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Home  >  News  >  Moderator to Sign New 'Declaration for Humanity''


Moderator to Sign New 'Declaration for Humanity''

The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland will join global religious leaders tomorrow (Friday) at the University of St Andrews tomorrow or the signing of a new declaration for humanity.

The event will be attended by the Rt Rev Dr Russell Barr along with senior members of the Christian Churches, the Catholic Church, Hindu communities from the UK and India, leaders of the UK Jewish community, senior Buddhist monks and the representative of the Dalai Lama.

The 130-strong religious delegation from 19 countries will be joined by 32 school pupils from Fife in the signing of the St Andrews Declaration on a Shared Humanity.

The eleven-point Declaration, written by St Andrews Professor of Divinity Mario Aguilar, incorporates the teachings of different faiths and embraces the basic principles of humanity, equality, diversity and freedom.

Once signed, it is hoped that the document will be used in schools, and by community and faith groups around the world, to form discussion and foster the idea of a common humanity as a tool against radicalisation.

Professor Aguilar, Director of the University’s Centre for the Study of Religion and Politics (CSRP), said: “This is a momentous occasion in which a group of religious leaders, members of faith communities as well as the young declare the possibilities of a shared humanity. They declare that religion is not a problem for society but that it is the solution to isolate those who have been radicalised and do not contribute to the cooperation within society expected by faith communities."

The signing event forms the beginning of the conference ‘Silence, Texts and Service: Towards a Christian, Hindu and Buddhist Dialogue’, a three-day series of special events, prayers and lectures at St Andrews.

Those also attending include Abbot Lama Yeshe Rinpoche (Abbot of the Kagyu Samye Ling Monastery and Tibetan Centre in Scotland), Professor Pascal Fournier (University of Ottowa), Bishop Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger (Austria) and Ramesh Babu (Director of the Cascade Centre for Education in Amritsar, India).

Also present will be a survivor of the 2011 terrorist attacks in Norway, Lisa Marie Husby currently a student at St Andrews – who will read a poem written by the survivors. The declaration will also be signed by the University’s Master, Professor Garry Taylor, local school teachers and a dozen St Andrews graduates now active in the field of inter-faith dialogue.

The event marks the culmination of the Year of Interfaith Dialogue, an initiative set up by Professor Aguilar to stimulate conversation about the commonalities between the different faiths of the world.

The Year of Interfaith Dialogue was launched in September 2015 with two public events delivered by the Dalai Lama in London, and a lecture by peace activist and Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, Arun Gandhi.


The St Andrews Declaration for a Shared Humanity is available online at:

For more information on the Year of Interfaith Dialogue visit:



Martin Smith - Thursday, October 13th, 2016

“Dialogue about the commonalities between different world faiths, with specific emphasis upon a common shared humanity characterised by equality, diversity and freedom may appear to be a positive step which should be embraced by all.
Indeed anything which helps reduce "atrocities" committed by those who have been radicalised within any belief system must at first sight seem welcome.

The problem however is that this merely ignores the distinctives of the different faiths.

Those of us who express allegiance to Jesus Christ, whether within the Church of Scotland or some other Christian denomination, must surely be concerned by the St Andrews Declaration which recognises that there are many diverse paths.

To accept this would be to reject the biblical claims of the uniqueness of Jesus Christ, to reject that He is the way, and that there is no other name given among men by whom we can be saved. If we believe these truths, then we must be prepared to proclaim them even in the face of hostile opposition. This is how we start to truly love our neighbour, though it must never be the only expression of Christ's love. If we keep silent regarding truth, we inevitably fail, not only to love our neighbour, but also to love GOD Himself.

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