Building Peace Upon Interreligious Harmony
"Religion is like a wide river flowing toward an ideal, peaceful world. The river flows for long distances before it comes to the wide expanse of peace. On its way, many streams flow into it. The streams cease to be streams from the point they meet the river. From that point, they too become part of the river. In this way, they become one."
Rev. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon recognized that conflicts between religions are a serious threat to humanity. They, therefore, sought to resolve these conflicts by bringing together diverse religious groups to work together for world peace. Rev. and Mrs. Moon believed that the existence of various religions on earth thrives because God had been leading humankind with religions that meet the regional and cultural needs of each civilization. Therefore, if the various religions can come together and share God's Will, then their fraternal love can lead to a world of peace.
Seeing how interreligious dialogue and understanding can develop mutual respect and tolerance, Rev. and Mrs. Moon founded the World Religious Peace Committee in 1968, and through it, created other worldwide interreligious organizations. In 1991, they gathered prominent theologians and religious scholars together and compiled the World Scripture: A Comparative Analogy of Sacred Texts (published in Korean and Japanese in 1994), which contains a comparative study of the holy scriptures of 30 religions around the world, including Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism. The World Scripture reveals that 73 percent of all the religious scriptures contain a common message about seeking the origin of the universe and understanding the Creator’s will to realize world peace.
The World Scripture, reveals that 73 percent of all religious scriptures contain a common message about a longing for world peace.
In order to resolve the fierce religious conflicts, Rev. and Mrs. Moon took on the role of mediator between religions and dauntlessly entered Palestine, where terrorism was rampant. Rev. and Mrs. Moon served as emissaries in the long-standing US-Middle East conflicts, including the Gulf War and the post-9/11 War on Terror, and in 1990 when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait.
Interreligious Association for Peace and Development (IAPD), founded to realize global community through harmony and true love transcending religious and national barriers, was established with the participation of over 20 religions from 84 countries, including Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, Daejonggyo, Chollikyo, Sikh, Anglican Church, Cheondogyo, and Shintoism
Moreover, the founders pointed out that the UN is swayed by the different powers of this era and is limited in presenting a vision that surpasses modern idealism. Therefore, they urged the UN to transform the current system by marching forward together with spiritual leaders in order to find the true pathway to a world of peace. Specifically, they presented a bicameral system, composed of political and diplomatic representatives in the lower house and spiritual leaders in the upper house. Even though the system did not come into reality, many scholars still evaluate the system as a unique solution to overcoming religious conflicts that was presented ahead of our time.
On December 22, 2003, Jews, Christians and Muslims came together and held a Peace Rally at Independence Park in Jerusalem. At the event participated by more than 20,000 religious and political leaders from 84 countries, Rev. and Mrs. Moon called for the reconciliation of those three religions.
On December 22, 2003, Jews, Christians and Muslims came together to hold a rally for peace at Independence Park, Jerusalem. Rev. Moon shared a message of mutual respect, cooperation, generosity and forgiveness among religions, insisting on the restoration of heart as brothers and sisters of one human family whose common parent is God.
In 2017, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon founded the Interreligious Association for Peace and Development (IAPD). Even 25 years after the end of the Cold War, the world, more than ever, is still suffering under conflicts, divisions, innocent deaths and terrorist threats. In order to overcome these realities and achieve interreligious and international harmony, Mrs. Moon created a coalition of representatives from 84 countries and 20 religious organizations to form the IAPD. In 2019, at the Manhattan Center in New York, Mrs. Moon inaugurated the World Clergy Leadership Conference (WCLC) as an association of faith leaders dedicated and committed to the task of uniting humankind under the banner of Peace, while respecting each other’s religious beliefs, customs and traditions.
The IAPD and WCLC focuses on interreligious reconciliation centered on the founders’ vision that interreligious cooperation is imperative for peace in the 21st century.