Creating a World of Peace - The Thought and Works of Sun Myung Moon by Joon Ho Seuk
While continuing to strive to bring the worlds religions together, Reverend Moon has also campaigned for the inclusion of religious voices at the highest levels of world governance. From 1998 on, Reverend Moon began to emphasize that if world peace was to be a possibility, then there was an urgent need to bridge the divide between political and diplomatic efforts for peace, on the one hand, and moral and spiritual efforts on the other hand. He therefore proposed the formation of an Inter-religious Council at the United Nations.
Excerpts from Sun Myung Moons address at the United Nations on August 18, 2000.
When we witness the many global tragedies occurring around us, we should recognize how critically important it is that the religions come together, dialog with one another, and learn to embrace one another. In the modern age, in most nations, religious ideals have come to hold a place wholly separate from the centers of secular political power, and most people have come to accept this reality as the way things ought to be. I believe, however, that it is time that international organizations whose purpose is to support the ideal of world peace reconsider their relationship with the great religious traditions of the world.
I believe there is an urgent need today, within the United Nations and through its many activities, to encourage mutual respect and increased cooperation between the worlds political and religious leaders.
The time has come for religion to renew itself and manifest true leadership in the world. People of faith should feel responsibility for the plight, suffering and injustices experienced by the worlds peoples. Religious people have not been good examples in the practice of love and living for the sake of others, and for this reason should engage in deep self-reflection. It is time for religious people to repent for their preoccupation with individual salvation and narrow denominational interests. Such practices have prevented religious bodies from giving their utmost to the cause of world salvation.
Our age more than any other demands that we go beyond our faiths, and the interests of particular religions, and put our love and ideals into practice for the sake of the world. In particular, God calls upon us leaders, especially religious leaders, in hope that we will stand against the injustices and evils of the world, and bestow His true love upon the world.
Hence, all people of faith must become one in heart in order to give full expression, both in words and actions, to God's passionate desire for humanity's restoration and peace.
Reverend Moon pointed out that the United Nations, as currently structured, could not fully benefit from the spiritual, moral and social vision that comes from people who are linked to religious traditions. To address this weakness, he said, the United Nations should develop a council of men and women who are specially appointed to the task of representing universal, spiritual and moral principles that are related to the issues under consideration by the General Assembly.
The idea of an inter-religious council received enthusiastic support from several quarters, particularly from the government of the Philippines. In May 2003, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo presented the idea to George Bush, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell and others during a state visit to Washington D.C.
President Bush stated that this was "a great idea."
During the summer of 2003, the Inter-religious International Federation for World Peace launched a major, worldwide campaign to raise awareness about the need for this inter-religious council. In August 2003, the IIFWP convened a special committee of religious leaders at the Summit of World Leaders in Seoul, Korea. At the time, IIFWP was intensely oriented toward United Nations (UN) reform, particularly with the focus to establish a formal, inter-religious body at the UN.
Excerpts from Sun Myung Moons address at the United Nations on August 18, 2000
World peace can be fully accomplished only when the wisdom and efforts of the worlds religious leaders, who represent the internal concerns of the mind and conscience, work cooperatively and respectfully with national leaders who have much practical wisdom and worldly experience about the external reality or "body." In this light, it is time for us to give serious consideration even to the prospect of restructuring the United Nations. For example, perhaps it is possible to envision the United Nations as a bicameral institution. The existing United Nations structure, composed of national representatives, may be regarded as a congress where the interests of each member nation are represented. However, I submit that serious consideration should be given to forming a religious assembly, or council of religious representatives within the structure of the United Nations. This assembly or council would consist of respected spiritual leaders in fields such as religion, culture, and education.
Of course, the members of this inter-religious assembly will need to have demonstrated an ability to transcend the limited interests of individual nations and to speak for the concerns of the entire world and humanity at large. The two chambers, working together in mutual respect and cooperation, will be able to make great advances in ushering in a world of peace. The wisdom and vision of great religious leaders will substantially supplement the political insight, experience and skill of the worlds political leaders.
In the mean time, Reverend Moon urged the IIFWP to establish a free standing Inter-religious and International Peace Council, which fully embodied the structure and principles he believes to be vital and indispensable requisites for effective peace building and to establish an ideal social order. In December 2006, the UN General Assembly unanimously approved a new resolution presented by the Philippines, with the support of 48 other nations, promoting a global interfaith, inter-civilizational, and inter-cultural dialog and the creation of a unit in the UN system to implement it.
Reverend Moon speaks of the goal of inter-religious cooperation as a "Peace Kingdom." On October 3, 2003, he addressed an assembly of 1500 international delegates from more than 160 nations, and offered the following guidance:
A Peace Kingdom is a kingdom of men and women who live according to the principle of "living for the sake of others." It is not a realm ruled by any single dictator or leader, or through any external power or military force. Peace proceeds from the individual, to the family, the society, the nation and the world, and has its foundation in the principle of living for the sake of others.
The Peace Kingdom is established as we each come to inherit the true love of God, applying the principle of living for the sake of others in our families, our religions, our associations, and in our governments. We inherit the true love of God on the foundation of harmony, unity and cooperation.
The key to peace is for each person to develop true moral character based on a heart of true love. Moral character emerges as the conscience develops through a relationship with God's love and truth. Our resolve to develop good habits and moral character is strengthened by a deep awareness of the reality of our spiritual life and the spiritual world around us, and knowing that our destiny is to dwell eternally in the spiritual world. This awareness informs our everyday decisions, pointing us always in the right direction toward eternal value.
The IIPC was established in October 2003 as "a global movement pursuing lasting peace as the realization of harmony, cooperation and co-prosperity among all the members of the human family, through the application of universal moral and spiritual principles."
The IIPC supported the IIFWP in pursuing the following central goals:
1. Inter-religious cooperation among all faith traditions as a pre-requisite for world peace
2. Good governance grounded in spiritual and moral principles that highlight unselfish service, a global vision, and cooperation between religious and governmental leaders, and
3. Human development, which includes spiritual development and extends from the individual, to the family, community, society, nation and world.
"God's Fatherland and the Peace Kingdom," Chamshil Gymnasium, Seoul, Korea, January 27, 2004
Human beings were supposed to live as brothers and sisters, yet the interracial strife that we see today still remains as a crucial problem threatening world peace. Religions originally had the mission of reviving human spirituality, thereby accomplishing the will of God by bringing humankind back to Him. But religions have abandoned their original mission and instead are lost in the swamp of prejudice and conflict. This has escalated to the point where, today, we see them being used as tools for bloodshed and war.
Where does our original mind lead us? Does it indicate that we desire to live oppressed within the many walls and boundaries that surround us? It does not. The world that we desire is a place where no barriers or borderlines are seen. It is a world of freedom and peace. All people long for that kind of original fatherland. It is the fatherland that for thousands of years God has sought to establish. Likewise, it is the fatherland that humankind has longed for throughout history.