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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       The most noble sacrifice is self-sacrifice: to dedicate one's body,
mind, and spirit in the service of God and humanity.  In time of persecution and oppression, self-sacrifice may mean to willingly give up one's
life as a martyr--see the following section.  In times of relative ease,
self-sacrifice means to be a living sacrifice, dedicating everything to
the divine purpose.  Self-sacrifice is also the supreme expression of love
for others: see Sacrificial Love, pp. 978-81.

Man, in truth, is himself a sacrifice.

1.Hinduism. Chandogya Upanishad 3.16.1

In accepting the true Dharma, may I abandon body, life, and property, and uphold the true Dharma.

2.Buddhism. Lion's Roar of Queen Srimala 3

Jesus told his disciples, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life from my sake will find it."

3.Christianity. Matthew 16.24-25

I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God,
to present your bodies as a living sacrifice,
holy and acceptable to God,
which is your spiritual worship.

4.Christianity. Romans 12.1

With whatever Thou dost provide, am I content;
No other door is there for me to knock.
Nanak this supplication makes,
May my life and body ever to Thee be dedicated!

5.Sikhism. Adi Granth, Sri Raga, M.1, p. 25

To Thee as a sacrifice Zarathustra offers
the very life and being of his self;
He dedicates the first fruits of his loving
thoughts to Ahura Mazda;
He offers the best of his words and deeds
and willing obedience to the Divine Law.

6.Zoroastrianism. Avesta, Yasna 33.14

Let us all carry in ourselves the heart of parents and the body of a servant, and let us shed sweat for the sake of earth, tears for the sake of mankind, and blood for the sake of heaven. Let us never forget that we carry on our shoulders the historical cross: the responsibility to remove the grief and heartache of our Parent, the Great Lord of all creation. Let us all move forward to the way of salvation of the world.

7.Unification Church. Sun Myung Moon, 3-30-90

The wind was churning by his side
and pounding what was hard to bend,
when Kesin from the poison cup
drank in Rudra's company.

8.Hinduism. Rig Veda 10.136.7

Isaac willingly and gladly went with his father to Mount Moriah, to offer up his young life to the God whom he adored. As they were wending their way to perform the will of God, Isaac said to his father, "O father, I am yet young, and I am fearful lest my body tremble at the sight of the knife, causing you grief; I am fearful lest the offering shall not be a perfect one, perfect as I should like it to be."

9.Judaism. Midrash, Genesis Rabbah 56.11

It is better to suffer for doing right, if that is God's will, than for doing wrong.

10.Christianity. 1 Peter 3.17

It is not only physical bravery that counts. One must have the courage to face life as it is, to go through sorrows, and always sacrifice oneself for the sake of others.

11.African Traditional Religions. Kipsignis Saying (Kenya)

The Master said, "The determined scholar and the man of virtue will not seek to live at the expense of injuring their virtue. They will even sacrifice their lives to preserve their virtue complete."

12.Confucianism. Analects 15.8

Mencius said, "Fish is what I want; bear's palm is also what I want. If I cannot have both, I would rather take the bear's palm than fish. Life is what I want; dutifulness is also what I want. If I cannot have both, I would rather take dutifulness than life. On the one hand, though life is what I want, there is something I want more than life. That is why I do not cling to life at all costs. On the other hand, though death is what I loathe, there is something I loathe more than death. That is why there are troubles I do not avoid. If there is nothing a man wants more than life, then why should he have scruples about any means, so long as it will serve to keep him alive? If there is nothing a man loathes more than death, then why should he have scruples about any means, so long as it helps him to avoid trouble? Yet there are ways of remaining alive and ways of avoiding death to which a man will not resort. In other words, there are things a man wants more than life and there are also things he loathes more than death. This is an attitude not confined to the moral man but common to all men. The moral man simply never loses it."

13.Confucianism. Mencius VI.A.10

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Lion's Roar of Queen Srimala 3: See Lotus Sutra 13, pp. 882f.; Mahaparinirvana Sutra 13.19, pp 654-55; Lotus Sutra 12, p. 818; cf. Kularnava Tantra 2, p. 879. Matthew 16.24-25: This saying, so central to Jesus' message, describes the essence of Christian discipleship. Each person should 'take up his cross,' enduring suffering and all difficulties for the sake of others, just as Jesus offered himself on the cross for the salvation of all mankind. The saying is repeated in several different forms throughout the gospels; see Mark 8.34-35, p. 771; John 12.24-25, p. 897. Cf. Romans 8.35-39, p. 880; Isaiah 53.1-12, pp. 639f.; Hadith of Muslim, p. 878. Romans 12.1: Cf. Romans 6.13, p. 771; Suhi Chhant, M.5, p. 772. Yasna 33.14: Cf. Yasna 34.12, p. 771; Suhi Chhant, M.5, p. 898. Sun Myung Moon 3-30-90: Cf. Sun Myung Moon, 9-11-72, p. 744; 9-11-72, p. 979; 2-3-87, p. 619. Rig Veda 10.136.7: Here the sacrifices of the Kesin, the long-haired ascetic, are likened to the draught of poison first drunk by Shiva (Rudra) by which he saved the world from calamity. According to a frequently reported tradition, when the gods and demons first churned the primeval ocean in order to create the universe and the ambrosial Soma, they also churned up a virulent poison which covered the universe with smoke and fumes. Shiva, for the sake of protecting all beings, swallowed the poison, whence, it is said, his throat became blue. The sage, by his self-sacrifice, finds God Shiva standing beside him. Cf. Sioux Sun Dance, p. 982. Genesis Rabbah 56.11: See Genesis 22.1-13, pp. 614f.; Genesis Rabbah 56, pp. 621f. 1 Peter 3.17: Suffering and hardships come to all people, hence one might as well suffer for a godly purpose. Kipsignis Saying: On sacrifice for the sake of others, see John 15.13, p. 979, Garland Sutra 23, p. 980. Analects 15.8: Cf. I Ching 50, p. 771; Analects 5.22 and 16.12, p. 889; Gittin 57b, p. 886. Mencius VI.A.10: cf. Chuang Tzu 4, p. 616.
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