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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Here we have selected passages, largely from the monotheistic religions, on God's sovereignty over the affairs of the world. God rules over the affairs of men and women and decides their destinies; humans are therefore subject to the will of God: see Providence, pp. 1081-93. The teaching that God is omnipotent often includes the belief that God determines everything that happens in this world, be it for good or evil; this relates to doctrines of predestination and free will: see Predestination, pp. 494-97.

The Lord will reign for ever and ever.

1. Judaism and Christianity. Bible, Exodus 15.18

Unto God belongs the sovereignty of the heavens and the earth and all that is therein, and it is He who has power over all things.

2. Islam. Qur'an 5.120

The earth is wide, but God is the elder.

3. African Traditional Religions. Akan Proverb (Ghana)

All that are rulers, kings, potentates, lords chiefs, officials--
All are God's creation.
Their will is subject to God's;
On God are they all dependent.

4. Sikhism. Adi Granth, Bilaval-ki-Var 6, M.4, p. 851

The Wise One is the most mindful of the plans,
which, indeed, were wrought in the past,
By demons and by men,
and which will be wrought hereafter!
He, the Lord, is the sole decider,
so may it be unto us as He wills!

5. Zoroastrianism. Avesta, Yasna 29.4

Revere the anger of Heaven,
And presume not to make sport or be idle.
Revere the changing moods of Heaven,
And presume not to drive about at your pleasure.
Great Heaven is intelligent,
And is with you in all your goings.
Great Heaven is clear-seeing,
And is with you in your wanderings and indulgences.

6. Confucianism. Book of Songs, Ode 254

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Akan Proverb: Cf. Ashanti Verse, p. 293.
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I, even I, am he,
and there is no god beside me;
I kill and I make alive;
I wound and I heal;
and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.

7. Judaism and Christianity. Bible, Deuteronomy 32.39

All that is in the heavens and the earth magnifies God;
He is the All-mighty, the All-wise.
To Him belongs the Kingdom of the heavens and the earth;
He gives life, and He makes to die, and He is powerful
over everything.
He is the First and the Last, the Outward and the Inward;
He has knowledge of everything.
It is He that created the heavens and the earth in six days
then seated Himself upon the Throne.
He knows what penetrates into the earth, and what comes forth from it,
what comes down from heaven, and what goes up into it.
He is with you wherever you are; and God sees
the things you do.
To Him belongs the Kingdom of the heavens and the earth;
and unto Him all matters are returned.
He makes the night enter into the day
and makes the day enter into the night.
He knows the thoughts within the breasts.

8. Islam. Qur'an 57.1-6

The tree set up by Imana (God) cannot be blown down by the wind.

9. African Traditional Religions. Banyarawanda Proverb (Tanzania)

With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.

10. Christianity. Bible, Mark 10.27

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Book of Songs, Ode 254: This is a classic statement of the teaching that rulers must pay regard to the Mandate of Heaven, without which their reign becomes untenable. It is one stanza of a longer poem given on pp. 1089f. Banyarawanda Proverb: Cf. Boran Prayer, p. 560.
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If He so will, He can remove you and put in your place a new creation; that is surely no great matter for God.

11. Islam. Qur'an 14.19-20

The Creator of the heavens and the earth; and when He decrees a thing, He but says to it "Be," and it is.

12. Islam. Qur'an 2.117

For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me,
declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, "My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose,"
calling a bird of prey from the east,
the man of my counsel from a far country.
I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass;
I have purposed, and I will do it.

13. Judaism and Christianity. Bible, Isaiah 46.9-11

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Qur'an 2.117: Compare Genesis 1.3: "And God said, 'Let there be light'; and there was light," p. 126. Isaiah 46.9-11: The word and judgments of God will inevitably come to pass. The specific historical setting of this verse is the announcement by God through the anonymous prophet deutero-Isaiah concerning the coming of Cyrus of Persia, the 'bird of prey from the east,' to conquer Babylon. CF. Habakkak 2.2-3, p. 1043.
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