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 4 of 9]

3. Religion and Science

Unfortunately, spirituality has been rejected by some intellectual traditions, most notably naturalistic science, and materialistic philosophies and ideologies. Of course, religion itself is partly to blame for this. Detractors can argue with some validity that the history of religion has been marked by narrow sectarianism and competitive struggle with other faiths, all to the detriment of the goals and teachings of the founders and scriptures. In Europe, the latter half of the sixteenth century and the beginning of the seventeenth century brought one of the most passionate and calamitous series of wars that the world had ever experienced. The growing divisions between Christian churches in Europe led to a series of armed conflicts for over a century. As a result, people increasingly turned to science and humanism for guidance.

Moral education lost its grounding as religion diminished in influence. For many people, a scientific or humanistic worldview replaced the spiritual centering traditionally provided by religion.

Despite its current ascendancy, however, the scientific worldview offers little sense of orientation or purpose. It has a limited ability to answer life's most profound questions or to provide a common ground for world peace. Scientists can advance theories about the origins of life and guess at the nature of the universe itself, but these are impersonal speculations. They tell us nothing of the human condition.

Science can tell us how forces act and how organisms function, but these are largely descriptions, not explanations of meaning. They offer little to satisfy the human spirit.

However, Reverend Moon does not believe that science and religion are mutually exclusive or that one disciplines claim to truth outweighs the claim of the other. To find meaning in religion does not mean rejecting science. Some may think that if one follows a scientific discipline, belief in God is not an intellectually valid option. At the same time, some devout people reject scientific assertions that they believe to be in conflict with their faith.

Reverend Moon has a keen interest in the relationship between science and religion. He has convened conferences of the worlds leading scientists to discuss questions relating to absolute values. His efforts are based on his understanding that religion and science complement each other and that they should inform each other.

Religion and Science: Mind and Body

From "General Introduction," Divine Principle. New York: HSA-UWC, 1973.

The relationship between the essential world and the phenomenal world is similar to that between mind and body. It is the relationship between cause and result, internal and external, subjective and objective. Since man can attain perfect personality only when his mind and body become harmonized in perfect oneness, the ideal world can be realized only when the two worlds -- one of essence, the other of phenomena -- have been joined in perfect unity.

The day must come when religion and science advance in one united way, so that man may enjoy eternal happiness, completely liberated from ignorance and directed toward goodness which is what the original mind desires.

Currently, this harmony is not realized, and many people lament the decline of the influence of religion. For religion to play an active role in society it has to overcome its reputation as a divisive force. In fact, critics claim that one cannot speak of "religion" but only of "religions." Any discussion of "a religious perspective" on peace must address this question of religious diversity. Is it possible for "religion" to speak with one voice on questions of peace?

Common Teachings

From World Scripture: A Comparative Anthology of Sacred Texts. New York, NY: Paragon House, 1991.

First, there is the discovery that the transcendent Reality that is the ground of life in ones own faith is also grounding the spiritual life of people whose faith stems from different revelations, different revealers. This confirms and testifies to the oneness of God, the Ultimate Reality, who appears in different guises from age to age and culture to culture. Second, the discovery that people of other faiths are leading spiritual lives similar to ones own can promote tolerance of, and respect for, other faiths. By understanding one another's religions in depth and with empathy, people can find peaceful solutions to disputes which might otherwise degenerate into dangerous conflict. Third, the teachings of another tradition may spark new insights into similar issues in ones own life of faith. Indeed, if each religion is but a witness to the Truth that transcends its particular expression, then all of them should contribute valuable insights to our understanding of any question. Fourth, humankind needs to rediscover the spiritual foundations of values in order to overcome the sterile, materialist outlooks and philosophies of our day. Despite both the common moral values and the traditional spiritual wisdom found in all religions, persistent squabbles among religions have served to discredit them, making universal values appear to be relative and sectarian.

The foundation of a pluralistic society -- its cultural expressions, legal system, and public schools -- requires values that are grounded in the universal experience of humankind, not just in the doctrines of one faith. Necessary to this foundation is testimony to the universality of religious values such as found herein.

Finally, a World Scripture can support a world theology and guide us toward a unity of the worlds peoples that is grounded in God. 

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