General Principles for Choice of Recommended Materials
- The website is aimed at scholars, diplomats, university students, and the generally-educated public.
- With the contemporary information explosion, the website aims at being selective rather than comprehensive. Each entry thus provides a short introduction to the topic. However, the links to other websites and the bibliographies will allow the user to find greatly expanded resources.
- As its principal methodological choice, the website takes religious people and religious leaders seriously when they articulate religious reasons for their ethical choices. Other types of motivation may also be involved and worth noting, but the first task is to understand the particular decision in its religious context.
- Religious decisions, however, do not exist in a vacuum. The website also takes seriously the global political, economic, military, and communication systems as autonomous sets of causes and effects. Religious inspiration and technological breakthrough are seen as the two most important sources of societal change.
- The website author judges, however, that there is no global religious system any more than Arabic, Basque, and Chinese constitute a global linguistic system. The author asserts a religious pluralism without making any judgment about, for example, the ultimate convergence or identity of various religious experiences. Each religious tradition must be understood within its own unique context.
- The website thus hopes to foster interfaith dialogue and ethical choice without making any judgment about the future directions of those dialogues and choices. We hope we are serious about religious pluralism without taking a sectarian or secular approach to specific religion traditions.
- In terms of the geographic and institutional influences, it would be strange if the Markkula Center’s location in California’s Silicon Valley did not foster the North American, Asian, and Latin American sections of the website. The website author has taught Chinese politics for over thirty years and believes that Sino-American and Asian relations in general are crucial for our global future. Santa Clara University is a Jesuit institution, so, hopefully, the website will be able to profit from its connections to Jesuit universities all over the globe, and from other Santa Clara University Centers, for example, the Ignatian Institute and the Center for Science, Technology, and Society. We also hope to continue our relationships with the Communication, Economics, Political Science, and Religious Studies Departments, the School of Law’s new Center on Global Law and Policy, and the University’s Local Religions Initiative. All of these Centers continue to offer programs important to website issues. This website will thus remain a work in progress, attempting to understand the multiple changing relationships of religion and ethics in world affairs.
January 9, 2007