Working toward world peace, author Charles Meister drafted his eighth book tentatively titled "Foundations of World Peace‚" prior to Sept. 11, 2001.
Once terrorism reared its ugly head so very close to home, he and his publisher agreed that the book needed to be revised to address the increase in shocking violence. Under its new title, "From Terrorism to World Peace," the book has been published and released by New Falcon Press of Tempe.
"Terrorism is an excellent example of divisive religion," Meister said. "That which justifies harming or killing innocent people and that somehow God will be pleased with the harming of human beings is divisive religion," he explained.
So which religions of the world are divisive and which unify? All is the answer Meister gives.
"All my life I have been a student of comparative religion because the Lord Jesus means a lot to me," Meister said.
He majored in English and minored in Russian literature and economics at the University of Chicago, graduating in 1948.
Meister served his country from 1942 to 1946 in World War II, participating in the Battle of the Bulge. He then became a college professor and university president.
Through those studies and walking his life's journey, Meister found that all religions have scriptures the have divisive and unifying passages -- because they were written by the hand of a human being.
"When human beings get involved, they give their own interpretations," he said.
"Unitive religion says that we are all God's children and therefore all human life is sacred. Thus human beings should be treated as children of God."
"I think everyone should worship their ‘ishta deva' -- or that aspect of the deity that has appeared to you," Meister said quoting a Hindu phrase.
Meister understands that his words and book may be controversial.
He provides an easy test for all to see if they are on the right path. According to Meister if your faith is bringing you closer to your fellow human beings, then you are headed in the right direction.
"In every religion you can find those who practice unitive religion," Meister said.
"Citing the Sufis whose core belief is ‘God is love and those who live in love live in God and God lives in them‚'
"I'd like to see any religion beat that, and they are Muslims," Meister said.
But more than terrorism, Meister wants readers to understand that divisive religion can take place anywhere.
"The most dangerous place for many women is at home," Meister said.
In what he predicts to be a controversial chapter of his book, "The Divine Feminine" Meister states, "God loves women as much as God loves men. Women are not spiritually inferior to men."
Meister cites that in every religion and scripture, men are portrayed as the preferred gender, lending moral superiority to a patriarchal society.
This is wrong, Meister said, citing a Spiritual Bill of Rights he penned -- the only one he knows of.
"Since you are a child of God you are entitled to be free from physical, mental and spiritual intimidation and violence.
"It is wrong for me to convert you to my belief unless your belief is harming people," he said.