Proceedings Of The First Annual Conference Towards A Global Congress Of World Religions - Edited by Warren Lewis - 1978

Introductory Remark

The story behind this book is an account of the year-long international, inter-religious correspondence among hundreds of people around the world. Three conferences have been held which mark, like milestones, the growth and development of a proposal to convene a Global Congress of World Religions.

Following the sixth annual International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences, held last year in San Francisco, many of the participants in that conference stayed on an extra day to discuss the proposal prepared by the faculty of Unification Theological Seminary, Barrytown, New York (see pp. 28 -- 32). The proceedings of that brief conversation are reported in Section I. The result of the San Francisco discussion, after a tabulation of the critiques, hesitations, and words of warning, was a refinement of the basic proposal. This consensus was reached: It is a good idea to hold a Global Congress of World Religions as soon as is feasible, to provide a universal forum in which representative religious hearts and minds may clarify the common issues of life and reality of global humanity. There was a constant affirmation of the value and healthiness of religious pluralism and, at the same time, a sense of common human religious community. Words such as interdependence, coexistence, mutual supplementarity, a symphony and a stew, and unification of heart were used to describe the possibility of concerted action. No one spoke in favor of organizational or doctrinal unity.

As a result of these deliberations, a Conference on Contemporary African Religion was held at Barrytown (Section II) and a second Conference on Contemporary African Religion was held at Bristol, England (Section III). These two conferences basically discussed the potential and difficulties of calling together a meeting of African religions on African soil.

Each of the three conferences was attended by outstanding intellectual and religious leaders in the disciplines of the natural sciences, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, political theory, Black and African studies, and theology, as well as organizers in the field of worldwide inter-religious dialogue. At all three conferences, many individual offers of further cooperation were made to widen the network of communicants in the preparation of the Global Congress.

The Unification Theological Seminary at Barrytown (founded by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon as a school of graduate study for the leaders of the Unification Movement) has taken the lead thus far in calling for the convocation of the Global Congress. The Seminary is presently exploring with other institutions of like purpose the possibilities of collegial co-sponsorship of the Global Congress. Plans are being made to facilitate the communication among common-interest organizations around the world involved in inter religious dialogue which, to date, have tended to pursue their individual tasks without thorough awareness of one another's activity.

A final word about this volume: shortness of time and oceanic distances have dictated publication under difficult conditions. Because we wanted this volume ready in time for our next gathering following the seventh annual International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences in Boston, we have decided to allow publication of a less-than-perfect volume: there are misspelled technical terms and names-Professor Gyekye's paper is unfortunately devoid of the footnotes which belong to it -- and some conference participants have not had the opportunity to proof-read their respective contributions.

We, the faculty of Unification Theological Seminary, invite you as a reader of this book to correspond with us regarding the proposal discussed within these pages. We dedicate these published proceedings to the spirit of the 1893 Parliament of Religions, held in Chicago, and to the memory of Sir Francis Younghusband.

Warren Lewis
for the Faculty
Unification Theological Seminary
Barrytown, New York
Thanksgiving, 1978 

Table of Contents

Tparents Home

Moon Family Page

Unification Library