Will Religion Bring World Peace?
FROM August 28 to August 31, 2000, more than 500 representatives from 73 countries converged on New York City. They met together at the United Nations for “The Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders.” The leaders—many clad in turbans, saffron-colored robes, feather headdresses, or long black cloaks—represented a multitude of faiths. Among these were Baha’i, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Shinto, Sikhism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, and religions of Christendom.
The delegates met at the United Nations for the first two days of the four-day conference. However, the conference was not organized or funded by the United Nations but by various foundations. Nevertheless, both UN and religious leaders spoke of the importance of working together to bring an end to poverty, racism, environmental problems, war, and weapons of mass destruction.
The delegates signed a document entitled “Commitment to Global Peace.” While acknowledging that violence and war are “sometimes perpetrated in the name of religion,” the document declared that the signers would “collaborate with the United Nations . . . in the pursuit of peace.” There were, however, no specific resolutions indicating how this might be done.
On the second day, Bawa Jain, the secretary-general of the summit, concluded his opening remarks by explaining that some years earlier he had noticed a certain painting at the United Nations. The painting depicted a man taller than the United Nations Secretariat building. He was knocking on the building as if it were a door. Below the picture was the caption: “Prince of Peace.” Mr. Jain said: “[The picture] had a deep effect on me the moment I saw it. I asked different people what [it] meant. I think today I have the answer. The gathering of you all here, the spiritual and religious leaders of the world, demonstrates to me that [this] is the prince of peace knocking on the door of the United Nations.”
The Bible presents a different view. It shows that the Prince of Peace is Jesus Christ. He will bring global peace, not through the efforts of this world’s political or religious leaders, but by means of God’s Kingdom. It is this Kingdom—God’s heavenly government—that will successfully unite obedient mankind and cause God’s will to be done on earth.—Isaiah 9:6; Matthew 6:9, 10.