One World Religion is Not Enough
By Wendy Griffith, CBN News
Originally Published on October 24, 2000
Globalization - it has become a pretty common buzzword in recent years. It seems everyone is talking about global economics, global politics, and now even global religion.
It may sound far-fetched, but many liberal organizations, including the United Nations, are pursuing the development of a one-world religious organization. Today, on the UN's 55th anniversary, CBN News takes a look at what's behind this push for a global religion.
After a while, the drums, chants and prayers representing many of the world's leading religions all started to sound alike, somehow losing their flavor in a melting pot of spiritual soup.
The first ever Millennium World Peace Summit of religious and spiritual leaders took place at the United Nations in August 2000. And some believe it marked the first major step toward a movement to usher in a global spiritual body that may one day speak for all religions.
"It certainly sounds suspicious to me," remarks Bob McGinnis. Mcginnis, of the Family Research Council, says it appears the hidden agenda is to unite people under one religious organization so they will peacefully accept UN goals such as population control, abortion rights, and one-world government.
"I would suspect that they do kind of want to bring all faiths under one umbrella, whether it be Muslims or Hindus or some tribal group down in the central part of the Amazon," says McGinnis. "If they can accomplish that then they co-opt their religious voice in the world, and I think it's really going to water down our effectiveness as we try to go elsewhere and be spokespersons for Christ."
"Maybe there is, instead of all these different Gods, maybe there's one God who manifests himself in different ways to different people," stated Ted Turner at the Summit.
CNN founder and billionaire Turner was the honorary chair of the World Religions Summit. Turner, known for his critical views on Biblical Christianity, promoted the new age concept that there are many ways to heaven.
"The thing that disturbed me was that my religion, the Christian sect, was very intolerant, not of religious freedom, but we thought we were the only ones going to heaven," Turner told the assembled leaders.
Although the movement's goals are clearly anti-Biblical, some liberal protestant denominations have become big supporters of a New World church. Among those leading the way is the United Religions Initiative, or U.R.I. Introduced in 1995 by San Francisco Episcopal bishop William Swing, the U.R.I. is active in nearly 60 countries worldwide and 33 states in the United States. The U.R.I. envisions itself as the future religious arm and spiritual partner of the United Nations.
"I think the initial vision that Bishop Swing had was that it would be a religious United Nations," says Rev. Charles Gibbs. "What we've discovered over the years is that it carries with it a tremendous amount of baggage."Supporters of a global religious voice have come down hard on evangelical Christians who refuse to adopt their new age agenda.
Gibbs, who is the executive director of the United Religions Initiative, denies reports that the U.R.I. goal is to form a new world religion, but says, instead, it will serve as a global agency that will work towards world peace, protection of the environment, and other social issues.
"We still hold the aspiration that we'll have the visibility and stature of the United Nations but in a very different organization where all over the world, everyday, ordinary and exceptional people are working through interfaith cooperation to solve the pressing issues they have locally and still be connected to a global community," notes Gibbs.
Rev. Gibbs says the U.R.I's peace is not the false peace of the anti-Christ, which some have accused.
For example, former UN Assistant Secretary-General Robert Muller said, fundamentalists are stuck in an "inflexible belief system and play an incendiary role in global conflicts." He goes on to say that "peace will be impossible without the taming of fundamentalism through a united religion that professes faithfulness only to the global spirituality and to the health of this planet."Biblical scholars warn that Christians must not be sucked into this new age agenda, which takes the focus off Christ and places it on the so-called "global good" of mankind. "It is written, Jesus is the same, yesterday, today and forever," stresses Dr. Charles Holman, a divinity professor at Regent University. "Real Christians will follow him to the end."
U.R.I. founder Bishop Swing is also quoted as saying, " The time comes when common language and a common purpose for all religions and spiritual movements must be discerned and agreed upon. Merely respecting and understanding religions is not enough."
If global religion supporters do gain influence, many say a key object of worship will be creation - not the creator.The U.R.I. supports the push by former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and Canadian billionaire Maurice Strong, founders of Green Cross International, to form an earth charter - a sort of Ten Commandments that will provide a guide for human behavior toward the environment in the 21st century. Gorbachev has said, "Nature is my God, trees are my temples, and forests are my cathedrals."
Although many believe a world religious organization is just what we need to overcome religious conflicts and feuds, Christians point out that the Bible warns of a time when religious control will escalate into religious persecution.
Quotes Holman: "Jesus said in Matthew 24:9, 'Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you; and ye shall be hated of all nations for my names' sake. For then there shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be'."Lee Penn, a freelance reporter and critic of the U.R.I., said: "The leaders of the U.R.I. do not place their ultimate hope in God or in the saving acts of Christ. They hope for an earthly utopia that the united religions will help bring into being."
I would simply reflect on Jesus' statement: "You will know them by their fruit."
Wendy Griffith is the co-anchor of CBN Newswatch, a daily 30-minute newscast seen throughout the United States. She also co-anchors Christian World news, which is seen weekly around the world on the Trinity Broadcasting Network and often anchors the news on the 700 Club.