God’s headache: Conflict and Fear among Religions
Sadly, it is a common belief that most wars are fought based on religious conflicts and division, but more often, religious leaders have actually worked for peace and reconciliation. Just exactly because we place our ardent hopes in religion as a source of value, hope, and ideals of peace, justice, love and human happiness, religious conflicts are the most painful – to humanity, and we can also say – to God.
At the World Evangelical Fellowship, Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia, stated, "Once started religious strife has a tendency to go on and on, to become permanent feuds. Today we see such intractable inter-religious wars in Northern Ireland, between Jews and Muslims and Christians in Palestine, Hindus and Muslims in South Asia and in many other places. Attempts to bring about peace have failed again and again. Always the extremist elements invoking past injustices, imagined or real, will succeed in torpedoing the peace efforts and bringing about another bout of hostility." 2001-MAY-4.
“The history of the human race is one of conflict, brutality, violence and wars, interspersed with periods of peace, creativity and technical growth. Today is no different. Otherwise, why would we now have police, military, intelligence services and other such protectors? Currently, there are at least 19 hotspots of religious-based conflict in the world - some new, some very old. And, as we all know, religious-based conflict is itself nothing new. Why is this so?
The Center for Reduction of Religious-Based Conflict
“Connecting religion and violent conflict is easy to do. Many of the world’s violent outbreaks, both present and past, are couched in religious terms, ranging from the 1st century Jewish-Roman War, to the 11th century Crusades, to 17th century Thirty Years War to the 20th century Irish civil war to contemporary conflicts in Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Iraq, and Israel/West Bank/Gaza.
Connecting religion and peace-building is equally easy to do. Human history includes many examples where the religiously motivated acted in extraordinary ways to bridge divides, promote reconciliation, or advocate peaceful coexistence. “(Usaid.gov) The U.S. Agency for International Development
What is Rev. Moon’s work for Inter-religious Harmony?
H.E. Abdurrahman Wahid, President of Indonesia, 1999-2001, commented:
“Rev. Moon’s call for peace though religion is something of great nuance and profundity. We are deeply fortunate for the chance now to hear him and observe his life-long struggle for world peace through religion. We can see how he lives peace so fully in his life. He has endured unspeakable persecution. I know this. This puts us all in his debt. If he can continue, we are the beneficiaries. This is why I harbor an inner hope that this visit will bring about that peace he lives and gives through his life and his speeches.”
In the words of Rev. Sun Myung Moon: “How about God’s headache--the division and disunity within Christianity and between the world religions? For God, religious people are the conscience of the world. Religious people have the tradition, values and practical power to overcome evil and educate the world about the true way of life. From the earliest days of the Unification movement I devoted the greatest portion of our resources to serving other religions. In the 1950s, when many Unification families did not have enough to eat, I devoted funds to the cause of interreligious harmony. I suffered for their hardships and begged for their patience for the sake of mankind’s future.”
A central tenet of Reverend Moon's work is that peace and human betterment will be most effectively achieved today through interreligious work--the close, cooperative work of religious leaders of different religions and denominations working together. Just as today's world is at war primarily because of religious strife, today's world can be largely cured of its ills, through the opposite--interreligious cooperation.
After 9/11, because of Unificationism's long history of interreligious work, organizations founded by Reverend Moon had the experience and connections to reach out to the Islamic world at a time of crisis. IIFWP organized an interreligious conference in October 2001 in New York, barely a month ofter 9/11, and then sponsored another groundbreaking conference for Muslim leaders in Indonesia in December 2001 entitled "Islam and the Future World of Peace."
From the early days of his ministry, Reverend Moon recognized the importance of and invested in interreligious dialogue and cooperation for a future world of peace. In fact, he spent more money on interreligious activities than on his own faith community. Reverend Moon knew that interreligious understanding and cooperation would be the most effective means to bring about a world of peace in the future.
For More information go to: www.sunmyungmoon.org
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