As God’s purpose of creation is absolute, the purpose of God’s restoration providence absolutely must also be fulfilled. We cannot leave the messianic hope of an ideal world only as a vague dream. We need to make it a substantial reality in our lives. Likewise, the purpose of all religions is to realize God’s Will in our daily life on earth.
For the purpose of the whole providence, God has been broadening the foundation of goodness through many religions, each appropriate for its own age, people and environment. However, the ultimate purpose of all these religions is only to realize God’s Will, that is, the ideal world of peace and happiness. Religions need to be concerned with God’s Will for world salvation more than with the salvation of the individual or the welfare of their own denomination. I think that now is the time for all religious bodies together to search again for the true Will of God.
As far as I know, God is not sectarian. He is not obsessed with minor details of doctrine. We have to liberate ourselves quickly from the theological conflict that 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 interreligious dialogue and harmony, we need to realize one ideal world of peace, which is God’s purpose of creation and the common ideal of humankind.
Respected representatives of the world’s religions, when we take an honest look at reality today, we come to see that it is time not only for belief but for action as well. Why do we find such serious problems prevailing in our societies, problems including confusion in value systems, moral corruption, drug addiction, terrorism, racial discrimination, genocide, war, unjust distribution of wealth, disregard for human rights, and totalitarian communism? These vices are the natural outcome of hedonism, atheistic materialism and secular humanism that deny the relevance of God. All these are the effects of the declining faith and the spiritual exhaustion of this generation.
Who can take responsibility for today’s world? Can the military or the politicians? Can businessmen or people with new technologies? Never. God is asking religious leaders, today’s prophets and priests, to solve these problems.
All religious people must feel responsible for the shaky spiritual foundation of this generation and repent. Throughout the long history of religion, we have not been a convincing witness for our living God. We have not been sincere in the practice of love. Our past hypocrisy has allowed atheism to prevail. We ought to feel deeply responsible for this.
Today God is calling us. All religious people, standing on the internal foundation of deep self-reflection, must challenge the prevalence of all evils and work creatively in order to realize God’s Will on earth. The living God does not want to relate with us merely in the context of scriptures and rituals. Instead, God hopes to dwell in the hearts of people who keep God’s Will in their minds and live it in everyday life.
After long prayers and reflections on the future of the world and humankind, I have begun to feel that God’s enthusiastic hope and the Holy Spirit’s strong power are sweeping through the whole world. Today the world has to be renewed. Religious leaders all throughout the world must join together and encourage a movement of purification in every religion.
There needs to be repentance and the renewal of true commitment. The world must change! There needs to be a new Reformation! The banners of “living faith” and “practical faith” ought to be waving everywhere around the world. Every religion must work beyond consideration of its own benefit to liberate the world from poverty and disease. By the practice of love and the burning conviction of faith, our witness will convince even atheists of the truth of the living God. Only through a religious and spiritual revolution bringing great harmony, love and compassion will we finally realize the ideal world of peace.
Respected representatives! In response to God’s sublime call, the world’s religious bodies have to emerge from the quagmire of hostility, misunderstanding and ignorance. With mutual respect and friendship they need to build a large, cooperative community of religions. Then together, we will be able to show our religious will in action and practice everywhere on this planet.
Religion is not merely oriented to the world beyond. The earth is God’s creation, and it is on this earth that God’s Will is to be realized. If the kingdom of heaven, or as Buddhists say, Sukhavati, is God’s ideal place, we cannot go there merely by hoping. Rather we ought to live for, love and care for our brothers and sisters and the things of creation. It is through relationships with others that we can realize the ideal.
Even though religion transcends ordinary social ethics and social policy, we cannot ignore its function in society. Religious people ought to be concerned with actual problems and apply God’s Will to their practical solution. Moreover, religions need to stimulate spiritual renewal and give an elevated value perspective to those in charge of politics, the economy, social programs and education. People can solve the problems in their fields only when the Holy Spirit enlightens their minds. God is calling for religious people with living spirituality to uphold the truth of religion and to relate it to the situations in their societies. People who are grounded in truth and in living communication with God are bound to influence others and bring about a revival of spirituality everywhere. True religions do not follow the trends of the secular world. Emphasizing God’s Will, they enlighten the world and lead the people, even in the face of opposition and persecution.
The movement for interreligious harmony and unity, and for living faith, may go through a lonely path for some time, but it will soon receive tremendous support from many fresh-minded people who see things from a historical and global perspective.
I have been putting all my energy into reforming the world and realizing God’s ideal on earth in accordance with the direction of God’s providence. I have been mobilizing the total energy of the Unification Church to work first of all for world peace through interreligious harmony. I sincerely hope your religions also actively cooperate and join in this path, not because I want to reduce my effort or spare the financial resources of the Unification Church, but because I hope to see as early as possible a total mobilization of spiritual resources and creativity from all religious traditions in the direction of God’s providence. This path will lead to the realization of the world of peace.
|Extract from the speech "Dialogue and Alliance" given by Dr Sun Myung Moon, at the Assembly of the World’s Religions on November 16, 1985, at the Americana Great Gorge Resort, McAfee, New Jersey, USA|