We need common ground in order to shape a better world. We need values, norms and attitudes we can agree upon. This is the only way we can communicate with one another and transform the world. The good news is that these values already exist.
As early as the 1980s our founder, Hans Küng, observed that all religions, cultures and philosophies already have common basic values and moral concepts, namely:
the principles of humanity and reciprocity (the Golden Rule) in addition to the values of non-violence, justice, honesty, equality and partnership as well as ecological responsibility.
These principles and values are documented in the Declaration of Global Ethic in the Parliament of World Religions. The declaration was created under the supervision of Hans Küng and adopted by representatives of hundreds of religions, in Chicago in 1993. With their support representatives of all world religions agreed, for the first time, on core elements of a common ethical code. The code of global ethic addresses both religious and non-religious people and forms a common working basis.
In his book “The Global Ethic Project” (1990) Hans Küng described the global ethic concept thus:
- “Without a basic consensus concerning certain values, norms and attitudes, living together in a humane society becomes impossible no matter whether the community is large or small. A modern democracy also cannot function without such a basic consensus which continually questions itself.”
That is why we point out ways in which these values can be lived and experienced – in the private sphere as well as the public sphere and in politics, the economy and culture– over and above the boundaries of religion and ideology.
To implement the concept of global ethic Küng sees the following as necessary:
- A dialogue between religion and culture, especially concerning commonalities in ethic.
- Value-based education across cultures.. Even children have to learn that living together peacefully is, on all levels, dependent on observing basic rules. No society can function without a common system of values.
- Ethical and intercultural competence in commercial companies.. People involved in international competition are, more than ever, dependent on cross-cultural norms.
- International politics anchored in justice and ethic: Cooperation and integration instead of military confrontation.