Who knits the inhabitants of a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-racial, multi-denominational, and multi-religious country such as Canada into a community? Science and technology have reduced the whole world into a global village. Who knits the inhabitants of this global village into one coherent community?
Traditionally, community building has primarily been the role of religion. Education has at times been called upon to help. Communities have thus far been largely homogenous. That has now changed altering the way religion and education can discharge their community building functions. Are world religions and educational systems adapting to the current need of building pluralistic communities or still continuing in the traditional but outdated modes?
Reza Shah-Kazemi writes of Meister Eckhart’s thought1, “Everything pertaining to the spiritual realm is inclusive and unitive by nature, whilst matter is by nature exclusive and implies separative particularity; the more spiritual a thing is, the more inclusive and thus universal it is, and the more material a thing is, the more it excludes other things by the very rigidity of its specific contours.”
In the opinion of Spiritual Heritage Education Network Inc., spirituality that lies at the core of every religion is “inclusive and unitive by nature”. We seek your help in articulating that spirituality from your personal perspective and that of your religion. Can you help us define spiritual curricula for pluralistic classes that will assist world religions in their new role of building coherent world community?
The following is an attempt to define the ethical criteria for teaching such curricula:
1. The over-arching ethic is the ethic of underlying oneness of all. Good is what makes for this oneness, and evil is what makes for separation or division.
2. All educational material, lectures, seminars, etc. will be equally applicable to the whole humanity, irrespective of religion, belief, faith, race, gender and culture, and without discrimination of any kind whatsoever.
3. All educational material, lectures, seminars, etc. will use extreme caution and sensitivity and refrain from affirming, diminishing, or denying any religion, belief, faith, race, gender and culture explicitly or implicitly
4. All educational material, lectures, seminars, etc. will acknowledge due academic credits to ideas and concepts used from any religion, belief, faith, race, gender and culture.
5. The approach used to research, develop and deliver the curricula shall be based strictly on academic considerations.
6. There shall be absolutely no PREACHING and no PROSELYTISING.
7. All educational material, lectures, seminars, etc. will promote tolerance, understanding, love, and respect for all human beings without any discrimination.
8. The educational material will be complementary to the existing educational systems.
9. The educational material will incorporate totality of human experience with multi-disciplinary approach.
10. All educational material, lectures, seminars, etc. will be mindful of the individual need and right to the exclusive practice of one’s chosen religion with undivided devotion and surrender in following the path of one’s personal salvation or liberation.
11. The educational material will promote the use of natural and environmental resources with respect and responsibility.
12. The educational material will promote positive personal involvement in improving human condition through oneness, education, nonviolence, understanding, respect, love, and service.