The Words of Sun Myung Moon For 1990
Father delivers the Founder's Address at the Opening Plenary Session flanked on the dais by the staff of the Assembly and its distinguished participants
I would like to extend a heartfelt welcome to all of you to this Second Assembly of the World's Religions, where we are to discuss transmitting our religious heritage to our youth and society.
In this time of grave importance, a time of transition of human history, I am convinced that all of us religious leaders feel the dispensational call of duty, and as I stand here I am full of recollections and expectations. As we are all too aware, the founders of all the great religions had to suffer from lack of understanding on the world's part and to endure extreme persecution. In pioneering the way of truth, they all had to overcome physical and spiritual persecution, even death. But despite their great accomplishments the paths actually taken by religions often departed from those that were originally intended. Religions often have shown division, contradiction, and disharmony within themselves, and even have fought one another. Still in today's world, wrongful religious zeal and narrow-mindedness induce antagonisms and hatred. Further, faith has often held only formality important and ha: disregarded practice; and this has given rise to social problems. Such are clearly not the true objectives of religion, and we must not bequeath any mistaken tradition to our descendants.
Then what is the true purpose of religion? What is a correct tradition to bequeath?
In order for us to understand the purpose of religion it is necessary first to understand God's ideal for the creation. For God, who is absolute and eternal, why was creation necessary: What was it that God needed absolutely? Was it material goods, knowledge, or power? Those are available to God any time, and God can regulate them as He needs. Rather, true love can be formed only with a reciprocator; without a counterpart even God cannot realize love. God created the world to realize His ideal of true love. As we observe the mineral, plant, and animal worlds, we see that they are created with relationships of subject and object pairs that can respond to each other in harmony, centering on love. Such relationships are found on each level of the creation. Man is the center of the creation, and is created to be on the highest level, the closest to God. He is the partner of God's love. Thus, man is the object of God's true love, and without man, God's goal of true love cannot be accomplished. God had established as the highest and absolute value His true love, which is His ideal for the creation. Even tilt absolute God Himself likes to absolutely surrender to true love. In this perspective, we can readily see how high a value a man has, as God's own object of true love.
God originated His ideal of creation with love for the sake of others; He gives and gives, without even remembering that He gave. In this, He is realizing true love. God began His creation investing without limit.
All people are created so that they can harmonize, exist, and live eternally through God's principle of investing for the sake of others. Man came into being for the sake of woman; woman for man. Taking after God's ideal for the creation, which is the giving of true love, both man and woman are born to give love and become husband and wife. By doing so, they become the object of God's vertical love. This is the very purpose of their existence.
Men or women who are about to be married wish that their spouses be better than themselves. Parents, too, want their children to be better and greater. These attributes come directly from God. These wishes center on true love. It is the same with God. God, too, wants His object of love to be better. Therefore, He invests 100 percent over and over again so that He can create better objects, and true love continues to exist in this manner.
God, who is the origin of true love, wished to give from the father's position this absolute and unchanging true love as an inheritance to man. Since in true love perfect harmony and unity are realized, God's true love can be perfectly bequeathed to man, who is His partner. Not only that: the right to live together with God and the right to share absolute value with God are also bestowed upon man, because of the attributes of true love. From this perspective, human beings can live with God as His children and have the same value as God Himself. Furthermore, even among themselves human beings, centering on true love, can share their inheritance, live together and become equal. Thus, in the ideal world all human beings, centering on God's true love, will possess true individual ideals and happiness and transmit both of these to their spouses and offspring. This was the world of God's original ideal.
Today's world, however, is far from the world God intended. Contrary to the original world, it has degraded itself to become a world of hell, full of sin, struggle, and pain. In the world of nature and the spiritual world the original order of God's creation still exists; but the world of man on earth became ill, and brought damage to the natural world and the spiritual world.
We call this sick, broken human world, in religious terms, the fallen world. To bring this fallen world back to its original condition and order, God wages a dispensation for salvation. Thus, as I have been teaching, God's work of salvation is the work of restoration, or synonymously, the work of re-creation.
Father holds up a bottle of the holy waters contributed by the various religious traditions present at the Assembly
That which has played the main role in the dispensation for restoration according to Heavenly Will is religion. The purpose of religions lies in the restoration of this world as the original ideal family, and beyond that the establishment of the ideal world centering on God's true love and the thought of True Parents. When we understand the mission of the Messiah as a mission of True Parents to realize God's love in this world, we are all called by God to pursue and accomplish this mission. The mission of the Messiah is thus the cosmic mission that all religions are now undertaking -- to expel Satan, who has been rebelling against God, and end his culture; and to transform Satan's lineage to God's in order to bring about the God-centered ideal world.
As described in the Bible Adam and Eve, the first son and daughter of God, were to grow in God's true love and receive the blessing of marriage and give birth to sinless children. Thus they, like God, would become True Parents, and could enter into heaven. In this way, the world was to be the world of heaven on earth, where God's true love, God's true life, and God's true lineage were inherited. God's ideal family was to expand to realize a world where only God reigns.
However, Adam and Eve entered into illicit love before becoming mature: the archangel became Satan; Adam and Eve became evil ancestors; and the world of death began. The world has become a world with people in Satan's lineage.
Satan became a god of lewdness, and God hates lewdness the most. Because of lewdness, America and Europe today face the fate that befell Sodom, Gomorrah, and Rome. What Adam and Eve sowed while in their youth, the world now is to harvest: evidence that today is the end of days is quite unmistakable. The world needs to find the True Parent who can liberate it from Satan's love, life, and lineage. This person is the Messiah.
By Adam and Eve failing to fulfill their responsibility, God lost true children and mankind failed to possess True Parents. Tragedy has been the result. As a result of the fall, there has been lost the true being who can realize the true love of God and the ideal of True Parents. In order to correct the tragic failure of the fall and restore the original condition, God established religions. Thus the Messiah comes with the awesome task to stand as True Parent, uproot the false root that was planted by the human ancestors who became false parents, and realize the ideal world of creation. God's original ideal did not include establishing religion or creating a Messiah. God's unchanging purpose is to realize families, nations and a world of true love. How much a religion contributes to this determines the value of that religion. In this perspective, religions that are fulfilling their purpose are realizing true love and true families. Conversely, religions that do not contribute to this end and exist just for their own sakes, even though claiming to do things in God's name, are failing their true mission.
In a family, the relationship among brothers and sisters exists only on the premise of common parents. Thus, before this world can enter into the realm of true love and true family, the True Parents' position has first to be established. To help fulfill this very purpose I have been called upon by God. For this objective I have dedicated all. The Unification movement I am deploying worldwide, the ecumenical movement, and all other projects that I have sponsored, covering all fields -- academic, educational, media, technical, business, financial etc. -- these were envisioned with this one purpose. I have suffered persecution and confronted death with only one purpose in mind, so that I can live with the heart of True Parents to love races of all colors in the world more than my own parents who gave birth to me, or my own brothers and sisters.
The path of true love travels the direct route. It requires no preconditions and nothing can block it. This is the straight path on which we travel rightly only with self-sacrifice. Unless all mankind lives the life of True Parents and the ideal of world peace are directly connected. All countries, races, cultures and religions should do more than 100 percent for the sake of each other, being generous and harmonizing, and by doing so achieve world peace.
Today, I propose to you the inauguration of the Inter-Religious Federation for World Peace. In the current world situation, externally we are experiencing the termination of the Cold War, and peacemaking between East and West. Overcoming confrontations and divisions, we are heading toward the age of unification by harmony, as one world family of brothers and sisters. The last decade before the year 2000 is a precious period which God has allowed us for returning to the original world, a precious opportunity. I have already proposed the external establishment of the International Federation for World Peace, and thousands of leaders in the United States, Russia, and other countries of the world are responding enthusiastically. To truly achieve this goal we need an internal foundation, and that is an inter-religious foundation for world peace.
Many have devoted themselves to seeking true unity and the achievement of one world; but true world peace still evades us. Everyone wants peace but we must first know what is necessary to bring it about. The key lies not in one's spouse, sons and daughters, neighbors, nation or world -- it is right in oneself. It depends on whether one can himself become a harmonious being, where his mind and body have achieved harmony and unity centering on his original mind. When a person comes to have the heart of God and True Parents, he can begin to live fully for the sake of others and lead consistently a life where true love is the center, a life in which he can achieve true peace.
These are concerns of religion. The role of religions in realizing ultimate world peace is therefore indispensable. Accordingly, all men and women of religion should now tear down the walls of sectarianism to make themselves available with unified religious power to act in accordance with God's desires for the greater goal of the realization of world peace. Now is the time to reflect that religious people have not contributed enough for world peace. Now is the time to develop within each religion true love, which is the origin and basic element of world peace, and by practicing it faithfully, to deploy an all-encompassing movement, the Inter-Religious Federation for World Peace.
God requires good practice and example by men and women of religion. God does not exist for the sake of religion. Religion was established to achieve the Will of God to restore the world back to its original condition where people invest and invest again for the sake of the world. Any religion with which God wants to work in this world now is a religion of True Parents.
Only religion with a parental heart, a religion which practices true love, can accomplish God's Will in this hopelessly complex world situation. Thus far in history, there have been many religions. There have been religions in the position of adopted son, in the position of stepson, in the position of son, and so on. The religions in all the different positions should transcend any limited view that their own religion is the best, that only through their religion will world peace be accomplished. Rather, the teachings of religions in all the positions are eventually to be fused and united in the religion in the position of True Parents. Then, the decline that religions are experiencing will be ended. All religions, centering on true love, which exists absolutely for the sake of others, will unite and march forward to realize world peace and realize heaven on earth. Knowing this, we should proceed to solve the world's urgent problems by the right practice of religion. The tasks of changing ritualized faith into living faith, reestablishing the true value-perspective from the many confused value- perspectives, restoring the original human nature from deviated and desolate human nature, elevating the moral standard and liquidating the decadent culture -- all are to be accomplished by men and women of religion joined together in an allied movement of the eternal God, practicing the true love of True Parentism.
The youth of the world today are intuitively realizing this great opportunity that lies in front of us. As true religious leaders, we must act in the capacity of true teachers to these youth. Beginning with this true love, which is the standard of eternal, unchanging absolute value, we should establish not only the unification of mind and body, but we should connect and unify the two worlds represented by both spiritual and materialistic ideologies. This will create the foundation for world peace. On this foundation, we should unite the inner world of religions and then unite the outer world of nations and eventually achieve eternal world peace. In realizing this goal all men and women of religion must play a responsible role.
Many young people hunger for true love, which is to live for the sake of others. We religious leaders must exemplify God's true love and the absolute value of the way of True Parents. We must make certain that religious traditions travel on the path of true love. By doing so, God and mankind united together will march forward to a new world of hope, and achieve God's ideal of creation. Therefore, let us clearly show the world and our youth that a new age of peace, of true family, and true mankind has begun.
In conclusion, I wish that your discussion throughout this conference period will help realize true religion and the discovery of true love, and become a great contribution to the world. May God's blessing be always with you.
Professor Richard Rubenstein
Professor Rubenstein is a Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor of Religion at Florida State University
I have the very great honor of introducing the Founder of the Assembly of the World's Religions and one of the most extraordinary men of our era, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon. There is a very wise biblical counsel which tells us, "By their fruits ye shall know them." Although I cannot in this brief introduction do justice to even a portion of the fruits of his labors since he began his career of religious leadership, we can take note of a representative few.
Rev. Moon began his preaching in June 1946 in Pyongyang, now the capital of communist North Korea. At the time it was the most Christian part of Korea. Two years later, in February of 1948 he was arrested and sent to a prison camp in Hung Nam for two years and eight months. On October 14, 1950 he was liberated by UN forces. He thereupon made his way to Pusan 1000 km to the south, accompanied by two disciples, one of whom had a broken leg. Reverend Moon literally helped to carry his disciple the entire distance. When he arrived in Pusan, he built his first church. It was made out of mud and cardboard boxes discarded by the U.S. Army. I have been told that at the first service three people came to hear his message. While in Pusan, he would pray and meditate for hours on a rock high above the waters. His vision of universal brotherhood and worldwide unification under God had earlier roots in his spiritual life, but at Pusan it began to be embodied in his calling. Out of that beginning forty years ago has come the worldwide Unification movement.
From the very beginning of his ministry Rev. Moon has reached out beyond the circle of his disciples to the entire world. This very Assembly of the World's Religions is a prime example of that outreach. So too is the International Conference of the Unity of the Sciences, which brings together the world's leading scientists and scholars, a goodly number of whom have been Nobel Laureates, in search of absolute values. I have also seen that outreach in the work of the Professors' World Peace Academy which Rev. Moon founded in the early nineteen-seventies.
Having experienced at first hand the effects of media bias, Rev. Moon has founded the World Media Association, which brings together journalists throughout the world in very much the same way as we have been brought together. He has also established a worldwide chain of newspapers, magazines and journals. These include the Segye Ilbo of Korea with a circulation of over one million, the Sekai Nippo of Tokyo, The Washington Times, the Noticzas del Mundo, the World and I and Insight magazines.
There are many other publications of high quality throughout the world.
Rev. Moon has disciples in almost every country on earth, and between December 1989 and July 1990, I was privileged to meet many of his disciples in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria and the Soviet Union. They are talented, selfless, highly educated men and women, many of whom had been persecuted by the communist regimes which dominated their homelands. In the case of Poland, Czechoslovakia and Bulgaria, these men and women are known and trusted by the new, post-communist leaders because many of them had been in communist prisons together.
As we gather together in the luxury of this meeting place, it is important that we be mindful of the sacrifices Rev. Moon and his disciples have made for their faith. Rev. Moon himself has been compelled to make such sacrifices not only by the communist government of North Korea but, I regret to say, by my own government. In spite of the fact that Rev. Moon and his church have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the United States for the public good, Rev. Moon was accused of evading a small amount of taxes on the interest on a bank account which he had forthrightly put in his own name for the work of the Church. Normally, tax disputes over far larger sums are settled out of court, but it was not to be with Rev. Moon.
I shall never forget visiting Rev. Moon at Danbury prison. I saw myself as an honored and privileged guest in his house. I can testify that even in that setting, he was as ever the commanding presence. In spite of the fact that a terrible injustice had been done, Rev. Moon was neither dispirited nor resentful. On the contrary, he spoke of his love for America and of the many things he wanted to do for this country so that it could fulfill the providential role he believed God had assigned to it.
In conclusion, there is one aspect of Rev. Moon's global vision that I must not fail to mention. In April of this year the World Media conference met in Moscow in cooperation with the Novosti Press Agency. While in Moscow, Rev. Moon met with President Mikhail Gorbachev for more than one hour. In addition, Mrs. Gorbachev attended a ballet performance of the Korean Little Angels' Dance Troupe, founded by Rev. Moon, and sat throughout the performance with Rev. and Mrs. Moon. In committing his resources to special projects within the Soviet Union, he is acting in the cause of international amity and world peace.
Rev. Moon has founded the International Federation of World Peace to bring together leaders throughout the world for the purpose of turning the end of the Cold War into an era of genuine international peace. As all of us watch with apprehension at the events now unfolding in the Middle East, we know how important that task is. I think it is evident that we are in the presence of an extraordinary religious leader whose works are many and fruitful.
Let us rise to greet our host.
Father and the Grand Mufti of Syria Ahmad Kuftaro embrace after the Mufti delivers a speech at the Farewell Banquet
At the Farewell Banquet, the Grand Mufti of Syria offered a speech symbolizing the response of the Assembly to the Founder's call for the establishment of the Inter-Religious Federation for World Peace:
Praised be the name of God the Beneficent, the Merciful, the Creator of all creatures, the Lord of all prophets and all men of wisdom: Abraham, Moses, Jesus Christ, Mohammed, and Buddha, and all others whom we know and whom we do not know. They embody the quest for world peace and brotherhood.
I am deeply grateful to God that He has made it possible for us, as men of religion, to gather together to form and create a new religious federation for peace and I am grateful to Father Moon and his assistants in bringing this into reality.
All of us are aware of the catastrophes and calamities that took place in the 20th century, and the major wars and regional conflicts that worked for the misery and suffering of humanity. Despite the efforts of leaders, politicians, and philosophers, and despite the creation of the League of Nations and the United Nations, we all know that man has not been able to achieve the peace that he has always longed for. Global peace cannot be achieved except by Allah, God, whose name in the Koran means peace. God is peace and peace is God, and no peace can be achieved except by God. All the programs laid by God through his prophets and apostles through the passage of history should be unified into one, and then peace can be achieved. If divine religions unify their forces and join hands together, then God will be with them and peace will come. Prophet Mohammed says in his tradition, "The hand of God is with the unified community" and, "The wolf eats the sheep who goes away from its flock."
The Inter-Religious Federation for World Peace is an expression of the essential meaning of the messages of Heaven. The goal of religions should be to bring all into one family, into one body, so that if an ailment takes place in one limb, the whole body will have sleeplessness and fever for the sake of that ailed limb.
For forty years now I have been calling for the unification of religions and for their fraternity. I have been calling for that in my homeland as well as all over the world, in conferences, and wherever I went and lectured. I was always living for this dream. This hope of mine has always driven me to look where I could find its treasures and gems. And now I have found the treasure, represented by Father Moon.
He has laid the foundation stone and he is the engineer to bring about unification through this Inter-Religious Federation. I cannot express how much I rejoice in meeting with this great treasure. My heart, my self, is filled with a great feeling with which I cannot dispense. I believe that the 20th Century will not pass away before all religions unite, accomplishing world peace and fraternity. I feel that it will not pass before this comes into light under the patronage of my brother, Father Moon. The seeds for our unification are already there in our religions, but they have to grow and prosper so that all mankind can attain brotherhood and love.
I have a humble suggestion to present before you, and I hope that it will meet the approval of Father Moon and our esteemed audience. My proposal is that each religious leader write a compilation of sayings and truths from his own religion, explaining how it is oriented toward peace and love. Then these should be compiled into a book, and presented to the United Nations and to governments all over the world. It will be given to schools so that our coming generation will become acquainted with the beauty and spirit of all the religions. The aims of religions will be achieved when our young generation understands and imbibes the knowledge embodied in that book. And I propose that this book be presented to Father Moon in recognition of all his grand work, and in recognition of his suffering for the sake of all. We want the young people to know that religions are much dearer than all else that is dear in this world.
I repeat my full thanks to Father Moon for what he has presented, for all the efforts he has made, and the hardships he has borne for the sake of his global, spiritual mission to bring peace to all mankind. I pray to God Almighty that we see the fruits of these efforts of Father Moon in a way that the whole world will become one unified family. Peace be on you all and His mercy. God bless you.
The staff of the Assembly of the World's Religions pose with True Parents for a group picture
Dr. Francis Clark has been involved with IRF since the first God Conference in 1981. Dr. Clark serves as a senior consultant to the Council for *he World's Religions, and he is the senior advisor for the Religious Youth Service. Dr. Clark played a central role in the preparations for the 1990 Assembly of the World's Religions, serving as both a member of the Planning Committee and the Executive Committee. Dr. Clark, a Roman Catholic theologian, has taught theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and is now Director of Post Graduate Research in Religious Studies at the Open University, United Kingdom.
My dominant emotion as I look back over the Second Assembly of the World's Religions, held at San Francisco from 15 to 20 August 1990, is one of thankfulness: thankfulness first and foremost to God, the author of all good, and thankfulness to all those whom He empowered to make the Assembly such a magnificent achievement.
I pay tribute to the Founder of the Assembly, Reverend Moon, for his vision and generosity; to his dedicated disciples in the International Religious Foundation who labored selflessly to organize the Assembly and to bring it to its successful conclusion; to the members of the Planning Committee, drawn from different faiths, who monitored the preparations and ensured the integrity of the program; and to the many hundreds of men and women who journeyed from all parts of the earth to San Francisco to join in that great spiritual and social manifestation of our one, united human family.
It was there in the meeting of those "brothers and sisters from East and West, from North and South," in their warm friendship and animated discussion,
in their mutual sharing and discovery, in the widening of their thoughts and hearts and prayers, that the deepest success of the Assembly was achieved. For everyone who participated in AWR II and who truly joined in that celebration of inter-religious harmony, it was a pilgrimage that will never be forgotten.
The initiation of the Inter-Religious Foundation for World Peace, that will have important consequences in the future. It was fitting that this new foundation, destined to promote cooperation between religions and peoples in the cause of world peace and reconstruction, should be announced at the Assembly of the World's Religions, which is inspired by the same spiritual vision.
For many years I have been closely engaged in work for inter-religious dialogue and cooperation. I see AWR II as a significant contribution to the progress of the worldwide interfaith movement that has welled up in recent decades and is now advancing like an incoming tide. I am especially involved, as a consultant and organizer, with the activities of the International Religious Foundation, but I am also a member of several other inter-religious associations, such as the World Conference on Religion and Peace, the World Congress of Faiths, and the International Association for Religious Freedom. IRF and AWR do not seek to rival those other excellent organizations, but to make common cause with them. Our common aim, surely, is to break down the barriers of religious, racial, and social antagonisms and to collaborate for the spiritual and material welfare of the whole human family. That was the motivation of AWR II, and it is the permanent motivation of IRF.
The guarantee of the integrity of the San Francisco Assembly was the respect publicly shown for all the religious traditions represented there, without priority or preference being given to any one of them. No one was expected to abandon or to compromise his or her conscientiously held beliefs. Nor were we there to promote the merging of all religions into one form of belief and practice. As a Catholic theologian, I regard the principle of mutual respect and impartiality as essential for all interfaith collaboration. I know that my brothers and sisters of other faiths who were advisers to the project share the same concern. I am happy that principle is constantly observed not only in the program of AWR, but in all the activities of IRF.
The many elements that made up the program of the San Francisco Assembly were blended by a subtle alchemy to make a rich spiritual and human experience. The Opening Ceremony on the first evening, profoundly moving in its universality and spiritual purity, gave the keynote for all that followed. Deeply appreciated were the prayer and meditation sessions of the different traditions each morning, and the interfaith meditation each evening. The daily discussions of the dialogue groups, for which every participant had prepared a contribution in the form of a written paper (previously circulated to the group members) were the point at which each one was personally engaged in the Assembly. All could speak their minds, and could freely exchange ideas and aspirations across the frontiers of religion, race, and culture.
The highlight of the closing plenary session was the reading of the San Francisco Declaration, which all present ratified by rising to their feet to make together a corporate sign of assent. The Declaration will be a widely circulated memorial of AWR II. Not a few participants have testified that it conveyed the spirit of the Assembly as they had experienced it. I cite one such testimony, from a Canadian priest who is engaged in fostering exchanges between Western and Chinese culture: "I would like to express my admiration and full support for the San Francisco Declaration, which seems to me at this time to say so well what we were all about, without taking sides and without watering down any doctrine but rather professing common aspirations and designs."
Father and Mother meet with Metropolitan Philaret, the Patriarchal Exarch of Byelorussia
Dr. M. Darrol Bryant was one of the original professors who began the "theologians conferences" at the Unification Theological Seminary in 1977-78, which evolved into the New Ecumenical Research Association (New ERA). Dr. Bryant was among the founding board of consultants of New ERA who met Father at East Garden in October of 1980. Since then Dr. Bryant has been a Senior Consultant for both New ERA and the Council for the World's Religions (CWR).
The Second Assembly of the World's Religions was a truly remarkable event. It was a stunning monument to the depth of longing for unity within the religious and spiritual communities of our time. It was the story of Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Muslims, African Traditional Religionists, Jews, Confucianists, Zoroastrians, and many others responding to the Spirit of Unity that is abroad in our times, stirring the depths of the human soul.
But let us be clear: unity is not uniformity, nor is it a new syncretism. It is rather a search for something deeper and more profound than that. It is a shared quest, across tradition, for the authentic sources of the spiritual life and ways that those resources can be brought to bear on our personal and corporate life. And thus at the Assembly people went to workshops on meditation and on solving social conflicts, they sought out prayer and meditation in their own tradition and opportunities for interfaith experience, they turned to people of other faiths to learn while sharing the gifts of their own traditions. Thus it was, at the same time, an exploration of what makes us what we are in our own way of faith and what we have in common with men and women of other faiths.
This to me is the first and most profound message of the Assembly; the spirit of unity is what we must nourish and serve in our time.
The second message is related to the first; it is its very corollary. The unity we seek passes through and is to be found in the very traditions of religious and spiritual life that make up the religious life of humankind. Some assume, mistakenly in my view, that the quest for unity is a way of saying no to the religious/spiritual heritage of humankind. This is contradicted by this Assembly. Here we saw that those traditions continue to be life-giving sources of the spiritual life for countless numbers of our fellow human beings around the planet. The interfaith task is to bring those traditions into new patterns of interaction and relation. It is, I believe, the patterns of interaction that we seek to nourish in the Assembly -- and other International Religious Foundation events -- that can help us to revitalize the true depths of the religious traditions and their connections to the heart of divine life.
This is the task of the interfaith movement. It is from these revitalized traditions of spiritual life and practice that will come the wisdom, insight, and cooperation that can transform our life together on this planet.
It has been my privilege to have been part of the Planning Committee for this Assembly. And I have been an active participant in the interfaith movement for more than a decade. It is from this vantage point that I reflect on the work of the IRF and this Assembly.
There are many international organizations that are seeking to promote interfaith encounter and dialogue. But the efforts of the International Religious Foundation are unique in several respects. First, the depth of the spirit of service that characterizes the IRF is remarkable. The IRF has an impressive tradition of service that is reflected both in the detailed attention it pays to all aspects of an event like the Assembly and its willingness to serve divine purposes rather than narrow institutional ones. Second, it is unique in the breadth of its openness to all the vital traditions of divine life we find within the human family. Here in this Assembly were found people from every tradition that the dedicated staff could locate. This is important because we want these events to be representative of the whole human race. Third, it is unique on its persistent focus in the Spiritual dimensions of the religious traditions rather than ideological or political aspects. Curiously enough, the interfaith or inter- religious movement is often sidetracked onto other agendas, but the IRF has held consistently -- in this Assembly as well as other events -- to the spiritual heart of the believing world. The issue here is staying centered on divine love and compassion, which is the foundation of our remaking -- over and over again. And finally, the IRF is unique in its conviction that from the gathering of men and women of faith will come the wisdom and will that can contribute to the healing of our broken world. The Assembly -- and other activities of the IRF -- do not assume an apriori answer to the way ahead. Rather, we are committed to a process, one of give and take, where every participant is regarded as valuable. It is from this process that true wisdom can emerge. For at the heart of the healing of our lives and life together lies the spiritual remaking that comes when believers rediscover themselves in dialogue with other men and women of faith. It is in those moments that we recognize the other, not as our enemy to be overcome or as a stranger, but as our friend and fellow pilgrim.
We also come to recognize that we are sustained in our journey together by a divine source that is the foundation of our hope and our effort.
The Unification movement is to be commended for its generous efforts on behalf of the interfaith movement in our time. It has done more for the interfaith movement than any other organization or group. And as long as it continues to proceed on the basis of those principles indicated above, it will continue to do a work that is, I believe, pleasing to God.
We who have participated in the Second Assembly of the World's Religions, held in San Francisco from August 15-21 1990, join making the following three-fold affirmation of the centrality of religion in human life and society:
We reaffirm our commitment to religious freedom throughout the world. We declare our conviction that religious and spiritual values have primacy over merely material achievements, and indeed that it is only in faithfulness to those values that human kind will follow the road to true progress. We seek in all things to conform ourselves to the divine goodness that gives meaning to human life.
In this time of global expectation, we resolve to strive for a new international order based on peace, justice and fraternity. We proclaim the unity of the human family and reject all forms of exploitation of its members. We defend the right of all peoples to a fair share of the earth's resources, and we protest against all forms of political and social injustice. In furtherance of these ideals, we will pray and work for greater understanding and mutual love between the religions and believers of the world, joined together in spiritual power to promote the welfare of all humankind.
We recognize our duty to give to our children an education and a preparation for adult life inspired by the highest truths and values of our respective religious traditions. We pledge ourselves to love and service of children and young people, the rising generation upon whom the future of our communities and of all human society depends.