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)
 
 
 

God Wants to Save the World

Song of Songs 1

    Take me to your home.

The Young Women Speak:

We are happy for you!
And we praise your love
    even more than wine.

She Speaks:

Young women of Jerusalem,
it is only right
    that you should adore him.
My skin is dark and beautiful,
like a tent in the desert
    or like Solomon’s curtains.
Don’t stare at me
just because the sun
    has darkened my skin.
My brothers were angry with me;
they made me work in the vineyard,
    and so I neglected
    my complexion.

Don’t let the other shepherds
    think badly of me.
I’m not one of those women
who shamelessly follow
    after shepherds.
My darling, I love you!
Where do you feed your sheep
    and let them rest at noon?

2 Chronicles 36

36 After the death of Josiah, the people of Judah crowned his son Jehoahaz their new king. He was twenty-three years old at the time, and he ruled only three months from Jerusalem. King Neco of Egypt captured Jehoahaz and forced Judah to pay almost four tons of silver and seventy-five pounds of gold as taxes. Then Neco appointed Jehoahaz’s brother Eliakim king of Judah and changed his name to Jehoiakim. He led Jehoahaz away to Egypt as his prisoner.

Tolerance, Religious Freedom and Interfaith Solidarity

1. Tolerance towards Believers of Other Religions

Teachings of Rev. Sun Myung Moon

The ideal of True Parents and the ideal of world peace are directly connected. We guide all nations, peoples, cultures, and religions to harmonize with one another by becoming 100 percent tolerant to one another for the sake of the ideal; this is the way to establish world peace. (205:159, August 16, 1990)
 
By demonstrating the goodness of their teachings, religions should set the example for all humankind. Instead, religions are fighting one another. Even different denominations within the same religion fight amongst themselves over differences in doctrine. On seeing this, God feels great anguish in His heart. (167:99, June 30, 1987)
 
We who are in a movement for unity must make efforts to unite with all religions. If possible, we can resolve doctrinal differences through persuasion. Otherwise, with much patience and much tolerance we have to compromise in order to cooperate with them. There are no other ways than these two. (103:125, February 18, 1979)
 
A religion that can bring peace to the world should not regard itself as important. It should not have self-centered views about its authority or its possessions. If it does, it will not go beyond the level of its own nation and the people who accept its doctrines.
    There will be no escape from the history of conflicts and wars as long as our religion follows the conventional path of pursuing self-interest. God knows this; therefore He instructs us to deny and sacrifice ourselves. Even though we believe we have the central role, we should not pursue our own self-interest but rather seek for the welfare of other religious groups. Religions should walk the path of self-denial, self-sacrifice, and service to others. (172:143, January 10, 1988)
 
God wants to save the world, not just the Presbyterian Church or the Methodist Church or the Holiness Church. God does not live for the sake of any particular church or denomination; He lives for the world. A true church sacrifices itself for the sake of the world. If need be, for the sake of saving the world, a church should be willing even to let itself go out of existence. This is the way of the Principle; we must travel this road to accomplish God’s Will.
 
    On the other hand, churches that place themselves above every other church, that regard themselves as absolute while denying the validity of all other churches, will perish. (69:87, October 20, 1973)
 
In this age, God wants to lead the world through ‘parent-level religions’—religions with a parental heart… Religions that put down or are hostile to other religions or denominations are not useful for the realization of world peace or the fulfillment of God’s providence. (260:128, May 1, 1994)❖World Scripture II V8 013107.ind393 3932/1/2007 3:14:49 PM
 
 
 

Oh How They Cling and Wrangle

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Cheon Seong Gyeong 267

Furthermore, you should know that you have inherited the responsibility that True Parents are to carry out on earth. Why do the Blessed Families have to inherit this? If the Blessed Families are going through the course to restore a people, True Parents should be going through a course to restore the world. In other words, they should be going one step ahead. Yet without establishing the victorious standard of having restored a people, True Parents cannot walk the course of worldwide restoration. That is why you must inherit the responsibility to restore a people to ensure that True Parents can walk the worldwide course. Until your death and until the sorrow of this people is removed, you must shoulder the responsibility to restore a people. (13-293, 1964.4.12)

Cheon Seong Gyeong 1123

“Portion of responsibility” is a term that is not used much in ordinary society. However, especially in the Unification Church, it is a term that is more important than any other. Within our church, if you do not know these two terms – “portion of responsibility” and “restoration through indemnity” – you will not be able to understand the content of our historical course or resolve the mistakes and unknown facts of history. That is how important these words are. (169-45, 1987.10.25)

One Truth, Many Paths

2. Beneath the Differences Are Universal Elements

A number of disciples went to the Buddha and said, “Sir, there are living here in Savatthi many wandering hermits and scholars who indulge in constant dispute, some saying that the world is infinite and eternal and others that it is finite and not eternal, some saying that the soul dies with the body and others that it lives on forever, and so forth. What, Sir, would you say concerning them?”
    The Buddha answered, “Once upon a time there was a certain raja who called to his servant and said, ‘Come, good fellow, go and gather together in one place all the men of Savatthi who were born blind… and show them an elephant.’ ‘Very good, sire,’ replied the servant, and he did as he was told. He said to the blind men assembled there, ‘Here is an elephant,’ and to one man he presented the head of the elephant, to another its ears, to another a tusk, to another the trunk, the foot, back, tail, and tuft of the tail, saying to each one that that was the elephant.
    “When the blind men had felt the elephant, the raja went to each of them and said to each, ‘Well, blind man, have you seen the elephant? Tell me, what sort of thing is an elephant?’“
    Thereupon the men who were presented with the head answered, ‘Sire, an elephant is like a pot.’ And the men who had observed the ear replied, ‘An elephant is like a winnowing basket.’ Those who had been presented with a tusk said it was a ploughshare. Those who knew only the trunk said it was a plough; others said the body was a granary; the foot, a pillar; the back, a mortar; the tail, a pestle, the tuft of the tail, a brush.“
    Then they began to quarrel, shouting, ‘Yes it is!’ ‘No, it is not!’ ‘An elephant is not that!’ ‘Yes, it’s like that!’ and so on, till they came to blows over the matter. The raja was delighted with the scene.“
    Just so are these preachers and scholars holding various views blind and unseeing… In their ignorance they are by nature quarrelsome, wrangling, and disputatious, each maintaining reality is thus and thus.”
    Then the Exalted One rendered this meaning by uttering this verse of uplift:

O how they cling and wrangle, some who
claim
For preacher and monk the honored name!
For, quarreling, each to his view they cling.
Such folk see only one side of a thing. 5
    Udana 68-69: Parable of the Blind Men and the Elephant (Buddhism)

Some Hindus had brought an elephant for exhibition and placed it in a dark house. Crowds of people were going into that dark place to see the beast. Finding that ocular inspection was impossible, each visitor felt it with his palm in the darkness. 
    The palm of one fell on the trunk. “This creature is like a waterspout,” he said. The hand of another lighted on the elephant’s ear. To him the beast was evidently like a fan. Another rubbed against its leg. “I found the elephant’s shape is like a pillar,” he said. Another laid his hand on its back. “Certainly this elephant is like a throne,” he said.
    The sensual eye is just like the palm of the hand. The palm has not the means of covering the whole of the beast.
    The eye of the Sea is one thing and the foam another. Let the foam go, and gaze with the eye of the Sea. Day and night foam-flecks are flung from the sea: How amazing! You behold the foam but not the Sea. We are like boats dashing together; our eyes are darkened, yet we are in clear water.
    Jalalu’l-Din Rumi, Masnavi3.1259-1272 (Islam)
 
A man among the Muslims and a man among the Jews reviled one another. The Muslim said, “By Him who chose Muhammad above the universe,” and the Jew said, “By Him who chose Moses above the universe.” Thereupon the Muslim raised his hand and struck the Jew on his face, and the Jew went to the Prophet and told him what had happened between him and the Muslim. The Prophet summoned the Muslim and asked him about that, and when he informed him the Prophet said, “Do not make me superior to Moses, for mankind will swoon on the day of resurrection and I shall swoon along with them. I shall be the first to recover and see Moses seizing the side of the Throne; and I shall not know whether he was among those who had swooned and had recovered before me, or whether he was among those of whom God had made an exception… Do not make distinctions between the Prophets.”
    Hadith of Bukhari and Muslim (Islam)
 
Some call on the Lord, “Rama,” some cry, “Khuda,”
Some bow to Him as Gosain, some as Allah;
He is called the Ground of Grounds and also the Bountiful,
The Compassionate One and Gracious.
Hindus bathe in holy waters for His sake;
Muslims make the pilgrimage to Mecca.
The Hindus perform puja; others bow their heads in namaz.
There are those who read the Vedas and others—Christians, Jews, Muslims—Who read the Semitic scriptures.
Some wear blue, some white robes,
Some call themselves Muslims, others Hindus.
Some aspire to bahishat [Muslim heaven], some to swarga [Hindu heaven].
Says Nanak, Whoever realizes the will of the Lord, He will find out the Lord’s secrets!
    Adi Granth, Ramkali, M.5, p. 885 (Sikhism)
 
Of whatsoever teachings, Gotamid, you can assure yourself thus, “These doctrines conduce to passions, not to dispassion; to bondage, not to detachment; to increase of worldly gains, not to decrease of them; to covetousness, not to frugality; to discontent, not contentment; to company, not solitude; to sluggishness, not energy; to delight in evil, not delight in good”—of such teachings you may with certainty affirm, Gotamid, “This is not the Norm. This is not the Discipline. This is not the Master’s Message.”
 
But of whatsoever teachings you can assure yourself thus, “These doctrines conduce to dispassion, not to passions… to delight in good, not delight in evil”—of such teachings you may with certainty affirm, “This is the Norm. This is the Discipline. This is the Master’s Message.”
    Vinaya Pitaka 2.10 (Buddhism)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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)