A Way of Looking at Our Desacralized Society and the World's Religions  as a Whole System

Wisdom from Our Faiths
Cited in "The Gifts of Pluralism"
Conference Concluding Declaration:

     > The gifts of pluralism have taught us that nature is to be respected, not just controlled. Nature is a process that includes us, not a product external to us that can just be used or disposed of.  Our proper attitude toward nature is awe, not utility.  When we do use nature as we must - for food, housing, and other legitimate purposes - we should do so with respect and care, preserving its beauty and mindful of its connection to the Sacred and ourselves.
     > We have also learned that our true personhood may not be in the images of ourselves constrained by any particular social identities.  When we realize this, out acts can proceed spontaneously from duty and compassion, and we need not be unduly attached to results beyond our control.
     > Finally, when persons in community govern themselves less by profit and more by the covenant of service, the flow of history towards peace and justice is honored and advanced.

As with any generalization, exceptions and qualifications abound.  For example, Shinto is Asian but is really a nature religion, Sikhism is sometimes regarded as syncretistic, and Marxism may be atheistic. Nonetheless, this scheme may be useful as a starting point for study.
      This outline does not characterize any faith; it simply suggests some ways of looking at similarities and differences from the point of view of some students of comparative religion, but it does not mean than anyone who follows any particular religious path will agree with the generalization. Indeed, in any richly developed faith, elements of many other faiths can also be found, though they may not be as frequently emphasized.

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