Creating a World of Peace - The Thought and Works of Sun Myung Moon by Joon Ho Seuk

Volume 7 - The World Religions and Peace - World of Peace [Part 2 of 9]

1. Introduction

In January 2004, at a remarkable conference held in Seoul, Korea, religious leaders and others met to discuss what is possibly the most intractable, deeply-rooted conflict in the world -- the seemingly irreconcilable struggle in the Middle East. Pointing out that the Israeli-Palestinian crisis is rooted in religious conflict, the delegates, who included Jewish, Muslim and Christian leaders, discussed the spiritual principles that could reconcile the three faiths of Abraham. Acknowledging their common ancestor and their common parent -- whether by the name of God, Allah, or Jehovah -- is the first step, these men of faith declared. The leaders resolved to build bridges, not walls, in the Middle East, and to replace the rhetoric of war with restraint and conciliation.

The resolution came at the conclusion of the four-day conference titled "Good Governance for a World in Crisis," sponsored by the Inter-religious and International Federation for World Peace. Attendees included politicians, diplomats, scholars, and leaders from all the major world religions, representing 120 nations.

Religions and Peace

From Sun Myung Moons Founders Address at the first Assembly of the Worlds Religions, McAfee, New Jersey, 1985.

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 inter-religious dialog and harmony we should realize one ideal world of peace, which is God's purpose of creation and the common ideal of humankind.

A recurring theme among speakers at the forum was the urgent need for ethical and moral perspective in modern institutions, including government, education and media. Former members of the Soviet Communist Party and current members of the Chinese Communist Party joined religious and political leaders from Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America in stressing the need to curtail corruption, misuse of power, and narrow self-interest at all levels of society, but especially in government.

In his keynote address, IIFWP Chairman Chung Hwan Kwak presented suggestions as to principles that might inform good governance. A core concept in most religious traditions, he pointed out, is the ideal of "living for the sake of others." Implementing this simple tenet, he said, would eliminate corruption and ensure peace and harmony. He pointed out, however, that it is individuals who must embody such a concept; it cannot be written into law or institutionalized.

The religious concept of a "kingdom of peace" is not an impossibility, he said. "A peace kingdom is a kingdom of self-governing men and women...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."

For the past 50 years, Reverend Moon, the founder of IIFWP, has committed his energy and resources to the effort to establish common ground among religions as the basis for a God-centered, pluralistic and peaceful society. He believes that that common ground lies in articulating practical solutions to social problems. "Godism," as he has called this approach, calls on each religious community to rededicate itself to the fulfillment of its highest ideals. This paves the way for religious communities to serve one another as part of a harmonious whole in pursuit of the common ideal of world peace.

In this volume, we will consider Reverend Moons understanding of the role of the worlds religions in bringing peace to the world. Reverend Moon argues that the worlds governmental structures, including the United Nations, need to recognize and include the religious perspective in the quest for peace. At the same time, he urges the worlds religious leaders to focus on their commonalities rather than their differences and to set an example of the harmony and cooperation that is the fulfillment of peace. 

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