Religion’s Mission for World Peace
Reverend Sun Myung Moon
August 27, 1991
Founder’s Address of the Inaugural Assembly of the Inter-religious Federation For World Peace
Little Angels Performing Arts Center,
Respected and eminent religious leaders from countries around the world, distinguished representatives of worldwide religious organizations, scholars of religion, and all participants who are present here. From the bottom of my heart I welcome you to this historical Inaugural Assembly of the Inter-Religious Federation for World Peace.
In the Founder’s Address at the first Assembly of the World’s Religions, which was held in New Jersey in 1985, I identified three essential tasks for religious people. First, all religious traditions should respect each other and, at the very least, work to prevent conflict or war between religions. Second, all of us, as cooperating religious communities, should serve the world. And third, in order to fulfill the mission of religion, we should contribute to the development of world peace by means of an organization in which all religious leaders would participate.
At the second Assembly of the World’s Religions, which was held in San Francisco one year ago, I called for the creation of the Inter-Religious Federation for World Peace. Today, with the co-operation of religious leaders such as yourselves and in the presence of representatives of religions from around the world, the Inter-Religious Federation for World Peace is announcing its historical birth.
Now is the time when all the world’s religions should keenly feel central responsibility for the realization of world peace and should take action for this purpose. The future happiness of humankind cannot be achieved through the pursuit of economic prosperity alone, but only by overcoming conflicts between ideologies, between cultures and between races through inter-religious understanding and spiritual harmony. Therefore, the main theme of my message at this Inaugural Assembly of the Inter-Religious Federation for World Peace is “The Mission of Religion in the Establishment of World Peace.”
God’s ideal of creation centers on true love and calls each of us to exist for the sake of others. The purpose of human existence is to realize an ideal family, society, nation and world through individuals who embody this ideal and whose mind and body are harmoniously united into one. However, through Satan’s false love and self-centeredness, each human being became an individual with disharmony between mind and body. The family, society, nation and world, consisting of human beings characterized by such contradiction, have troubles and dissensions that are nothing but the multi-dimensional amplification of the disunity and struggle that exists within the individual.
The democratic world has become increasingly individualistic and self-centered. This is what Satan wants, and thus Satan is leading most of humankind toward damnation. In order to stop this decline, we cannot rely on left-wing or right-wing ideas alone. We need head-wing thought centered on true love, which transcends ideologies on both the left and the right, and we need Godism, the teaching that human life is to be lived in relatedness to ultimate reality centered on true love. Since the disunity in our society and world originated with Satan’s false love, creating the discord between mind and body within individuals, true peace cannot be brought about without harmonious unity within individual human beings. This unity can only result from the experience of true love. The base for realizing the peaceful world is not to be discovered merely by seeking global solutions, but rather through individuals and families. Individuals whose mind and body are harmoniously united by God’s true love and who go beyond Satan’s dominion, and families, formed by such men and women, these become the delivery room for world peace.
The human fall, which came about through false love, created discord between mind and body. As a result we experience disunity and struggle in vertical relationships with God, our parents, our children, our students and in horizontal relationships with our spouse, our siblings, our friends, our co-workers. Instead of being characterized by love, these relationships became distorted due to the confusion within individuals between the mind’s desire to serve others and the body’s desire to gratify the self. The discord can be seen in the value systems (worldviews) which guide individual and social life. The confusion between mind and body extends to the confusion between religion and science, between idealism and materialism, and between value-seeking and fact-seeking pursuits.
According to the ideal of creation, as mind and body unite within an ideal individual through God’s true love, mental and bodily worlds, which are extensions of individual mind and body, also should come into a harmonious relationship, not contradiction. Religion and philosophy represent the internal world of the mind; the bodily world is represented by politics and economics. Just as mind is in the subject and leading position, while the body is in the object position to harmonize with the mind, religion and politics also should achieve harmony and unity in a subject-object relationship. Otherwise, the ideal society cannot be created.
What has been God’s purpose in sending saints and prophets? God’s desire is to educate all people about His will of true love, by showing a model in personality and lifestyle. In particular, God’s will is for the mental and bodily worlds to unify in a great harmony centered on God’s will of true love. This can be accomplished by educating rulers and leaders about the Heavenly Way so they will then practice it.
But, as the body often does not follow what conscience requires, many rulers have not recognized holy men and saints; have not received their teaching; and have ignored their warnings. Who can take responsibility to solve the misery and the evils in contemporary society: the confusion in values, moral corruption, drug addiction, terrorism, racial discrimination and so on? Can politicians, with political power, completely solve such problems? There is a great responsibility and burden which accompanies the decisions and choices made by politicians. This is true especially in this age when societies are more pluralistic than ever and are so internationally interdependent. I think that rulers, when making an important decision, should humbly listen to the voice coming from heaven and look for solutions through following the Heavenly Way.
We should repent that religions themselves, representing the mental world, have not fulfilled their responsibility for bringing about the peaceful world. We cannot deny the fact that religions in their current state lack the life energy necessary for leading and purifying the world, and rather are going against their original mission. Each religion should revitalize its internal purity and life energy through God’s true love; reform itself in a determined way; and develop harmonious relationships with other religions according to God’s will of true love.
Devotion to God and His great will of true love is the mission of each religion. As such, the prosperity of each religious organization alone cannot be the purpose of religion. God demands that we come to know His great will for saving the world and that we practice this in our lives. This is more important than studying scriptures or observing religious ceremonies. Religions, for too long, have failed to relate to the living God and to bear witness clearly to Him. The God that I know has no attachment to the content of doctrines which are put together according to human logic. Since God is the Origin and Parent of all of us, He does not discriminate between races or between religions.
Therefore, religious believers should completely follow God’s will of true love to realize the ideal world of peace, and the salvation of all people. Given the contemporary reality, religious people should not lead comfortable lives. Instead they must go on the way of a living faith, centered on true love and true life energy, having conversation with the living God. This cannot be achieved in the prevailing atmosphere of religion today. Unprecedented change on a global level, through the motivating power of all religions joined in a movement of a new dimension, is demanded.
The hypocrisy of those religious people who were not sincere in their practice of God’s true love has led to the proliferation of atheism.
This world should be changed. Each religion should make efforts to purify itself and to become the leading actor in a new reform. All religions should leave behind the pursuit of their own benefits; take up the cause of world salvation that God hopes for; stand on the front line in the effort to eliminate poverty, disease and crime in the world; become a bright light in this dark world of the Last Days; and so teach and guide leaders in every field such as politics, economics, or social work.
Reforming the World
Respected religious leaders. Following the direction of God’s providence, I have been devoting all my energy to the work of reforming the world and restoring God’s ideal of true love. Through the activities of the International Religious Foundation the Assembly of the World’s Religions, New ERA, the Council for the World’s Religions, the Religious Youth Service, the Inter- Denominational Conferences for Clergy. and the Youth Seminar on World Religions I have tried to provide a model of inter-religious understanding and harmony, and a model of that practice of God’s true love which religious people should embody. I am doing my best for the sake of the ideal of world peace.
Today I announce the publication of World Scripture, completed after five years of cooperative effort among scholars of religion and after review and endorsement by heads of the world’s religions. World Scripture will become a shining light, a volume of holy scripture that puts together the universally valuable contents of the world’s religions. In particular, it will become a precious textbook for educating the younger generation who are to live together as one global family. It will teach them to be able to overcome barriers between religions, between races, and between cultures. I believe that, through this text, all people will not only free themselves from religious ignorance and self-righteousness, but also realize the fact that, among religions, there are shared values and a universal foundation which are of greater significance than the differences which have historically divided religions. I thank those scholars and Editorial Board members from each religions who worked for the publication of World Scripture.
Following this Inaugural Assembly of the Inter-Religious Federation for World Peace, which represents the mental world and stands in the subject position for world peace, and International Federation for World Peace, which represents the bodily world and stands in the object position, is to be inaugurated here in this place. Leaders from every corner of the world are arriving for this event. If these two organizations, harmoniously cooperating internally and externally, practice unification through true love in accordance with heavenly will, then the peaceful world will be realized. When the unification of religion and politics, representing the unification of mind and body, comes about through God’s true love, the world of peace will soon follow.
Respected leaders of religions. When we sincerely reflect on this age, we come to know that now is an urgent time when not only faith, but also practice and action are demanded. The world’s problems including such miserable struggles as racial wars and religious wars which have come about through the spread of atheism, hedonism, secular humanism and through the distortion of true religion, are extremely serious.
In Western societies there is a tendency to take life easy, especially now that communist atheism has lost its ground. This tendency, however, comes from a superficial assessment of the situation, founded on ignorance about the real essence of the problems that we face. As long as a new awakening movement of true love centered on God does not occur throughout the entire society, the fall of contemporary civilization whose center has been Western society is coming, and that outcome will bring more misery than we can imagine.
The world as it is now cannot be left alone. There is no time. Who can take responsibility for this generation? Military leaders? Politicians? New social engineers? We, representing the religions, should take that responsibility. I ask your active cooperation. When, through the movement of the Inter-Religious Federation for World Peace, historical religious traditions harmoniously advance in practice toward world peace, then the spiritual foundation for guiding the world will be firmly laid, and the ideal of peace centered on God’s true love will be completed. When all religions of the world have a unified direction, the peace of the unified world will come.
I pray that God will protect the future of the Inter-Religious Federation for World Peace and all of you representing the world’s religious traditions. May God bless each of you and your families. May you become the people of true love who can bring peace to the world.