September 2022
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E. Glaubach: Potential Role of an Interreligious Council

Personal reflections about the proposal for an interreligious council at the United Nations, with references to Jewish and Christian scriptures.

Included in the schedule of the August 20-24 Middle East Peace Initiative program in Jerusalem was a discussion about a proposed interreligious council at the United Nations. I envision an interreligious council at the UN resembling the ministry of the Prophets in the holy scriptures, who have had a colossal impact on humanity:

- Admonishing, encouraging, interceding, and counseling (Jeremiah 23:18, 22)
- Acting as watchmen (Acts 21:10 & 11)
- Reminding people of their history (Ephesians 3:4 & 5).
- Standing on the "walls" of humanity looking into the distance to see what is coming (Ezekiel 33:1, 11).
- Sharing holy wisdom with people in responsible positions (2 Samuel 7:1-4, 17).
- Offering expertise aligned with reverence for the Creator.

Prayer: We believe that all human beings are "one family under God" and are created in God’s image; thus, prayer for the well-being of all nations would be an important task of such a council. Prayers that underscore the enhancement of peace, harmony, and happiness may inspire people to respect each individual and nation according to their traditions.

Guidance and direction:
In tumultuous times, nations can easily get caught up in their day-to-day events. Thus such a council could offer vision and direction, but always with utmost caution, care, and sensitivity.

Interpreting the signs of the times: Members of such a council through their prayers and beliefs may profoundly understand the signs of the times with the ability to discern and perceive the spiritual significance of a situation and can thus offer unique perspectives.

The meaning of history: Jewish and Christian scriptures reveal a God who has plans for the whole world that cannot be thwarted. This understanding of God as the lord of history has been largely forgotten by most of the western world. It is said that when cultures or nations lose the understanding of their history then they also may lose their sense of direction. An interreligious council at the UN could have a key role in explaining the meaning and importance of tradition and history. For secular nations it could indicate creative policies that can promote the health, happiness, and well-being of their citizens.

Function through experts: In order to function with the utmost credibility, such a council could appoint experts in most walks of life and especially experts of law in order to offer guidance and advice to political authorities, as rulers generally attempt to surround themselves with "wise people."

Times of transformation: We are living at a time of great transformation. From the viewpoint of people striving to accomplish God’s plans for a better world, the task of such a council is of utmost importance in these turbulent times because it could help nations by enhancing humanity’s desire for life based on true universal values.

Crisis and hope: In these troubled times, people's hopes may have been shattered, leaving them feeling as if God has abandoned them. An interreligious council could offer a hopeful vision and direction.