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 Religious Tolerance logo

Morality and ethics

Excerpts from "The Principles of a Global Ethic"

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This statement was prepared by about 200 scholars from many faiths, and presented at the 1993 Parliament of the World's Religions, held 1993-AUG-28 to SEP-4 in Chicago IL. It was signed by 143 religious leaders present at the Parliament, and was proclaimed on 1993-SEP-4. The The Declaration of a Global Ethic formed a preamble. 

We have excerpted a number of references to religious tolerance below. The full text has been published 1and is accessible online. 2

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"...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 is often misused for purely power-political goals, including war. We are filled with disgust...."

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II. A fundamental demand: every human being must be treated humanely

"...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 believed differently..."

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III. Irrevocable directives: Commitment to a culture of non-violence and respect for life

"...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."

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III. Irrevocable directives: Commitment to a culture of tolerance and a life of truthfulness

"...all over the world, we find endless lies and deceit, swindling and hypocrisy, ideology and demagoguery... Representatives of religions who dismiss other religions as of little value and who preach fanaticism and intolerance instead of respect and understanding...No woman or man, no institution, no state or church or religious community has the right to speak lies to other humans...This is especially true...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."

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III. Irrevocable directives: Commitment to a culture of equal rights and partnership between men and women

"...We have the duty to resist whenever the domination of one sex over the other is preached - even in the name of religious conviction..."

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Webmaster's comments:

The Principles were written in 1993. I belive that the world has slowly become aware of a additional types of oppression beyond those based on racial, ethnic and religions criteria. I would suggest re-writing the sentence:

"Minorities need protection and support, whether they be racial, ethnic or religious."


"Women and minorities need protection and support, including minorities based on race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, and other criteria."

However, even in the year 2011, there are a half dozen countries where sexually active sexual minorities can be charged with a capital crime. Thus, it would probably be impossible to reach a worldwide consensus on such a change in 1993 or now. 

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. image of book cover Joel Beversluis, Ed, "A SourceBook for Earth's Community of Religions", New World Library (2000).. Read reviews and/or order a copy safely from's online book store
  2. Hans Küng, "Explanatory remarks concerning a 'Declaration of the Religions for a Global Ethic." The essay includes the declaration itself. See:
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