Religious Founders Taught the True Way to Live

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John 21

12 Jesus said, “Come and eat!” But none of the disciples dared ask who he was. They knew he was the Lord. 13 Jesus took the bread in his hands and gave some of it to his disciples. He did the same with the fish. 14 This was the third time that Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from death.

Isaiah 24

24 The Lord is going to twist the earth out of shape and turn it into a desert. Everyone will be scattered, including ordinary people and priests, slaves and slave owners, buyers and sellers, lenders and borrowers, the rich and the poor. The earth will be stripped bare and left that way. This is what the Lord has promised.

Founders, Prophets and Saints

2. Every Prophet and Saint Endured Hardships and Rejection

Teachings of Rev. Sun Myung Moon

Of all the people throughout history, there are four great saints worthy of reverence; they are Jesus, Mohammed, Confucius, and Buddha. Did they have big, fancy houses? Did they even live a settled life in a village? No, wherever they went they were persecuted, despised and driven out. Jesus said, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have their nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Is that a characteristic of a great man?
    During his time Confucius was called a “homeless, wandering dog,” as he put it, because he had to beg for food while traveling from place to place. The Buddha was born into a palace as a great prince, but he gave it all up for his spiritual quest, living as a hermit in the mountains, praying and searching for spiritual truth. None of these saints had a house to live in; they died without a nation. Yet today everyone considers them great. (115:14-16, October 25, 1981)

When a prophet spoke out strongly, warning the people not to follow the ways of the world, the people would say angrily, “That man is not one of us!” They would beat him and persecute him and cast him out from their midst. After much bitter rejection, the prophet would reach out to the failures of the world, to the crippled, the wounded, and those discarded by society. He would tell them of his mission as a prophet and describe how the people persecuted him and drove him out. Thus he would build relationships with those who were similarly rejected by society.
    He would give hope to people in despair, telling them of a new world, one far better than the existing society of their day. They would naturally listen closely to the message, while the stylish and well-to-do people were nowhere to be seen. Only society’s rejects became his followers. None of the people with talent and good family backgrounds joined him because Satan took them all away. All that remained were those whose hearts were hurt and scarred. They were the ones with no ties to the world and who wished for a new world. They were the ones who responded to the prophet’s words of hope. (106:176-77, December 30, 1979)

The founders of religion taught the true way to live. They taught the people of their age about the world to come, but the people were ignorant and could not understand. Why? The difference between the future world and the present reality was too great. Hence, the rulers of their time persecuted, expelled and even murdered them.
   These saints did not harm their countries. They only wanted to rescue their countries from chaos and lead them to hope. However, the people did not understand, and drove them out. Yet, over the course of time, people began to accept their teachings because they showed the way for all people. In due course, their teachings would become the nucleus of the world’s civilizations. (39:256, January 15, 1971)

The Chosen People Should Love the World on God’s Behalf

Urban Life Training Newsletter-April-2021

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John 6

38 I didn’t come from heaven to do what I want! I came to do what the Father wants me to do. He sent me, 39 and he wants to make certain that none of the ones he has given me will be lost. Instead, he wants me to raise them to life on the last day.40 My Father wants everyone who sees the Son to have faith in him and to have eternal life. Then I will raise them to life on the last day.

Daniel 3

29 And I won’t allow people of any nation or race to say anything against their God. Anyone who does will be chopped up and their houses will be torn down, because no other god has such great power to save.

Judaism

1. The Chosen People

Teachings of Rev. Sun Myung Moon

Among all religions in human history, Judaism alone was established by a people who claimed that they brought victory for God. It originated from Jacob’s victory in the fight against the angel. Jacob did not win against a human being but an angel, a being from the invisible spirit world. The people of Israel stand on this tradition of spiritual victory over the fallen angelic realm… Hence, they could become the chosen people of God.
    Thoroughly equipped with the belief that they are the chosen people, the Jews have never forgotten their history and tradition despite the suffering of wandering throughout the world for 2,000 years. Wherever they went, no matter what circumstances they faced, they maintained their belief that they were chosen by God. Such a history never existed among any other people on earth.27 (149:85, November 17, 1986)

God appointed the Israelites to a central role and wanted all people to honor them. He wanted all people on earth to follow Israel’s example; then they would praise Israel just as God would. However, the Israelites could not set up such an exemplary historical tradition. Israel began from Jacob, who was God’s champion of love. However, subsequent generations of Israelites could not maintain his tradition.
    The Israelites should have been superior to any other people in the world in loving God and fulfilling God’s Will and providence. However, while they raised their awareness of being the chosen people, they forgot their mission and their calling for the Will of God.
    What is the purpose of the chosen people? The chosen people should love the world on God’s behalf and, as God’s representatives, set the example for all in loving the world. However, the people of Israel did not fulfill their exalted calling. Though they were supposed to give God’s love to all the world, they wanted to receive love instead. That was the problem. (169:265-66, November 1, 1987)
 
What is the path that God has decreed for Israel and Judaism? It is a path with universal significance. It is a universal mission. God chose the one specific people, Israel, to fulfill a mission not only for themselves but for humankind. (168:304, October 1, 1987)
 
Besides Judaism, there are numerous religions in the world, such as Buddhism, Confucianism and Hinduism. The religions differ, but they must not fight one another; instead, they must travel the road to one unified world. Likewise, the peoples of the world must not fight one another, but become one. There must be one teaching that can lead all the religions not to fight, but to unite.
    The Jewish people in particular, who have the responsibility to lead the world’s peoples and unite them into one, should have such a teaching. Because the realization of God’s ideal of creation is universal, Judaism and the Jewish people should uphold a teaching that corresponds to God’s ideal of creation. (168:304, October 1, 1987)
 
 

You Also Blessed My Grandfather

John 19

38 Joseph from Arimathea was one of Jesus’ disciples. He had kept it secret though, because he was afraid of the Jewish leaders. But now he asked Pilate to let him have Jesus’ body. Pilate gave him permission, and Joseph took it down from the cross.

Richard: This is the time to be bold in our faith, and not cower or be silent.

Isaiah 65

2 All day long I have reached out
to stubborn and sinful people
    going their own way.

Shamanism, Polytheism and Animism

World Scripture takes a universal outlook in emphasizing the common features of all religions; nevertheless religions also have their unique characteristics and emphases. The following six topics treat specific religious traditions, pointing out their unique features and Father Moon’s teachings about them. It cannot be overemphasized that any treatment of a religion’s unique features in no way exhausts its spiritual riches or detracts from its universal qualities that join in common witness to the one God and one reality.
Not all the religions are treated here; just those on which Father Moon has commented upon out of his own experience. Korea is a religiously pluralistic country, with roots in shamanism, Buddhism and Confucianism; it has a large and vibrant Christian community and also a growing Muslim minority.
Father Moon’s views on shamanism are largely the result of his experience with the homegrown Korean variety. Shamanism remains strong in rural Korea, where its practitioners, called mudangs, are largely women. Their ability to communicate with spirits can be impressive. During his years in America, he befriended Eskimo shamans in Alaska and Native Americans in Brazil and Paraguay. Father Moon is very aware of the reality of the  spirit  world  and  the  spiritual  discipline  required  to  be  an  effective  channel  to  that  world.  For this reason, he does not cast dogmatic condemnations on shamanism and animism in the manner of bible-centered Christians. Rather, he regards shamanism as an authentic stage, albeit a low one, on the path of humankind’s spiritual development.
Notable also is Father Moon’s teaching that shamanism and polytheism are “servant of servant” religions, whose original objects of worship were fallen angels. This can be seen rather clearly in Greek and Hindu mythology, where the gods’ amorous activities with earthly women are of a piece with Satan’s seduction of eve at the human Fall. Nevertheless, God still taught through these forms by empowering devoted practitioners to rise above their gods and attain a higher moral plane. In this way, human beings transcended the position of servants’ servants to become their masters, thus opening a higher stage of religious development. Passages from Hinduism and Shinto illustrate how these traditions were thus elevated over time to form higher religions.

1. Worship of Nature Deities

O gods! All your names are to be revered, saluted and adored; all of you who have sprung from heaven and earth, listen here to my invocation.
    Rig Veda 10.63.2 (Hinduism)

Our ancestors the emperors of old governed the realm by first paying worship to the kami with reverence and awe. Widely worshipping the kamiof mountain and river, they thereby had natural concourse with heaven and earth. For this rea-son, summer and winter also turned in their sea-son, and the works of creation were in harmony.
    Nihon Shoki 22 (Shinto)

Sansang suira!
There are eight peaks within the inner mountain,
and thirteen famous places in the outer mountain.
Within these famous mountains and the great heavens of all Buddhas,
the great altar of the nation is protected by the great generals.
Was not General Chae Yong one of them?
The famous general of Korea,
who was favored by his people…
Oh, I am the great mountain god.
If I sit down, I cover three thousand li [the entire land of Korea].
If I stand up, I stretch over ninety thousand li [the whole world].
If I look down with my clear mirror, I can observe ten thousand li.
Oh, I am the great mountain god.
What can you offer to satisfy me?
Is the whole pig covered with a red cloth enough?
Is the bundle of three different colored silks enough?
Offer many rich silks to me.
Oh, you, the husband and wife of this home.
Do you remember who gives you the food that sustains you?
Who gave you a home?
Who gave you wealth?
Who gave you long life?
I, the Sansang, gave you blessings and aid in times of need.
    Invocation of the Mountain Spirit (Korean Shamanism)

War-bundle owners, I greet you. Ye elders, I am about to pour tobacco for the spirits.
 
Hearken Earthmaker, our father, I am about to offer you a handful of tobacco. My ancestor so-and-so concentrated his mind upon you. The fireplaces with which you blessed him, the small amount of life you granted to him, all, four times the blessings that you bestowed upon my ancestor, I ask of you directly. May I have no troubles in life.
 
Chief of the Thunderbirds, who lives in the west, you strengthened my grandfather. I am about to offer you a handful of tobacco. The food, the pair of deer you gave him for his fireplaces, that I ask of you directly. May you accept this tobacco from me and may I not meet with troubles. 
 
Great Black Hawk, you also blessed my grandfather. I am about to offer you tobacco. Whatever food you blessed him with that I ask you directly. May I not meet with troubles…You [night spirits] on the other side, who live in the east, who walk in darkness, I am about to offer you tobacco to smoke. Whatever you blessed my ancestor with, I ask of you. If you smoke this tobacco I will never be a weakling.Disease-giver, you who live in the south; you who look like a man; who art invulnerable; who on one side of your body present death and on the other life, you blessed my ancestor in the daytime, in broad daylight. You blessed him with food and told him that he would never fail in anything. You promised to avoid his home. You placed animals before him that he might easily obtain food. I offer you tobacco that you may smoke it, and that I may not be troubled by anything. To you, Sun, Light-wanderer… To you, Grandmother Moon… Hearken, all ye spirits to whom my ancestor prayed; to all of you I offer tobacco. My ancestor gave a feast to all those who had blessed him. Bestow upon us once again all the blessings you gave our ancestor, that we may not become weaklings. I greet you all.
    Winnebago Invocation at the Sweat Lodge (Native American Religion)
 
Ala, come and drink and eat the kola nut.
Chukwu, come and drink and eat the kola nut.
Ancestors, come and drink and eat the kola nut.
    I was told by a man of Ngbwidi, one named Ehirim, that a man of Agunese had stolen his yams; and so I summoned the priests of Ala and Aro holders and elders in order that we might inquire into the matter. I called them, even as my father, who was priest of Njoku before me, used to do.
    If any of these men, who have come to try the case, deal falsely in the matter, or if the accuser or accused or any person called to give evidence tells falsehood, then do you, Ala, Chukwu, Njoku, Ancestors, and Ofo, deal with that man.
    Igbo Invocation at a Trial (African Traditional Religions)
 
Parvati, on seeing her son Ganesha resuscitated, embraced him joyously and clothed him with new garments and ornaments. After kissing his face, she said, “O Ganesha, you have had great distress since your very birth. You are blessed and contented now. You will receive worship before all the gods…
    “All achievements certainly accrue to him who performs your worship with flowers, sandal paste, scents, auspicious food offerings, waving of lights, betel leaves, charitable gifts, circumambulations, and obeisance. All kinds of obstacles will certainly perish.”
    Shiva, Brahma, and Vishnu declared in unison, “O great gods, just as we three are worshipped in all the three worlds, so also Ganesha shall be worshipped by all of you. He is the remover of all obstacles and the bestower of the fruits of all rites.”
    Shiva Purana, Rudrasamhita 18 (Hinduism)
 
 

God Does Not Choose Only the Path From the East

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John 17

You have given me some followers from this world, and I have shown them what you are like. They were yours, but you gave them to me, and they have obeyed you. They know that you gave me everything I have. I told my followers what you told me, and they accepted it. They know that I came from you, and they believe that you are the one who sent me. I am praying for them, but not for those who belong to this world.[a] My followers belong to you, and I am praying for them. 10 All that I have is yours, and all that you have is mine, and they will bring glory to me.

Psalm 78

God gave his Law
to Jacob’s descendants,
    the people of Israel.
And he told our ancestors
    to teach their children,
so that each new generation
would know his Law
    and tell it to the next.
Then they would trust God
    and obey his teachings,
    without forgetting anything
    God had done.

One Truth, Many Paths

1. All Religions Worship the Same God and Serve His Great Will

Teachings of Rev. Sun Myung Moon

Although different religions have different names for God and different ways of worshipping Him, the central Being worshipped by each religion is the one and only God. (140:11, February 1, 1986)
 
All people know Jesus, Buddha, Confucius and Muhammad as the founders of the world’s great religions. We revere them as the guides of humankind. There can be no objection to believing their teachings.
    Why should people follow them? They came to this world as our guides. Each takes responsibility for one religion and guides his people to advance toward the summit. When they reach the summit and find that they are only on a low peak among a great range of mountains, these founders will lead them to another trail, and then another, as they advance upward towards the highest summit.
    God does not choose only the path to the summit from the East. If God did, people from the West who cannot come around to the East would have no path. Therefore, God established religions in every direction—East, West, South and North—and revealed the major routes to reach to the peak from each direction. On the way, they each absorbed numerous peoples, as God furthered their progress towards one unified world. (81:181-82, December 28, 1975)
 
All four great founders of religion were centered on God. They were not their own lords, for above each was God, their Lord. God is above Jesus; likewise God is above Buddha, Confucius and Muhammad. These men knew God; that is why they could become the founders of religion. That is why they taught a common message—that message was one of righteousness, peace and justice. They worked to spread that message and to establish a world of goodness. They all lived many centuries ago, yet their teachings guide people to the present day. (130:146-47, January 8, 1984)
 
There are numerous religions on the earth today. God needed to set up different religions in order to gather the peoples scattered all over the world. Each people has a religion suited to its distinct history, circumstance, cultural background and customs, yet these religions are all headed towards one goal. They are like the streams of a single river. As you go downstream, the number of streams decreases as they merge into larger and larger tributaries, until finally they merge into a single great river. Likewise, all the religions are to unite as they flow towards the place where they can capture God’s love; there they will stay. (23:125, May 18, 1969)
 
Religion provides training as we seek for God’s love and ideal. The world’s religions were given different responsibilities to raise people level by level back to the original state. (87:177, June 2, 1976)
 
The world in which we live is not the world of goodness; it is a fallen world where evil holds sway. Hence, many barriers block our relationship with the God of goodness. To remove these barriers, God needs human beings to play a mediating role. Therefore, throughout history and all over the world, God has been developing movements based on religion to transform this evil world to the world of goodness.
    Among every people of the world, God developed a religion suitable to its unique culture and customs. God expanded the scope of these religions according to their suitability, from local beliefs to worldwide faiths. Today these religious roots have spawned four great civilizations: Christian civilization, Islamic civilization, Indian [Hindu] civilization, and the Far Eastern civilization rooted in Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism.
    Looking at the world today, what would be God’s wish? His desire is that these four religions not remain separate; He would unite them and present one religion on the world stage. That religion should represent God’s true Will to the world. (113:313, May 10, 1981)
 
There is not a single person whom Thou hast not touched,
or country that Thou hast not guided in hope.
Thou hast been leading all peoples,
transcending national borders,
to the present point on the path to the original world,
Thine eternal ideal. (76:86-87, February 1, 1975)
 
 
 

Set Things Right Between Your Two Brothers

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John 18

38 “What is truth?” retorted Pilate.

Psalm 14

Richard: No doubt, this is today’s question. With so many lies and obfuscations being promoted, we need to be in touch with our conscience, centered on the Word of God.

Pslam 14

But all of them are corrupt;
    no one does right.

Won’t you evil people learn?
    You refuse to pray,
    and you gobble down
    the Lord’s people.
But you will be frightened,
    because God is on the side
    of every good person.
You may spoil the plans
of the poor,
    but the Lord protects them.

I long for someone from Zion
    to come and save Israel!
Our Lord, when you bless
    your people again,
    Jacob’s family will be glad,
    and Israel will celebrate.

The Purpose of Religion

3. Religions Promote Universal Community

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
    Galatians 3.28

The believers indeed are brothers; so set things right between your two brothers, and fear God; haply so you will find mercy.
    Qur’an 49.10

Israel’s reconciliation with God can be achieved only when they are all one brotherhood.
    Talmud, Menahot 27a (Judaism)

Behold, how good and pleasant it is
when brothers dwell in unity!
It is like the precious oil upon the head,
running down upon the beard,
upon the beard of Aaron,
running down on the collar of his robes!
It is like the dew of Hermon,
which falls on the mountains of Zion!
For there the Lord has commanded the blessing,
life for evermore.
    Psalm 133   

Happy is the unity of the Sangha.
Happy is the discipline of the united ones.
    Dhammapada 194 (Buddhism)

The ultimate purpose of Buddhism, and for that
matter all religions, is to serve and benefit man.
    Tenzin Gyatso, The Fourteenth Dalai Lama (Buddhism)

Teachings of Rev. Sun Myung Moon

Throughout history, the basic pillar of every civilization has been the spirit. Religion is that spiritual pillar, enduring from age to age always keeping the spirit as its center. As religion expands its influence, it guides the human conscience, leavens the social environment, and guides humankind towards the world of God’s desire. (9:277, June 12, 1960)
 
God established religion to convey God’s love and truth to humankind and to save humankind. God established various religions, each in its own time and place. For example, He founded Buddhism in India and Confucianism in China approximately 2,400 years ago, and in Judea, He founded Christianity 2,000 years ago.
    It can be said assuredly that the absolute value perspective is established only through religions which revere Ultimate Reality. Conversely, no fundamental solution to today’s confusion is possible through those thoughts and philosophies that are not founded on religion… In history, we have the examples of Confucianism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam, each of which, in its own time and place, dispelled anxiety and brought peace to societies in chaos. On the foundation of peace and security, each brought forth a flourishing of culture. (122:300, November 26, 1982)
 
What is the true religion? It is the religion that brings the truth by which all people can enter into a genuine parent-child relationship with God. It unites all humankind in brotherly love. Further, it strives to bring about one human family centered on the love of God. These are the qualities of a true religion. People who are searching for the highest religion, the religion established by God, should seek a religion with these qualities. (91:225, February 20, 1977)
 
In the next world, people are divided by nationality; except religious people, who can dwell together with fellow-believers from every nation. In the religious sphere people believe in one God and long for one world; hence they can live together transcending nationality. (297:271, December 19, 1998)
 
Although their skin colors are different and their living circumstances are different, in relating to Thy Will they are brothers and sisters in a destined relationship of one blood. (10:150, September 25, 1960)
 
The ultimate purpose of all religions is to realize the ideal world of peace, which is God’s desire. Religions should be concerned about the Will of God for the salvation of the world before thinking of the salvation of their own denomination or the salvation of individuals. (135:221, November 16, 1985)