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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Compilation of World Scripture was possible only through the cooperation of a great many scholars and religious thinkers who devoted themselves unselfishly to the massive task of assembling and sifting through countless passages from scripture. The advisors and contributors who materially participated in this task, or who kindly reviewed the completed manuscript to assure that their tradition was represented fairly, are listed on the pages following the title page. In addition, I wish to acknowledge the words of encouragement and valuable advice which came from many sources: from Prof. Wande Abimbola, Dr. M. Darrol Bryant, Rev. Kanake Dhammadina, Dr. Frank K. Flinn, Prof. Durwood Foster, Rabbi David J. Goldberg, Prof. Naofusa Hiraii, Dr. Emefie Ikenga-Metuh, Prof. David Kalupahana, Dr. Frank Kaufmann, Dr. Quan-tae Kim, Robert Kittel, Acharya Sushil Kumarji Maharaj, Dan May, Dr. Richard Quebedeaux, Thomas Selover, Bishop Krister Stendahl, Dr. Robert Stockman, Dr. Thomas G. Walsh, Jin Seung Yoo, and from my students at the Unification Theological Seminary. Special thanks goes to Dr. Yoshihiko Masuda, who labored to secure permissions to reprint the passages and gave many years of devoted service to the project. Robert Brooks, Carrol Ann Brooks, Hal MacKenzie, Betty Lancaster, Allan Gonzalez, Robert Selle, Louis Rayapen, David Hose, Gerry Servito, and Thomas Cromwell all worked to enable this book to see the light of day. Rev. Chung Hwan Kwak, President of the International Religious Foundation, offered precious spiritual guidance and unstinting financial support.

Behind the efforts of these individuals lies the larger project of interreligious dialogue, which has created the spiritual and intellectual climate which has made this anthology possible. In particular, through the conferences of the International Religious Foundation, where most of the editors have sat together to discuss common themes and problems among the religions, we have come to a consciousness of the common ground among religions. These conferences have also fostered a spirit of interreligious alliance, as we have come to recognize that the religious perspective on human life, which begins with acknowledging Ultimate Reality, needs defense and support from religious people everywhere, regardless of tradition or creed. Such interfaith discussions created the spiritual foundation upon which World Scripture could be created with the cooperation of many individuals in the spirit of genuine dialogue.

Finally, I wish to give grateful acknowledgment to the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, who first conceived the idea for World Scripture and commissioned its preparation. In his address to the first Assembly of the World's Religions in 1985, he called the religious leaders of the world to discover their common purposes and bonds of friendship with which to create an alliance of all the world's religions:

"As far as I know, God is not sectarian. He is not obsessed with minor details of doctrine. We should quickly liberate ourselves from theological conflict which results from blind attachment to doctrines and rituals, and instead focus on living communication with God. I think we urgently need to purify the religious atmosphere into one in which believers can have living faith and every soul can communicate with God. In God's parental heart and His great love, there is no discrimination based on color or nationality. There are no barriers between countries or cultural traditions, between East and West, North and South. Today God is trying to embrace the whole of humankind as His children. Through interreligious dialogue and harmony we should realize one ideal world of peace, which is God's purpose of creation and the common ideal of humankind."

World Scripture has been written to further this noble goal.


1. An organizational plan rooted in Hinduism is found in Whitall N. Perry, A Treasury of Traditional Wisdom. Perry divides his anthology of scriptural texts and mystical passages according to the three paths of karma yoga, (action), bhakti yoga (devotion), and jnana yoga (knowledge), although he does not explicitly acknowledge this indebtedness to the Hindu tradition.

2. Even within the Christian family, the relative value of faith (the grace of Christ) and works (obedience to the moral law) for salvation has been a source of contention. Most Protestants stress salvation by faith alone, with good works being a consequence of faith. Roman Catholics, Orthodox, and some Protestants (i.e., Anglicans) see faith and works as contributing synergistically to realization of the highest good.

3. Where a scripture is known by more than one name, or by both an English name and a title in the original language, it will be cited by the name which appears first in this introduction.

4. There are variations in the versification of the several English renderings of the Qur'an. This anthology has selected the versification employed by M. Pickthall's translation as a standard.

5. He is attested to by the Rig Veda (10.136), the Srimad Bhagavatam (5.3.20), and the Shiva Purana (7.2.9). Mahavira's predecessor, Parsvanatha, the 23rd Tirthankara, is mentioned with Mahavira in the Pali Buddhist scriptures.

6. The Buddha's chronology is uncertain; the available data has suggested a range of dates for the death of the Buddha from 544 b.c.--the date officially accepted by much of the Buddhist world--to 483 b.c. Evidence suggests that he lived about twenty years after the passing of Mahavira.

7. These two books were taken from chapters 39 and 28 of the Book of Ritual.

8. On the meaning of 'translation,' see p. 633n.