Quotes and Excerpts from

A New Global Ethics

By Hans Kung

 Director of Tübingen University, Institute of Ecumenical Studies, Germany

http://kvc.minbuza.nl/kvcframe.html?/themas.html (Click on “discussion,” then “panel discussion” in column on the right,  then “speakers,” then “Hans Kung” on the left.

Notice that the common ideology below is social and spiritual solidarity. Beliefs that clash with their model of universal oneness would be considered exclusive and extremist. In other words, Biblical Christianity would be banned for the sake of "common good." As Jesus warned us, "If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you... for they do not know the One who sent me."

In contrast to the unbiblical ideals below, please see God's eternal, unchanging Word

Challenges and Responses

1. We live in a world and time, in which we observe new dangerous tensions and polarisations between believers and non-believers, religious people and agnostics, secularists, between clericals and anti-clericals – not only in Russia, and Europe, but also in Africa, in North-America, and in Asia.

To this challenge I respond: There can be no survival of humanity without a coalition of believers and non-believers in mutual respect!

But many people tell me: Are we not living in a period of a new cultural confrontation? Indeed:

2. We live in a world and time, where humanity is menaced by a 'clash of civilizations', e.g. between the Muslim civilization and the Western civilization. We are threatened not so much by a new world war, but by all sorts of conflicts...

To this challenge I respond: There will be no peace among the civilizations without peace among the religions!

But many people will ask: Is it not precisely the religions that often support and inspire hatred, enmity and war? Indeed:

3. We live in a world and time, in which peace in many countries is menaced by all sorts of religious fundamentalism, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, often simply rooted in social misery, in reaction to Western secularism....

To this challenge I respond: There will be no peace among the religions without dialogue between the religions!

But many people will object: Are there not so many dogmatic differences and obstacles between the different faiths, which make real dialogue a naive illusion? Indeed:

4. We live in a world and time, in which better relations between religions are blocked by all sort of dogmatisms which exist not only in the Roman Catholic Church, but in all churches, religions and ideologies.

To this challenge I respond: There will be no new world order without a world ethic, a global ethic despite dogmatic differences.

New World Order and World Ethic

1. In negative terms: A better world order will not be introduced on the basis.... simply of humanitarian help which cannot replace political actions and solutions....

2. In positive terms: A better world order will ultimately only be created on the basis of

·         common visions, ideals, values, aims and criteria;

·         heightened global responsibility on the part of peoples and their leaders;

·         a new binding and uniting ethic for all humankind, including states and those in power, which embraces cultures and religions. No new world order without a new world ethic, a global ethic.

3. What is the function of such a global ethic? ...

Global ethic is nothing less than the necessary minimum of common values, standards and basic attitudes. In other words: ... a minimal basis consensus relating to binding values, irrevocable standards and moral attitudes, which can be affirmed by all religions despite their 'dogmatic' differences ...

But is that not pure utopia? No, one of the most astonishing and at the same time most welcome phenomena of the last decade of the twentieth century is the almost explosive spread of the notion of a world ethic, not only in theology, philosophy and education, but also in world politics and the world economy. Let us take a look at the most important developments.

World politics discovers the global ethic

When I published the book Projekt Weltethos (Global Responsibility. In Search of a New World Ethic) in 1990, there were hardly any documents on a global ethic from world organizations to which I could refer. Of course there were declarations on human rights, above all the 1948 Declaration of the United Nations, but there were no declarations on human responsibilities. However, now, six years later, I can refer to three important international documents which not only acknowledge human rights, but also speak explicitly of human responsibilities...

(a) The international Commission on Global Governance (1995)

The report of the Commission on Global Governance is entitled Our Global Neighbourhood. The phenomenon of globalization forms the starting point for this four-hundred-page analysis....

....there is an explicit call for 'these values to be expressed in the form of a global civic ethic with specific rights and responsibilities', in which 'all citizens, as individuals and as members of different private groups and associations, should accept the obligation to recognize and help protect the rights of others'. This ethic should be incorporated into the developing 'fabric of international norms.'...

The international commission expresses the hope that 'over time, these principles could be embodied in a more binding international document – a global charter of Civil Society – that could provide a basis for all to agree on rules that should govern the global neighbourhood'.

(b) The World Commission on Culture and Development (1995)

"The major report by the World Commission on Culture and Development which was published in collaboration with the UN and UNESCO under the title Our Creative Diversity is of equal importance.14 Here a 'commitment to pluralism' is presupposed, but this statement is preceded by a chapter which stresses what is held in common rather than the differences: 'A New Global Ethics', an ethic of humankind, a world ethic.

"But why do we need a global ethic? Because collaboration between people of different cultures and interests could be made easier and their conflicts diminished and limited if all peoples and groups saw themselves 'bound and motivated' by 'shared commitments'. So it is 'imperative to look for a core of shared ethical values and principles'.

"But what could the sources of such a global ethic be? The formulation of a global ethic must be inspired by the cultural resources, the insights, emotional experiences, historical memories [See also The Memory of the World] and spiritual orientations of peoples. Despite all the differences between cultures there are some themes which appear in almost all cultural traditions and which could serve as the inspiration for a global ethic. The first of these sources are the great cultural traditions, especially 'the idea of human vulnerability and the attendant ethical impulse to alleviate suffering where such is possible and to provide security to each individual'. Now this is more a Buddhist formulation [That only applies to Western adaptation of Eastern Buddhism, which demonstrated both cruelty and gross immorality]....

And here too at the same time reference is made above all to the Golden Rule, which has found expression in the traditions of Confucianism, Taoism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and is also implicit in the practices of other faiths, thus pointing to the equal moral worth of all human beings....

"....human rights are perceived very differently in some non-Western societies. In southern Asia, for example, some human rights activists have had to recognize:

  • that many rights would be regarded only in the context of religion, the family or other institutions;

  • that people would always talk about their responsibilities before the question of their human rights...

The core of a global ethic

The statement by the InterAction Council, which consists of former Presidents and Prime Ministers (Helmut Schmidt of Germany, Pierre Trudeau of Canada, Miguel de la Madrid of Mexico and others), was approved in Vancouver on 22 May 1996 under the title 'In Search of Global Ethical Standards'. It openly addresses the negative role which the religions have often played, and still play, in the world: 'The world is also afflicted by religious extremism and violence preached and practised in the name of religion.'17 But the positive role of the religions is also noted.... .'20

The world's religions have different doctrines but they all advocate a common ethic of basic standards. What unites the world's faiths is far greater than what divides them.'

....the Parliament of the World's Religions, which met in Chicago in 1993, proclaimed a Declaration toward a Global Ethic which we support in principle.'24...

...a global ethic is no substitute for the Torah, the Gospels, the Qur'an, the Bhagavadgita, the Discourses of the Buddha or the Teachings of Confucius and others. A global ethic can only create the necessary minimum of common values, standards and basic attitudes..... The alliance of believers and non-believers (at the same time also that of theologians, philosophers, and scholars in the fields of religion and social science) in the matter of ethics is important....

The 'Declaration toward a Global Ethic'... simply aims to make known what religions in West and East, North and South already hold in common, but is so often obscured by numerous 'dogmatic' disputes and intolerable self-opinionatedness. In short, this Declaration seeks to emphasize the minimal ethic which is absolutely necessary for human survival. It is not directed against anyone, but invites all, believers and also non-believers, to adopt this ethic and live in accordance with it. In the words of the Declaration:... 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 favour 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.' ...

'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....

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!

See also The U.N. Plan For Global Control: The Habitat II Agenda

Brave New Schools | Reinventing the World  | The Global Compact

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