Origin The Challenge to the Global Community of Religions
"In this new ecological age of developing global community and interfaith dialogue, the world religions face what is perhaps the greatest challenge that they have ever encountered. Each is inspired by a unique vision of the divine and has a distinct cultural identity. At the same time, each perceives the divine as the source of unity and peace. The challenge is to preserve their religious and cultural uniqueness without letting it operate as a cause of narrow and divisive sectarianism that contradicts the vision of unity and peace. It is a question of whether the healing light of religious vision will overcome the social and ideological issues that underline much of the conflict between religions." ~ Dr. Steven C. Rockefeller, Middlebury College, Spirit and Nature, p. 169
CONTENTS | INVOCATION | INTRODUCTION | PROLOGUE | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21


Title Page
This Archive
Advisors and Contributors
Foreword by Ninian Smart
How to obtain a printed (hardbound/paperback) version


The Truth in Many Paths
Tolerance and Respect for All Believers

The Purpose of World Scripture
The Organization of World Scripture
The World's Religions and Their Scriptures

World Scripture and Education for Peace

Ultimate Reality and the Purpose of Human Existence

CHAPTER 1: Ultimate Reality
Traces of God's Existence
The One
Formless, Emptiness, Mystery
Transcendent, All-Pervasive Reality
Sovereign and Omnipotent
Immanent and Near at Hand
Eternal -- in a World of Transience
The Creator
Goodness and Love
Divine Father and Mother

CHAPTER 2: Divine Law, Truth, and Cosmic Principle
Eternal Truth
Moral Law
The Decalogue
The Golden Rule
Polarity, Relationality, and Interdependence
Cosmic Justice

CHAPTER 3: The Purpose of Life for the Individual
Joy and Happiness
For God's Good Pleasure
Image of God and Temple of God
Inborn Goodness and Conscience
Original Mind, No Mind
True Love

CHAPTER 4: The Purpose of Life in the Family and in Society
The Family
Parents and Children
Husband and Wife
Unity and Community
The People of God
The Ideal Society

CHAPTER 5: The Purpose of Life in the Natural World
The Sanctity of Nature
Reverence for Life
The Microcosm
The Lord of Spirits
Creation Rejoices

CHAPTER 6: Life Beyond Death and the Spiritual World
The Spiritual World: Mystery, Multiplicity, Analogy, Harmony
The Immortal Soul
Prepare Now for Eternity
Passage Beyond
Spiritual Benefactors
Spiritual Error and the Occult

Evil, Sin, and the Human Fall

CHAPTER 7: The Human Condition
The War Within
Pride and Egotism
Selfish Desire, Lust, and Greed

CHAPTER 8: Fall and Deviation
The Human Fall
Demonic Powers
Degraded Human Nature
God's Grief

CHAPTER 9: The Major Sins
Good and Evil
Lying and Deceit
Slander, Gossip and Foul Speech

Salvation and the Savior

CHAPTER 10: Salvation-Liberation-Enlightenment
Universal Salvation
Atonement and Forgiveness of Sins
Crossing the Waters
Reversal and Restoration
Help and Deliverance
The Refining Fire
Born Anew
Eternal Life
The Unitive State

CHAPTER 11: The Founder
Call and Awakening
Rejected by the World
The Victor
He Who Subjugates Satan
The Revealer of Truth
The Man for Others
The Living Presence
The Person and Character of the Founder: Divine Person
Human Person
The Succession of Founders and Messengers

The Religious Life

CHAPTER 12: Responsibility and Predestination
Individual Responsibility
Karma and Inherited Sin

CHAPTER 13: Self-cultivation and Spiritual Growth
Spiritual Growth
Cultivate the Good
Preparing the Start
Perseverance and Patience

CHAPTER 14: Faith
Devotion and Praise
Fear, Submission, and Obedience
Argument with God

CHAPTER 15: Wisdom
The Search for Knowledge
Scripture and Tradition
Poverty of Conceptual Learning
Scripture Teaches in Parables
Learning and Practice
Teacher and Disciple
New Wine and Old Wineskins

CHAPTER 16: Worship
The Name of God
Beyond Ritual

CHAPTER 17: Offering and Sacrifice
Persecution and Martyrdom

CHAPTER 18: Self-Denial and Renunciation
Self-denial and No-self
Repentance, Confession, and Restitution
Restraint and Moderation
Control Anger
Subdue Desires and Passions
Detachment from the Senses
Renunciation of Wealth
Asceticism and Monasticism
Separation from Family
Separation from the World

CHAPTER 19: Live for Others
Serving Others
Sacrificial Love
Giving and Receiving
Charity and Hospitality
Forgiveness and Reconciliation
Judge Not
Love Your Enemy
Turn the Other Cheek
Good Deeds
Labor and Industry
Honesty and Expediency

Providence, Society, and the Kingdom of Heaven

CHAPTER 20: Good Government and the Welfare of Society
The Pillars of Society
The Prophet and Reformer
War Against Evil
Respect for Legitimate Governments
Government by Divine Law
Consideration for the People
Leadership by Example and Honest Government
Judgments and Punishments
Providence and the Mandate of Heaven

CHAPTER 21: Eschatology and Messianic Hope
The Last Judgment
The Messiah
The Kingdom of Heaven

Interspirit Network for global illumination
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The pillars of a nation are those exceptional people who provide
its spiritual and moral anchor and bestow its vision and purpose.
These are not ordinarily its politicians or rulers. Rather, they
are the righteous people, saints, and teachers, ordinary people
of courage, principle and conscience, people who realize the
truth within themselves and are willing to take responsibility
for their community. Rarely are they recognized and honored in
their lifetime; sometimes they are tolerated as goads and troublemakers and
only appreciated after their death; most often they are unsung, anonymous
people who, because they are sincere and conscientious, suffer in
a world of vanities. These are people who have a deep realization of truth
and are called to serve as society's internal leaders. Their
example and message has a transforming effect on those who approach them
with humility and deference. It is often of far greater value
than the policies and speeches of the governing authorities.

There are [always] thirty righteous men among the nations, by whose virtue the nations of the world continue to exist.

1. Judaism. Talmud, Hullin 92a

The earth is upheld by the veracity of those who have subdued their passions, and, following righteous practices, are never contaminated by desire, covetousness, and wrath.

2. Hinduism. Vishnu Purana 3.12

Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.

3. Judaism and Christianity. 1 Kings 19.18

When the righteous man is in the town, he is its luster, its majesty, and its glory. When he leaves it, its luster, its majesty, and its glory depart.

4. Judaism. Midrash, Genesis Rabbah 68.6

The perfume of flowers blows not against the wind, nor does the fragrance of sandalwood, tagara and jasmine, but the fragrance of the virtuous blows against the wind; the virtuous man pervades every direction.

5. Buddhism. Dhammapada 54

to find is a man of great wisdom: such a man is not born everywhere. Where such a wise man is born, that family thrives happily.

6. Buddhism. Dhammapada 193

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Hullin 92a: God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for want of ten righteous men; see Genesis 18.20-33, pp. 680f. Cf. Berakot 17b, p. 202; Abot 1.2, p. 255; Tanhuma, p. 609. 1 Kings 19.18: In God's message to the prophet Elijah on Mount Sinai, we have mention of a righteous remnant that will be spared when God judges Israel. The concept of the remnant is found throughout the prophets: see Isaiah 6.13; 7.3-4; 10.20-23; Amos 5.15. Genesis Rabbah 68.6: Cf. Analects 4.1, p. 277.
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Allah will raise for this community at the beginning of every century one who shall revive for it its faith.

7. Islam. Hadith of Abu Dawud 1

myriad objects owe their existence to the mutual stimulation subsisting between Heaven and earth. Similarly, the holy sage stimulates men's hearts and the whole world is thenceforth at peace.

8. Confucianism. I Ching 31: Attraction

responsibility for the most difficult problem in your nation. Take responsibility for the most difficult problem of your church. Take responsibility for the most difficult problem of the world.

9. Unification Church. Sun Myung Moon, 5-1-81

e bodhisattvas, guardians of the city of Dharma, uphold the true doctrine, and their great teachings resound like the lion's roar throughout the ten directions. Without having to be asked, they are the natural spiritual benefactors of all living beings.

10. Buddhism. Holy Teaching of Vimalakirti 1

the Book of Songs it is said,
He makes no show of his moral worth, Yet all the princes follow in his steps.
Hence the moral man, by living a life of simple truth and earnestness, alone can help to bring peace and order in the world.

11. Confucianism. Doctrine of the Mean 33

My sa
ints are under my protection, and only I know them.

12. Islam. Hadith

e saying goes, "The fish should not be taken from the deep pool; the sharp weapons of the state should not be shown to men." The sage is the sharp weapon of the world, and therefore he should not be where the world can see him.

13. Taoism. Chuang Tzu 10

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Holy Teaching of Vimalakirti 1: Cf. Lion's Roar of Queen Srimala 4, p. 277. Doctrine of the Mean 33: In Shinto, the emperor is most perfecty in accord with the kami and is set forth as an example for others; see Divine Injunctions, p. 207. Hadith: This is a Sufi tradition; Sufi groups are often secret societies. Chuang Tzu 10: Taoist sages typically live in seclusion; Cf. Tao Te Ching 20, p. 528.
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remarked, "Among the means for the regeneration of mankind, those made with noise and show are of the least importance."

14. Confucianism. Doctrine of the Mean 33

will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice.

15. Judaism and Christianity. Isaiah 42.2-3

stranger colonial administrator, however vigilant, Cannot perceive a locality as clearly as an indigene [village elder]. It is the attitude of the indigine to the affairs of his locality Which determines that of the stranger to the same. Malofin, the entire town is in your hand. "Situations do not get spoiled when elders are around," This is the age-old wise saying.

16. African Traditional Religions. Yoruba Song (Nigeria)

Assi and Rabbi Ammi, on an educational inspection tour, came to a town and asked for its guardians. The councilmen appeared, but the rabbis said, "These are not guardians, but wreckers of a town! The guardians are the teachers of the young, and instructors of the old, as is written: 'Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman wakes but in vain' [Psalm 127.1]."

17. Judaism. Midrash, Lamentations Rabbah, Proem 2

ey say, "Why is not this Qur'an sent down to some leading man in either of the two chief cities?" Is it they who would portion out the Mercy of the Lord? It is We Who portion out between them their livelihood in the life of this world: and We raise some of them above others in ranks, so that some may command work from others. But the Mercy of the Lord is better than the wealth which they amass.

18. Islam. Qur'an 43.31-32

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Isaiah 42.2-3: This is part of the Servant Song given in full on p. 449. Lamentations Rabbah, Proem 2: Cf. Sutta Nipata 261, p. 686, and related passages on the value of education.
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