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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This section deals with the principle that a government is
founded upon respect for God and conformity to divine law. In Islamic
nations, government is expected to enforce the ordinances of the Shariah.
For Hinduism and Buddhism, the way of proper rule is in
accordance with the Dharma. For Confucianism, it is the way of
propriety (li) tempered with benevolence, and for Taoism, in accordance
with the Tao. In ancient Israel, the laws of God were written
down for the king to study. 

Modern Western constitutional governments, as well, are founded on the Judeo-Christian principle that government should be subservient to certain universal laws (e.g., human rights and social duties). In ancient Israel, the Law of Moses was given on Mount Sinai prior to the formation of the state; hence it stood above the state and formed the basis for prophetic critiques of misrule. In the case of the United States, the Constitution came into existence prior to the establishment of a government and forms the legal basis for its authority. A constitution is venerated as a statement of the highest principles of government; and a proper constitution is neither produced by a government to codify its policies nor easily amended by the people to express the will of the majority. Furthermore, modern constitutions contain articles which declare that certain human rights are inalienable and God-given. Governments cannot disregard the rights of the people because those rights are not the government's to grant; enshrined in a constitution, they come from a higher Law.

ep beyond what is human, elect for the Divine Word, and establish your leadership, along with all the friends you have.

1. Hinduism. Atharva Veda 7.105

your kingdom exists for the doctrine And not for fame or desire, Then it will be extremely fruitful. If not, its fruit will be misfortune.

2. Buddhism. Nagarjuna, Precious Garland 327

A king should abandon his own precious life, But not the jewel of Righteousness, whereby the world is gladdened.

3. Buddhism. Golden Light Sutra 12

arned by a dream, Emperor Sujin reverenced the gods, and therefore was lauded as the wise emperor.

4. Shintoism. Kojiki, Preface

f [a ruler] enjoins fear of God, the Exalted and Glorious, and dispenses justice, there will be great reward for him; and if he enjoins otherwise, it resounds on him.

5. Islam. Hadith of Muslim

e Creator... projected that excellent form, justice (dharma). This justice is the controller of the ruler. Therefore there is nothing higher than justice. So even a weak man hopes to defeat a stronger man through justice, as one does with the help of a king.

6. Hinduism. Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1.4.14

individual is lost and no nation is refused prosperity and success if foundations of their thoughts and actions rest upon piety and godliness, and upon truth and justice.

7. Islam. Nahjul Balagha, Khutba 21

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Atharva Veda 7.105: Cf. Ramayana, Yuddha Kanda 130, pp. 257f. Precious Garland 327: Cf. Abot 4.14, p. 915. Golden Light Sutra 12: The 'jewel of Righteousness' means the dharma, one of the Three Jewels: Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. This is from a longer passage, pp. 923f. Kojiki: In other words, the emperor established harmony with the kami as the basis for his rule. Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1.4.14: Cf. Atharva Veda 4.1.3, p. 140. Nahjul Balagha, Khutba 21: Cf. Forty Hadith of an-Nawawi 24, p. 255; Abot 4.14, p. 915; Leviticus 26.3-20, p. 916.
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d you will be yourself ruler and president.... You must in everything reverence the statutes and proceed by them to the happy rule of the people. They were the reverence of King Wen and his caution; in proceeding by them to the happy rule of the people, say, "If I can only attain to them."

8. Confucianism. Book of History

e Messenger of God said, "The best of your rulers are those whom you love and who love you, who invoke God's blessings upon you and you invoke His blessings upon them. And the worst of your rulers are those whom you hate and who hate you, and whom you curse and who curse you." It was asked, "Should we not overthrow them with the sword?" He said, "No, as long as they establish prayer among you."

9. Islam. Hadith of Muslim

ao is eternal, but has no fame; The Uncarved Block, though seemingly of small account, Is greater than anything that is under heaven. If kings and barons would but possess themselves of it, The ten thousand creatures would flock to do them homage; Heaven and earth would conspire To send Sweet Dew; Without law or compulsion, men would dwell in harmony.

10. Taoism. Tao Te Ching 32

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Book of History These are the rites and rules of propriety, laid down from ancient times. It includes the principle of benevolence--cf. Mencius IV.A.3, p. 919. Hadith of Muslim: This hadith speaks of the ruler's attitude towards God and the believers. To 'establish prayer' means far more than merely to tolerate religion; it means to uphold the Muslim faith and the laws of the Shariah. Tao Te Ching 32: The 'Uncarved Block' means to dwell without making distinctions or playing favorites, at one with the primal Unity. Cf. Chuang Tzu 7, p. 508; Tao Te Ching 18, p. 260; 80, p. 257; Isaiah 2.2-4, p. 946.
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en you come to the land which the Lord your God gives you, and you possess it and dwell in it, and then say, "I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are round about me"; you may indeed set a king over you, him whom the Lord your God will choose.... When he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, from that which is in charge of the Levitical priests, and it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them; that his heart may not be lifted up above his brethren, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left; so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel.

11. Judaism and Christianity. Deuteronomy 17.14-20

e Celestial Wheel is no paternal heritage of yours. You yourself do good, as I did, and earn the Wheel. Act up to the noble ideal of the duty which is set before true world sovereigns.... You, leaning on the Law, honoring, respecting, and revering it, doing homage to it, hallowing it, being yourself a banner of the Law, a signal of the Law, having the Law as your master, should provide the right watch, ward, and protection for your own people, for the army, for the nobles, for vassals, for brahmins, and householders, for town and country dwellers, for the religious world, and for beasts and birds. Throughout your kingdom let no wrongdoing prevail. And whosoever in your kingdom is poor, to him let wealth be given.

12. Buddhism. Digha Nikaya iii.60-61, Chakkavatti-sihanada Suttanta

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Deuteronomy 17.14-20: This is the 'Law of the King,' part of the Mosaic Law which regulated the conduct of kings--though there was as yet no kingdom when Moses received the Law on Mount Sinai. The king would be responsible to read the Law of Moses and follow it. Cf. Joshua 1.1-9, p. 891; 2 Samuel 23.3-4, p. 907; Jeremiah 18.3-11, p. 916; Leviticus 26.3-20, p. 916; Isaiah 2.2-4, p. 946. Digha Nikaya iii.60-61: The 'Law' means the Buddha's Dhamma. This is an excerpt of the longer passage, pp. 257-58.
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