Written June 2010
‘Religions need to unify if the planet is to survive.’ This was the message that Carl Teichrib came away with from the World Religions Summit in Winnipeg, Canada, which took place in June 2010 (www.forcingchange.org). This was the latest in a long line of gatherings and initiatives, some of which are linked to the United Nations, aiming at finding a solution to the world’s problems through a uniting of religions. Major world figures in both the religious and the political world have backed this goal.
Prince Charles, who is scheduled to become head of the Church of England when he becomes King, has launched an initiative called Respect, which seeks to promote greater tolerance between faiths. He called for all religions to unite in ‘faith in the integrity of life itself.’ The prince said, ‘It is a tragedy that when various faith communities have so much in common, its members should so often be divided by different ways we have of interpreting the inner meaning of our existence.’
On May 29, 2008, Tony Blair declared, ‘I’ll dedicate the rest of my life to uniting the world’s religions.’ He said, ‘Faith is part of our future, and faith and the values it brings with it are an essential part of making globalisation work.’
138 scholars from every sect of Islam have signed a letter to the Pope and other leaders of Christian denominations warning that the ‘survival of the world’ is at stake if Muslims and Christians do not make peace with each other. ‘Finding common ground between Muslims and Christians is not simply a matter for polite ecumenical dialogue between selected religious leaders,’ the Muslim scholars say, noting that Christians and Muslims make up over a third and a fifth of humanity respectively. ‘If Muslims and Christians are not at peace, the world cannot be at peace.’
Blending the world’s religions together and bringing them under the umbrella of the United Nations was high on the agenda for Dr Robert Muller, when he was the Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations. He said, ‘My great personal dream is to forge a tremendous alliance between all religions and spiritual groups, and the UN. We desperately need a United Religions Organisation to bring reconciliation, unity and peace to all the peoples of our world.’
Dr Muller was one of the primary organisers of the 1991 ‘Parliament of the World Religions’, along with Hans Kung, a Catholic priest who is the founder of the Global Ethic Foundation, another organisation strongly pushing the concept of human global consciousness. At this conference Dr Muller proposed to establish ‘a United Nations of Religion’. Working closely with Muller on this initiative was the Anglican Bishop William Swing of Grace Episcopal Cathedral in San Francisco. Swing launched the ‘United Religions Initiative’ in 1993. The URI claims that more than 1,000 religious groups, representing 600 million people, have endorsed the URI charter. These include the Dalai Lama, state churches in China, various Jewish Rabbis, Sufis (a Muslim sect), the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, radical feminists, deep ecologists, creation spiritualists, cabbalists and various pagan groups. It has also received favourable comments from the United Nations and the Vatican. Its charter calls for ‘daily interfaith cooperation, to end religiously motivated violence and to create cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings’. The URI has a strong green agenda and is inextricably tied to the quest for a new spirituality that would unify the planet in a ‘transformed global society’. The ‘Millennium World Peace Summit’ called by the UN in August 2000 addressed the need for ‘a set of common core values around which we can unite people irrespective of their cultural, political, religious or philosophical backgrounds.’
Participants at such meetings generally believe that the answer to the challenges of our time are to be found in a new global civilisation that calls the human race to work across national, ethnic and religious boundaries to serve a larger global good. They are also highly likely to be seek a global village of peace and social equality – unified, not by faith in the Biblical God, but in a spiritual power operating in all faiths and open to paganism.
Carl Teichrib described a ceremony at the World Religions Summit he attended: ‘A sacred fire was lit. Mother Earth, we were told, needs to hear that we love her, so give a ‘prayer of gratitude’ to the Earth; ‘Because out of Mother Earth comes all we need to live…she gives us the food, the water, the medicines, and the teachings.’ We were asked to privately perform a water ritual, for this will give strength to Mother Earth. Everything that’s alive, ‘even the water’ it was explained to the delegates and observers, has the spirit. We were told that religiously speaking, ‘there is not only one way, there is many ways’ – and to go to the sacred fire and ‘invoke the spirits.’ Drummers summoned the power of the eagle spirit, because it brings ‘the spirit of love, it brings vision. The Eagle carries our wishes and our prayers.’ And this eagle spirit will tell the Great Spirit of the wonderful things happening in this gathering.’
The main taboo idea at all such gatherings is the motivational belief of Christians who believe the Gospel, that humanity is lost and in need of redemption through the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ who is the only way to God. Bishop Swing has apologised for two millennia of Christian evangelism which has proclaimed that Jesus Christ is Lord and Saviour of all and sought ‘to make the whole world Christian’.
Carl Teichrib drew attention to this in his report: ‘Not surprisingly, the only time the name ‘Jesus Christ’ came up at the 2010 World Religious Summit was when He was compared with Buddha and Mohammad as a religious figure. Nobody dared present Him as ‘the way, the truth and the life… the only way to the Father.’ (John 14:6). The interfaith approach recognises Jesus as one spiritual leader in a long line of religious reformers. Hence, at global interfaith events, like the one that took place in Winnipeg, Christian representatives remain silent on the subject of Jesus Christ as truth, ‘…the only way to the Father.’ For to do otherwise would be divisive and contrary to the ideal of ‘one community.’
Participants at the conference criticised Christian missions and Christian ‘fundamentalists.’ The representative of the Pacific Council of Churches told us that everything is inter-connected, and that we need to revisit the ancient religions and myths – those ancient ways that were ‘deliberately pushed aside’ by Christian missionaries – in order to understand and appreciate this interdependence. Another speaker explained that it was time to put aside the past dogmas of traditional faiths, and that the litmus test for religions in this global era was interdependence and transcendent spirituality. Religions, we were repeatedly told, needed to unify if the planet is to survive.’
Carl Teichrib said this conference would have a major impact on religious systems around the world: ‘Direct lines of influence that radiate from the World Religions Summit right down to individual bodies. It’s a top-down strategy ensuring that religious people will fall in line with an emerging global framework – a type of world theology along with an international system of socialism. And it’s going to work, particularly in the Christian community.’
Such a movement flies in the face of the Gospel message that Jesus is the Saviour of the world, the one mediator between God and humanity. For Christians it means joining the God who created us and redeemed us in the Lord Jesus Christ with all other gods. The Bible declares these to be idols which cannot save us (Psalm 96.5, Isaiah 45.18-23). This movement will inevitably end up persecuting Bible believing Christians who seek to spread the Gospel and work for the banning of open evangelism by Christians. It will also tie in exactly with the picture of the woman riding the beast (false religion in alliance with the political power) which we have in Revelation 17.