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The Global Ethic is the set of basic principles of right and wrong which in fact are found in all the major, and not so major, religions and ethical systems of the world, past and present. It does not go beyond the existing commonalities. However, this de facto existing broad basic agreement on ethical principles, unfortunately, is largely unknown by most religious and ethical persons. If they were aware of this commonality, that would provide a broad basis for serious dialogue and collaboration among the adherents of all the religions and ethical systems of the world. Lacking that awareness, far too often different religions and ethical systems foster destructive, rather than constructive, relations. Hence, it is vital to foster a conscious knowledge of the de facto existing Global Ethic.
The Movement for a Global Ethic – drafting of a Universal Declaration of a Global Ethic and promoting knowledge and practice – was launched in 1991. Where did the idea of a movement for a Universal Declaration of a Global Ethic come from? New ideas, new movements, don’t just appear out of thin air. When “integrating” forces pointing toward something “new” gradually gather below the conscious level, they slowly reach a critical point, and then suddenly a “new” idea will “precipitate,” like the “quality of mercy, which droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath.” Thus, it also happened with the Movement for a Global Ethic.
In this book, Dr. Leonard Swidler and 11 colleagues propose their perspectives on the Global Ethic from the vantage points of various religions.