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The Ultimate Victory of Faith, Hope and Love

I believe in the ultimate victory of faith, hope and love in a world full of conflict and destruction. Faith, that most human of emotions, manifests itself in many different forms throughout the world, and even within the lifetime of one individual. I believe we each are protagonists in a great human drama and it is in our daily choices, large and small, that we contribute on one side or the other in a continual struggle between good and evil, forgiveness and revenge, mercy and ruthless power.

In more concrete political terms, I have seen this struggle played out in South Africa, Russia, Eastern Europe and other parts of the world within my own lifetime. I have witnessed the power of an individual faith and a selfless moral compass in a Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Pope John Paul II and others.

At the beginning of glasnost, I was interviewed on Russian television and asked by the skeptical commentator if I really believed it was possible to have peace in the world. I told him that the starting point was for each of us to understand our own religious and cultural traditions, and then open our minds to others, seeking and acknowledging our common roots.

To this end, I recently composed a choral composition based on the Commandments of Moses. The Koran, the Torah, and the Christian Bible recognize these commandments. Others of the world's great religions have a similar code of conduct as an essential part of their belief in a higher law. The great commandment from Christ is to love one another. Similar to Jesus, Buddha taught that the crowning enlightenment is to love your enemies. This thought is expressed in many diverse faiths.

A great Native American, Chief Joseph, declared that "the Great Sprit made us all." Science through DNA knows this to be true, the very cells of our body know this to be true, and our great religions know it to be true. Our hope lies in the Great Spirit, the God of all Creation, that my particular faith calls the Holy Spirit.

Copyright NPR 2016.

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