship, and individuals will
II. A fundamental demand:
every human being must be treated humanely.

We all are fallible, imperfect men and women with limitations and
defects. We know the reality of evil. Precisely because of this,
we feel compelled for the sake of global welfare to express what
the fundamental elements of a global ethic should be -- for
individuals as well as for communities and organizations, for
states as well as for the religions themselves. We trust that our
often millennia-old religious and ethical traditions provide an
ethic which is convincing and practicable for all women and men
of good will, religious and non-religious.
At the same time we know that our various religious and ethical
traditions often offer very different bases for what is helpful
and what is unhelpful for men and women, what is right and what
is wrong, what is good and what is evil. 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.
We know that religions cannot solve the environmental, economic,
political, and social problems of Earth. However they can provide
what obviously cannot be attained by economic plans, political
programs, or legal regulations alone: a change in the inner
orientation, the whole mentality, the "hearts" of people, and
a conversion from a false path to a new orientation for life.
Humankind urgently needs social and ecological reforms, but it
needs spiritual renewal just as urgently. As religious or
spiritual persons we commit ourselves to this task. The spiritual
powers of the religions can offer a fundamental sense of trust, a
ground of meaning, ultimate standards, and a spiritual home. Of
course religions are credible only when they eliminate those
conflicts which spring from the religions themselves, dismantling
mutual arrogance, mistrust, prejudice, and even hostile images,
and thus demonstrating respect for the traditions, holy places,
feasts, and rituals of people who believe differently.
Now as before, women and men are treated inhumanely all over the
world. They are robbed of their opportunities and their freedom;
their human rights are trampled underfoot; their dignity is
disregarded. But might does not make right! In the face of all
inhumanity our religious and ethical convictions demand that
"every human being must be treated humanely!"
This means that every human being without distinction of age,
sex, race, skin color, physical or mental ability, language,
religion, political view, or national or social origin possesses
an inalienable and untouchable dignity, and everyone, the
individual as well as the state, is therefore obliged to honor
this dignity and protect it. Humans must always be the subjects
of rights, must be ends, never mere means, never objects of
commercialization and industrialization in economics, politics
and media, in research institutes, and industrial corporations.
No one stands "above good and evil" -- no human being, no social
class, no influential interest group, no cartel, no police
apparatus, no army, and no state. On the contrary: possessed of
reason and conscience, every human is obliged to behave in a
genuinely human fashion, to do good and avoid evil!
It is the intention of this global ethic to clarify what this
means. In it we wish to recall irrevocable, unconditional ethical
norms. These should not be bonds and chains, but helps and
supports for people to find and realize once again their lives'
direction, values, orientations, and meaning.
There is a principle which is found and has persisted in many
religious and ethical traditions of humankind for thousands of
years: "What you do not wish done to yourself, do not do to
others." Or in positive terms: "What you wish done to yourself,
do to others!" This should be the irrevocable, unconditional norm
for all areas of life, for families and communities, for races,
nations, and religions.
Every form of egoism should be rejected: all selfishness, whether
individual or collective, whether in the form of class thinking,
racism, nationalism, or sexism. We condemn these because they
prevent humans from being authentically human. Self-determination
and self-realization are thoroughly legitimate so long as they
are not separated from human self-responsibility and global
responsibility, that is, from responsibility for fellow humans
and for the planet Earth.
This principle implies very concrete standards to which we humans
should hold firm. From it arise four broad, ancient guidelines
for human behavior which are found in most of the religions of
the world.
III. Irrevocable directives.

1. Commitment to a culture of non-violence and respect for life
Numberless women and men of all regions and religions strive to
lead lives not determined by egoism but by commitment to their
fellow humans and to the world around them. Nevertheless, all
over the world we find endless hatred, envy, jealousy, and
violence, not only between individuals but also between social
and ethnic groups, between classes, races, nations, and
religions. The use of violence, drug trafficking and organized
crime, often equipped with new technical possibilities, has
reached global proportions. Many places still are ruled by terror
"from above;" dictators oppress their own people, and
institutional violence is widespread. Even in some countries
where laws exist to protect individual freedoms, prisoners are
tortured, men and women are mutilated, hostages are killed.
a) In the great ancient religious and ethical traditions of
humankind we find the directive: "You shall not kill!" Or in
positive terms: "Have respect for life!" Let us reflect anew on
the consequences of this ancient directive: All people have a
right to life, safety, and the free development of personality
insofar as they do not injure the rights of others. No one has
the right physically or psychically to torture, injure, much less
kill, any other human being. And no people, no state, no race, no
religion has the right to hate, to discriminate against, to
"cleanse," to exile, much less to liquidate a "foreign" minority
which is different in behavior or holds different beliefs.
b) Of course, wherever there are humans there will be
conflicts. Such conflicts, however, should be resolved without
violence within a framework of justice. This is true for states
as well as for individuals. Persons who hold political power must
work within the framework of a just order and commit themselves
to the most nonviolent, peaceful solutions possible. And they
should work for this within an international order of peace which
itself has need of protection and defense against perpetrators of
violence. Armament is a mistaken path; disarmament is the
commandment of the times. Let no one be deceived: There is no
survival for humanity without global peace!
c) Young people must learn at home and in school that
violence may not be a means of settling differences with others.
Only thus can a culture of nonviolence be created.
d) A human person is infinitely precious and must be
unconditionally protected. But likewise the lives of animals and
plants which inhabit this planet with us deserve protection,
preservation, and care. Limitless exploitation of the natural
foundations of life, ruthless destruction of the biosphere, and
militarization of the cosmos are all outrages. As human beings we
have a special responsibility -- especially with a view to future
generations -- for Earth and the cosmos, for the air, water, and
soil. We are all intertwined together in this cosmos and we are
all dependent on each other. Each one of us depends on the
welfare of all. Therefore the dominance of humanity over nature
and the cosmos must not be encouraged. Instead we must cultivate
living in harmony with nature and the cosmos.
e) To be authentically human in the spirit of our great
religious and ethical traditions means that in public as well as
in private life we must be concerned for others and ready to
help. We must never be ruthless and brutal. Every people, every
race, every religion must show tolerance and respect -- indeed
high appreciation -- for every other. Minorities need protection
and support, whether they be racial, ethnic, or religious.
2. Commitment to a culture of solidarity and a just economic
Numberless men and women of all regions and religions strive to
live their lives in solidarity with one another and to work for
authentic fulfillment of their vocations. Nevertheless, all over
the world we find endless hunger, deficiency, and need. Not only
individuals, but especially unjust institutions and structures
are responsible for these tragedies. Millions of people are
without work; millions are exploited by poor wages, forced to the
edges of society, with their possibilities for the future
destroyed. In many lands the gap between the poor and the rich,
between the powerful and the powerless is immense. We live in a
world in which totalitarian state socialism as well as unbridled
capitalism have hollowed out and destroyed many ethical and
spiritual values. A materialistic mentality breeds greed for
unlimited profit and a grasping for endless plunder. These
demands claim more and more of the community's resources without
obliging the individual to contribute more. The cancerous social
evil of corruption thrives in the developing countries and in the
developed countries alike.
a) In the great ancient religious and ethical traditions of
humankind we find the directive: "You shall not steal! "Or in
positive terms: "Deal honestly and fairly! "Let us reflect anew
on the consequences of this ancient directive: no one has the
right to rob or dispossess in any way whatsoever any other person
or the commonweal. Further, no one has the right to use her or
his possessions without concern for the needs of society and
b) Where extreme poverty reigns, helplessness and despair
spread, and theft occurs again and again for the sake of
survival. Where power and wealth are accumulated ruthlessly,
feelings of envy, resentment, and deadly hatred and rebellion
inevitably well up in the disadvantaged and marginalized. This
leads to a vicious circle of violence and counter-violence. Let
no one be deceived: there is no global peace without global
c) Young people must learn at home and in school that
property, limited though it may be, carries with it an
obligation, and that its uses should at the same time serve the
common good. Only thus can a just economic order be built up.
d) If the plight of the poorest billions of humans on this
planet, particularly women and children, is to be improved, the
world economy must be structured more justly. Individual good
deeds, and assistance projects, indispensable though they be, are
insufficient. The participation of all states and the authority
of international organizations are needed to build just economic
A solution which can be supported by all sides must be sought for
the debt crisis and the poverty of the dissolving second world,
and even more the third world. Of course conflicts of interest
are unavoidable. In the developed countries, a distinction must
be made between necessary and limitless consumption, between
socially beneficial and non-beneficial uses of property, between
justified and unjustified uses of natural resources, and between
a profit-only and a socially beneficial and ecologically oriented
market economy. Even the developing nations must search their
national consciences.
Wherever those ruling threaten to repress those ruled, wherever
institutions threaten persons, and wherever might oppresses
right, we are obligated to resist -- whenever possible
e) To be authentically human in the spirit of our great
religious and ethical traditions means the following:
* We must utilize economic and political power for service
to humanity instead of misusing it in ruthless battles for
domination. We must develop a spirit of compassion with those
who suffer, with special care for the children, the aged, the
poor, the disabled, the refugees, and the lonely.
* We must cultivate mutual respect and consideration, so as
to reach a reasonable balance of interests, instead of thinking
only of unlimited power and unavoidable competitive struggles.
* We must value a sense of moderation and modesty instead of
an unquenchable greed for money, prestige, and consumption. In
greed humans lose their "souls," their freedom, their composure,
their inner peace, and thus that which makes them human.
3. Commitment to a culture of tolerance and a life of
Numberless women and men of all regions and religions strive to
lead lives of honesty and truthfulness. Nevertheless, all over
the world we find endless lies and deceit, swindling and
hypocrisy, ideology and demagoguery:
* Politicians and business people who use lies as a means to
* Mass media which spread ideological propaganda instead of
accurate reporting, misinformation instead of information,
cynical commercial interest instead of loyalty to the truth;
* Scientists and researchers who give themselves over to
morally questionable ideological or political programs or to
economic interest groups, or who justify research which violates
fundamental ethical values;
* Representatives of religions who dismiss other religions
as of little value and who preach fanaticism and intolerance
instead of respect and understanding.
a) In the great ancient religious and ethical traditions of
humankind we find the directive: "You shall not lie!" Or in
positive terms: "Speak and act truthfully!" Let us reflect anew
on the consequences of this ancient directive: No woman or man,
no institution, no state or church or religious community has the
right to speak lies to other humans.
b) This is especially true
* for those who work in the mass media, to whom we entrust
the freedom to report for the sake of truth and to whom we thus
grant the office of guardian -- they do not stand above morality
but have the obligation to respect human dignity, human rights,
and fundamental values; they are duty-bound to objectivity,
fairness, and the preservation of human dignity; they have no
right to intrude into individuals' private spheres, to manipulate
public opinion, or to distort reality;
* for artists, writers, and scientists, to whom we entrust
artistic and academic freedom; they are not exempt from general
ethical standards and must serve the truth;
* for the leaders of countries, politicians, and political
parties, to whom we entrust our own freedoms -- when they lie in
the faces of their people, when they manipulate the truth, or
when they are guilty of venality or ruthlessness in domestic or
foreign affairs, they forsake their credibility and deserve to
lose their offices and their voters; conversely, public opinion
should support those politicians who dare to speak the truth to
the people at all times;
* finally, for representatives of religion -- when they stir
up prejudice, hatred, and enmity towards those of different
belief, or even incite or legitimize religious wars, they deserve
the condemnation of humankind and the loss of their adherents.
Let no one be deceived: there is no global justice without
truthfulness and humaneness!
c) Young people must learn at home and in school to think,
speak, and act truthfully. They have a right to information and
education to be able to make the decisions that will form their
lives. Without an ethical formation they will hardly be able to
distinguish the important from the unimportant. In the daily
flood of information, ethical standards will help them discern
when opinions are portrayed as facts, interests veiled,
tendencies exaggerated, and facts twisted.
d) To be authentically human in the spirit of our great
religious and ethical traditions means the following:
* We must not confuse freedom with arbitrariness or
pluralism with indifference to truth.
* We must cultivate truthfulness in all our relationships
instead of dishonesty, dissembling, and opportunism.
* We must constantly seek truth and incorruptible sincerity
instead of spreading ideological or partisan half-truths.
* We must courageously serve the truth and we must remain
constant and trustworthy, instead of yielding to opportunistic
accommodation to life.
4. Commitment to a culture of equal rights and partnership
between men and women
Numberless men and women of all regions and religions strive to
live their lives in a spirit of partnership and responsible
action in the areas of love, sexuality, and family. Nevertheless,
all over the world there are condemnable forms of patriarchy,
domination of one sex over the other, exploitation of women,
sexual misuse of children, and forced prostitution. Too
frequently, social inequities force women and even children into
prostitution as a means of survival, particularly in less
developed countries.
a) In the great ancient religious and ethical traditions of
humankind we find the directive: "You shall not commit sexual
immorality!" Or in positive terms: "Respect and love one
another!" Let us reflect anew on the consequences of this ancient
directive: no one has the right to degrade others to mere sex
objects, to lead them into or hold them in sexual dependency.
b) We condemn sexual exploitation and sexual discrimination
as one of the worst forms of human degradation. We have the duty
to resist wherever the domination of one sex over the other is
preached -- even in the name of religious conviction; wherever
sexual exploitation is tolerated, wherever prostitution is
fostered or children are misused. Let no one be deceived: There
is no authentic humaneness without a living together in
c) Young people must learn at home and in school that
sexuality is not a negative, destructive, or exploitative force,
but creative and affirmative. Sexuality as a life-affirming
shaper of community can only be effective when partners accept
the responsibilities of caring for one another's happiness.
d) The relationship between women and men should be
characterized not by patronizing behavior or exploitation, but by
love, partnership, and trustworthiness. Human fulfillment is not
identical with sexual pleasure. Sexuality should express and
reinforce a loving relationship lived by equal partners.
Some religious traditions know the ideal of a voluntary
renunciation of the full use of sexuality. Voluntary renunciation
also can be an expression of identity and meaningful fulfillment.
e) The social institution of marriage, despite all its cultural
and religious variety, is characterized by love, loyalty, and
permanence. It aims at and should guarantee security and mutual
support to husband, wife, and child. It should secure the rights
of all family members.
All lands and cultures should develop economic and social
relationships which will enable marriage and family life worthy
of human beings, especially for older people. Children have a
right of access to education. Parents should not exploit
children, nor children parents. Their relationships should
reflect mutual respect, appreciation, and concern.
f) To be authentically human in the spirit of our great religious
and ethical traditions means the following:
* We need mutual respect, partnership, and understanding,
instead of patriarchal domination and degradation, which are
expressions of violence and engender counter- violence.
* We need mutual concern, tolerance, readiness for
reconciliation, and love, instead of any form of possessive lust
or sexual misuse.
Only what has already been experienced in personal and familial
relationships can be practiced on the level of nations and
IV. A Transformation of Consciousness!

Historical experience demonstrates the following:
Earth cannot be changed for the better unless we achieve a
transformation in the consciousness of individuals and in public
life. The possibilities for transformation have already been
glimpsed in areas such as war and peace, economy, and ecology,
where in recent decades fundamental changes have taken place.
This transformation must also be achieved in the area of ethics
and values!
Every individual has intrinsic dignity and inalienable rights,
and each also has an inescapable responsibility for what she or
he does and does not do. All our decisions and deeds, even our
omissions and failures, have consequences.
Keeping this sense of responsibility alive, deepening it and
passing it on to future generations, is the special task of
We are realistic about what we have achieved in this consensus,
and so we urge that the following be observed:
1. A universal consensus on many disputed ethical questions
(from bio- and sexual ethics through mass media and scientific
ethics to economic and political ethics) will be difficult to
attain. Nevertheless, even for many controversial questions,
suitable solutions should be attainable in the spirit of the
fundamental principles we have jointly developed here.
2. In many areas of life a new consciousness of ethical
responsibility has already arisen. Therefore we would be pleased
if as many professions as possible, such as those of physicians,
scientists, business people, journalists, and politicians, would
develop up-to-date codes of ethics which would provide specific
guidelines for the vexing questions of these particular
3. Above all, we urge the various communities of faith to
formulate their very specific ethics: what does each faith
tradition have to say, for example, about the meaning of life and
death, the enduring of suffering and the forgiveness of guilt,
about selfless sacrifice and the necessity of renunciation, about
compassion and joy? These will deepen, and make more specific,
the already discernible global ethic.
In conclusion, we appeal to all the inhabitants of this planet.
Earth cannot be changed for the better unless the consciousness
of individuals is changed. We pledge to work for such
transformation in individual and collective consciousness, for
the awakening of our spiritual powers through reflection,
meditation, prayer, or positive thinking, for a conversion of the
heart. Together we can move mountains! Without a willingness to
take risks and a readiness to sacrifice there can be no
fundamental change in our situation! Therefore we commit
ourselves to a common global ethic, to better mutual
understanding, as well as to socially beneficial,
peace-fostering, and Earth-friendly ways of life.
We invite all men and women,
whether religious or not,
to do the same.
NOTE: This interfaith declaration is the result of a two-year
consultation among approximately two hundred scholars and
theologians from many of the world's communities of faith. On
September 2-4, 1993, the document was discussed by an assembly of
religious and spiritual leaders meeting as part of the 1993
Parliament of the World's Religions in Chicago. Respected leaders
from all the world's major faiths signed the "Declaration",
agreeing that it represents an initial effort -- a point of
beginning for a world sorely in need of ethical consensus. The
Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions and those who
have endorsed this text offer it to the world as an initial
statement of the rules for living on which the world's religions
can agree.


Tan Sri Dato' Seri Ahmad Sarji bin Abdul-Hamid (Muslim, Malaysia)
Prof. Masao Abe (Buddhist, Japan)
Dr. Thelma Adair (Christian, USA)
H.R.H. Oseijeman Adefunmi I (Indigenous, USA)
Dr. Hamid Ahmed (Muslim, India)
Mrs. Mazhar Ahmed (Muslim, India)
Pravrajika Amalaprana (Hindu, India)
Dastoor Dr. Kersey Antia (Zoroastrian, USA)
Mme. Nana Apeadu (Indigenous, Ghana)
Dr. M. Aram (Hindu, India)
Rev. Wesley Ariarajah (Christian, Switzerland)
Dr. A. T. Ariyaratne (Buddhist, Sri Lanka)
Imam Dawud Assad (Muslim, USA)
Jayashree Athavale-Talwarkar (Hindu, India)
H.H. Shri Atmanandji (Jain, India)
H.I.G. Bambi Baaba (Indigenous, Uganda)
Rev. Thomas A. Baima (Christian, USA)
Dr. Gerald O. Barney (Christian, USA)
H.Em. Joseph Cardinal Bernardin (Christian, USA)
Mr. Karl Berolzheimer (Jewish, USA)
Pere Pierre-Francois de Bethune (Christian, Belgium)
Dr. Nelvia M. Brady (Christian, USA)
Rev. Marcus Braybrooke (Christian, UK)
Dr. David Breed (Christian, USA)
Rabbi Herbert Bronstein (Jewish, USA)
Rev. John Buchanan (Christian, USA)
Mrs. Radha Burnier (Theosophist, India)
Rev. Baroness Cara-Marguerite-Drusilla, L.P.H. (Neo-Pagan,USA)
Mr. Blouke Carus (Christian, USA)
Mr. Peter V. Catches (Native American, USA)
Sister Joan M. Chatfield, M.M. (Christian, USA)
H.H. Swami Chidananda Saraswati (Hindu, India)
Swami Chidananda Saraswati Muniji (Hindu, USA)
Ms. Juana Conrad (Baha'i, USA)
H.H. The Dalai Lama (Buddhist, India)
Swami Dayananda Saraswati (Hindu, USA)
Counsellor Jacqueline Delahunt (Baha'i, USA)
Dr. Yvonne Delk (Christian, USA)
Sister Pratima Desai (Brahma Kumaris, USA)
Dr. Homi Dhalla (Zoroastrian, India)
Very Rev. R. Sheldon Duecker (Christian, USA)
Prof. Diana L. Eck (Christian, USA)
Dr. Wilma Ellis (Baha'i, USA)
Hon. Louis Farrakhan (Muslim, USA)
Dr. Leon D. Finney, Jr (Christian, USA)
Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes Jr. (Christian, USA)
Dr. Rashmikant Gardi (Jain, USA)
Mr. Dipchand S. Gardi (Jain, India)
Mrs. Maria Svolos Gebhard (Christian, USA)
Preah Maha Ghosananda (Buddhist, Cambodia)
Dr. Daniel Gomez-Ibanez (Interfaith, USA)
Dr. Hamid Abdul Hai (Muslim, USA)
Dr. Mohammad Hamidullah (Muslim, Uganda)
B.K. Jagdish Chander Hassija (Brahma Kumaris, India)
Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C. (Christian, USA)
Prof. Susannah Heschel (Jewish, USA)
Dr. Aziza al-Hibri (Muslim, USA)
Mr. Chungliang Al Huang (Taoist, USA)
Dr. Asad Husain (Muslim, USA)
Dato' Dr. Haji Ismail bin Ibrahim (Muslim, Malaysia)
Prof. Ephraim Isaac (Jewish, USA)
Hon. Narendra P. Jain (Jain, India)
Dastoor Dr. Kaikhusroo Minocher Jamaspasa (Zoroastrian, India)
Very Rev. Frederick C. James (Christian, USA)
Ma Jaya Bhagavati (Interfaith, USA)
Ajahn Phra Maha Surasak Jvnando (Buddhist, USA)
Dr. Chatsumarn Kabilsingh (Buddhist, Thailand)
Abbot Timothy Kelly OSB (Christian, USA)
Mr. Jim Kenney (Christian, USA)
Sadguru Sant Keshavadas (Hindu, India)
Siri Singh Sahib Bhai Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogiji (Sikh, USA)
Dr. Irfan Ahmad Khan (Muslim, USA)
Dr. Qadir Husain Khan (Muslim, India)
Mr. P.V. Krishnayya (Hindu, USA)
Dr. Lakshmi Kumari (Hindu, India)
Prof. Dr. Hans Kung (Christian, Germany)
Mr. Peter Laurence (Jewish, USA)
Ms. Dolores Leakey (Christian, USA)
Rev. Chung Ok Lee (Buddhist, USA)
Mrs. Norma U. Levitt (Jewish, USA)
Rev. Deborah Ann Light (Neo-Pagan, USA)
Mr. Amrish Mahajan (Hindu, USA)
Sister Joan Monica McGuire, O.P. (Christian, USA)
Imam Warith Deen Mohammed (Muslim, USA)
Very Rev. James Parks Morton (Christian, USA)
Mr. Archie Mosay (Native American, USA)
Dr. Robert Muller (Christian, Costa Rica)
Rev. Albert Nambiaparambil, CMI (Christian, India)
Prof. Seyyed Hossein Nasr (Muslim, USA)
Prof. James Nelson (Christian, USA)
Mr. Charles Nolley (Baha'i, USA)
Rev. Koshin Ogui, Sensei (Buddhist, USA)
Dastoor Jehangir Oshidari (Zoroastrian, Iran)
Dr Abdel Rahman Osman (Muslim, USA)
Luang Poh Panyananda (Buddhist, Thailand)
Ven. Achahn Dr. Chuen Phangcham (Buddhist, USA)
Pravrajika Prabuddhaprana (Hindu, India)
B.K. Dadi Prakashmani (Brahma Kumaris, India)
Mr. Burton Pretty On Top (Native American, USA)
Rev. Dr. David Ramage, Jr. (Christian, USA)
Ven. Dr. Havanpola Ratanasara (Buddhist, USA)
Dr. Krishna Reddy (Hindu, USA)
Prof. V. Madhusudan Reddy (Hindu, INDIA)
Mrs. Robert Reneker (Christian, USA)
Rev. Dr. Syngman Rhee (Christian, USA)
Mr. Rohinton Rivetna (Zoroastrian, USA)
Lady Olivia Robertson (Neo-Pagan, Eire)
Most Rev. Placido Rodriguez (Christian, USA)
Most Rev. Willy Romulus (Christian, Haiti)
Ven. Seung Sahn (Buddhist, USA)
Swami Satchidananda (Hindu, USA)
Ms. Dorothy Savage (Christian, USA)
Rabbi Herman Schaalman (Jewish, USA)
Hon. Syed Shahabuddin (Muslim, India)
Bhai Mohinder Singh (Sikh, USA)
Dr. Karan Singh (Hindu, India)
Dr. Mehervan Singh (Sikh, Singapore)
Mr. Hardial Singh (Sikh, India)
Mr. Indarjit Singh (Sikh, UK)
Singh Sahib Jathedar Manjit Singh (Sikh, India)
Dr. Balwant Singh Hansra (Sikh, USA)
H.E. Dr. L. M. Singhvi (Jain, UK)
Ms. R. Leilani Smith (Baha'i, USA)
Ms. Helen Spector (Jewish, USA)
Brother David Steindl-Rast, OSB (Christian, USA)
H.H. Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (Hindu, USA)
Dr. Howard A. Sulkin (Jewish, USA)
Ven. Samu Sunim (Buddhist, USA)
Hon. Homi Taleyarkhan (Zoroastrian, India)
Mr. John B. Taylor (Christian, Switzerland)
Brother Wayne Teasdale (Christian, USA)
Rev. Margaret Orr Thomas (Christian, USA)
Rev. Robert Traer (Unitarian, UK)
Dr. William F. Vendley (Christian, USA)
Pravrajika Vivekaprana (Hindu, India)
Prof. Henry Wilson (Christian, Switzerland)
Ven. Dr. Mapalagama Wipulasara Maha Thero (Buddhist, Sri Lanka)
Ms. Yael Wurmfeld (Baha'i, USA)
Rev. Addie Wyatt (Christian, USA)
H.H. Dr. Bala Siva Yogindra Maharaj (Hindu, India)
Baba Metahochi Kofi Zannu (Indigenous, Nigeria)
Dastoor Kobad Zarolia (Zoroastrian, Canada)
Dastoor Mehraban Zarthosty (Zoroastrian, Canada)