“Concord is good. Let all listen and be willing to listen to the doctrines professed by others."
-The Emperor Ashoka
“I do not find that the age or country makes the least difference; no, nor the language the actors spoke, nor the religion which they professed whether Arab in the desert or Frenchman in the Academy, I see that sensible men and conscientious men all over the world were of one religion.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Humanity is in crisis. A multitude of violent disputes are fueled, at least in part, by differences in religious traditions. At the same time, millions of individuals, especially the citizens of the wealthiest nations, have lost all faith in the mystic beliefs and practices of their ancestors. They attempt to fill the resulting void through over-consumption of natural resources, the exploitation of other human beings, and psychoactive substances. We are eating ourselves to death while senselessly murdering our brothers and sisters. The reigning economic, political, and social systems are obviously unsustainable. Hatred, greed, and ignorance are destroying our world.
The promotion of compassion, unity, and anti-materialism found throughout all spiritual thought is the vital antidote to these shared maladies. We must seek interfaith understanding, cooperation, tolerance and indeed, solidarity. All humanity shares this planet, and the fates of groups of human beings with different languages, cultures, and theological traditions are increasingly intertwined. All nations face the common threats of war, disease, and environmental collapse. This book suggests a simple and timelessly remedy these disturbing trends. If humanity is to survive the coming decades, we must identify and advance the common values which unite all of our oldest teachings.
All faiths describe and emanate from human interaction with the same fundamental Truth. Furthermore, the beliefs and imperatives of every major world religion are fundamentally congruent. The various traditions merely place different emphasis on certain aspects of the Divine. Additionally, a harmonious interpretation of the major world religions need not clash with the deductions of modern science, and understood correctly, actually reinforces them. These happy conclusions have been discovered through a careful and faithful examination of the foundational texts of the religious traditions of Hinduism, Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Christianity, and Islam. Grouped together, the (self-described) followers of these faiths account for roughly four-fifths of the human population.
This work is meant to promote greater religious literacy and a tolerant interpretation of different faith traditions by followers of all creeds. One need not abandon his or her own belief system in order to follow a strange amalgamation of the major faiths. Rather, we should seek out the universal message within the teachings and practices we are familiar with. Live your life as a genuine reflection of your highest ideals. A true understanding and promotion of the core spiritual assumptions and ethical values shared by every faith will help bring about a more peaceful and more enlightened world for all of us who find ourselves here.