A TENTACLE OF THE U.N. FOUNDED IN 1957 BASED IN ROME SINCE 1977 - THE NAME: SOCIETY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT WHAT DOES THE GOSPEL HAVE TO DO WITH THIS GROUP?
To get inside information, I participated in a dinner and program sponsored by the Society For International Development at the International Athletic Club. The subject was "The Impact of Religion on Development." By sheer coincidence?? Chuck Laskey, president of SID [ Society For International Development ], Rocky Mountain Chapter, sat down across from me and began throwing personal questions at me. I felt like I was being interrogated, but soon found no need for alarm. He was fishing for a new member and looking for a corporate representative of the business community with lots of clout. The group had such members from all walks of life interested in fostering world wide development forums for people interested in international economic, political and socially equitable development.
SID brings together the world development community to reappraise and challenge prevalent issues and ideas of today's world. They aim at strengthening local, regional and international cooperation. Annual World Conferences are the major events were current issues are reviewed. The next one is planned in Mexico City where issues of environment, integration of women, grassroots movements and human rights will be scrutinized. Tu Tu and Dalai Lama are expected to speak. Issues in 1989 - 1991 focused on the future of the United Nations and collective security of peace among other things.
I was amazed that their headquarters was founded in 1957 in the United States and has been moved to Rome in 1977. In questioning the president, he related that these groups are sifting general information all over the world to discover ways to bring the world under one roof to make it function in unity. They promote panel discussions to come up with ideas to present to the United Nations as a possibility for utilization. This particular evening was focusing on five religions: Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, Roman Catholicism and Christianity.
Jan Pearson representing an international ministry, who is also on radio was the only female on the panel. She asserted that God wants to restore the spirit-man and man's personal destiny in the world by giving him an inward knowledge of his value which would motivate him in other less privileged parts of the world. The power of God through prayer would bring an expectancy of things to change in repressive governments, etc.
The Catholic representative was a Catholic lawyer by the name of Tom Kierwood, who had access to the Pope himself on occasion in Rome. He talked about the global ethics as fostered by the Parliament of World Religions in Chicago recently. He felt that one religion leads to fanaticism with destructive consequences. "Aids" to him was a call for reform in the Catholic Church were homosexuality is concerned. Because of the need for consensus, religious fanaticism has no place in the global scheme. He claimed that religion is a conservative force which seeks predictability and security.
Mr. Kahn, a non-religious Sociologist, who studied religions by taking a trip around the globe, investigating 140 countries. He was very uncomfortable with leaders of the communities, be cause they had never thought about religion having an effect on peace. His impression was that religion was irrelevant to their lives.
The Buddhist, an American, had been raised a Lutheran and had lived in Tibet and became a Tibetan Buddhist Master and later teacher at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He headed Buddhists Community Priests for three years and now is international director over such. He had little to no contribution since they concentrate on their own karma before they try to help others.
Last but not least was Imar Ashour of Islamic Religion. He used the opportunity to present the Islamic point of view in an unnerving, hard driving sales pitch geared to the general public as a viable alternative to Christianity. He claimed in no uncer tain terms that Christians and Jews had rewritten their books to suit their need, that there are 23,000 versions of Bibles and Muslims only have one Koran and that it is scientific. Mohammed is not considered a mediator. Their god allows direct review of him. He explained social and economic victory would be achieved through the Islamic World in service of mankind. "Allah" in Islamic minds is one true god, not plural, no gender and one gender.
When all was said and done, they did not have a clue about a common denominator they set out to find. I probed Mr. Laskey from my perspective by asking: "do you think it is wise to help move the United States into a global system which will have negative effects on American Christians?" He replied that he had lived in Europe for years and thought it would be to our benefit and would certainly be productive of peace. The man I talked to seemed to be convinced that the agenda was strictly about peace. He reassured me that he would not be involved if it had negative effects on Americans in any way.
Jesus Christ was not an alternative. Jan Pearson had brought up that women are equal to men in Christianity in a spiritual sense which was attacked by a member. Equality between men and women is apparently very important to their agenda, which is also obvious in the Clinton Administration.
My conclusion was that the religion which presents a hard hitting, materialistic, scientific point of view using sophisti cated sales techniques will get the ring. That stuck out like a sore thumb in the meeting. There is no common denominator outside of Jesus Christ. It reminded me of the Christian community of today and a commentary by Jay Adams: " in some circles the fear of controversy is so great that preachers, congregations follow ing after them will settle for "peace" even at the cost of the truth - God's truth."
My reason for writing this article was to point up the religious weather coming our direction. I believe we must be equipped to meet our foe, know his weapons to protect ourselves from becoming part of it. " Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." (Matthew 10:16)...
Low and behold, I signed off too soon. The Rocky Mountain News, Thursday December 2, 1993 carried an interesting article about the subject under discussion: " a common denominator". Religious leaders found one: "Prayer". "Day of Prayer organizers hope for 5,000" was the heading of the article. Religious leaders want different faiths to work together to end violence, by Hector Gutierrez. "Religious leaders said Wednesday they hope to attract about 5,000 citizens from many faiths to pray together Sunday for an end to youth crime .... .at the Colorado Convention Center, 700 14th St.
The organizers, including Christians, Jews, Muslims and Buddhists, said at a press conference Wednesday at Congregation Emanuel, that response to the plans has been strong. "We will shed the peculiar labels that we carry, and exer cise our faith together and pray for peace in our land," said the Rev. Jesse Boyd, pastor of the Shorter Community AME Church.
The Rev. Marshall Gourley of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church said Sunday's observance is intended to strengthen and inspire congregations to help them battle the violence and under stand root causes....
Other church representatives said society needs to go back to basics and educate parents about positive family values and spiritual faith. (others involved: Berkeley United Methodist Church and Mayor Wellington Webb of Denver said he would partici pate as an individual, not officially)."
My question is, how can Muslims and Buddhists pray to the same God Christians pray to, when they don't accept Jesus Christ. "Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confes seth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that [spirit] of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world." (1 John 4:2,3)
"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)
"And declared [to be] the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:" (Romans 1:4)
"And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory." (1 Timothy 3:16)