INTERFAITH PEACE TREATY
We are gathered together as the intellectual and moral and spiritual authorities of our respective traditions, in order to affirm and swear in solemn oaths and affirmations that we hereby declare a lasting and inviolable Interfaith Peace Treaty between our respective traditions.
We, the followers of various religious and philosophical traditions, hereby declare a lasting peace treaty between our respective faith perspectives.
Whereas the world is suffering from inter-religious wars, including civil wars
Whereas for centuries mankind’s social and intellectual and emotional life has been rendered insecure by wars and the constant threat of wars, which have often had a dimension of religious difference involved
Whereas mankind still suffers from the grave threat of nuclear war and omnicide, either deliberately launched or accidentally caused
Whereas as long as representatives of our respective faith traditions remain in violent conflict, we are not able as one humanity to devote the energy, wealth and ingenuity we require to solve the other global problems facing the planet (poverty, unemployment, social development, equality social justice, environmental conservation, sustainable development etc.)
Therefore we are resolved, as responsible and visionary intellectual and spiritual leaders of the various faith traditions of mankind, that we shall utter, affirm, declare and swear this permanent INTERFAITH PEACE TREATY
And in so doing we appeal to all the other responsible and enlightened leaders and followers of all the faith traditions of mankind to subscribe their signatures and oaths to this sacred text, and to follow it henceforth, now and forever.
We therefore swear, affirm, declare and resolve, henceforth:
- That although we may differ in our respective cosmologies, worldviews, eschatologies and theologies, we agree that henceforth we will engage solely in non-violent academic, intellectual and philosophical debate about these differences
- That we will refrain from violent rhetoric, insulting and harmful words, verbal or physical abuse, against our fellows and colleagues and intellectual opposites, and seek simply to persuade through rhetoric, reason, truth and evidence
- That we will refrain for attacking, hurting, wounding, killing, kidnapping, injuring, torturing, or in any way applying physical violence to each other’s followers, supporters and believers.
- That if any members of our respective traditions, continue to engage in such acts of physical or spiritual violence, we will expose them to the critiques of reason and love, and urge them to change their ways, and to subscribe also to this Interfaith Peace Treaty.
- That we undertake to encourage serious study, research and analysis of our respective intellectual, cosmological and spiritual differences; we promise to make available books, libraries, academies and colleges where scholars can translate works between our respective traditions, and engage in comparative and interfaith philosophical teaching, seeking to find the common core truths of all traditions, faiths and belief systems on the planet
- That in undertaking interfaith scholarship, diplomacy and conferencing, we promise to engage politely, respectfully and without verbal, mental or physical violence, cruelty or rudeness
- That we also undertake to create a new era of interfaith cooperation in the world, in which religion no longer has a bad name as a source of social and civic extremism, creating zones of fear, intolerance and ignorance, in which personal security and intellectual freedom are absent, and we seek to advance instead Zones Of Intellectual, Spiritual And Moral Development, in which freedom of thought, courtesy, honesty and imagination can empower people to explore the most loving and wise aspects of their traditions
- That we undertake to allow the followers of our respective traditions, be they of whatsoever hue or orientation, to be permitted freedom of thought, freedom of affiliation, freedom of disaffiliation, change of allegiance and conversion from one faith to another, without being harmed, threatened, shunned or suffering other acts of physical or mental violence.
- That we undertake to permit the students and followers of different faiths to explore and learn about different faith traditions, and we agree to permit genuine freedom of research, educational exploration and study from our respective educational and academic traditions
- That we abhor the restriction of education solely to boys or men, and we agree to permit both boys and girls, men and women, freedom of research, study, education and learning in respect of learning about all the world’s different faith traditions, including, but not exclusively, their own – and we affirm the right of every boy and girl born into this life to have a good education
- That we pledge to work, as spiritual, religious and intellectual leaders, for a world which spends more on education than it does on arms and weapons and militarism, and that values learning and knowledge, including religious, moral, spiritual and humanistic knowledge, above the technical, scientific and engineering knowledge that can be used to destroy and hurt and injure our fellow human beings
- That we confirm that mono-religious literacy (knowledge of only one religion) is not religious literacy at all, and affirm that our faith in spirituality transcends addiction to any one set of revelatory traditions, or lineages of numinosity, and we strongly believe that our own historical faiths are always strengthened by greater acquaintance with other lineages of faith
- That we honour and revere the memory of the great sages and saints of all our respective traditions, who have transcended the mere particularism and localism of their own culture, and travelled and studied widely in different cultures, traditions and faith paths, and emerged always wiser, more enlightened and more compassionate as a result (Mahavira, Buddha, Abraham, Zoroaster, Fenius Farsaidh, Moses, Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle, Jesus, Kumarajiva, Hsuan Tsang, Muhammad, Deganwidah, Rumi, Guru Nanak, Ibn Arabi, Hafiz, Maimonides, Lao Tsu, Confucius, Shankara, Ramanuja, Ignatius Loyola, George Fox, Tolstoy, Goethe, Gandhi, Jung, Martin Luther King et al) and we ask that current and future generations of students and scholars and seekers of wisdom likewise may have opportunities to travel and learn and share ideas widely across the globe
- That we support and affirm the importance of dialogue between science and religion, and we agree that scriptural and revelatory traditions should be subject to scientific and critical historical scholarship, and that scientific dogmas should also be subject to spiritual and moral criticism and evaluation; but from such dialogue, we believe both science and religion will emerge strengthened – science because it will realise there are profound mysteries at the heart of the universe that its strictly defined empirical mathematical epistemological techniques can not yet fully explain – religion because it will learn to express its truths and propositions in a language that upholders of the secular and scientific world can make sense of, and not be threatened by
- That we are sceptical of the idea of the “closure of revelation” by any one spiritual teaching or tradition; that spiritual empiricism indicates an ongoing and open cycle of revelatory wisdom is available to mankind, channelled through innumerable aeons of Sages, Saints, Wisdom Teachers, Prophets, Swamis, Rishis, Tirthankaras, Buddhas, Shamans, Elders, Druids, Gurus, Philosophers and Avatars, and that we hope this cycle of wisdom will continue, so that there are witnesses to truth and faith, first hand, in every generation and every tribe and nation of mankind as long as we endure as humankind
- That we agree that peace must begin in the home and we commit our followers and students to abstain from all domestic abuse and violence, including physical violence as well as verbal and mental violence, including bullying and abusive behaviour designed to humiliate, chastise and psychologically harm fellow members of our household
- That we abhor all abuses of children, either sexual or physical or by emotional bullying, and that children have a right to be brought up and educated without fear of abuse; and we commit to working so that violence against children in any way shape or form shall be taken away from earth; we also rebut violence done by children against each other and also against elders and adults; we ask instead that children discover nonviolence through play and friendship and study, rather than becoming violent through cycles of abuse and violence that continue generation after generation; we propose instead that generations of parents and children have an inter-generational duty of love, trust and care one for each other, and that our purpose on earth is the opposite of abuse, namely the cultivation and practice of good works, kindness, love and the moral virtues
- That we abhor underhand, cowardly and terrorist actions in which civilians and innocent members of the public are killed in the name of some spurious “religious-political” cause. No truly authentic spiritual teaching can ever be strengthened or furthered by recourse to such acts of violence. We therefore commit ourselves and our respective followers to refrain from all acts of terrorist violence, or the threats of such violence, or planning and preparing for such violence.
- That we support and affirm the sacred traditions of hospitality as practiced by each of our own faith traditions – we will respect and act courteously towards the strangers in our midst, and practice the gifts of hospitality, as our resources permit; we will not hurt, harm, rob or kill the traveller or wayfarer; nor, if travellers or wayfarers ourselves, will we commit acts of violence against those in whom we make our way, for as guests we likewise accept our responsibility for acting justly and honourably to our hosts; if we are mendicants or have mendicants passing among us, we will likewise treat all with courtesy and respect.
- That if destabilisation and violence in our homelands makes it necessary for us, or some of our followers, to depart for a time to travel overseas, we pledge that we or our followers will act honourably and fairly towards our host countries, if offered asylum and refugee status, and not to commit acts of violence against the resident populations in whom we come to live: we will not commit acts of robbery, theft, rape, murder and other violent acts against the populations of our host country, and certainly we will not misuse the pseudo-justification of “religions” to commit such acts
- That if we or our lineage holders or previous upholders of our own tradition, have acted violently, cruelly, unjustly or viciously towards holders of other faiths, we earnestly apologise on their behalf and seek now to move forward in a new spirit of repentance, forgiveness and mutual reconciliation, in which violence no longer figures in our discourses, and our theological disagreements and differences, can be turned from opportunities for violent abuse and harming sessions, into opportunities for acts of mutual enlightenment and awakening
- That in engaging in acts of interfaith diplomacy and dialogue, we will listen as much as speak, learn as much as teach, and listen not just with the mind but also with the heart; we will engage in such dialogue not so much as to convert others to our point of view, or to be converted, but to find a new point of view shared between us, which is conformable to our common highest reason and enlightenment potential
- That we will respect the wishes and standing of the religious or intellectually dominant culture of each nation, and not seek through violent, terroristic, military or propagandistic means to overturn or overthrow the legitimate and lawful rulers of each nation on earth; we will refrain from all acts of “regime change” and will not permit ourselves or our followers to invade and destabilise and otherwise overthrow legitimate rulers who are bona fide members of the United Nations and who endorse the generally accepted laws, customs and mores of civilised human beings
- That we respect the right of humans to pursue the path of religious retirement and to live as hermits, mendicants, monks and nuns, to dedicate their lives to spirituality, prayer, contemplation and study; that we will not harm or attack their monasteries and nunneries or places of retreat; that we will not pillage, despoil, violate or deface such sanctuaries and places of spiritual retreat, but rather act reverently and respectfully when visiting them; and that in time of war, such places will not be harmed or damaged but regarded as neutral and inviolate.
- That if we come to live in cultures with one major religion, and we are of another, and we immigrate into that culture, we will not seek to overthrow, infiltrate, manipulate or supplant the dominant faith community, but seek instead to learn from, alongside, and with its representatives, and to engage in constructive dialogue of mutual enrichment and interfaith understanding; if we demand rights to practice freely our own faith in our new host country, then we will also reciprocally grant such rights in our own home countries, thus practicing and endorsing reciprocal-multiculturalism rather than exclusivist multiculturalism
- That we will not raise up hatred of other races or ethnicities or nations, or seek to promote only our own ethnicity, race or nation – we recognise that all races, ethnicities and nations, all peoples and tribes, are interconnected and share together one Mother Earth, and that we must learn to mutually care for one another and to cherish the entire history of all our cultures, nations, tribes and peoples, and to learn in respect from each other’s stories and narratives and religious wisdom teachings. At the same time we respect each nation’s right to its own self-esteem, self-affirmation and self-belief, and we will not seek to undermine anyone else’s national or ethnic identity by being rude, violent or cruelly abusive towards them. We believe in universal ethnic self-esteem and universal racial respect and affirmation, in which everyone’s sacred origins can be affirmed simultaneously.
- That under no conceivable circumstances whatsoever will we ever, as responsible religious, philosophical and intellectual leaders, endorse or support any warriors or military fighters in attacking or destroying libraries, schools, universities, museums, art galleries or other places of culture, education and learning; or for the killing or kidnapping or enslavement of students, schoolchildren and teachers, we utterly curse and anathematise, excommunicate and censure any warriors who commit such acts of cultural barbarism and urge them to study further whatever religious texts they believe give justification or permission for them to commit such acts, and to do so with responsible and authoritative intellectual leaders; any so called intellectuals who endorse such cultural assaults and destruction of learning we declaim as promoting false teachings which run counter to the entire moral and spiritual wisdom of mankind; we undertake to provide authoritative guidance from all the religious and intellectual legal codes of humanity to show definitively that such actions are outside the frames of legitimate rules of warfare. We affirm we have the moral duty to safeguard the universal cultural heritage of all mankind for future generations.
- That we undertake personally and collectively to abstain from all acts of corruption and seek to promote a world of moral values in which justice cannot be bought and sold but is truly impartial and fair; in which courts, judges and policemen are not bought to return special verdicts, but rather act impartially, honestly and with full respect for truth and veracity, and examine fairly and in depth all cases brought before them; we seek to promote a society based on love and courtesy and non-violence such that crimes and injustice will gradually wither away.
- That as responsible spiritual, religious and intellectual leaders we will support fully all those agencies and programmes which aim at the non-violent mediation of conflict and violence which seek impartial and fair solutions to international or inter-tribal disputes and conflicts; we will contribute from our own spiritual understanding and wisdom lineages our own perspectives on how such conflicts might be resolved and mediated to everybody’s mutual satisfaction and delight; we seek for the ending of violent conflicts and their replacement by mutual enlightenment and enlovement; the transformation of enemies into long lost friends and the repairing of the broken fault lines in the body politic of humanity.
- As responsible intellectual, philosophical religious and spiritual leaders and elders, we reject the aggressive proselytising of faiths and ideologies by the use of violence or intimidation in any way shape or form whatsoever
- That as spiritual and intellectual leaders to humanity we endorse fully the work of our artistic communities and endorse and affirm that art and the creation of beauty and aesthetic enlightenment are always preferable to violence and destruction; we affirm and commit that we will not destroy artworks, sculptures, statues, paintings, books, or buildings or other artistic creations of our own or other faiths, and that we will endeavour to insist that even in time of war, such aesthetic creations are inviolate. Instead, we will encourage support and affirm the creativity of artists of all kinds: poets, writers, dramatists, film makers, architects, musicians, bards, story tellers, performers, comedians, magicians, dancers, designers, craftspeople, creative media personalities, journalists, actors, producers, web designers etc – we affirm and support all the works of the arts, yet at the same time, we urge artists to avoid deliberately provoking, insulting, harming, trivialising, mocking or hurting people of faith and spiritual belief; we believe the arts can be a great adjunct and empowerment to spiritual wisdom and vice versa, and that both can work for peace more strongly together than in isolation.
- That we are mindful that some collective eschatologies of Middle Eastern Origin (Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam etc.) propose an eschatology for the future that in order to hasten the advent of world peace, there first needs to be a thorough and complete military, warlike and nuclear confrontation between the forces of Christ (Mahdi, Saohsyant, Messiah) and Anti-Christ (Ahriman, Massih Dajjal). Christian dispensationalists, extreme Judaic Zionists, and extreme Wahhabi Salafists, among others, argue that such a conflict is a necessary pre-condition to the advent of peace, and therefore actively oppose and seek to subvert rational Middle Eastern peace making proposals (e.g. a two states solution of Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace) and actually try to promote conflict and violence in the Middle East by subversion and terrorist activity “because it will hasten the final battle” between good and evil. As responsible religious and philosophical intellectual leaders we urge our fellows to rethink this confrontational violent apocalyptic and to reinterpret their scriptures more rationally and mystically, in a way which does not propose that the Creator wants the destruction of the vast majority of mankind in a nuclear war, from which only an elect few would survive. We oppose this false apocalypticism based on violence and mass destruction, and instead propose authentic apocalyptic, as the gradual unveiling of wisdom, love, justice and truth, in which knowledge slowly and painfully triumphs over ignorance, which is as much a personal as a collective struggle.
- That we are mindful of the importance of resolving the intellectual, religious, philosophical and ideological conflicts among human tribes, religions, nations and world-views, in order to create living conditions of prosperity, comfort, security and environmental sustainability for all persons on earth, and for future generations, in so far as possible, rather than seeing our collective wealth wasted on war and preparations for war.
- That we endorse the rigorous, fair, impartial and scientific study of all religions, philosophical and intellectual systems without prejudice, and support the creation of academic and scientific tools to enable this (such as the Periodic Table of the World’s Religious and Philosophical Traditions). We support academic freedom and the freedom to study, in all places of learning, and we call for the ending of discrimination on grounds of religious belief in all institutions of learning; we will not attain peace on earth, until mankind has freedom of learning, education and scholarship, so that only the pursuit of truth takes priority, beyond the motivation of fear or coercion. We do support however sincere, deep and comprehensive religious and philosophical education in all schools – young minds should be given access to the sum total of philosophical and theological learning that mankind has attained throughout the ages, in ways and degrees that are conformable to their intellectual and spiritual aptitudes and needs.
- That we support and affirm the power of love in personal relationships, and support the right of human beings to fall in love with each other and to marry and found a family, as affirmed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; we support interfaith marriages and the right of people to explore each other’s faiths through the adventures of personal relationship and friendships; we abhor those who kill, wound, torture or attack and who do so to prevent interfaith friendships and marriages and love affairs from taking place; we believe that peace will only come on earth when love is given more freedom to soar than hatred and violence; in the long struggle between libido and thanatos, identified by Freud, we are on the side of libido as the necessary leaven to life and peace alike.
- That we abhor and disown all who torture other human beings in the name of whatsoever religious or political ideology this should be done; we abhor wounding and inflicting pain, for the extraction of judicial information and “intelligence”, mindful of the fact that the crucifixion of Christ is an epochal symbol of the evil of torture in human history – we urge our fellow humans to abstain from inflicting cruel violence and suffering on others, and to instead use nonviolence and love, kindness and courtesy, in all personal interactions.
- That we abhor and reject all kidnappings and imprisonments of innocents and people of any or all faiths to hold them for ransom, against all international law and common values of human decency; if in time of war, prisoners are taken, we urge that all armed forces hold them under the rules of international law and the relevant Geneva conventions
- That we abhor and condemn utterly all actions of mass killing, genocides, extermination campaigns, and urge that in times of war, civilian populations as much as possible be kept from the effects of combat situations; that women and children are not harmed, and that rules of chivalry and courtesy still apply in all situations of armed combat, according to the highest moral codes of chivalry as practiced in all the wisdom teachings and religious and spiritual traditions of mankind. We remind the warriors of the planet, that their allegiance, duty and loyalty is immemorially to us, the intellectual, moral and spiritual leaders of mankind, and that their work is to safeguard and protect peace, not violate her sacred precincts and sanctuaries
- That if on occasion violent, terroristic or subversive groups or cells of people arise on earth, who conduct campaigns of terror, against all known moral and spiritual codes of behaviour, and who arm themselves with weapons and seek to do harm to innocent men, women and children, then we will support the legitimate use of force by lawful agencies and armed forces acting under international law, when possible with United Nations approval
- That as spiritual and religious and intellectual leaders of mankind, we urge our fellow human beings to take up the pen and put down the sword, to advance a life of prayer, study, insight, science and contemplation, and to engage in acts of creative genius and moral and intellectual entrepreneurship in which our respective higher will-to-good can be actualised, each helping each, and we can create conditions on this planet in which a golden age of truth, love, enlightenment and goodwill can replace an age of despair, depression, violence, hatred and ignorance
- That we affirm the presence of teachings on the effectiveness of miracles in many of the great wisdom teachings of mankind – such as the resurrection of Christ, the coming of the Quran, the Exodus, the incarnation of Avatars, the teaching of the Dharma, as well as miraculous healings, manifestations and spiritual conversion and transformations from darkness to light – and that we urgently pray for and urge upon our fellow human beings a miraculous ending to the road of violence, hatred and warfare as the normal way of conducting differences in life, and instead urge upon all our brothers and sisters the miracles of peace, nonviolence, love, reason and civilised discourse and dialectic as a way of resolving our differences in a way which celebrates and affirms life rather encourages and feeds violence and destruction; scientifically, we urge the in-depth study of miracles in an open minded and rational way, (e.g. the miraculous manifestations of saints), for the advancement of knowledge and wisdom on earth.
- That as intellectual and spiritual and religious and philosophical leaders for mankind, we take seriously the claims by different faith traditions for survival after bodily death, and that consciousness or soul in some way lives on, and experiences some kind of after-death judgement or “life review”. We commend the scientific study of near death experiences, out of body experiences and past life regression studies, which seem to give scientific support to these truth claims; likewise we commend the scientific literature which studies the possibility of reincarnation as a possible explanatory paradigm for ethical and karmic working out of destiny (wyrd, fate, karma); we suspend ultimate judgment on these rival explanatory models for what happens after death, but we do recommend unbiased and scientific research into such phenomena, and the possible explanation thereby for the traditional religious beliefs in an after death heaven and hell experience; we reject however the idea that mankind as a whole, or large parts of us, or any particular faith groups, are condemned to experience hell in an after death state, and we also reject the proposition that therefore it is permissible to kill members of faith groups outside of our own “chosen” denomination, so that we may go to “heaven” and the others may be expedited in going to “hell”. Such supernaturally grounded terrorism has no basis whatsoever in authentic theology, scriptural exegesis, or philosophical hermeneutics and we call on all serious scholars and theologians and scientific thinkers and philosophers to combat these false teachings.
- That as spiritual and religious and intellectual leaders of mankind, we pledge to work towards positive conditions of inter-human well-being, which may be so created on this planet, that we can persuade our politicians and military and industrial elites, to remove the threat of nuclear omnicide from planet earth, by removing all nuclear, chemical and biological weapons from their arsenals, and agreeing to lasting non-violence and non-aggression treaties, nation to nation, in which diplomacy alone can henceforth resolve their cultural or political or economic differences.
- That as spiritual elders and leaders of mankind, we honour the fact that different religions and spiritual revelations have come to mankind over the aeons in different languages; we affirm the importance of studying one another’s languages, and affirm that no one language has a monopoly of truth – all the languages of all the peoples and tribes of mankind are sacred, each in their own way; we affirm our commitment to making and editing a comprehensive etymological dictionary of all the sacred and revelatory and philosophical languages of humanity over the aeons of our collective story., for the better edification and enlightenment of the genuine students of wisdom on this planet. We honour the fact that different spiritual teaching systems believe that specific sacred languages contain esoteric wisdom in the very letters and sounds of their writing forms (Hebrew, Sanskrit, Irish, Norse, Greek, Arabic, Aramaic, Hopi) and that the esoteric wisdom of systems such as the Hebrew Qabalah and the Norse Runes, or the Sanskrit Mantric teachings, may well go back to a common Sonic Mysticism that was once universal to all the tribes of mankind; we affirm our delight at studying these common roots and sonic mystical teachings together as a more useful activity than plotting each other’s death and destruction
- That as spiritual wisdom teachers and religious and intellectual leaders, we endorse the enlightenment potential found within each human soul, and confirm that each philosophical teaching tradition worthy of the name in history has proclaimed the eventual possibility of full total and everlasting enlightenment for each human individual, in which states of violence, hatred, fear, negativity and disorder can be transmuted and transformed into states of higher consciousness, bliss, love, wisdom, grace, ecstasy, happiness, joy, enlightenment and knowledge; we promise to share and study, learn and practice both our own and each other’s practises that may be conducive towards these ends, including meditation, prayer, yoga, chanting, dance, exercise, reflection, friendship, charity work, creative achievement, altruistic work, work-as-service, philanthropy, enlightened business practices, and whatsoever other beneficial and beneficent practices can be conducive towards higher and sustainable enlightenment
- That as spiritual and religious and intellectual leaders of mankind, we encourage all our followers, students and we ourselves always to tell the truth, to stand for the truth, to revere truth and to practice truth, as the surest and safest and most direct way to peace on earth; we encourage all political leaders serving in political office, policemen, judges and other public officials, to take an oath of truth telling, and non-dishonesty, and we urge all people without exception to live according to the rules of dharma, truth righteousness and transparency, so that the Golden Age of Truth, so beloved of mythology, may in fact dawn as a pragmatic and actual manifestation of truthfulness in our everyday lives; we also urge diplomats and civil servants of international bodies such as the UN or the Commonwealth or other international organs, likewise to take an oath of truth-telling as a requirement of their jobs
- That as spiritual, intellectual and religious leaders from all over the planet, adhering to widely different traditions, we are mindful of the damage done to women’s rights throughout the millennia by the false teaching that God is solely masculine, or a grammatical “He”; we call for gender reconciliation in theology, and honour the traditions that refer to the Goddess as She, as much as those who refer to God as He; we accept and affirm that in mankind’s full religious history, the Gods have been known by countless names, and that gender, number, quality, function, category, locality and cosmology have all been variously ascribed to different Gods and Goddess by mankind’s different tribes; we affirm that for true, deep, lasting and eternal interfaith peace and reconciliation on earth, those traditions which talk of God and those which talk of Goddess have to learn to talk peaceably to one another; the Divine Feminine aspect of Deity which has been affirmed by all esoteric traditions has to be re-embraced within the family of conscious exoteric believers, in ways which also do not totally uproot, threaten or alarm followers of traditional theistic faiths or cause “unpeace”; Goddess and God have to make peace in the heavens and on earth for humanity to make peace, and as humble scholars of truth, we will do our best to assist these divine reconciliations.
- That as scholars, sages, philosophers and religious and spiritual leaders of varying belief systems, we nevertheless are united through our common respect and love for nature; we affirm that mankind has a duty of care over animals, plants, forests, seas, rivers, mountains, and the entire eco-sphere; we affirm our duty to ensure we do not take more from nature than we need, and that we treat Mother Earth with respect and love; we honour the work of natural scientists who have explored the complexities of nature over recent centuries, but we caution them against violence against animals for scientific experimentation, we urge the non-violent co-abiding of all parts of the web of life in a ecosphere of mutual love and care, in which all of nature can be regarded as an epiphany of divine intelligence; we affirm our faith in the healing power of Nature, and call on doctors and scientists to learn from herbal medical traditions, and the local knowledge of native healers, shamans and medical herbalists; we lament the over-bureaucratisation of the medical profession; we affirm prevention is the best medicine; we believe in combining the best of scientific healing with spiritual healing practices, local herbal knowledge and naturopathic approaches to medicine, and we call for more scientific research into native, indigenous, natural and spiritual healing practices
- That as religious leaders and spiritual elders on the planet, we affirm the right of humanity to transcendence, and to the full flavour and taste of wisdom; we oppose and seek to heal the symptoms of sophiaphobia (killing and martyrdom of sages, burning and destruction of books, libraries, schools, places of wisdom, silencing of wisdom-teachers); we affirm and acknowledge that historically most tribes of human history have used transcendental medicines, herbs and psychoactive plants as medicine to achieve altered states of consciousness, and bring vision and insight; we acknowledge that the use of psychoactive drugs by all the generations of mankind is a search after this transcendental experience, and declare that the current vicious and violent “war on drugs” is unwinnable, and causing hundreds of thousands of casualties locked up in prisons world-wide and the criminalisation of a valid part of the human experience; we call for peace between mankind and the psychoactive drugs of the plant kingdom; many of our faith paths have ancient and secret knowledge about the right use of plant medicine for healing and consciousness exploration; we urge that such sacred medicines be available legally for spiritual purposes as a matter of religious freedom and economic common sense (taxation from legalisation can fund social needs), and that over-use, abuse or misuse of the wrong drugs at the wrong time should be treated as a medical and social problem not a criminal problem; we therefore join our voices to the growing clamour of those who call for the decriminalisation of transcendental, psychoactive and recreational drugs, but to be sold under licence (not to minors) and with strict instructions, guidance and information provided, including spiritual information; we believe this will help create greater conditions of peace and self awareness on the planet; we also call for the ancient initiatory mysteries to be bought back, the ancient oracle centres, the disused and destroyed spiritual retreat centres and monasteries of the planet, as places for the healing of souls, and the re-finding of our brightest, best and truest natures. Outer peace has to start within. The greatest jihad is the search for inner peace and enlightenment.
- As religious leaders, philosophers and spiritual elders on the planet, we affirm and support and endorse the principle of religious freedom, meaning the ability of human beings to explore the intellectual and spiritual heritage of humanity without fear, oppression, punishment or censure; – we note that religious freedom, meaning freedom of religion or belief, are protected under international human rights law, specifically under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which all civilised and bona fide countries have signed up to. We urge that freedom to explore religions and theologies is a fundamental right of every human being born on this planet, that belief achieved through coercion and fear is not true belief, and that true peace can never arise on this planet as long as coercion, silencing, fear, ignorance and terror are the fuels that fire religious wars, feuds, hatred and bigotry. For interfaith peace, we have to put the guns and weapons down; we have to disarm our minds and souls; we have to surrender to the powers of love and nonviolence and the strength of truth itself, which has no need of violence to propagate it; our affirmation of religious freedom has therefore also to be accompanied by an affirmation of religious responsibility, care and scrupulous scholarship and attention to intellectual and philosophical wisdom; in short, our commitment to religious freedom and peace, is born out of our earnest desire for interfaith enlightenment, toleration and love, and we affirm that the greatest and wisest scholars, saints, masters and teachers of each generation have always held these inclusive and ecumenical views based on the spiritual freedom for all humanity to reach out towards enlightenment.
- That as spiritual and religious and intellectual leaders of mankind, we seek to interact responsibility and intelligently with the political leaders of humanity, and to work with them for common goals of peace, in all its many dimension. We commend international political organisations who have lasting peace as their goal, such as the United Nations, The Commonwealth, the Commonwealth of Independent States, The Council of Europe, The African Union, the Organisation of American States, for their work for peace and justice; we also commend the work of international bodies that search of lasting and more equitable system of global governance, and commend the work of the Council of Elders, the proposed Council of Monarchs, the Inter Parliamentary Union, The World Federalist Movement, the World Constitution and Parliament Association, we also support the work of all bona fide democratic and representational parliaments around the world, including the member parliaments of all member states of the UN, and the work of regional parliaments, such as The Central American Parliament (PARLACEN), The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), The European Parliament (EP), The Inter-Parliamentary Committee of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), The Latin American Parliament, The Parliament of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC), The Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), The NATO Parliamentary Assembly; we also commend and support the work of citizens advocacy groups who advocate more involvement of citizens in global affairs, such as Citizens for Global Solutions, The World Citizens Assembly, the Registry of World Citizens, The Association of World Citizens etc; we commend the work of international diplomats who work genuinely for peace; we commend the work of international legal bodies and jurists expert in international law, and support the work of the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal court, and the work of ad hoc truth and Reconciliation Commissions and the work of international mediation agencies and mediators; we pledge to work alongside all such political, legal and civic bodies and agencies and individuals, whatsoever their particular faith backgrounds; we urge legislatures to bear in mind the spiritual and religious rights and freedoms of every person, and that legislation should never be passed which persecutes, silences, terrorises, discriminates, tortures, tyrannises or kills members of particular faith traditions, or communities of believers; we urge instead that political legislation is kept to a minimum of interference in people’s lives, being aimed at empowering people to actualise their own consciences, feelings of responsibility and civic awareness, their own innate goodness and sense of justice and will to happiness and enlightenment; we acknowledge that different people have different political and legal opinions and beliefs, just as they have different religious and spiritual beliefs; we urge that dialogue, debate, and scholarship between political thinkers, statesmen, diplomats, legal authorities and law professors and jurists, civil officials and civic authorities and religious thinkers, philosophers, sages, saints and mystics of all hues should flourish in an atmosphere of open ended truth telling, rigorous scholarship, spiritual-empirical and evidential verification processes, and that all who sign this Interfaith Peace Treaty will work with each other to ensure a global community at peace with itself, its wars over, and its weaponisation and arms races having been replaced by wisdom, truth and justice races. We urge therefore as many political and legal elders as possible, cognisant of the importance of making peace spiritually as well as politically, to also sign this Interfaith Peace Treaty and abide by its statements.
- That as responsible and peace-loving spiritual, religious and intellectual leaders of mankind, we seek to interact responsibility and intelligently with the global interfaith community, and its many organisations and networks, such as the World Congress of Faiths, the United Religions Initiative, The World Parliament of Religions, The International Association of Religious Freedom, European Council of Religious Leaders, established 2002, The Commonwealth Interfaith Network established 1997, Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), established 1914, The Focolare Movement, Institute for Interreligious Dialogue, The Interfaith Encounter Association, Interfaith Worker Justice, International Council of Christians and Jews (ICCJ), established 1975, Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace, the International Humanist and Ethical Union, North American Interfaith Network (NAIN), The Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing, established 2000, Temple of Understanding (ToU), established 1960, United Religions Initiative (URI), established 2000, The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, established 1964, The World Conference of Religions for Peace, established 1970, World Council of Churches Team on Interreligious Relations, established 1948, The Elijah Interfaith Institute, established 1997, A Common Word, The Three Faiths Forum, World Public Forum for a Dialogue of Civilisations, The United Nations Alliance Of Civilisations In addition we support and commend the work of Interfaith organisations at national levels (such as the Interfaith Network (UK), The Interfaith Alliance (USA), established 1994, the Network of Spiritual Progressives, established 2006, the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism, established 1983, and we also commend the work of numerous local city wide interfaith initiatives which exist at local level in a growing groundswell of initiatives in many nations worldwide; we also support and endorse the work of training organisations and seminaries which increasingly are ordaining and supporting the training of Interfaith Ministers, who can then give service in prisons, hospitals, hospices, schools and other needful places. We likewise urge all those involved in serving the interfaith movement world-wide at whatever level of engagement, to sign, circulate and support this Interfaith Peace Treaty as a sign that we take our mutual commitments and responsibilities seriously.
- That as spiritual and religious and intellectual leaders of mankind, we pledge to do all we can to end the wars and violence that have plaguing mankind for too long now, especially the wars that have an element of religious or ideological disagreement to them; by helping to remove any possible religious justification for these wars and violence, we hope to co-create a world in which economic activity, fair trade, global sustainable development, social equity and prosperity, an ending of unemployment, an ending of the need for war-driven emigration, and the ending of so much of the world’s wealth being squandered on weapons and arms races, so that instead of killing one another, we encourage each other in wisdom races towards ultimate personal individual and universal enlightenment; we recognise that collective and universal disarmament requires collective and universal enlightenment, and are pledged to work for this end sooner rather than later; peace requires the spiritual transformation of mankind and we are prepared to answer that call.
- That as responsible and peace loving spiritual and religious and intellectual leaders of mankind, we call on the media (in all its guises, including print, radio, television, social media, internet media, documentary film makers, oral storytellers and grapevine artists) also to help us in our work; please do not report only those stories that tell of the violent actions of a few misguided pseudo-religious extremists, but report also on the good news of thousands and millions of visionary, religious and intellectual activists working for peace, reconciliation, harmony and understanding in their homes, communities, nations and worldwide. Report also the wonderful work of interfaith groups, and religious and intellectual leaders who are prepared to walk that extra mile in the cause of peace; report on those leading edge thinkers from every culture and language and society who are prepared to find strategies for harmonisation, reconciliation and peace making; by reporting mainly on bad news and terror actions, the media are helping co-create a world of doom and gloom, and distorting events in a negative direction; as we think, so we become, as many immortal sages of times past and present have said; so we call on the media to help us move from a bad dream to a good dream, from sleep to awakening, from hatred to love. Instead of cynicism, negativity and despair prevailing as the dominant realism of our media companies, in which events are skewed with warlike propaganda so as to create enemy images and to demonise the other as “subhuman” we ask instead that the media act responsibly, report truth without embellishment, please report also the work of peacemakers, diplomats working for reconciliation and peace, and enhance and empower the words of genuine peace visionaries rather than concentrating on military and terrorist cells who see only continuing violence and war as feasible; the choice of peace or war for the future of mankind is as much a struggle of the imagination and the expansion of our cultural horizons, to make peace as feasible, exciting, desirable, attractive and heroic as the appeal of violence and killing; our message of peace between the faith groups of mankind, long dreamed of and prepared for by the prophets, sages and philosophers of old, is now within the grasp of humanity; let the heralds and the scribes relay also this good news and not only the bad. We ask that the media agencies of the planet work not only for the short term profit of their own corporations but also for the long term profit of all humanity, for the good news of peace between the faiths of mankind is worth sharing. If there really is a shortage of good news on the planet, we are determined to create more of it!
- That as spiritual and intellectual leaders of mankind, we call also on the global philosophical community to work closely with the interfaith community, and to work out the exact parameters and protocols for intellectual disarmament, for an ending to the long battles of rival thought schemes and ideological systems on this planet; we pledge to work with all responsible philosophical organisations and specialist bodies, including the World Congress of Philosophy, International Philosophers for the Prevention of Nuclear Omnicide, Philosophers and Historians for Peace, Concerned Philosophers for Peace, the Russian Philosophical Association, the American Philosophical Society, The British Academy, UNESCO, etc. as well as all learned, scientific and philosophical organisations worldwide, and professional bodies of teachers of philosophy in schools and universities worldwide; religions have nothing to fear from philosophy apart from losing their unjustified dogmatism which too often fuels violence, and philosophy has nothing to fear from religions apart from losing its unjustified scepticism, which too often fuels anti-religious violence. We urge philosophers and religious thinkers to realise again the harmony of faith and reason, and to use exact scholarship, textual research, empirical investigation of transpersonal experiences, the study of ancient manuscripts and spiritual traditions in the light of scientific reason and faith combined, the reconciliation of scepticism and enlightenment, in order to elicit the path to peace for a tired and troubled humanity. We call on all philosophers throughout the world to join us in this united quest for an intellectual blue-print that makes peace possible, to suspend judgment on their intellectual differences, and to agree on certain common core planetary ethical objectives, including lasting interfaith peace as a precondition for reaching final and absolute consensus on the nature of ultimate reality. Once the dust clouds of violence clear, we might all see truth more clearly than before.
- That as responsible spiritual and religious and intellectual leaders of mankind, we pledge to work together tirelessly to create conditions on this planet, through education, research, diplomacy, study, and acts of kindness, compassion and mercy, generosity, philanthropy and creativity, in which the symbolic Golden Gate in the Eastern wall of the old city of Jerusalem can be reopened, an ecumenical Peace Tent can be erected for peace pilgrims of all faiths on an empty part of Temple Mount, and a representative gathering of genuine religious, spiritual and intellectual leaders, who have each signed this Interfaith Peace Treaty on behalf of their respective followers and students, can enter in solemn procession through the reopened Golden Gate and inaugurate a symbolic age of wisdom and divine beauty on earth in which all can learn to respect the faith paths of each other, and to seek knowledge rather than ignorance, love rather than fear, and peace rather than war.
So may it be, that all these solemn oaths and covenants which we have sworn, and these undertakings which we have affirmed, may come to pass, through the resolute pursuit of our own higher wills and through the Divine Mercy which guides and governs the affairs of mankind.
We hereby append our signatures, and we encourage others to do likewise,
Amen, Aum, Awen.
The Interfaith Peace Treaty will be circulated among responsible leaders within all of the following spiritual and intellectual communities for signature:
Buddhism, Taoism, Confucian, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Druidry, Wicca, New Age, African Traditional Religions, American Indian Native Traditions, Shamanism, Humanism, Freemasonry, Jainism, Unitarianism, Universalism, Bahaism, Shintoism, Sikhism, Rastafarianism, Paganism, Asatru, New Religious Movements, Platonism, Kantianism, Pythagoreanism, Philosophy, Theosophy, Anthroposophy, Gnosticism, Rosicrucianism, Sufism, Shiism, Sunnism, Quakers, Yezidis, Spiritualists, Aristotelianism, process philosophy, etc. and all the other 168 faiths and religious and philosophical traditions itemised in the Periodic Table of the World’s Religious and Philosophical Traditions.
First draft text prepared and authored and circulated on Good Friday, April 3, 2015, by Dr Thomas Clough Daffern PhD – Director, International Institute of Peace Studies and Global Philosophy (1990-2015); Global Coordinator, International Philosophers for Peace and the Prevention of Nuclear Omnicide (1990-2015); Founder of the Multifaith and Multicultural Mediation Service (1995—2015); Archdruid of the Order of Peace Poets, Bards and Druids (1999-2015); Peace Officer, Council of British Druid Orders (1998-2015); Chair, Truth and Reconciliation Commission for Stonehenge (1999-2015) Secretary General, World Conference on Religion and Peace (UK and Ireland) 1990-1997. Executive Committee member, World Congress of Faiths (1991-1993), Member Governing Board, Anglican Pacifist Fellowship (1998-2001), Trustee, International Sacred Literature Trust (1991-1997), Coordinator, School of Nonviolence (1994-2015). Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for the Middle East (2006-2015), Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for Britain and Ireland (2004-now), Coordinator of the Commonwealth Interfaith Network (1997-2015). Details on www.educationaid.net – firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Thomas Clough Daffern PhD
International Institute of Peace Studies and Global Philosophy
Sri Ramanuja Memorial Trust
Multifaith and Multicultural Mediation Service
Truth and Reconciliation Commission for the Middle East
Commonwealth Interfaith Network
Truth and Reconciliation Commission for Britain and Ireland
Order of Peace Poets, Bards and Druids
International Philosophers for Peace and the Prevention of Nuclear Omnicide
Centre for Peace Policy Research
Global Green University
Golden Gate Project
Professor Alexander Chumakov
Russian Philosophical Society
International Institute of Peace Studies and Global Philosophy – South Africa
International Institute of Peace Studies and Global Philosophy – USA