Harmony Between Different Religions Is Important and Necessary

Numbers 23

When God appeared to him, Balaam said, “I have built seven altars and have sacrificed a bull and a ram on each one.”

Richard: We should be busy doing everything we can to establish God’s Kingdom and His Righteousness.

Psalm 19

14 Let my words and my thoughts
    be pleasing to you, Lord,
    because you are my mighty rock
    and my protector.

Everyone Has the Right to Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion

3. Community and Solidarity among Religions

I came to the conclusion long ago… that all religions were true and also that all had some error in them, and whilst I hold by my own, I should hold others as dear as Hinduism. So we can only pray, if we are Hindus, not that a Christian should become a Hindu… But our innermost prayer should be a Hindu should be a better Hindu, a Muslim a better Muslim, a Christian a better Christian.
    Mohandas Gandhi (Hinduism)
 
Basically all major religions of the world carry the same message; therefore harmony between different religions is both important and necessary.
    Each system has its own value suited to persons of different disposition and mental outlook. At this time of easy communication, we must increase our efforts to learn each other’s system. This does not mean that we should make all religions into one but that we should recognize the common purpose of the many religions and value the different techniques that they have developed for internal improvement.
    Tenzin Gyatso, The Fourteenth Dalai Lama (Buddhism)
 
The Church therefore has this exhortation for her sons: prudently and lovingly, through dialogue and collaboration with the followers of other religions, and in witness of Christian faith and life, acknowledge, preserve, and promote the spiritual and moral goods found among these men, as well as the values in their society and culture.
    Vatican II, Nostra Aetate (Christianity)
 
My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.
    Isaiah 56.7
 
And I [Jesus] have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd.
    John 10.16
 
The essential purpose of the religion of God is to establish unity among mankind. The divine Manifestations were Founders of the means of fellowship and love. They did not come to create discord, strife and hatred in the world. The religion of God is the cause of love, but if it is made to be a source of enmity and bloodshed, surely its absence is preferable to its existence; for then it becomes satanic, detrimental and an obstacle to the human world…It is our duty in this radiant century to investigate the essentials of divine religion, seek the realities underlying the oneness of the world of humanity, and discover the source of fellowship and agreement which will unite mankind in the heavenly bond of love. This unity is the radiance of eternity, the divine spirituality, the effulgence of God and the bounty of the Kingdom.
    ‘Abdul’l-Bahá, Promulgation of Universal Peace (Baha’i Faith)
 
 
 

Love God and Serve Him as the Absolute Lord

Movie Review-Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer – VisionRoot

Numbers 35

20-21 Or suppose you get angry and kill someone by pushing or hitting or by throwing something. You are a murderer and must be put to death by one of the victim’s relatives.

22-24 But if you are not angry and accidentally kill someone in any of these ways, the townspeople must hold a trial and decide if you are guilty. 25 If they decide that you are innocent, you will be protected from the victim’s relative and sent to stay in one of the Safe Towns until the high priest dies. 26 But if you ever leave the Safe Town 27 and are killed by the victim’s relative, he cannot be punished for killing you. 28 You must stay inside the town until the high priest dies; only then can you go back home.

Daniel 2

36 That was the dream, and now I’ll tell you what it means. 37 Your Majesty, you are the greatest of kings, and God has highly honored you with power 38 over all humans, animals, and birds. You are the head of gold. 39 After you are gone, another kingdom will rule, but it won’t be as strong. Then it will be followed by a kingdom of bronze that will rule the whole world. 40 Next, a kingdom of iron will come to power, crushing and shattering everything.[d]

41-42 This fourth kingdom will be divided—it will be both strong and brittle, just as you saw that the feet and toes were a mixture of iron and clay. 43 This kingdom will be the result of a marriage between kingdoms, but it will crumble, just as iron and clay don’t stick together.

44-45 During the time of those kings, the God who rules from heaven will set up an eternal kingdom that will never fall. It will be like the stone that was cut from the mountain, but not by human hands—the stone that crushed the iron, bronze, clay, silver, and gold. Your Majesty, in your dream the great God has told you what is going to happen, and you can trust this interpretation.

One Truth, Many Paths

2. Beneath the Differences Are Universal Elements

Teachings of Rev. Sun Myung Moon

In every culture, religion should be the core and standard of public righteousness. Hence each religion holds pride in keeping its own traditions and thinks itself superior to any other. However, the universal elements in each of their teachings come from the one God. (234:222, August 20, 1992)

Lamentable it is that the very religions that were supposed to serve as the leading elements of the human spirit and as the leading mediators of conflict have themselves become sources of conflict, thereby diminishing religious dignity and authority even further. Judaism fights Islam; Catholicism conflicts with Protestantism; Christianity contradicts Buddhism. Even within one religion, different denominations fight among themselves.
    The basic cause of religious conflict lies in the ambiguity of their doctrines about Ultimate Reality. The Absolute Being is only one; there cannot be two absolute beings. However, when the leaders of each religion claim that only their absolute being is the true God, it leads to the contradiction that there is more than one absolute being. We would then conclude that the god of each religion is only a relative god, and that there is no basis for believing that the Absolute Being exists.
    Consequently, although God has been promoting through the various religions a universal teaching about God’s love and truth, their various perspectives remain only relative. We can conclude that religions have been incapable of establishing the absolute value perspective that can bring the prevailing confusion under control. This is the inevitable result of the fact that no religion has been able to present the correct explanation about the Absolute Being. (122:300-01, November 25, 1982)

As most people live in two dimensions, all religions appear to them to be the same. However, if looking at their backgrounds, especially from the standpoint of God’s providence for the restoration of humankind, we recognize that religions are at different levels: the servant of servant-level religion, the servant-level religion, the adopted son-level religion, the half son-level religion, the son-level religion, the mother-level religion, the father-level religion, and finally the True Parent-level religion. Throughout history, religions have developed from stage to stage.
    Yet all religions, regardless of their level, have something in common: Love God and serve Him as the absolute Lord. Most of their basic teachings are the same. For this reason, it is hard to distinguish the difference of their levels. If so, are all religions really the same? No, they are not. (143:75-76, December 9, 1990)

Good and evil are not determined by your beliefs and thoughts. They are determined by your daily life. Whether you are destined for heaven and hell is not determined by your doctrines and perspectives on the world, but by your daily life. (40:294-95, February 7, 1971)

Seek Refuge with the Lord Alone

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Urban Life Training Newsletter-March 18, 2021

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Numbers 20

27 Moses did as the Lord commanded: They went up Mount Hor in the sight of the whole community. 28 Moses removed Aaron’s garments and put them on his son Eleazar. And Aaron died there on top of the mountain. Then Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain, 29 and when the whole community learned that Aaron had died, all the Israelites mourned for him thirty days.

Isaiah 66

21 And I will select some of them also to be priests and Levites,” says the Lord.

22 “As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me,” declares the Lord, “so will your name and descendants endure. 23 From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me,” says the Lord. 24 “And they will go out and look on the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; the worms that eat them will not die, the fire that burns them will not be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.”

Chapter 8

Religion

The Purpose of Religion

All religions share certain purposes in common, though with different emphases. For Western religions, the primary purpose of religion is salvation. The etymology of the word “religion” derives from a Latin word meaning “to re-bind” with God. Human beings are fallen and broken, and therefore God has established religion as a means of repairing our brokenness, restoring us to our original goodness, and re-connecting us with God. In contrast, the eastern understanding of religion is contained in its Chinese characters, which mean “foundational teaching.” this describes the purpose of religion as the basic teaching for cultivating a good and virtuous character. Father Moon recognizes both meanings, inasmuch as fallen human beings cannot finally cultivate virtuous character without resolving sin and rebinding with God. He distinguishes two valid aspects of religion: first, providential religions (Judaism and Christianity) whose purpose is to welcome the Messiah who comes to solve original sin and restore full communion with God, and second, religions the world over whose purpose is mainly to train people in virtue. The Kingdom of God is built on both of these foundations. Religion also has a social purpose: to cultivate community. Religion teaches the ways of love and reconciliation that enable people to live in peace and harmony. By extension, the ultimate purpose of religion is to establish world peace. That is, because God is the creator and Father of all humankind, religions that take us close to God enable us to feel part of the universal brotherhood and sisterhood that flows from his parental love

1. Religions Provide the Way of Salvation

Men, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
    Acts 16.30-31

Seek refuge with the Lord alone,
with your whole being, Bharata.
By His grace, you will reach
supreme peace, an everlasting estate.
    Bhagavad-Gita 18.62 (Hinduism)

Surely the [true] religion with God is Islam [the Surrender]. Those who formerly received the Scriptures… if they argue with you, [O Muhammad], say, “I have surrendered my pur-pose to God, and so have those who follow me.” And say to those who have received the Scriptures and those who have not read [them], “Have you also surrendered?” If they surrender, then truly they are rightly guided.
    Qur’an 3.19-20

To many a refuge fear-stricken men betake themselves—to hills, woods, groves, trees, and shrines. Nay, no such refuge is safe, no such ref-uge is supreme. Not by resorting to such a refuge is one freed from ill.

He who has gone for refuge to the Buddha [the teacher], the Dhamma [the teaching], and the Sangha [the taught], sees with right knowledge the Four Noble Truths: Sorrow, the Cause of Sorrow, the Transcending of Sorrow and the Noble Eightfold Path which leads to the Cessation of Sorrow. This, indeed, is refuge secure. By seeking such refuge one is released from all sorrow.
    Dhammapada 188-192 (Buddhism)

Surely, the path that leads to worldly gain is one, and the path that leads to Nibbana is another; understanding this, the bhikkhu, the disciple of the Buddha, should not rejoice in wordly favors, but cultivate detachment.
    Dhammapada 75 (Buddhism)

Where Is Our Zero Point Located?

Numbers 9

15-16 As soon as the sacred tent was set up, a thick cloud appeared and covered it. The cloud was there each day, and during the night, a fire could be seen in it. 17-19 The Lord used this cloud to tell the Israelites when to move their camp and where to set it up again. As long as the cloud covered the tent, the Israelites did not break camp. But when the cloud moved, they followed it, and wherever it stopped, they camped and stayed there, 20-22 whether it was only one night, a few days, a month, or even a year. As long as the cloud remained over the tent, the Israelites stayed where they were. But when the cloud moved, so did the Israelites. 23 They obeyed the Lord’s commands and went wherever he directed Moses.

Nehemiah 9

Our stubborn ancestors
    refused to obey—
they forgot about the miracles
    you had worked for them,
and they were determined
to return to Egypt
    and become slaves again.
17 But, our God, you are merciful
    and quick to forgive;
you are loving, kind,
    and very patient.
So you never turned away
    from them—
18 not even when they made
    an idol shaped like a calf
and insulted you by claiming,
“This is the god who rescued us
    from Egypt.”

19 Because of your great mercy,
you never abandoned them
    in the desert.
And you always guided them
with a cloud by day
    and a fire at night.

Richard: Both readings refer to the cloud that guided and “covered” the Israelites. The modern day cloud is the Word of God brought by Rev. Sun Myung Moon in the eight sacred textbooks. By daily study of the Word and through our conscience, God will continually guide us.

Emptiness–Nirvana

Teachings of Rev. Sun Myung Moon

While seeking for absolute love, you should not have consciousness of self. (279:146, August 4, 1996)
 
If we could totally subjugate our body, if our actions were always in conformity with our will, then we would not need religion. Jesus came in order to correct the disunity between the mind and the body. This is also the purpose of the Buddha’s teaching that we should return to the state of nothingness—the zero point. If the mind and body are united, you do not feel [any distinction]. Why should we return to a state of emptiness? It is so we may experience Being. In a state of emptiness, the zero point, there emerges a counterpart with whom you can be in total harmony. Hence, at the zero point you can experience Being one hundred percent. (256:212, March 13, 1994)
 
God dwells in the ‘king zero point.’ Since God has such a nature, to meet Him you must become even lower than zero. Then you must guard that king zero point. The king zero point is like the mind, and as the flesh surrounds the mind, you should surround and protect the zero point. Have you reached the state where you can guard the zero point? Can you go even lower than the zero point? This is what Buddhist meditation is about—to search the God-like mind for the deepest point. (230:134, May 1, 1992)
 
The [self-centered] ego has nothing to do with the ideal of creation. Therefore, we should completely deny ourselves. In order to find the true self, we should place ourselves at the zero point. That is the only place where we can be totally united in mind and body.
    When God created us, He was in a state of total mind-body unity. He was in a state of total self-giving, with absolute love and absolute faith. God had no space to think of His own benefit or situation. Herein lies the origin of love: it is a state of one hundred percent giving and living for the sake of others. Where do you think you can find your true self? You find it by practicing a life of true love, always living for the sake of others.
    If you dwell at the zero point—denying yourself while living for the sake of your family, all humankind throughout the world, and God—you will find your true self without doubt. It is our inevitable destiny to do so as we walk the path of restoration, which leads to salvation. (356:301-02, October 21, 2001)
 
Although we yearn for God and seek to love Him as the Subject of our faith, our experiences of Him are vague and indistinct. We still wonder, “Where can we find God?” Although He is definitely present, we cannot perceive Him with the certainty that we perceive things with our five physical senses. How, then, can we see God? We do not begin by looking at God, but rather by looking into ourselves.
    When we look into ourselves, we find that we exist as mind and body. We should not focus on the body, but look into our mind.
    Among a thousand fallen people, their fundamental nature may be the same, but each one has a different mind, a different personality each with different qualities.
    When drawing a circle, you first draw a horizontal line and then a vertical line. From the point where they intersect, you draw the circle around it, starting from one degree, two degrees, and finally covering all 360 degrees. The horizontal line and the vertical line determine a 90-degree angle. How, then, do we make our mind a perfect circle? Depending on their personalities, each person draws their horizontal line in a different place. Just as our faces are different from one another, our inborn natures are different.
    When drawing our circle through 360 degrees, we begin from zero degrees and trace it based on that standard. However, if the baseline of our minds is not properly fixed, we will not have the proper standard for measuring the degrees of the circle. Indeed, the baselines of people’s minds are not the same. Why? As people’s faces, interests and feelings differ, they each draw their horizontal and vertical lines in a different way.
    How, then, can you form a circle covering all 360 degrees? You should find the zero point. Where is your zero point? Everyone has one. It is within yourself, within the core of your heart—there you will find it. When you draw a horizontal line from the zero point, you can properly fix the vertical line perpendicular to it.
    We are to stand as object partners before God, our Subject Partner. Surely He has endowed human beings with a base to respond to Him as object partners. Therefore, upon the base of the horizontal mind, we should find the vertical direction, the true perpendicular. Surely there must be one.
    You see the horizon in two dimensions, but if you try and estimate the perpendicular your measure could easily be off the mark. How can you find the accurate measure? If your horizontal is too high you must lower it; if it is too low you must raise it, to fix it at the zero point.
    In an electrical power plant there are many meters, and each one is calibrated to a zero point. That neutral point must be set properly in order to adjust the positive and negative voltages and to measure the power levels. We, too, must accurately calibrate our zero point.
    Where is our zero point located? It is a position that exists but seemingly does not exist. People who practice Zen meditation say that they attain the state of ‘no-self.’ That is what I am talking about. We should reach that spiritual standard, the zero point state. Once we attain it, our horizontal standard will become responsive to all things. (76:125)
 
 
 

It Breaks God’s Heart to Observe Human Misery

The Richard Urban Show:

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#84-President Trump Should Stay in Office

Numbers 9

The Lord then told Moses 10 to say to the community of Israel:

If any of you or your descendants touch a dead body and become unfit to worship me, or if you are away on a long journey, you may still celebrate Passover. 11 But it must be done in the second month, in the evening of the fourteenth day. Eat the Passover lamb with thin bread and bitter herbs, 12 and don’t leave any of it until morning or break any of the animal’s bones. Be sure to follow these regulations.

13 But if any of you refuse to celebrate Passover when you are not away on a journey, you will no longer belong to my people. You will be punished because you did not offer sacrifices to me at the proper time.

Richard: God gives his Word, and we must follow it. God speaks through our conscience informed by God’s Word.

2 Samuel 21

13-14 David had their bones taken to the land of Benjamin and buried in a side room in Saul’s family burial place. Then he gave orders for the bones of the men who had been hanged to be buried there. It was done, and God answered prayers to bless the land.

14 Anyone, including foreigners who live among you, can celebrate Passover, if they follow all the regulations.

Richard: Those responsible for crimes were brought to justice, and then God could bless the land.

God’s Grief

1. God’s Grief over the Human Fall and Humankind’s Sinful Condition

Teachings of Rev. Sun Myung Moon

God’s heart was torn asunder and broken with indescribable grief and tears the moment Adam and Eve fell. (7:292, October 11, 1959)

Love is endless. Had God not established the principle of love, He would be alone. Dwelling by Himself, He would be unable to experience joy, anger, sorrow or happiness. 
    Although God’s love is absolute, once God lost His partners of love, He unexpectedly found Himself in an absolutely miserable and grim situation, such as no one in history has ever experienced. No one can comfort Him over this, ever. (204:101, July 1, 1990)

If Adam and Eve had not fallen, God their Creator would have been their eternal Lord. But due to the Fall, Satan became their lord. The Fall made this outcome unavoidable. Suppose a girl of noble birth, raised within the walls of her house, is raped by a gangster; to whom does she belong? She belongs to him. The same principle applies.
    Adam was to have been the king of heaven and Eve his queen. To restore these original positions requires following the principle of creation. From the beginning of creation God laid down the law of eternal love to be fulfilled by Adam and Eve, so it has to be observed. Were God to disregard this law, it would be tantamount to destroying the law of Heaven.
    God set up this heavenly law. If He were to negate it, that would be tantamount to negating humankind and to negating Himself as the absolute Creator. That is why God had no alternative but to bring order through a course of re-creation. Who has known its long and painful history? (207:272, November 11, 1990)

How grieved was God that His enemy deprived Him of His throne! Unable to become the glorious God, He became the long-suffering and sorrowful God. Although He is rightfully the King of His kingdom and the King of the universe, God has been mistreated as if He were dead. His enemy robbed Him of His ideal and violated His beloved children. The planet Earth has fully become His enemy’s plaything. (105:199, October 21, 1979)

Why is God’s heart full of grief? It is because of Satan. It is because human beings planted Satan’s blood and flesh through partaking of his false love. It is because they sowed the Devil’s seeds, which propagated as the Devil’s families. God wished to rejoice, singing, “May my families live with true love for ten thousand years under Heaven’s dominion!” However, with the appearance of the Devil’s fami-lies multiplying throughout the world, God’s dreams were shattered. (214:282, February 3, 1991)

Can you imagine how much it breaks God’s heart to observe human misery every hour of every day? What happened to God’s dignity when His sons and daughters, whom He intended to glorify as princes and princesses, became cripples, fell into a pit filled with dung and were stuck upside-down in hell? What became of the dignity of the omniscient and omnipotent God, of the absolute God? Can He show His face? (218:240, August 19, 1991)

As long as human beings live in despair, God also lives in despair. As long as Satan shackles human beings on earth, the world of darkness under his dominion will remain also in the spirit world. (2:246, June 9, 1957)