Sunday, March 1, 2015

Inter-Religious Dialogue in Korea

Korea has a great variety of religious beliefs and practices, probably more so than any other place in the world, often called the museum of religions. And yet we see a continual effort for inter-religious harmony and dialogue, an example to the rest of the world.

On Feb. 25, the lay representatives of the conference of seven religious bodies: Buddhists, Confucians, Won Buddhists, the Heavenly Way, Korean Ethnic Religions, Protestants and Catholics met together to proclaim seven common proposals.

Living together with others like human beings.

Work making a happy family, and be the first to  live  like a family member.

Live spiritually like a religious person.

Not involved in corruption and immorality like a virtuous worker.

Share what  I have like a member of society.

Work for the unification of the country like a Korean citizen.

Go beyond the differences of religion and ideology for peace like a member of the world family.

The  editorial in the Peace Weekly has praise for the  movement and hopes they have the results they expect. Religious persons have realized they should be the first to give a good example to others in the society filled with conflict and immorality. Each religion is to be true to its identity in carrying out the proposals.

This is not a movement of the clergy or those who are leaders, but it is a lay movement. Religious leaders are usually in the vanguard; we have here, something infrequently seen.

Society looks upon religion in two ways: they praise  the universal love of others and good works; on the other hand it is not that religion worries about the world but the world worries about religion; this is another understanding of religion. There are those who consider themselves religious, who without discretion in their actions are not acting as religious people.

About half of the population in Korea are religious. If all began living according to the tenets of their religion each member and the country  would be better for it.  "To live like"  this movement where the members of the different  religions begin living according  to their  teachings would make for a stronger and better nation. Would it be inappropriate to think there are few countries in the world that would be able to achieve what Korea has done with inter-religious dialogue?      

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