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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       Life as a process of growth that is spiritual as well as physical,
from one stage to the next.  These stages may be described in many ways,
but fundamentally they include a foundation stage when the knowledge of
truth or the gift of salvation is first acquired, a growth stage where the
person practices that truth and develops virtue, self-control, insight,
and self-confidence, and finally the stage of maturity where the person
realizes the fulness of perfection as demonstrated in the person of the
founder: the stage of arahat, or of the bodhisattva, or oneness with
Christ.  This theme of growth is sometimes expressed by the metaphor of
sprouting grain.

O man!  Verily you are ever toiling on towards your Lord--painfully
toiling--but you shall meet Him....  You shall surely travel from stage to

                         Islam.  Qur'an 84.6, 19

We must begin... with the more simple demonstrations of control, and the
sooner we begin the better. The final demonstration takes time for its
accomplishment. When walking, we are guided by the eye.  We look before
our feet, and if we are wise, we look beyond a single step in the line of
spiritual advancement.

              Christian Science.  Science and Health, 428-29

To the pupil training, in the straight way walking,
By ending [his sins] first comes knowledge;
Straight follows insight; by that insight freed
He knows in very truth: Sure is my freedom
By wearing out the fetter of becoming.

                         Buddhism.  Itivuttaka 53

Practicing step by step,
One gradually fulfills all Buddha teachings.
It is like first setting up a foundation
Then building the room:
Generosity and self-control, like this,
Are bases of enlightening beings' practices.

                       Buddhism.  Garland Sutra 10

The Master said, "At fifteen I set my heart upon learning.  At thirty, I
had planted my feet upon firm ground.  At forty, I no longer suffered from
perplexities.  At fifty, I knew what were the biddings of Heaven.  At
sixty, I heard them with a docile ear.  At seventy, I could follow the
dictates of my own heart; for what I desired no longer overstepped the
boundaries of right."

                       Confucianism.  Analects 2.4

Through constant effort over many lifetimes, a person becomes purified of
all selfish desires and attains the supreme goal of life.

                      Hinduism.  Bhagavad Gita 6.45

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Qur'an 84.6, 19: Cf. Qur'an 91.7-10, p. 715; Chun Boo Kyung, p. 180.
Bhagavad Gita 6.45: What in some religious conceptions requires many
lifetimes, other doctrines regard as attainable in one life, through God's
grace.  Yet the seeker who attains the supreme goal may look back to the
efforts of his ancestors or his own incarnations in previous lives,
grateful for the foundations of faith and good works which they sowed and
which he could finally reap.
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By degrees, little by little, from time to time, a wise person should
remove his own impurities as a smith removes the dross from silver.

                        Buddhism.  Dhammapada 239

We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,
and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope
does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our

                       Christianity.  Romans 5.3-5

Study of Torah leads to precision, precision to zeal, zeal to cleanliness,
cleanliness to restraint, restraint to purity, purity to holiness,
holiness to meekness, meekness to fear of sin, fear of sin to saintliness,
saintliness to the holy spirit, and the holy spirit to life eternal.

                     Judaism. Talmud, Aboda Zara 20b

The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground, and
should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should sprout and grow,
he knows not how.  The earth produces of itself, first the blade, then the
ear, then the full grain in the ear.  But when the grain is ripe, at once
he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.

        Christianity.  Mark 4.26-29: Parable of the Sprouting Seed

Muhammad is the Apostle of God; and those who are with him are strong
against unbelievers, but compassionate amongst each other....  And their
similitude in the Gospel is: Like a seed which sends forth its blade, then
makes it strong; it then becomes thick, and it stands on its own stem,
filling the sowers with wonder and delight.

                           Islam.  Qur'an 48.29

Grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ's
gift.... to equip the saints for the work of ministry, until we all attain
to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to
mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ; so
that we may no longer be called children, tossed to and fro on every wind
of doctrine, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness in deceitful
wiles.  Rather, speaking truth in love, we are to grow up in every way
into him who is the head, into Christ--from whom the whole body, joined
and knit together by every joint with which it is supplied, when each part
is working properly, makes bodily growth and upbuilds itself in love.

                     Christianity.  Ephesians 4.7-16

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Mark 4.26-29: This parable represents the growth of the Kingdom of
Heaven--interpreted either corporately or within the heart of the
individual believer--as a natural process that occurs mysteriously and
gradually, enlivened by God's fertilizing grace.  It is likened to the
growth of grain in three stages of formation--'the blade', growth--'the
ear', and maturity--'the full grain', followed by a fourth stage of
returning to God--the harvest'. Qur'an 48.29: The 'similitude in the
Gospel' is Mark 4.26-29, preceding.  Ephesians 4.7-16: The gift of
salvation is only the beginning of the saint's spiritual growth to 'mature
manhood' which is oneness with Christ.
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