The requirements of a global ethic calls for "a minimal basic consensus relating to binding values, irrevocable standards and moral attitudes, which can be affirmed by all religions despite their undeniable dogmatic or theological differences and should also be supported by non-believers." It cannot, however, make the specific ethics of the different religions and philosophies around the world superfluous or obsolete, nor should it strive to do so.
Syncretism tends to facilitate coexistence and constructive interaction between different cultures (intercultural competence), a factor that has recommended it to rulers of multi-ethnic realms. Conversely the rejection of syncretism, usually in the name of "piety" and "orthodoxy," may help to generate, bolster or authorize a sense of cultural unity in a well-defined minority or majority. While strengthening the ethical identity of the subgroup, this is often detriment to the unity of the whole.
The Dalai Lama, for example, has said that compassion and affection are human values that are independent of religion: "We need these human values. I call these secular ethics, secular beliefs. There’s no relationship with any particular religion. Even without religion, even as nonbelievers, we have the capacity to promote these things."
This notion is also supported by the traditional Judeo-Christian concept of natural law. In his book On Law, Morality and Politics, St. Thomas Aquinas identifies the innate rational nature of humans as being what defines moral law: "The rule and measure of human acts is the reason, which is the first principle of human acts."
This does not, however, mean secular ethics and religion are mutually exclusive. In fact, many principles, such as the Golden Rule, are present in both systems, and some religious people, as well as some Deists, prefer to adopt a rational approach to ethics.
The International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) is the world-wide umbrella organization for those adhering to the Humanist life stance. Member organisations and individual members are required to accept the following statement:
Humanism is also known to adopt principles of the Golden Rule. As Oscar Wilde once said, "Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live." This emphasizes a respect for other people's identities and ideals.
Many Unitarian Universalists consider themselves humanists, while others hold Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, pagan, atheist, agnostic, pantheist, or other beliefs. Some choose to attach no particular theological label to their idiosyncratic combination of beliefs. This diversity of views is considered a strength, since the emphasis is placed on a common search for a meaningful existence, rather than an adherence to a particular doctrine.
The philosophy of Universal Sufism revolves around a unity of all people and religions, as well as the ability to find beauty in all things. It is a form of Sufism that does not exist within the traditional framework of Islam and was most likely influenced by Advaita philosophy. Universal Sufism is characterised by its respect (if not inclusion) for other devotional traditions and its disapproval of miracles.
It is mandated that Universal Sufis should strive to "realize and spread the knowledge of Unity, the religion of Love, and Wisdom, so that the biases and prejudices of faiths and beliefs may, of themselves, fall away, the human heart overflow with love, and all hatred caused by distinctions and differences be rooted out."