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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Any good society, whether a church or a polity, is united with the Absolute and guided by the truth. Many religions, therefore, regard themselves as the unique people of God, bound corporately in a special, covenanted relationship with the Lord. Indeed, not one but several religions--Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Shinto, and Sikhism, among them--have understood themselves to be 'chosen' by God and uniquely qualified to establish a godly society. Likewise, in Buddhism the Sangha is a special community, distinguished by its discipline and devotion to the Dhamma and blessed by people who have attained the highest goal. A people that recognizes itself to be the focus of God's special concern, or that devotes itself to the exemplary life called for by the truth, also recognizes that it is responsible to manifest the highest standards of faith and behavior. If it does so, it will be the recipient of great blessings.

Happy is the unity of the Sangha.
Happy is the discipline of the united ones.

1. Buddhism. Dhammapada 194

All jealousies have vanished in the company of the saints.
All are my friends now, there being no enemy or stranger.

2. Sikhism. Adi Granth, Kanara, M.5, p. 1299

You are the best community that has been raised up for mankind. You enjoin right conduct and forbid indecency; and you believe in God.

3. Islam. Qur'an 3.110

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Kanara, M.5: On the Pangat, the Sikh communal meal, see note to Asa, M.1 and Sri-ki-Var Mahalla, M.1, p. 280. Qur'an 3.110: The `ummah, the community of all Muslims, is the foundation of the Islamic state and the ideal of a pan-Islamic world state. Cf. Qur'an 3.103-5, pp. 271f.
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If you will obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my own possession among all peoples; for all the earth is mine, and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.

4. Judaism and Christianity. Bible, Exodus 19.5-6

"Many waters cannot quench love" (Song of Solomon 8.7). If the idolatrous nations of the world were to unite to destroy the love between God and Israel, they would be unable to do so.

5. Judaism. Midrash, Exodus Rabbah

The land of great Japan is the divine land. Through the divine protection of the gods, the country is at peace. And through the reverence of the nation, the divine dignity is increased.

6. Shinto. Records of Princess Yamatohime

"And you are My witnesses, says the Lord, and I am God" (Isaiah 43.12). Rabbi Simeon ben Yohai taught, "If you are 'my witnesses,' I am the Lord, and if you are not my witnesses, I am not, as it were, the Lord."

7. Judaism. Midrash, Pesikta de Rab Kahana 102b

You are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

8. Christianity. Bible, Ephesians 2.19-22

Jesus... said to them, "Who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

9. Christianity. Bible, Matthew 16.15-19

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Exodus 19.5-6: Cf. Deuteronomy 6.80-8.20, p. 1084; Sanhedrin 11.1, p. 580; Sifra 93d, p. 963. Exodus Rabbah: See Song of Solomon 8.6-7, p. 254. Cf. Canticles Rabbah 2.14, p. 764; compare Ephesians 5.32-33, p. 261. Records of Princess Yamatohime: This stresses the interdependence of the kami and humanity. Peskita de Rab Kahana 102b: The people of God have the vocation to witness to the divine Reality. The honor and purposes of God Himself depends upon them. Compare John 17.20-21, p. 271. Matthew 16.15-19: This passage founds the Christian church on the apostleship of Peter, the first disciple. Thus all Christians are first of all, like Peter, disciples of Christ. For Roman Catholics, the authority of Peter is the basis for the primacy of the Pope, who as the Bishop of Rome stands as a successor to Peter who founded the Roman church. The authority of Peter is symbolized by the 'Keys;' it is the power to 'bind' and 'loose,' meaning the authority to decide on questions of religious law. Pearl of Great Price, Moses 7.18: Cf. Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 21, pp. 1119f; Isaiah 51.11, p. 543. Suhi Chhant, M.5: Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth Sikh Guru who composed this passage, built the Golden Temple at Amritsar in the Punjab which has become the central Sikh shrine and place of pilgrimage. It is regarded here as the substantiation of the ideal of the City of God--cf. Gauri, Ravidas, p. 1118. The Sikhs regard themselves as a holy people, the khalsa, the Pure. Sun Myung Moon, 8-26-86: This speaks of the coming Kingdom of Heaven on earth, which will embrace people of all races and nations.
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And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.

10. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Pearl of Great Price, Moses 7.18

Immutable is the city of the Divine Master,
Wherein those contemplating the Name attain joy.
In this city founded by the Creator Himself
Are fulfilled desires of the heart:
The Lord Himself has founded it; all joys are obtained herein.
To our progeny, brothers and disciples has come the bloom of joy.
As they sing praise of the Lord, perfection incarnate,
Their objectives are fulfilled.

11. Sikhism. Adi Granth, Suhi Chhant, M.5, p. 783

Whoever associates with pure love, and those whose love resembles God's, are received joyfully into the Kingdom of Heaven.

12. Unification Church. Sun Myung Moon, 8-26-86