October 09, 2010 , CBG, Seoul Korea
UPF International Chairman’s Keynote address given on the occasion of the Interfaith Assembly: The Significance of Interfaith for Peace and Development on October 9, 2010. Seoul, South Korea.
Dear distinguished spiritual leaders from around the world! I was moved by the recitation of sacred words from the scriptures of your traditions, and your prayers, bringing God’s blessing to our endeavors.
Thank you for gracing this occasion with your presence, and for your lifelong commitment in service to God, humanity and global peace.
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you here to the Cheon Bok Gung. This sanctuary is dedicated to the vision and wisdom of Almighty God, who leads us toward peace according to divine providence. This providence has been served through all the world’s great religions and faith traditions and can only be consummated or realized by all of them working in concert.
Our meeting here in this holy place is an expression of our mutual commitment to discover the path to lasting peace, and I am sure that God’s blessings are upon all of us.
This is also my spiritual home, the place where I come to give glory to God every day. This is a place where we share the good news of God’s providence and the vision of his Peace Kingdom. I am very pleased that you are all here today. So, once again, welcome to Korea and welcome to the Cheon Bok Gung!
This morning, it is my distinct honor and privilege to share with you a few words on behalf of my parents, Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon, Father and Mother Moon. This morning, because it is a primary focus for our Interfaith Assembly, and because it is so central to the mission of the Universal Peace Federation, I want to share with you my Father’s vision for the establishment of an interreligious council at the United Nations, for this represents an urgent and necessary step towards world peace.
My Father has great respect for the United Nations. Had it not been for the United Nations Peace Force, comprised of 16 nations, not only would this nation of South Korea not exist today as a free and democratic society where religion has flourished, but neither would my Father have survived to carry out his providential mission. Nor, needless to say, would I be here today.
Almost exactly 60 years ago, on October 14, 1950, my Father was about to be executed in the North Korean prison camp at Heung Nam. He had been imprisoned there for almost three years by the communist authorities, who viewed his bold ministry and strong faith as a threat to their atheistic regime.
On that very day, miraculously, the United Nations forces liberated my Father from Heung Nam concentration camp. The late Gen. Alexander Haig, former United States Secretary of State and NATO commander, and later in life a long-time friend of my Father, was a close friend of Douglas MacArthur, and a leader among the allied forces conducting the bombing raid that liberated my Father and spared him and other prisoners from certain death.
It was just over ten years ago, August 2000, that my Father outlined his vision for the interreligious council, in a speech he delivered at the United Nations, just prior to the Millennium General Assembly. He explained that the UN would not be able to fulfill its mission without creating a council that would uphold the spiritual wisdom and heritage of humanity, representing God’s guidance for all of us, in a way functioning as a spiritual compass and ‘conscience.’ Toward this end, he recommended that there be a senate or upper house of spiritual leaders within the UN system. This council would include exemplary and mature representatives and learned advocates of the world’s spiritual traditions.
All around the world, there are people of faith working together for peace. For example, last month, in honor of the 10th anniversary of my Father’s speech at the United Nations, I delivered a speech at the House of Commons in London. At that time, I was encouraged to learn that in Great Britain, where Sikhs and Jains, Muslims and Jews, Hindus and Buddhists, Protestants and Catholics all live in close proximity, there are already interfaith councils in many cities. Many of you may already participate in peace councils in your own nations.
Just before arriving in London, I had been in Jerusalem, where I had the opportunity to meet with both Israeli and Palestinian leaders, and representative leaders of Judaism, Islam, Christianity and the Druze tradition. Everyone expressed a strong desire for peace and explained that peace is an ideal that stands at the center of their sacred scriptures. At our UPF Consultation in Jerusalem, all the delegates affirmed wholeheartedly the importance of Father Moon’s vision for the interfaith council, and for a UN centered on God. Father Moon sometimes calls this ideal a “Parent UN” or an “Abel UN.” The United Nations should function like a wise and loving parent. Or, like Abel in biblical history, it should seek God’s guidance.
A few weeks before that, I met with Hindu leaders in Nepal, and Buddhist leaders in Lumbini, birthplace of Lord Buddha. Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains fully appreciate and understand that lasting solutions to our global problems and a comprehensive peace cannot be realized without a spiritual awakening, and the full participation of those who affirm and practice spiritual principles.
I believe all of you can appreciate the value of my Father’s proposal for the world’s foremost political body. It is an idea whose time has come.
We all realize that peace is not simply the cessation of conflict. Rather, as we have learned from the great teachers and prophets of the ages, peace is much more than a political, economic or military accomplishment. Peace is rooted in our relationship with God.
Hence, for example, Muslims say, salaam alekhem, Jews say shalom, Hindus say shanti, and Christians call Jesus the prince of peace.
When we are lacking in spiritual discipline and wisdom, peace is not possible. Peace arises when we are in a right relationship with God, when our mind and body are united. If we are people of internal struggle, selfishness and sin, then all our efforts in this world will bear no good fruit, and will only lead to struggle and conflict.
Father Moon teaches us that the root of peace is the family. For this reason, he has championed the international and interreligious World Peace Holy Blessing ceremonies, bringing together couples from every corner of the world, calling each to dedicate their marriage and family to God’s ideal of true love and universal peace. There is no better way to create a world of peace than
by strengthening marriages and building God-centered families. Father Moon teaches us that peace is rooted in the family; and the family is rooted in God; and God’s essence is true love.
In this way, on the foundation of the individual and family centered on God, we can expand the realm of peace to other levels, to the tribe, society, nation and world.
Tomorrow we will all have the opportunity to attend the Holy Blessing Ceremony officiated by True Parents. The Kingdom of God is a world of peace, a world that fulfills the hope of all ages and all religions for a unified world of peace. Jesus instructed his disciples to pray centering not on “man’s kingdom” but “God’s kingdom.”
Jesus also called his disciples to repent and to forgive their enemies, and to work to deliver humanity from the bondage of sin. This is a formula for peace.
As important as political and secular social movements have been, God’s central providence throughout history has been led by the founders of the great religions. That process continues today. We ignore the essential and necessary importance of religion only at our peril. Those who advocate atheism, moral relativism, and selfish materialism are leading humanity down a wrong path that leads only to destruction.
Likewise, only leaders and nations who center on God’s true love should stand in central positions in the world today. For God calls us away from selfishness and self-serving behaviors, and toward a life lived for the sake of others.
Hence my Father has called the UN to include the great faith traditions in its noble mission, and establish a council within the UN system. Otherwise, the efforts of the UN will fall short of their objective, and humanity will suffer. We cannot disregard the truths of God that religion brings. Father Moon was called to his great messianic mission by God, in a direct encounter with Jesus Christ, when he was only 16 years old. In 1960, he established the position of True Parents, together with my Mother, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon. They stand in the position of True Parents with the mission to fulfill the mission of Jesus and complete God’s providence at this time in history, working hand in hand with God-centered people of all faiths.
At the Assembly of the World’s Religions, convened in 1985, my Father gathered leaders from all faiths, and he called for the production of an anthology of sacred texts, showing the common values shared by all religions. This resulted in the publication of World Scripture. My Father considers World Scripture as one of the essential texts in the canon of Unificationism. Recently, my Father also published his autobiography, entitled, As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen. It has been at the top of the best seller charts in Korea for almost 2 years. It has now been published in English. I encourage you all to read this fascinating and inspiring book.
Through it, you will learn more about my Father’s vision, his character, and his mission at this time in history. Indeed, through his autobiography, I invite each one of you to seek to understand the heart with which he has so fervently/ardently pursued his mission to bring about lasting world peace. Please read it and take its message to heart, as it provides many insights into the way to build a deeper relationship with God.
In conclusion, I want to thank each one of you, who represent the people of this great nation and the world’s great faith traditions. May your experience and your deliberations over the next few days be enriching and enlightening.
I hope that each of you will make a determined effort to promote my Father’s vision for an interreligious council at the UN. More importantly I hope you will support him in his wider mission to establish God’s Kingdom on this earth.
Let us work together to build one family under God, and a world of universal peace. We are all called to play a central role in God’s providence at this time. I know that True Parents pray about this each and every day.
Thank you for your attendance here today. God bless you, your families, your communities and your nations.