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
- 1 -

View previous page View next page

Theft means to take property that belongs to another or to the public. It encompasses fraud, usury, extortion, and dishonest trading.

You shall not steal.

1. Judaism and Christianity. Exodus 20.15

Where you did not sow, do not reap.

2. African Traditional Religions. Igala Proverb (Nigeria)

Because what is yours is not yours, how then can you regard what is not yours as yours?

3. Judaism. Talmud, Derek Eretz Zuta 2.5

To take to oneself unrighteous wealth is like satisfying one's hunger with putrid food, or one's thirst with poison wine. It gives a temporary relief, indeed, but death also follows it.

4. Taoism. Treatise on Response and Retribution 5

The wickedness of evil-minded thieves, who secretly prowl over this earth, cannot be restrained except by punishment.

5. Hinduism. Laws of Manu 9.263

As for the thief, both male and female, cut off their hands. It is the reward of their own deeds, an exemplary punishment from God.

6. Islam. Qur'an 5.38

Lo! those who devour the wealth of orphans wrongfully, they do but swallow fire into their bellies, and they will be exposed to burning flame.

7. Islam. Qur'an 4.10

Says Nanak, "To grasp what is another's is as evil
As pig's flesh to the Muslim and cow's flesh to the Hindu.
The Teacher shall intercede for his follower
Only when he has not eaten carrion."

8. Sikhism. Adi Granth, Var Majh, M.1, p. 141

- - - - - - - - - - - -
Derek Eretz Zuta 2.5: Even one's own possessions are 'not yours' because they belong to God; we have been given them as a trust. Var Majh, M.1: 'Carrion' refers to ill-gotten gains.
- - - - - - - - - - - -

These acts are included in stealing: prompting another to steal, receiving stolen goods, creating confusion to overcharge or underpay, using false weights and measures, and deceiving others with artificial or imitation goods.

9. Jainism. Akalanka, Tattvartharajavartika 7.27

Woe unto the defrauders,
Those who when they take the measure from mankind demand it full,
But if they measure unto them or weigh for them, they cause them loss.

10. Islam. Qur'an 83.1-3

Whoever steals what is considered to belong to others, whether it be situated in villages or the forest, he is to be known as an outcast.

Whoever having contracted debts defaults when asked to pay, retorts, "I am not indebted to you!," he is to be known as an outcast.

Whoever is desirous of stealing even a trifle and mugs a person going along the road in order to take it, he is to be known as an outcast.

11. Buddhism. Sutta Nipata 119-21

Hear this, you who trample upon the needy,
and bring the poor of the land to an end,
saying, "When will the new moon be over,
that we may sell grain?
And the sabbath,
that we may offer wheat for sale,
that we may make the ephah small and the shekel great,
and deal deceitfully with false balances,
that we may buy the poor for silver
and the needy for a pair of sandals,
and sell the refuse of the wheat?"
The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob,
"Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.
Shall not the land tremble on this account,
and every one mourn who dwells in it?"

12. Judaism and Christianity. Amos 8.4-8

[Evil-doers] impoverish others for their own gain.
For private ends they neglect public duties.
They break into others' houses to take their property and valuables.
They misdirect the water and light fires to destroy the people's homes.
They upset others' plans so as to prevent their success.
They spoil a worker's utensils to hamper his efficiency.
With violence they seize, with violence they demand.
They delight in fraud, they delight in robbery, they make raids and commit depredations to get rich.
They shorten the foot, they narrow the measure,
they lighten the scales, they reduce the peck.
They adulterate the genuine, and they seek profit in illegitimate business.

13. Taoism. Treatise on Response and Retribution

O ye who believe! Devour not usury, doubling and quadrupling [the sum lent].

14. Islam. Qur'an 3.130

If you lend money to any of my people with you who is poor, you shall not be to him as a creditor, and you shall not exact interest from him.

15. Judaism and Christianity. Exodus 22.25

Do not men despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his appetite when he is hungry?

16. Judaism and Christianity. Proverbs 6.30-31

- - - - - - - - - - - -
Qur'an 3.130: All modern societies agree that usury, when it is understood to mean charging exorbitant interest, 'doubling and quadrupling,' is an evil whose prohibition is consistent with sound economics. But the absolute proscription of usury, when it is understood as prohibiting loaning money for any amount of interest whatsoever, has always proved difficult to practice in a mercantile economy. In the Islamic tradition, the wealthy will often make personal loans at no interest to those in need as a form of charity, but this does not apply to loans for business. Where there is a need to raise capital, either by entrepreneurs or by the state, loans are required, and people with capital will lend it only at a price. Therefore, both Christian and Muslim societies that have tried to enforce this prohibition have often winked at loopholes. One typical loophole is to permit loans from nonbelievers. Thus in Medieval Europe Jewish bankers were the accepted creditors for Christians, and today Western banks are often permitted to lend money in Islamic nations. Today, Islamic banks are developing new policies consistent with the Qur'an. Most notable of these is investment as profit sharing. Banks will lend to entrepreneurs in return for a percentage of the profits rather than for a fixed rate of interest. The bank then prospers as the business succeeds, but makes nothing should it fall into the red. Exodus 22.25: Lending at interest is prohibited specifically in the case where the borrower is poor. Cf. Exodus Rabbah 31.15, p. 177. Proverbs 6.30-31: In traditional Roman Catholic moral teaching, when a person is in dire need he may be justified in stealing food to keep from starving. In that case, food is regarded as 'common property.' Cf. Chuang Tzu 25, p. 1070. - - - - - - - - - - -