Three New Videos Added to the Popular Conversation Series

Author: Rebekah Go

The Ansari Institute is pleased to share three new videos added to the Conversation Series hosted on our popular YouTube Channel. It was nearly a year ago that the Ansari Institute sent a delegation to the Parliament of the World’s Religions. The Ansari Institute was a major sponsor at the Parliament, acting as the premiere sponsor of the portion of the parliament called the Global Ethic Assembly.

Charles Powell

Towards the Global Ethic: An Initial Declaration was a seminal document originally discussed and signed in 1993 at an assembly of religious and spiritual leaders meeting as part of the Parliament that year. It was expanded in 2018. This “landmark declaration” of the Parliament of the World’s Religions states “the universal values and principles shared by the world’s religious, spiritual, and cultural traditions.” During the Parliament affiliate faculty members Margaret Gower, Chad Meister, and Robert Stockman - along with Mirza - contributed to panels on the Global Ethics irrevocable directives which are:

  • A Commitment to a Culture of Non-violence and Respect for Life

  • A Commitment to a Culture of Solidarity and a Just Economic Order

  • A Commitment to a Culture of Tolerance and a Life of Truthfulness

  • ACommitment to a Culture of Equal Rights and Partnership Between Men and Women

  • A Commitment to a Culture of Sustainability and Care for the earth

In the months that followed, Dr. Charles Powell recorded follow-up conversations with Stockman, Gower, and Meister.

Molly Nl

In her conversation, Gower spoke about the culture of tolerance and a life of truthfulness and remarked upon the very practical aspect of the Global Ethic. Overall, she says, the directive “talks about being people who spend less time proclaiming or declaring the best parts of our religions at other people and more time letting the best prescriptive parts of our wisdom traditions correct ourselves as individuals and as communities.” Gower noted an appreciation for the humility that is required for tolerance and recognized that tolerance is not only an option for moving forward but a requirement for ethical living. Towards the end Gower discussed the langar as her favorite part of the Parliament experience (read a reflection about the langar here). The conversation with Dr. Molly Gower can be viewed here.

Rob Nl

In his conversation, Stockman discussed the newest commitment of the Global Ethic, sustainability and care for the earth, noting the need to balance both the use of the earth’s resources as well as its protection. Stockman spoke from his personal and scholarly perspective - as a world renowned Baháʼí scholar and practitioner. Early in the conversation Stockman quoted Baháʼu'lláh, the founder of the Baháʼí faith saying, “nature is, in its essence, the embodiment of My Name, the Maker, the Creator. Its manifestations are diversified by various causes and in this diversity there are signs for men of discernment. Nature is God’s will and is its expression in and through the contingent world.” As a result of Baháʼu'lláh's wisdom, Stockman says, we can understand that nature itself is something that teaches us - not just about the physical world but about the spiritual world. So, “destruction of the world is an impoverishment not only of this world but of the next world as well.” For this reason, he argues the ethic - to protect the sacramentality of the world - is both necessary and good. The conversation between Drs. Stockman and Powell can be found here.

Chad Meister Headshot

Powell’s conversation with Meister departed from the others in that it focused on Meister’s future projects. So, while he was indeed a part of the Ansari delegation to the Parliament, they primarily spoke about Meister’s work related to the philosophy of religion. In fact, Meister is hard at work on a new book wherein he intends to flesh out a new concept that he is calling “modest” pluralism, an approach he says, “that recognizes a lot of the good insights that [John] Hick provided and then also offers some critiques.” Meister believes that this unique “modest” pluralism has something to offer that both addresses some concerns with pluralism while also softening critiques of religious inclusivism. The conversation between Dr. Chad Meister and Dr. Powell can be found here.

All three of these new videos can also be found on the Ansari website where the video conversation series “Engaged: Religion and the Common Good" explores questions relating to global affairs and the human condition. This series covers a variety of topics, from poverty and peace to climate change and good governance as well as tradition and technology. These conversations engage local and global partners, and include students, educators, faith leaders, and journalists.