Bridging the Divide: Religious Dialogue and Universal Ethics

Edited by Thomas S. Axworthy

Responding to the contemporary situation of escalating violence, often driven by religious and ideological differences, the InterAction Council of former world leaders engages scholars and religious leaders of all world faiths in one of the most important debates of our time. Bridging the Divide poses fundamental questions: Can religion help build bridges between civilizations in conflict? Is a global ethic possible?   

Believing that religious misunderstanding has led to world conflict, the Council, led by Helmut Schmidt, former chancellor of the federal republic of Germany, has developed a research agenda to ask the following questions: Can religious become a force for peace? Can the virtue of tolerance be taught? Do world religions share a core ethic? What can be done to thwart those who exploit and abuse faith for their own ends? Bridging the Divide makes available the results of these explorations.

The first two sections present perspectives on Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Shinto. Religious practitioners and scholars look beyond the differences toward a common goal - a global ethic of mutual respect, compassion, and peace. In the third section, politicians and academics discuss the possibility of a universal ethic, while the forth section presents a culmination of this work - a draft of a Universal Declaration of Human Responsibilities.

Contributors include Hans Küng (Global Ethic Foundation, emeritus, Tübingen University), Tu Weiming (Harvard-Yenching Institute), Koshin Ohtani (Japan Buddhist Federation, Monshu of Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha), Rabbi Jonathan Magonet (Leo Baeck College), Acharya Shrivatsa Goswami (Sri Caitanya Prema Samsthana), Mettanando Bhikkhu (World Conference of Religions for Peace), Abodolkarim Soroush (International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World; Academy of Philosophy), Kamal Aboulmagd (Attorney at Law, Egypt), Osamu Yoshida (Toyo University), Stephan Schlensog (Global Ethic Foundation), Archbishop Damianos Hegumen (Archbishop of Sinai, St. Catherine's Monastery), Helmut Schmidt (Former Chancellor of Germany), Oscar Arias (President of Costa Rica), Seiken Sugiura (Former Minister of Justice of Japan), and Malcolm Fraser (Former Prime Minister of Australia), Thomas S. Axworthy (Centre for the Study of Democracy, Queen's; InterAction Council).

Thomas S. Axworthy is chair of the Centre for the Study of Democracy, Queen's University, and an associate member of the InterAction Council.

To purchase, please visit McGill-Queen's University Press