Student Number: 30579143 [Document title]H
Peace begins when one is in harmony with oneself. The next step is working towards accord with others. Ultimately both offer the possibility of achieving peace in the world.
With reference to the source, discuss how the principal teachings of ONE religious tradition contribute to achieving peace in the world
Christianity, like all the major religious traditions, promotes both inner and world peace. Sacred texts of the New Testament and the subsequent principal teachings create a practical guideline for how adherents in Christianity were to achieve inner and world peace. Christianity contributes to the quest for world peace in a variety of ways which includes initiatives by the World Council of Churches (WCC), various groups such as Pax Christi as well as public statements and declarations from influential Christian figures. Christian peace is not merely the absence of warfare but encompasses the right relationship with God, manifesting itself as love, harmony and justice. Inner peace is intrinsically linked to world peace as it anchors one’s ability to love unconditionally and work for world peace at their full potential. Both concepts are guided by Christianity’s peace teachings that include the Heart of Jesus’s ministry, Pax Christi and the Reign of God.
World peace “begins when one is in harmony with oneself” and can only come from the desire of individuals to be at peace with God and “working towards accord with others”, and that can only come from the individual finding inner peace. A study of the New Testament reveals an important relationship between an individual’s commitment to the requirements of the gospel and their own sense of peace and wellbeing. In other words, Christians can expect to find inner peace ultimately in and through living out their vocation as disciples of Christ and directing their lives towards the following of his teaching.
Pax Christi is a gospel-based peacemaking movement, which was founded in the Catholic Church and is affiliated with the Pax Christi International organization. Membership is open to individuals, groups and organizations of all faiths who are in sympathy with its aims and values. The movement advocates for peace through respect to oneself and others and encourages adherents to embed the principal teachings into their lives. Pax Christi’s structure was constructed on Agape, believing that all adherents were capable of achieving peace towards humanity since adherents were to, “let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful” (Colossians 3:15). The Christian initiative Pax Christi International has had a significant contribution in achieving world peace through its work which aims to promote peace, respect of human rights, justice, reconciliation throughout the world and cooperation amongst other religious traditions. Pax Christi International has pioneered peacemaking at an international level for decades, and in preparation for the coming of the third millennium the organisation has published a manifesto for a culture of peace and non violence. This manifesto came in support of the United Nations declaring a decade for culture and peace and non violence beginning in the year 2020. Pax Christi’s declaration contained six principles which it invited people to take up that included; “respect for the life and dignity of every person without discrimination or prejudice, practice active non-violence and share my time and material resources in a spirit of generosity to put an end to exclusion, injustice and political and economic oppression.
Christian principal teachings on peace are also concerned with the Kingdom of God, which refers to the belief in an eschatological era in which God’s purpose for human kind will be realised and the paradise of Eden will be finally restored. Prior to this time of peace, there will be days of “distress unequalled from the beginning when God created the world, until now – and never to be equalled again” (Mark 13:19-20). This concept is discussed at length in Revelations, which says; “Only then will the ‘New Jerusalem’ a city of perpetual peace be inaugurated” (Revelations 21). The New Testament praises peace as a virtue and identifies it as a key element of the Kingdom of God. Jesus himself is known as the ‘Prince of peace’ and is regarded as the core source of peace, and as such Christians are encouraged to model their ‘peacemaking’ on his example and to draw strength and inspiration from his spirit. The principal teaching of the Kingdom of God highlights the need to work for disadvantaged members of society in order to be able to achieve world peace. This concept has been the driving force of many Christian ecumenical organisations, like World Vision Australia which aims to mend global issues by providing short and long term assistance such as relief after natural disasters, implantation of clean water sources and education programs in developing countries. World Vison Australia is guided by Christianity and scripture with their motivation rooted in the desire to work in partnership with God to renew the world that God created. This work of renewal is manifested in their actions of development, relief and advocacy, work in which the organization sees as participating in bringing the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven. In particular, the passage “Jesus prayed that the kingdom of God would come on earth as it is in heaven. The coming of the kingdom, inaugurated by Jesus, is seen in the renewal of the world through acts of love, justice and peace. God, who builds the kingdom, is a relational God with whom we seek to work in partnership in renewing the world” (Mathew 6:10) which is contained in their Christianity Statement demonstrates how World Vision Australia works in partnership with God to work for this renewal, and how they work to bring about God’s reign in the present.
The principal teaching of the life and ministry of Christ affirms the centrality of peace to the Christian message. Peace was at the heart of the life and ministry of Jesus and accordingly is sought after and taken up by the communities that seek to follow Jesus. Jesus’s ministry centres mainly on the ‘Golden Rule’ which is to love your neighbour and he stresses that believers should always endeavour to be at peace with everyone and to seek reconciliation wherever there has been disharmony. This teaching is supported by the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans in which he states “Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another” (Romans 12:14-16) and “Love your neighbour as you love yourself” (Romans 13:9). The principal teaching of the heart of Jesus’s ministry is highlighted in the 1963 statement of Pope John Paul XXIII “Pacem in Terris” (Peace on Earth. In Pacem in Terris John XXIII discusses the issue of social rights and responsible, which is of critical importance to the establishment of peace, that need to exist between people, between citizens and their political authorities, between nations, and between people and nations on a world wide level. Within this context John XXIII addresses moral and cultural values, economic rights, political rights, disbarment, refugees and the call to solidarity.
The principal teachings about peace in Christianity have had a profound effect on the ways in which and the extent to which this religious tradition contributes to world peace. These principal teachings inform ideas of world peace and the methods used to achieve the goal of “achieving peace in the world”.