◎Religion is humanity’s common refuge
Human civilization has entered the twenty-first century. Although the rapid development of high technology has brought greater convenience and has enriched our lives in terms of information, transportation, and amenities, many traditional values are being challenged in various ways. Amidst globalization of mechanisms, pluralization of societies and the trend of post-modernization, the generally conservative religious faiths, ethnic dignity, social structures, and ways of life are being criticized and shaken up any time and anywhere.
Religion is humanity’s common source and is also its refuge. However, we cannot deny that discrimination and opposition arise, and hatred and conflict are created because some religious conservatives tend to regard those who hold different views as evil. This is an issue that we must resolve.
In essence every religion advocates mutual respect, assistance, love, and forgiveness. Regardless of the name of the object of their faith, they love and cherish humanity as a whole as well as all living beings without exception. Unfortunately people may well apply bias in their interpretation of their faith’s sacred canon, and this may trigger opposition or conflict between different religions, or even between various schools or sects of the same faith.
◎Accepting the diversification of religions
As followers of a certain religious faith living in the twenty-first century, we all have the right to claim that our own religion is the best of all, regardless of which school within a certain religion we adhere to.
We believe that each religious faith has its unique setting in time and space and its own evolution. Therefore, we should accept the fact of religious pluralism, and we must believe that each of these pluralistic religions carries responsibility for the purification of the mind and of society for the sake of humanity.
This being the case, for the sake of the everlasting world peace, should you discover that any doctrines of your religious faith are intolerant of other groups, or contradict the promotion of world peace, you must interpret those doctrines anew. Because when any wholesome religion can coexist peacefully with other ethnic groups, that is when we can gradually start to influence people around the world, keeping away from wars that break out due to a variety of causes.
◎Promoting religious cooperation to bring peace and well-being to humanity
If we wish to share our religious faith and concepts with all of humanity, the best way is to practice tolerance, respect, and help those who differ from us. We should apply wisdom and compassion to help settle conflicts and wars waged between various ethnic groups, settling disputes through wisdom and reaching out to different ethnic groups with compassion. We should bring love and method to resolve conflict among religions and discrimination among races, rather than replacing their original faiths with the religion we believe in.
If we can base mutual cooperation among religions on the principle of respecting all other religions, then people will be able to coexist peacefully. This is particularly pertinent, living in a modern, global environment with multiple religions. As soon as we set foot outside the borders of our own country, step outside our own ethnic group, or even when we leave our own homes, we will come into contact with people belonging to different religions. In an open society we may even encounter different religious faiths being practiced by spouses and children within one nuclear family. We have to show respect and appreciation in support of each other’s choices. We should not subjectively criticize or comment on someone else’s religious faith, but instead we must help each other and cooperate to create a harmonious, peaceful, happy, and heart-warming living environment.
This so-called cooperation does not necessarily have to operate within one and the same organization. For example, in response to each other we give up violence, cast away past enmity, and cease to settle old scores, but instead work together to put an end to the root causes of hunger, disease, natural disasters, and racial warfare, and to help preserve our environment and the Earth’s resources for future generations. In addition we may cooperate in protecting humanity’s hearts and minds from pollution caused by feelings of hatred, greed, jealousy, anger, pride, low self-esteem, hesitation, fear, worry, self-delusion, arrogance, and loss.
If each religion starts by influencing and encouraging their own followers, then all major religions in all the countries around the world will be able to exercise influence on its people, politicians and industrial and business entrepreneurs. If all of us could share such a common ethos, that would signify the first big step in interfaith cooperation.