A Simple Common Morality Across All Religions


Salvation is a near-universal concern among human beings. If there is a God or some higher power out there, what do they do with us once our time as living flesh is over? Is there really such a thing as heaven and hell? Do our actions on earth really have far-reaching consequences concerning our good standing with God or the cosmos? Different religions of course all answer these questions in vastly different ways, but one thing is for sure: it is not possible for us to fully respect and love each other if we hold onto exclusivist ideas of salvation. There is no such thing as the one true religious path that guarantees salvation. All religions contribute pieces of truth to a greater puzzle of human meaning-making. And as we are all human beings with the same source of creation, there is no reason we should believe in anything other than salvation for all.

Additional Quotes

C.S. Lewis
Christian theologian and writer

“The point is not that God will refuse you admission to His eternal world if you have not got certain qualities of character: the point is that if people have not got at least the beginnings of those qualities inside them, then no possible external conditions could make a ‘Heaven’ for them — that is, could make them happy with the deep, strong, unshakable kind of happiness God intends for us.”

The New Testament
Christian scripture

“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

The Qur'an
Islamic scripture

“Truly those who do evil and are surrounded by their sins will be the inhabitants of the Fire, there to remain, while those who believe and do good deeds will be the inhabitants of the Garden, there to remain.”

Sefer Ha-Aggadah
Collection of Jewish writings

“It is taught in the name of R. Meir: Everyone who dwells permanently in the Land of lsrael, recites the Shema morning and evening, and speaks the sacred tongue is assured that he will dwell in the world-to-come.”

Martin Buber
Austrian-Israeli Jewish philosopher

“To confront the undivided mystery undivided, that is the primal condition of salvation.”

Shoghi Effendi
Baha'i leader

“Heaven and hell are conditions within our own beings.”

The Bhagavad Gita
Hindu scripture

“Arjuna, my son, such a person will not be destroyed. No one who does good work will ever come to a bad end, either here or in the world to come. When such people die, they go to other realms where the righteous live. They dwell there for countless years and then are reborn into a home which is pure and prosperous.”

Lieh Tzu
Daoist sage

“Enlightenment is a very normal experience, attainable by everyone. Therefore, there is nothing mysterious or secretive about it. There is nothing unnatural about it, either, because it follows the natural way of things.”

Jeffrey J. Kripal
Historian of religions
Science, Psychology, & Philosophy

“Put bluntly, doctrines of the soul and salvation may be so widespread and so consistent across human cultures because they reflect something fundamentally accurate about human nature.”

Eva Wong
Chinese translator

“Chuang Tzu sees the rulers as the problem, and turns to the right of individuals to strike out for their own salvation, their own sense of place in a world which they are encouraged to deconstruct and then to re-assemble by turning to their innate nature. This is quite the most radical aspect of his religio-social thought and lays the seeds for the later rise of Taoism as a specific religious expression where individual salvation, purpose and meaning became the central tenet of the new religion.”

Robert Wright
American journalist
Science, Psychology, & Philosophy

“Any religion whose prerequisites for individual salvation don’t conduce to the salvation of the whole world is a religion whose time has passed.”

Pascal Boyer
Cognitive anthropologist and evolutionary psychologist
Science, Psychology, & Philosophy

“In some cases, representations of the dead are associated with supernatural concepts in a special way, as in the doctrines of ‘salvation’ that seem so natural to Christians, Jews and Muslims and that to some extent correspond with Hindu or Buddhist notions. This is by no means a general feature of religious representations about death but rather a specific ideology that combines a particular notion of a ‘soul’ with personal characteristics, a special ‘destiny’ attached to that soul, a system whereby moral worth affects that destiny, and a complicated description of what may happen to the soul as a result of past actions.”

The Analects
Confucian Text

“He has not lived in vain who dies the day he is told about the Way.”  (4:8)

Shunryu Suzuki
Zen master

“When your practice is calm and ordinary, everyday life itself is enlightenment.”