This essay will discuss how World Scripture may serve as atextbook to promote world peace through interfaith understanding. Theconcept here is that all scripture has an educational function, and thatmodern religious education must include an understanding of otherreligions and an acceptance that they are legitimate ways. Furthermore,we can reflect upon some of the larger implications of WorldScripture and the program which it seeks to advance. First is theclaim that the religions of the world indeed show convergence to anorganic unity. Is the methodology of the book sound, so as not toprejudice this claim? If so, then is the convergence of religionsevidence for the existence of Absolute Reality? Then again, what is tobecome of the particular genius of each religion? Is it ultimatelysubmerged in a new uniformity? What is the value of particularity inreligion that it ought to be preserved? Next I wish to reflect on therole of World Scripture in promoting what the Reverend Mooncalls "Godism." This is the effort to establish universal religiousvalues which can become the basis for public discourse in a democracy thatis pluralistic and religious at the same time. Instead of dealing withthe problem of tolerance for religious minorities by banishing religionfrom the public square, the religions should reform themselves to supportinclusive religious values as the public values of democracy. Finally, wemake some remarks on the open-ended nature of this project, which willultimately involve unifying knowledge in all fields through the making ofmany books with a similar holistic approach to that found in WorldScripture.
A. We give up the Literal Day theory, unless one accepts the Appearance of Age variation on that theory. Although the Literal Day theory is understandably popular in fundamentalist circles, I have shown elsewhere in this essay by references to Scripture that it is not the only viable theory. The Literal Day theory is one interpretation of the first chapters of Genesis. I am committed to the Bible, but not to a single interpretation of it. We do not give up the authority of the Bible!
This essay gives me an opportunity for reflection on the work which I haverecently completed as editor of World Scripture: A ComparativeAnthology of Sacred Texts. This volume was commissioned by the ReverendSun Myung Moon in 1985, and it required the cooperation and assistance ofmore than forty scholars and religious leaders representing everytradition before it was completed last summer. World Scriptureis a substantial book: its 928 pages contain over 4,000 passages gatheredfrom 268 sacred texts and 55 oral traditions. All the major religions,the primal religions, and even the new religions are represented by theirscriptures or sacred words. The passages are arranged comparatively bygathering them around various topics (165 in all) which cover all thesignificant issues of the religious life: God, the purpose of life, sin,salvation, faith, prayer, self-denial, providence, prophecy, messianichopes, etc. Poring over any of these topics, the reader is immediatelyacquainted with the wisdom of all religions as they each deal with theseuniversal human concerns.