A Man is Ethical Only When Life Is Sacred

Hebrews 2

14 We are people of flesh and blood. That is why Jesus became one of us. He died to destroy the devil, who had power over death. 15 But he also died to rescue all of us who live each day in fear of dying. 16 Jesus clearly did not come to help angels, but he did come to help Abraham’s descendants. 17 He had to be one of us, so that he could serve God as our merciful and faithful high priest and sacrifice himself for the forgiveness of our sins. 18 And now that Jesus has suffered and was tempted, he can help anyone else who is tempted.

2 Kings 5

One day while the Syrian troops were raiding Israel, they captured a girl, and she became a servant of Naaman’s wife. Some time later the girl said, “If your husband Naaman would go to the prophet in Samaria, he would be cured of his leprosy.”

When Naaman told the king what the girl had said, the king replied, “Go ahead! I will give you a letter to take to the king of Israel.”

World Scripture and the Teachings of
Sun Myung Moon

Chapter 4

God’s Creation and Human Creativity

Reverence for Life

Passages in this section prescribe the ethic proper to reverence for life. Taoist and Buddhist texts remark on the artificiality of the human world and call us to return to the innocence and purity of nature. Living in nature is purifying and conducive to the spiritual life, in contrast to the dark and dirty environment of the city. for anyone who spends time in nature, reverence for the natural world and respect for all its creatures is not something forced, but flows naturally from a loving heart. Then there is the doctrine of ahimsa, non-violence towards all living beings, which arose on the Indian subcontinent. Vegetarianism is often motivated by this ethic. Moreover, among nature’s creatures, none gives more completely and without complaint than the cow, which is rightly revered by Hindus and many native peoples.
Father Moon’s teachings touch on many of these points, but especially emphasize love of nature, which he regards as the starting point for environmental ethics. However, he offers an interesting dissent from vegetari-
anism, based upon the concept that creatures of lower order seek to come closer to God’s love through being eaten and absorbed by creatures of higher order. Ideally they would strive to be nourishment for humans, who stand at the summit of creation because they embody God’s love. Nevertheless, people who do not practice true love are unworthy to consume their food.

  1. Care and Reverence for All Living Things

As a mother with her own life guards the life of
her own child, let all-embracing thoughts for all
that lives be thine.
Khuddaka Patha, Metta Sutta (Buddhism)

The mode of living that is founded upon total
harmlessness towards all creatures, or upon a
minimum of such harm, is the highest morality.
Mahabharata, Shantiparva 262.5-6 (Hinduism)

The Prophet said, “There is neither harm nor
cause for harm in Islam.”
Majma’ al-Zawa’d 4.6536 (Islam)

One should not injure, subjugate, enslave, tor-
ture, or kill any animal, living being, organism,
or sentient being. This doctrine of nonviolence
is immaculate, immutable, and eternal. Just as
suffering is painful to you, in the same way it is
painful, disquieting, and terrifying to all animals,
living beings, organisms, and sentient beings.
Acarangasutra 4.25-26 (Jainism)

A certain priest had been killed by the bite of a
snake, and when they announced the matter to
the Blessed One, he said, “Surely now, O priests,
that priest never suffused the four royal families
of snakes with his friendliness. For if that priest
had suffused the four royal families of the snakes
with his friendliness, that priest would not have
been killed by the bite of a snake…
Creatures without feet have my love,
And likewise those that have two feet,
And those that have four feet I love,
And those, too, that have many feet.
Vinaya Pitaka, Cullavagga 5.6 (Buddhism)

The moral person accepts as being good: to pre-
serve life, to promote life, to raise to its high-
est value life which is capable of development;
and as being evil: to destroy life, to injure life,
to repress life which is capable of development.
This is the absolute fundamental principle of
the moral.
A man is ethical only when life, as such, is
sacred… that of plants and animals as well as that
of his fellow man, and when he devotes himself
helpfully to all life that is in need of help.
Albert Schweitzer

Rear them, but do not lay claim to them;
Control them, but never lean upon them,
Be their steward, but do not manage them.
This is called the Mysterious Power.
Tao Te Ching 51 (Taoism)

A horse or a cow has four feet: that is Nature.
Put a halter around the horse’s head or put a rope
through the cow’s nose: that is man. Therefore
it is said, “Do not let man destroy Nature. Do
not let cleverness destroy destiny [the natural
order].”
Chuang Tzu 17 (Taoism)

In the land of Yamato there are many
mountains;
ascending to the heaven of Mount Kagu,
I gaze down on the country, and see
smoke rising here and there over the land,
sea gulls floating here and there over the sea.
A fine country is this,
the island of dragonflies, this
province of Yamato. 1
Man’yoshu I (Shinto)

On the eastern side of this Himalaya, the king
of mountains, are green-flowing streams, hav-
ing their source in slight and gentle mountain
slopes; blue, white, and the hundred-leafed, the
white lily and the tree of paradise, in a region
overrun and beautified with all manner of trees
and flowing shrubs and creepers, resounding
with the cries of swans, ducks, and geese, inhab-
ited by troops of monks and ascetics. 2
Jataka (Buddhism)

Come back, O Tigers, to the woods again,
and let it not be leveled with the plain.
For without you, the axe will lay it low.
You, without it, forever homeless go.
Khuddaka Patha (Buddhism)


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