The Ultimate Purpose of 21st Century Religion

The 20th century was a time of tremendous change. More happened in that 100-year period than in the past 2,000 years. It was the century when there were two world wars and when Communism rose to great strength and then disappeared. It was also the century when humanity turned its back on God and buried itself in material things. What about the 21st century, then? Some say that advances hi science have made religion no longer necessary, but the role of religion has not ended.

What is the purpose of religion? It is to bring about God's ideal world. The religions evangelize themselves is that they are trying to make as many people as possible citizens of God's sovereignty. If everyone were to become God's citizens, we would have a world of peace where there would be no war or division. The ultimate destination of the path followed by religions is peace.

God created this world out of a desire for love and peace. If we create division by insisting that our own religion is the only path to salvation, we go against God's desire. God wants everyone in the world to work hard  for peace, reconciliation and coexistence. If someone says that coming to church creates division in their family, then I do not hesitate to tell them that they should put their family first Religion is only a means to bring about God's perfect world; it is not an end in itself.

Humankind will bring together as one all that points of view that now are divided against each other, and find a point where the civilizations now dash with each other are in agreement The philosophy that will lead humanity in the future must be able to bring together all the religions and philosophies that have existed in the past. The days have ended when one country stands at the forefront and leads humanity. The era of nationalism has also ended.

If we continue in the era that we have today, where people flock together by religion or race, then humanity cannot avoid a repetition of war. The age of peace absolutely cannot come unless we transcend customs and tradition. No ideology, philosophy or religion that has influenced humanity in he past is capable of bringing about the peace and unification of the future that is approaching us. We need a new ideology and philosophy that goes beyond Buddhism, goes beyond Christianity and goes beyond Islam. This is the reason that, for the past decades, I have devoted my full energy to calling on people to transcend their religion factions and even their religions.

There are more than 200 countries in the world, and each has its national borders. A border separates one country from another, but countries separated from each other by borders cannot endure eternally. Only religion can overcome national borders. Yet,, religions, which should represent hope for people, have divided themselves into many factions that are busy fighting each other. They have fallen into a thinking that puts their religion or faction first, and are oblivious to fact that the world has changed and a new era has dawned.

It will not be easy to tear down the walls of religions that have stood for thousands of years. These walls must come down, however, if we are to advance into a world of peace. Religions and their factions must stop their meaningless fighting, coordinate their differing opinions, and worry about ways to advance toward a world that is one. They must find concrete ways to fulfill the role of religion in bringing about a world of peace. For humanity to be happy in the future, material affluence alone will not be sufficient Itis urgent that the struggles today among ideologies, cultures and races be overcome through interreligious understanding and spiritual harmony.

I make the following appeals to all the wide variety of religious people around the world. First, respect the traditions of other religions and do everything you can to prevent conflict and discord among religions. Second, all religious communities should cooperate with each other to serve the world. Third, the leaders of all religions should work together to develop a structure that will let us accomplish our mission for the sake of world peace.

The right eye is there for the sake of the left eye, and the left for the sake of the right The two eyes together are there for the sake of the whole body. The same can be said for every other part of the body as well. Nothing exists for its own sake. Religion, too, does not exist for its own sake, but for the sake of love and peace. Once world peace is accomplished, there will be no further need for religion. The ultimate purpose of religion is to bring about in this world of reality a human community filled with love and peace. This is God's wilL

It is not easy to make it so that peoples' hearts are filled with a craving for peace. For this to happen, we must instruct them repeatedly. This is the reason that I devote myself to projects in the field of education. We founded the Sunhwa Arts School even before our church had developed enough to stand on its own. More recently we have founded the Cheongshim International Academy, Sunmoon University and other schools. Beyond Korea, as well, we have supported the University of Bridgeport and established many other schools. My educational philosophy is today as it was when the Sunhwa Arts School was established. It is to raise people who love Heaven, love humanity and love their country.

A school is like a womb where truth is taught What are the most important truths that should be taught in school? The first is to know God and make His existence real in the world around us. The second is to know the fundamental origin of human beings, accomplish our own responsibilities and take responsibility for the fate of the world. The third is to realize the purpose for the existence of human beings and build an ideal world. These things can be understood only after they have been taught with sincerity and dedication over a long period.

Education today it focused on creating a winner-take-all society where those who finish first are rewarded with a monopoly on happiness. This is not the right way to educate children. Education must be means for creating a world where all humanity can live well together. The philosophies and methods of education that have dominated us until now must be changed to ones that let us advance toward humanity's common goals. If the United States were to educate only for the sake of the U.S., and Britain only for sake of Britain, humanity's future would be dark.

Educators must not teach how we can live on our own, but teach the wisdom that will enable us to resolve all the myriad social problems that we face in this age. The role of religious scholars is even more important. Religious scholars do not need to be teaching the complex theories and superiority of their own religion. Instead, they need to give their students the wisdom to love humanity and build a world of peace. We cannot expect a future of happiness for humanity, unless if these scholars do not take the lead in teaching our descendants the principle of peace that humanity is one brotherhood and sisterhood, and that the world is one family.

The most important of all wisdom is to know God's heart and His ideal. For this reason, the role of religion continues to be important, even in the 21st century when science and technology seem so dominant that they might reach the heavens. Religions around the world must understand the destination of the human course, and immediately cease all major and minor struggles. They should not be fighting, either, for the purpose of protecting their own honor. Religions must pool their wisdom and combine their energies and work diligently to build the ideal world. They must forget the past filled with struggle and hatred and work these matters peacefully. No matter how much we have done for world peace, there is always more to be done. Religious people, whose mission it is to lead humanity into the ideal world, must not forget even for a moment that they themselves are apostles of peace.