World Religions and Equal Dignity (WReligionsED)

HumanDHS is primarily grounded in academic work. We are independent of any religious or political agenda. However, we wish to bring academic work into "real life." Our research focuses on topics such as dignity (with humiliation as its violation), or, more precisely, on respect for equal dignity for all human beings in the world. This is not only our research topic, but also our core value, in line with Article 1 of the Human Rights Declaration that states that every human being is born with equal dignity (that ought not be humiliated). We agree with Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development, who advocates the building of bridges from academia as follows, "I have always believed that good scholarship can be relevant and consequential for public policy. It is possible to affect public policy without being an advocate; to be passionate about peace without losing analytical rigor; to be moved by what is just while conceding that no one has a monopoly on justice." We would like to add that we believe that good scholarship can be relevant and consequential not only for public policy, but for raising awareness in general.

We look for interested people, who would like to develop our WReligionsED page. Please see our Call for Creativity.

Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 states that "all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights."


UNESCO’s Declaration on the Role of Religion in the Promotion of a Culture of Peace

“… we will build a culture of peace based on non-violence, tolerance, dialogue, mutual understanding, and justice. We call upon the institutions of our civil society, the United Nations System, governments, governmental and non-governmental organizations, corporations, and the mass media, to strengthen their commitments to peace and to listen to the cries of the victims….We call upon the different religious and cultural traditions to join hands… and to cooperate with us.”



World Conference on Religion and Peace (WCRP)

Rabbi David Rosen is one of the Presidents of the World Conference on Religion and Peace (WCRP), together with Nichiko Niwano, President of Rissho Kosei-kai, a Japanese Buddhist organization.

On our HumanDHS Advisory Board, apart from Rabbi Rosen, we have Elisabeth E. Scheper and Azza Karam, who were both involved with WCRP.



The Parliament of the World’s Religions

The mission of the Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions is to cultivate harmony among the world's religious and spiritual communities and foster their engagement with the world and its other guiding institutions in order to achieve a peaceful, just, and sustainable world.



United Religions Initiative

United Religions Initiative (URI) was founded in 2000 by an extraordinary global community committed to promoting enduring, daily interfaith cooperation and to ending religiously motivated violence. Today the URI includes thousands of members in over 65 countries representing more that 100 religions, spiritual expressions, and indigenous traditions.



Center for the Study of Science and Religion at Columbia

At Columbia University, in 1999, the Center for the Study of Science and Religion at Columbia was founded. They write: "Sciences respond to a felt need to understand the world, and religions respond to a felt need for the world to have meaning. From these different starting points, one issue emerges at the junction of any science and any religion: are these felt needs commensurate? That is, is the universe a moral place, so that the natural order is relevant to human lives and human values; do faith and family, love and carity mirror any larger meaning than the meanings we give to them? Today, to a first approximation, the answer from any religion is Yes, and the answer from any science is No.
The Center for the Study of Science and Religion (CSSR) was founded in the summer of 1999 as a forum for the examination of issues that lie at the boundary of these two complementary ways of comprehending the world and our place in it. By examining the intersections that cross over the boundaries between one or another science and one or another religion, the CSSR hopes to stimulate dialogue and encourage understanding. The CSSR is not interested in promoting one or another science or religion, and we hope that the service we provide will be of benefit and offer understanding into all sciences and religions."


Global Ethic Foundation

"All of the world's main creeds sanction the humane treatment of each person and the observance of the Golden Rule. From these two principles stem core standards and values, which, if followed, will deliver the peace and justice the world dreams of and avoid the clash of civilizations that thinkers less optimistic than Küng have predicted," this we read in "Hopefull Realist Hans Küng Points Pathway to Global Ethics," in National Catholic Reporter, 2004. The text continues:
These two sweeping ethical norms are "not utopian. They are a realistic vision of hope," he told NCR. They play themselves out as injunctions and commitments:
Not to murder, torture, torment or wound, but to commit oneself to a culture of nonviolence and reverence for life;
Not to lie, deceive, forge, manipulate, but to speak truthfully and act tolerantly;
Not to steal, exploit, bribe or corrupt but to work toward a culture of fairness and a just economic order;
Not to abuse sexuality, cheat, humiliate or dishonor, but to commit to a culture of partnership and equal dignity for men and women."



The Dignity of Difference

Orthodox rabbi Jonathan Sacks argues in The Dignity of Difference: How to Avoid the Clash of Civilizations (London: Continuum, 2002) from within Orthodoxy for a stance that views non-Jewish religions in a positive light. More importantly, Sacks makes the case that inter-religious conversations and appreciation of "the dignity of difference" are crucial to our ability to continue to live as a civil society.



Rudolf Otto's Concept of the Holy, or the Numinous, or the Mysterium Tremendum et Fascinans

Otto's most famous work, The Idea of the Holy (published first in 1917 as Das Heilige), is one of the most successful German theological books of the 20th century. It has never been out of print and is now available in about 20 languages. The book defines the concept of the holy as that which is numinous. Otto explained the numinous as a "non-rational, non-sensory experience or feeling whose primary and immediate object is outside the self". He coined this new term based on the Latin numen (deity). This expression is etymologically unrelated to Immanuel Kant's noumenon, a Greek term referring to an unknowable reality underlying all things. The numinous is a mystery (Latin: mysterium) that is both terrifying (tremendum) and fascinating (fascinans) at the same time. It also sets a paradigm for the study of religion that focuses on the need to realize the religious as a non-reducible, original category in its own right. This paradigm was under much attack between approximately 1950 and 1990 but has made a strong comeback since then, after its phenomenological aspects have become more apparent...
This paragraph is quoted from

World Congress of Faiths

The World Congress of Faiths publishes the leading journal on interfaith matters Interreligious Insight. It arranges a variety of conferences, meetings, retreats, visits and group travel. All these provide occasions to learn what others believe, what they think about life today and how they pray, meditate and worship. Some meetings are of special interest to teachers or to health and social workers. WCF also provides a chance for members of local interfaith groups to meet people from different parts of the country and the world who share their concern.

Temple of Understanding

The mission of the Temple of Understanding (TOU) is to achieve peaceful coexistence among individuals, communities, and societies through interfaith education. Our programs emphasize experiential knowledge and dialogue as a means of connecting people of all ages across a spectrum of religious traditions.

See more links here:

- International Association for Religious Freedom (email:

- International Interfaith Centre (Coordinating organisation) (email:;

- Millenium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders (email:

- Minorities of Europe (email:

- Peace Council (email:

- United Nations Spiritual Forum for World Peace Initiative (email:

- World Congress of Faiths (email:

- World Faiths Development Dialogue (email:

- World Fellowship of Inter-Religious Councils (email:



Day-to-Day Links

Please note that the entire HumanDHS website is maintained by volunteers, since its inception in 2003, and this is mainly done by Evelin Lindner. Until 2012, she usually pasted interesting news into this Links section. From July 2012 until 2017, she tagged interesting information on From 2017 onward, you see Evelin's personal list of interesting web links on Twitter:

Religious Trauma Syndrome
"Religious Trauma Syndrome: How Some Organized Religion Leads to Mental Health Problems," by Valerie Tarico, March 26, 2013. See also the international online support group Release and Reclaim, facilitated by Marlene Winell, or Recovery from Religion, an organization that helps people start self-help meet-up groups.

The Tyler Clementi Foundation
Jane Clementi co-founded the Tyler Clementi Foundation alongside husband Joe because she wants to make sure that our society learns the consequences of discrimination and bullying, as she learned all too personally through the loss of her son. A native of New Jersey and devoted mother of three sons, Jane speaks passionately to parents and community leaders about the need to not merely "accept" or "tolerate" children who come out as LGBT, but to embrace them as wondrous creations of God. Jane, a registered nurse, speaks on the need for parents of LGBT children to come out and speak openly of the love they have for their children, and in doing so each one of us can impact the world around us and create accepting environments. Since losing Tyler, Jane's spiritual journey has continued to carry and transform her in ways she never would have imagined. She left her church home of many years because she felt that while sitting in the pews of a church that condemned LGBT people she was herself a bystander to bullying. Jane leads an inspirational life through her unique experience which she shares with other parents, and speaks passionately about the need to divorce the concept of "sin" from homosexuality. She has made difficult choices in an impossible situation, and leads by example. She has spoken out in support of LGBT rights and the need for families and communities to embrace their LGBT populations. Jane has spoken at BNP Paribas Bank, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, a variety of universities including The College of New Jersey, high schools and churches.

Islamists in North Mali Amputate Man's Hand
By Adam Nossiter, published: August 9, 2012 DAKAR, Senegal — Islamists who control northern Mali have publicly amputated the hand of a man they accused of robbery, continuing an increasingly harsh application of what the vast region's new masters consider sacred law... Read more.

Why Does Religion Turn Violent? A Psychoanalytic Exploration of Religious Terrorism
by James W, Jones, in The Psychoanalytic Review, 93 (2, April) 2006.

Australia Appoints Woman Bishop
Australia's first woman bishop, Kay Goldsworthy, has been consecrated in St George's Cathedral in Perth. The move has been welcomed by Australia's sex discrimination commissioner as a turning point for the church and the nation. But a minority of Australian Anglicans, angered by the appointment, have warned that it will split the church. Women have been serving as Anglican bishops in the US since 1989, but many other countries find the idea divisive. Twenty-one Anglican bishops from Australia and New Zealand were among a congregation of more than 800 to show their support for Kay Goldsworthy's controversial appointment. Opponents of the ordination of women, including the head of the Sydney diocese, Archbishop Peter Jensen, did not attend the ceremony...
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Malaysian Woman Can Leave Islam
A religious court in Malaysia has allowed a Muslim convert to leave the Islamic faith, in what is being hailed as a landmark ruling. Penang's Sharia court ruled that Siti Fatimah Tan Abdullah was free to return to Buddhism, following the collapse of her marriage to a Muslim man. It was decided she had not had proper counselling during her conversion. Malaysians are rarely allowed to renounce the faith - those who do can be prosecuted under stringent laws. Religious rights are a sensitive issue in Malaysia - which is 60% Muslim. The country has large Hindu, Christian and Buddhist communities - mainly drawn from the ethnic Indian and Chinese minorities.
Liberal interpretation: Malaysia insists a non-Muslim marrying a Muslim must take their faith. Ms Siti, an ethnic Chinese, converted when she married an Iranian Muslim man. When their marriage collapsed, she filed a case with the Penang court asking to be allowed to revert to being a Buddhist. The judge found in her favour, saying it was clear she had never practised Islam after her conversion and continued to pray as a Buddhist. "The court has no choice but to declare that Siti Fatimah Tan Abdullah is no longer a Muslim as she has never practised the teachings of Islam," said Judge Othman Ibrahim. He instead blamed the state Islamic council for not fulfilling its responsibility of counselling and guiding new converts. Analysts say the judge used a very liberal interpretation of the law because in many countries converts are treated just like those who are born into Islam - and are prohibited from changing their faith. Islamic affairs are governed at a state level so this decision may not form a precedent for other parts of Malaysia. The local religious council in Penang may also appeal against the ruling...
Read the entire story at

'Respect Atheists', Says Cardinal
The Archbishop of Westminster has urged Christians to treat atheists and agnostics with "deep esteem". Believers may be partly responsible for the decline in faith by losing sense of the mystery and treating God as a "fact in the world", he said in a lecture. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor called for more understanding and appreciation between believers and non-believers...
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Muslim Scholars Reach out to Pope
More than 130 Muslim scholars have written to Pope Benedict XVI and other Christian leaders urging greater understanding between the two faiths.
The letter says that world peace could depend on improved relations between Muslims and Christians...

Proceedings of the International Symposium: Cultivating Wisdom, Harvesting Peace Education for a Culture of Peace Through Values, Virtues, and Spirituality of Diverse Cultures, Faiths, and Civilizations, 10-13 August 2005
Toh, Swee-Hin and Cawagas, Virginia F. (Eds.) (2007).
Brisbane, Australia: The Multi-Faith Centre, Griffith University, Queensland, Australia.

Introduction to the Study of Religion
by Joseph Adler, Director of the Asian Studies Program at Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio.

An Inclusive World: In which the West, Islam and the Rest Have a Stake

Alliance of Civilisations
"Peoples who feel that they face persistent discrimination, humiliation, or marginalisation are reacting by asserting their identity more aggressively" (Alliance of Civilisations report, 13th November, 2006).
The Alliance of Civilisations, which includes Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami, dismisses the notion that a clash of civilisations is inevitable, but says that swift action is needed. The group argues that the need to build bridges between Muslim and Western societies has never been greater. They say that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, along with Western military interventions in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, contributes significantly to the growing sense of resentment and mistrust that mars relations among communities. See the report at

Bishop Attacks 'Muslim Hypocrisy'
A senior Anglican bishop has accused many Muslims of being guilty of double standards in their view of the world.
The Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, told the Sunday Times some had a "dual psychology" in which they sought "victimhood and domination"....
A Muslim Council of Britain spokesman said the remarks in the paper appeared "rather broad brushed".
He added: "We would normally expect a bishop to display more humility and work towards bringing communities closer together rather than contributing towards fostering greater divisions."...
Please read the entire article at