David C. Oughton, Ph.D., a professor at St. Louis University presented to the West County Democrats at the August 14 meeting on the topic of Religions and Peace.
From his background as a board member of the Interfaith Partnership in St. Louis, he made these observations:
- Religions of the world are no longer isolated by geography, and have great potential when they come together to understand their common needs, beliefs and motivations.
- The United Nations, built as a confederacy of nations, is incapable of solving many of the world’s problems including the avoidance of war, and a world federal government would serve us all better.
- Religions have a role and responsibility for building a foundation for this. We live on a shared planet and world peace will depend on us all working together.
Change like this will not happen quickly, but if we consider the objective to be the elimination of war, think in terms of creating conditions that permit a move in that direction.
From these observations, Dr. Oughton presented specific recommendations for reformulating the United Nations based on population, the creation of a Declaration of Global Ethics based on the commonalities of the world’s religions and a restoration of a Charter for Compassion.
Dr. Oughton presented very enlightening materials to support his positions including a comprehensive list of the Golden Rule as expressed in most of the major religions; an explanation of the real meaning of ‘Jihad’ in Islam and the Christian ‘Just’ war traditions; and brief descriptions of wisdom from the major religions of the world that support peace.