“We affirm that humankind, made up of many peoples, nations, races, colours, cultures and religious traditions, is one human family. Therefore we reject all attempts to drive wedges between religious traditions by presenting them as mutually exclusive. We commit ourselves to lift up the teachings and practices in our religious traditions that nourish life and promote community. . . We call upon all religious communities to make such acts of commitment their own and so further the vision of spirituality that would bring healing and wholeness to our fractured world.”
Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, November 12-14th, leaders of Baha”i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim communities came together under the auspices of the World Council of Churches and the Geneva-based Interreligious Platform.
Rev. Dr Hans Ucko, head of WCC”s interreligious relations office, commented, “The challenge to all religious communities is to re-imagine and rethink a society that is able to cope constructively with religious and cultural plurality. . . There is an urgent need to move beyond a situation of parallel societies to one that is able to cope constructively with religious and cultural plurality, going beyond mere tolerance to a community of authentic respect.”
A “Statement of Common Commitments” developed at the conference included affirmations that:
. . . humankind, made up of many peoples, nations, races, colours, cultures and religious traditions, is one human family.
. . . at the heart of all our religious traditions are love, compassion, self-giving and values that sustain life and life in community.
. . . conflict, violence and warfare are inconsistent with our religious teachings and none of our religions traditions support the resolution of conflicts through violent means.
. . . discrimination on the basis of race, caste, social status, physical and mental abilities, ethnicity, gender, etc. is inconsistent with all our religious teachings.
. . . justice and fairness are central to religious life; that poverty, depravation, hunger and disease are forces that diminish human dignity and potential.
. . . we must value the rights of young people and children and the gifts they bring to the understanding and practice of religious life.
To read more about the conference and the full text of the Common Commitments:
- My Neighbour”s Faith and Mine: Religious Identities: For Better or Worse?
- World Council of Churches
- Interreligious Platform, Geneva (in French)