Global Ethic at the Grassroots: A Research Proposal Based on the Work of Leonard Swidler

By Melara, Nicole | Journal of Ecumenical Studies, Winter 2015 | Go to article overview

Global Ethic at the Grassroots: A Research Proposal Based on the Work of Leonard Swidler


Melara, Nicole, Journal of Ecumenical Studies


The Age of Global Dialogue has dawned, and with it has emerged a profound new sense of interdependence and interconnectedness. Thanks to advances in technology, we are increasingly aware of each other. We are also increasingly aware of each other's actions, inactions, and the effects that these can have on our nascent global civilization as a whole. As global culture continues on its path toward connectedness, the desperate need for a globally applicable ethical foundation is more and more apparent. As Leonard Swidler noted, "humankind no longer has the luxury of letting such an ethic slowly and haphazardly grow by itself." (1) This fact is attested to by the continual rise in global conflict, the exploitation of natural resources, and reports of human-rights violations in the name of political and economic progress.

In academia, the proposal of a Global Ethic has been discussed, drawn, discussed, endorsed, and then discussed again. However, the conversation has not successfully made the transition from academia to the grassroots level. To speak in ecclesial terms, the conversation has not made it from the ivory towers to the steeples. In a preliminary research foray hoping to discern the level of awareness concerning global-ethic work in American churches, I contacted several national organizations to ask if any conversations about global-ethic development and education were underway. My inquiries were seldom answered. When they were, the responses were only to affirm what I had already guessed. On the local-church level, conversations about the development of a global ethic are not taking place.

As the global-ethic movement advances, scholarly opinion on best practices has differed. What is the best way to move the project forward? At least three distinct models have been proposed to advance the conversation. These have been generated by Hans Kting, Swidler, and Sallie B. King. What follows is a brief overview of these three.

The model employed by Rung consists of the formation of a single document to which supporters would affix their signatures in solidarity. This document, the Declaration toward a Global Ethic, has been translated into more than sixteen languages. (2) Its signatories represent a wide range of both religious and secular organizations. Kung's hope was to unite a vast number of people under the banner of this one encompassing document.

Swidler's approach differs significantly. Instead of gathering people by having them agree to an externally developed ethic, Swidler has proposed as imperative that "various religious and ethical communities, ethnic groups, and geographical religions work on discussing and drafting their own versions of a 'Universal Declaration of a Global Ethic,' that is, what they consider their own basic ethical principles, which they at the same time believe people of all other religious and ethical traditions could also affirm," (3) Swidler's model requires much more engagement from those participating in the creation of a global ethic. Further, it requires participants to engage in deep self-examination, while at the same time educating themselves about the "other." Through this process the self and the other become better understood, and the relationship between them becomes clear. The other becomes humanized, and beliefs once held out of habit are examined and determined to be either valid and worth maintaining or invalid, damaging, and due to be discarded. It is by this process that the global ethic is internalized.

In answer to Swidler's model, King proposed a model based on a Buddhist perspective that promotes selflessness in terms of interconnectedness, accompanied by the commitment to "an ethic of utter harmlessness to all forms of life." (4) However, King professes weariness at seeking a global consensus on an ethics statement "from a starting point within one tradition," specifically, in this case, from Christianity. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Global Ethic at the Grassroots: A Research Proposal Based on the Work of Leonard Swidler
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.