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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Addiction to liquor, drugs, or gambling is a cause of people's downfall in every society. These so-called victimless crimes render man's spirit blind to the light of God and deaf to the promptings of his conscience. Addictions typically lead to antisocial behavior, destroy families, and promote criminal acts. Despite contemporary medical models of addiction which regard it as a disease, the world's religions generally affirm that people are responsible for their own actions and should be taught to steer clear of addictions.

You who believe! Intoxicants and gambling... are an abomination--of Satan's handiwork: eschew such that you may prosper. Satan's plan is to stir up emnity and hatred among you by means of liquor and gambling, and to hinder you from the remembrance of God and from prayer. Will you not then abstain?

1. Islam. Qur'an 5.90-91

Men who are grave and wise,
Though they drink, are mild and masters of themselves;
But those who are benighted and ignorant
Are devoted to drink, and more so daily.
Be careful, each of you, of your deportment--
What heaven confers, when once lost, is not regained.

2. Confucianism. Book of Songs, Ode 196

Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit.

3. Christianity. Ephesians 5.18

Woe to those who rise early in the morning,
that they may run after strong drink,
who tarry late into the evening
till wine inflames them!
They have lyre and harp,
timbrel and flute and wine at their feasts,
but they do not regard the deeds of the Lord,
or see the work of his hands.

4. Judaism and Christianity. Isaiah 5.11-12

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Ephesians 5.18: Cf. Wadhans, M.1, p. 239; Acts 2.1-18, p. 577.
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Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
Who has strife? Who has complaining?
Who has wounds without cause?
Who has redness of eyes?
Those who tarry long after wine,
those who go to try mixed wine.
Do not look at wine when it is red,
when it sparkles in the cup
and goes down smoothly.
At the last it bites like a serpent,
and stings like an adder.
Your eyes will see strange things,
and your mind utter perverse things.
You will be one who lies down in the midst of the [rolling] sea,
like one who totters to and fro like the top of a mast.
"They struck me," you will say, "but I was not hurt;
they beat me, but I did not feel it.
When shall I awake?
I will seek another drink."

5. Judaism and Christianity. Proverbs 23.29-35

Rabbi Isaac said, quoting Proverbs 23.31, "Wine makes the faces of the wicked red in this world, but pale in the world to come." Rabbi Me'ir said, "The tree of which Adam ate was a vine, for it is wine that brings lamentation to man."

6. Judaism. Talmud, Sanhedrin 70ab

What are the six channels for dissipating wealth? Taking intoxicants; loitering in the streets at unseemly hours; constantly visiting shows and fairs; addiction to gambling; association with evil companions; the habit of idleness....

Gambling and women, drink and dance and song,
Sleeping by day and prowling around by night,
Friendship with wicked men, hardness of heart,
These causes six bring ruin to a man.

Gambling and drinking, chasing after those
Women as dear as life to other men,
Following the fools, not the enlightened ones,
He wanes as the darker half of the moon.

The drunkard always poor and destitute;
Even while drinking, thirsty; haunting bars;
Sinks into debt as into water stone,
Soon robs his family of their good name.

One who habitually sleeps by day
And looks upon the night as time to rise
Licentious and a drunkard all the time,
He does not merit the rank of householder.

7. Buddhism. Digha Nikaya iii.182-85, Sigalovada Sutta

Excessive eating is prejudicial to health, to fame, and to bliss in Heaven; it prevents the acquisition of spiritual merit and is odious among men; one ought, for these reasons, to avoid it carefully.

8. Hinduism. Laws of Manu 2.57

The Gambler:
These nuts that once tossed on tall trees in the wind
but now smartly roll over the board, how I love them!
As alluring as a draught of Soma on the mountain,
the lively dice have captured my heart.

My faithful wife never quarreled with me
or got angry; to me and my companions
she was always kind, yet I've driven her away
for the sake of the ill-fated throw of a die.

His wife's mother loathes him, his wife rejects him,
he implores people's aid but nowhere finds pity.
A luckless gambler is no more good
than an aged hack to be sold on the market.

Other men make free with the wife of a man
whose money and goods the eager dice have stolen.
His father and mother and brothers all say,
"He is nothing to us. Bind him, put him in jail!"

The Gambler:
I make a resolve that I will not go gaming.
So my friends depart and leave me behind.
But as soon as the brown nuts are rattled and thrown,
to meet them I run, like an amorous girl.

To the meeting place the gambler hastens.
Shall I win? he asks himself, hoping and trembling,
But the throws of the dice ruin his hopes,
giving the highest scores to his opponent.

Dice, believe me, are barbed: they prick and they trip,
they hurt and torment and cause grievous harm.
To the gambler they are like children's gifts, sweet as honey,
but they turn on the winner in rage and destroy him.

Fifty-three strong, this band jumps playfully,
like Savitri, the god whose statutes are true.
They pay no heed to the anger of the powerful;
the king himself bows down before them.

Downward they roll, then jump in the air!
Though handless, they master those who have hands!
Unearthly coals thrown down on the board,
though cold they burn the player's heart to ashes.

Abandoned, the wife of the gambler grieves.
Grieved too, is his mother as he wanders to nowhere.
Afraid and in debt, ever greedy for money,
he steals in the night to the home of another.

He is seized by remorse when he sees his wife's lot,
beside that of another with well-ordered home.
In the morning, however, he yokes the brown steeds
and at the evening falls stupid before the cold embers.

The Gambler to the dice:
To the mighty chieftain of your whole band,
the one who has become the king of your troop,
to him I show my ten fingers extended.
No wealth do I withhold! I speak truly!

Steer clear of dice. Till well your own field.
Rejoice in your portion and value it highly.
See there, O Gambler, your cattle, your wife.
This is the counsel of the noble Savitri.

The Gambler to the dice:
Grant us your friendship, have mercy upon us!
Do not overwhelm us with your fierce attack!
May your anger and evil intention be assuaged!
Let the brown dice proceed to ensnare another!

9. Hinduism. Rig Veda 10.34