To study the relationship between world peace and religions, we need to understand what religion is.
Missing Piece
1.  What is religion?
We define religion as follows:
“Religion is a philosophy or teaching developed from the belief that the spiritual nature of a person continues to exist after the death of the body and a reward or a punishment is accorded depending on his or her behavior; and through which philosophy or teaching, there are certain guidelines devised for people to follow. ”
2. A two-category system can be used to analyze myriad things:

Category one is ‘the transient aspects of matters including life’ ;

Category two is ‘aspects involving eternity’ .

3. Examples of the transient aspects of matters:
Examples of the transient aspects of matters things that include life, births and deaths of humans, animals and plants, and births and deaths of stars, planets and myriad things in the universe.
    Examples of aspects involving eternity: 

Examples of aspects involving eternity include the Christian Trinity of the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit, Allah the one and only God in Islam, and Heaven and Hell.

4. The search process:

Humans have yet to prove the existence of the unchanging condition with any scientific evidence; neither can we falsify it. We are only safe to say that we are in the process of searching for the unchanging Truth.

5. Marching toward peace:

When humans understand that we are sharing the same interest of searching for the Truth, we will no longer discriminate against each other. If that is the case, ideally it will be possible for the world to march toward peace. 
 

Start exploring ideas for peace

In the process of researching on the inter-relationship among religions, chaos, and wars, we have challenged ourselves with difficult questions.

 

Attempting to interpret and analyze different religious teachings, we have ultimately arrived at the conclusion that it is indeed possible for different religions to peacefully co-exist.  We now set out below some of those questions for which we have searched hard for their answers.

  Points for Discussion

  1. We ought to study intra-religious paradoxes by focusing on what religion is. (See Discussion 1 below)
     

  2. The myriad things in the world can be put into two categories: 1) the transient aspects of matters; 2) aspects involving eternity. (See Discussion 2 below)
     

  3. Examples of eternal condition. (See Discussion 3 below)
     

  4. No one has proved the eternal condition, and everyone is in search of it. (See Discussion 4 below)
     

  5. One shall not be judgmental but tolerant of other ways of searching for the Truth. When everyone understands that we have been together through thick and thin, there will be no need to distinguish religions anymore. (See Discussion 5 below)
     

  6. Other messages for peace (See Discussion 6 below)

Discussion 1

1.1 How do conflicts between religions flare up?

Simply put, when a believer of a certain religion believes what he worships, those worshipped by other religions turn to be false. It thus creates an antithetic and discriminating mind.

War and peace are contingent upon choices made by humans.  
 
Primitive men worshipped various kinds of things and phenomena that were not explicable with their intelligence at the time.
 
Along with the passage of time, some people turned to worship a creator whom they perceived as a supreme and authoritative being. This is a very significant tipping point in the history of religion: When there is the belief of a monotheistic creator, there exists the discriminating mind that differentiates one’s heart from another’s, leading to the belief that “only what is revered by me is true, whereas those revered by other religious believers are false.”
War and peace depend on choices made by human wisdom. World peace will be attainable only if people utilize their wisdom to eliminate the discriminating mind. It is said that “Wisdom can eliminate folly of centuries.” However, without the wisdom to eliminate the discriminating mind, humans would never be able to avoid the doom of massacring one another. The development of human history is in need of human wisdom to make choices.

1.2  What makes it a religion?

This website defines religion as follows:  

“Religion is a philosophy or teaching developed from the belief that the spiritual nature of a person continues to exist after the death of the body and a reward or a punishment is accorded depending on his or her behavior; and through which philosophy or teaching, there are certain guidelines devised for people to follow. ”

 

Following the new definition of “religion,” we can tell that there exists two forms of religion in the world: the first kind emphasizes on the last judgment by God, including Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism and Islam; the second form, including Buddhism, Daoism and Hinduism, does not believe in God’s judgment but considers that humans are governed by the law of cause and effect.

1.3 Any belief that is worshipped by many is a religion?

The question can be answered by enumeration.

For example, Confucianism, Buddhism and Daoism are all important parts of traditional Chinese culture. But only Buddhism and Daoism can be counted as religion, according to the definition offered in this website that stresses the afterlife of an individual in religion. Buddhism and Daoism address afterlife conditions, whereas Confucianism does not, and therefore cannot be categorized as a religion but a school of thought.

1.4 Are there similarities among religions? 

All religions share the same characteristic of discussing what will happen after one's bodily death.

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Discussion 2

2.1 Where does the dual categorization of myriad things (things that arise and cease, and unchanging things) come from?

In our world of cognition, some things have a beginning and an end. All kinds of animals, plants and lives, and myriad things in the universe rise and cease. The unchanging things always exist and never alter. This analysis is in accordance with the ‘conditioned phenomena’ and ‘unconditioned phenomena’ mentioned in the Diamond Sutra.

 

This categorizing system is very meaningful in understanding intra-religious conflicts and seeking for potential solutions.

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Discussion 3

3.1 How do different religions engage in the eternal conditions?

Given the definition of “religion”, we can recognize that all religions are concerned about the realm of eternal conditions.

 

Christianity: it worships one God in three Divine Persons (the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit) and embraces eternity.

Islam: it believes in the one and only God.

Buddhism: it uses the notion of ‘no dharma to be taught’ to describe the eternal conditions, because there is no evidence to prove the existence of this kind of conditions.

 

This illustrates that every religion articulates the notion of the unchanging realm in its own way.

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Discussion 4

4.1 Does anyone know what is the eternal realm?

To this day, humans still do not possess any scientific evidence to prove or disprove the existence of the eternal realm. Therefore, we are still in the process of searching for what is eternal.

 

In other words, no one can be affirmative about what is the eternal condition. All of us, whether Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, or atheists, are still in search of the Truth. We are people of the same interest because of the same goal we are pursuing.

 

If you are interested in knowing different scientific or scholarly accounts on atheism, please refer to the following link:

A.C. Grayling - Atheism, Secularism, Humanism: Three Zones of Argument

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXP05Nsr6wg

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Discussion 5

5.1 How should I as a religious follower treat followers of other religions?

Because all religions involve the eternal conditions, humans are in effect looking for the same Truth. Since we are all chasing after the same goal, we shall respect rather than discriminate against each other.

 

For example, this website utilizes the notions of Conditioned Phenomena (things that arise and cease) and Unconditioned Phenomena (things that never change) to analyse things. This is not to consider Buddhism superior to other religions, but to provide an analytical angle; this is not to praise a certain religion, as one Buddhist scripture stated that “all dharmas are equal and do not have high or low.”

5.2 Is there any room of possibility for religious and scientific theories to reconcile? 

Religious people and scientists can exist together, the reason being that scientists explore the nature of things that arise and cease while religious people probe eternal things. Logically these two fields of study are not contradictory.  

 

For example, not every atheist scholar denies the existence of the creator; rather, he remains agnostic about eternity but does not profess true atheism before any affirmative evidence comes to light.

 

People only need to understand that there is still no breakthrough in the verification of eternity. Religious followers are encouraged to keep on searching for the Truth, and to learn to coexist with one another. 

5.3 As a commoner, what can I offer on world peace?

Everyone is capable of contributing to world peace. When one comprehends the reasons behind things, one is able to influence others with wisdom.

 

When people of different religious groups grasp the definition and purpose of religion, and understand that all religions are looking for the Truth, they will stop antagonizing one another and gradually promulgate the correct attitude. The more people cultivate the attitude, the more peaceful the world will be. (You are welcome to contact the centre to further explore unanswered questions.) 

5.4 What is the premise for averting intra-religious conflicts?

Because all religious groups are on the path to the Truth through thick and thin, they shall not discriminate against or antagonize one another, which will eventually avert upheavals in future.  

 

We do not at all intend to ask any religious group to give up its own belief about the Truth. And yet, we call for an honest and reasonable choice when facing theories with no scientific testimony. Everyone is encouraged to acknowledge that he or she is still searching for the Truth before the emergence of any concrete evidence on the existence of eternity.

 

If we are willing to adopt the attitude that promulgates intra-religious respect, we take a step toward peace.

5.5 Will there be an end to worldly upheavals?

Everything is formed following the law of cause and effect. Using armed forces to ruthlessly kill opponents could only bring temporary peace. The methods and directions offered in this website require massive collaborations of humans. We shall understand that there is still no breakthrough in the verification of the eternal condition, and believers of different religions shall be encouraged to look for the Truth together. Whether or not worldly turmoil will come to an end is dependent upon human wisdom to make the right choices. The centre expects that the current methods and directions provided here will at least raise some hope for mankind.

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