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 neighbours 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 legitimate 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