A Vision for Peace in the Middle East

and among the three Abrahamic religions

(at the same time, an answer to Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations”)




The Middle-East conflict seems at least in part to represent a hard clash between two cultural complexes. But a solution-oriented view will point out that both of these complexes originate in the findings of one man. Three major religions trace themselves back to this man, Abraham. Thus, it is he who holds the key to peace.

By trying to comprehend what was unveiled in the initial insight which gave rise to the three Abrahamic religions, it will be possible to understand how their respective historic pathways could develop differently and how all three of these religions can still be seen as genuinely imbedded in the original intent of their founding father. This is the basis of the vision of peace that follows.


The origin of both the Judaeo-Christian and the Islamic civilizations:

According to the Bible and the Qur’an, Abraham, an “Iraqi” from Ur, started a cultural revolution almost 4000 years ago that has continued down to the present day, its demythologizing power meanwhile reaching out to the remotest corners of the planet. Abraham was able to abandon the mythic-religious polytheistic background of his ancestors, because he rediscovered within himself an immediate approach to the reality of being human – and in it the one power that is the origin of all things. Thus, he found not only the creative force as the source of his life, but also its perspective, the perspective of the whole. This enabled him to resolve every difficulty in his life in a way that was advantageous to every party involved. And in the end he saw his dreams come true. As in his original vision, he did indeed become the founding father of the then completely new religious tradition of monotheism, and of the people who, to this day, regard themselves as “God’s chosen people”.


Abraham’s descendants:

Nevertheless, the Bible tells how, again and again, leaders and members of later generations lost the ability to comprehend Abraham’s insights. But always, yet again, there arose men who resisted that decline, the “Prophets”, people who were able to pick up the thread that had been lost. In each such time, new phases of true religion started, phases of immediate perception, leading to a cultural flourishing of the whole people, as was the case after the coming of Moses, that of David, and the Babylonian exile.


Far later came Jesus, one of these prophets. He perceived the creative force that brought forth all things as the original Father, who – more than any human father ever could – cares for His children, who has equipped them richly, and in good time gives them all they need. Whoever takes this view can see himself as a child of God and his fellow men as his original brothers and sisters – and treat them as such, compassionately. And that way, the Kingdom of Heaven can be brought about.

By presenting that view most impressively Jesus was perceived as the exemplary “Son of God”, and that title has been enshrined in the whole tradition that has passed his perspective down to us.


That perspective burst the ethnic boundaries of God’s chosen people and made their religion universal. But it also gave rise to a new misunderstanding, and a new Prophet arose who stood up against that: if Jesus was seen as God’s only child, that undermined all other human beings’ claim to be God’s children. The new Prophet, Mohammed, could see this problem. He reconnected to Abraham and to the immediacy of his submission to the one force, which he too experienced as the source of all being.


But this submission [in the Arabic language: “Islam”], which was rediscovered by Mohammed, later came again to be misunderstood. It has been interpreted as a command to surrender to any system of rule, as long as it continues to refer to the Qur’an.


Today’s conflict – a consequence of insufficient understanding:

Today we find three religious-cultural ruling systems in opposition to one another, each claiming to possess the sole and exclusive truth, and accusing the others of being untrue. And that is the un-spiritual, ignorant and un-accepting background which has given the impression of a “clash of civilizations”.


Help from an image from the time after the conflict has been solved: a common sanctuary for all three religions:

If we wish to resolve the conflict, we need to go back to the source of the three religions and look from that perspective to a future time when the conflict will be solved. How will the Abrahamic religions relate to one another then? How will they cherish their common origin? By what symbolism will they demonstrate their underlying unity?

Obviously the members of the three religions will see then the principal intentions of their sister-religions as in accord with their own.

To facilitate the process of bringing that future state about, I will project the image of a possible solution into today’s landscape of Jerusalem – because, according to ancient prophecies of all three religions, there will be a shared sanctuary for all peoples in Jerusalem. Thus, by presenting a parable of building such a common sanctuary, I hope to make it easier to see what peace could look like and how it can be reached.

In the end – once the mutual recognition of the three religions is commonly accepted – this virtual image of the solution may even be realized physically in form of an architectural structure. For the time being, the image must serve as a vessel to transport the message.

The proposal which follows does not therefore, as it may appear to, involve the construction of a building; its purpose is to create a space for Peace.


The present symbolism of “Haram Ash-Sharif” or the “Temple Mount” in Jerusalem:

Please let us begin by looking together at the symbolism of Haram Ash-Sharif, the Temple Mount as it is now:

For the Muslims this is the third most holy place in the world. From there the Prophet Mohammed was taken up to Heaven on his famous “night journey”. There the Muslims built the renowned Dome of the Rock.

Before that it had been the site of the Temples of Solomon and of Herod; the foundations of the Holy of Holies can be visited there today.

The Jewish temples were built on that site because, according to the Bible, it was there that Abraham’s final test took place. God commanded him to take his son Isaac to Mount Moriah, as the place was originally called, and to sacrifice him there. Even though today the main line of Islamic tradition tells the story differently, the Muslim Dome of the Rock stands almost at the exact location of Abraham’s manifested willingness to sacrifice his son.

And it is surely also significant that the Prophet Mohammed took Abraham’s attitude of complete surrender as the archetype of the spirit of “Islam”.


Abraham and the secular Jews:

Many secular Jews today consider Abraham’s readiness to sacrifice his son as madness, but the Bible calls it a test. In the eyes of these secular Jews (and most rationally oriented Westerners), Abraham flunked that test precisely through his willingness to obey. The Bible, however, says that he passed the test.

The difference between the two views stems from the fact that the secular group consciously lacks the experience of inner guidance which Abraham had clearly found – and which, on this heartbreaking occasion, rid him of his last remaining superstition. That, in turn led to the disappearance of human sacrifice.

Secular Jews can rely only on their rationality – which is already infinitely superior to being guided by superstition or by emotional group identification. These typical symptoms of poorly understood religion have, over time led again and again to horrendous atrocities under the pretext of religion. Secular Jews (Christians, Muslims …) always warned against these dangers. And for their watchfulness they deserve to be called true followers of Abraham, because they are in fact following their own inner guidance very closely, which makes them awake to the dangers of poorly understood religion. They are upright, and they are committed, and they deserve respect and indeed appreciation for that.


Abraham, the original Muslim (Christian, Jew…), and the essence of “Islam”:

Abraham’s frame of mind at the instant of his test was a state of watchful surrender, of accepting reality as a challenge. This attitude of surrendering to the all-embracing reality and the creative force that guides it – therefore called “Lord” – was and still is called “Islam” in Arabic. That attitude was later to manifest in the religion of Islam; it is of course not only Abraham’s; it is present throughout all Holy Scriptures. In all spiritual traditions throughout the world, such a surrender is known to be the only source of true peace.

The Dome of the Rock therefore stands on that significant site as a witness to all peoples of the planet. It documents that special frame of mind which first gave birth to Judaism. The same frame of mind was far later confirmed by the actual self-sacrifice of Jesus [that would need to be explained more deeply to fully understand its meaning]; and again later it was formulated in the notion of “Islam” by the spirit inspiring the Prophet Mohammed, and affirmed by his ascension to Heaven from this place.

Understood thus, “Islam” is the basis of Judaism, of Christianity, and of the religion called Islam. Therefore the Dome of the Rock must remain where it is and be protected by all three of these religions.


The essence of Judaism:

Essentially, the Jews are “God’s chosen people”, the people dedicated to the creative force which brought forth the entire universe, which still guides all, and which guides each human being. Therefore the function of the Jews is to heed their task of being chosen, to keep watch lest that innermost truth of human beings and of all Creation be forgotten, because we humans are always in danger of succumbing to animal emotions and becoming enslaved to ideologies – as the Middle East conflict again shows.

This vision of peace will therefore remind the Jews of what it means today to be “God’s chosen people”: Obviously, if “the chosen people” accept their role, they will have to be a model that can be imitated by other peoples of the world; the Jews will have to become an integrative force {in the world}, helping the world as a whole to become one, and the different peoples to find their most beneficial place in this whole.

In order to fulfil that role they need a space that gives an overview; in symbolic terms, they need an elevated place. – Here it is important to remark that an elevated position will not make them morally “better” than others, but it may awaken in them the desire to be consciously sensitive and alert – which they have obviously been in the past, as is evidenced by the prominence they have gained in the world.


The now possible function and position of a Jewish temple:

The Jews dream of the Messiah building a new temple when he comes. Since Christians and Muslims believe no less seriously in the coming of the Messiah, that coming must be one and the same for all three.

The new temple which the Messiah will bring will therefore certainly not be identical in function with the past temples which were built according to the needs of their times. As prophesied, it will rather be a manifold sanctuary for all peoples. Most likely, it will contain not only a new Jewish temple but sanctuaries at least for the other two Abrahamic religions.

The place for “God’s chosen people” in that structure will certainly be outstanding, in keeping with its historic role. As a symbol of the higher perspective His people must always aim at, their inner sanctum will symbolically need a position that permits an overview, a position “above the ground” – irrespective of whether this part of the overall shrine is built on supports from the ground or is floating, held in position by some kind of airships – and, to accord with the intention of the founding-father Abraham, preferably a position exactly above the site of his final test, above the Dome of the Rock – and above the Holy of Holies of the last Temples.

The present surface of the Temple Mount can accordingly remain untouched – the buildings there will even have to be protected by “God’s chosen people”, since they document that surrender, which is the basis of all three Abrahamic religions.


According to all three religions, the Messiah intends to save all peoples and he will bring them to worship in Jerusalem. Consequently, instead of condemning, the Messiah will appreciate the different forms which sincere worship has taken throughout history. He will also appreciate the permanent creative competition of ideas that, in response to the needs of the times, has led to the different narratives and expressions which the Abrahamic religions have found.

Likewise he will respect the different views that exist in respect of a new Temple. Therefore, in His new Temple, all of these views will be represented – including even the views of those who do not want a Temple. For them too it will be a Temple of true tolerance – both for other religions, and for the variety within “God’s chosen people”.

Difficult though it may be for orthodox Jews to view such an image unprecedented in the Halacha, they might be well advised to try it – if only as a visualization exercise aimed at paving the way for the surprises which the Messiah will surely bring. It might help the Messiah if we visualize the new Temple as a complex virtual building comparable to the complexity of the Holy Sepulchre – since the whole truth can never be contained in one single segment. Only in multiplicity can the One be truly symbolized.

And that is where the [symbolic] twelve tribes reappear, showing up in the multiplicity of this new symbol. By that multiplicity, Israel will be reunited and in her simultaneously all peoples will be united with the whole of the world and with the force that guides it, because now all are free to follow their path, whatever it may be, as long as it is their innermost truth.

Once the Jews can view this lofty image, the worshippers of all religions will be able to visualize their common sanctuary at that prophesied place – and then they can come…


The Christian part of the vision:

In essence, Christianity comes down to seeing the Christ, the exemplarily manifested Son of God, as the axis of the world that points the way to Heaven. And as Jesus called himself the “son of man” – which is what his true followers strive to become – the axis of his project is the human axis, the axis of being humane, a true child of God.

This axis will be manifested in this architectural model by mirroring the Dome of the Rock on the platform above – also as a symbol for the Prophet Mohammed’s ascension to Heaven from that place. This virtual axis will make people’s minds revolve around the question of what it means to be truly human. It will help them to receive guidance from their innermost truth, to utilize truth’s creative power, and to trust, in a spirit of surrender. For it is not the privilege of a few to attune themselves to that frame of mind and, as Abraham, Jesus and Mohammed have shown, this great gift of the spirit is offered personally to every human being.

This is the historic role of Christianity. And, as with the roles of Islam and of Judaism, it can be appreciated by the other two religions – without any need for the Jews to accept Jesus as “the Messiah”, or for the Muslims to believe that God has only one Son. All need accept only what the Bible says about the creation of man, that the creative force made man in its own image – as a copy of itself – meaning that God manifests Himself in human nature, and that it is possible to perceive His manifestation, and to live out that reality.

Christianity’s architectural contribution to the overall sanctuary is to draw a cross with, as its horizontal axis, the platform on which the house of prayer stands, while its vertical axis symbolizes the link between Heaven and Earth and, at the same time, the Ascension of Jesus, and the Prophet Mohammed’s Journey to Heaven. The place of the Christians literally hangs from the Place of the Jews, also in order to show that the Christian revelation depends upon that of God’s People from of old.




In this way, each one of the three religions is by its position shown in relation to the others and can at the same time be seen as a fully valid and sufficient way to realize the relation between man and the creative force – and in this way all three religions can rejoice together; mutual respect will be naturally present.

The consequence will be cooperation and a new form of integration, in which each part will preserve its identity, thereby neither taking anything away from the other, nor having to combat the difference, but being enriched by it.

Of course, there will also be something missing. But that something is only the artificial inflation of people’s ego, through believing themselves to be the sole possessors of the truth. What will be missing is the sick part of religion, the belief in one’s own superiority that entitles one to kill everything that does not comply with one’s own ideas.

What will remain is the one point which is primary in all religion: that a human being may realize his divine origin, and treat himself and his fellow men accordingly.

The traditional ways can then lead to that goal without any dilution or impurity, yet without having constantly to remind themselves that only together do they make up the great image.





Dear Reader:

Since all three Abrahamic religions expect the Messiah’s coming, all will have to exercise an attitude of peace and mutual appreciation. I suggest that we facilitate this attitude by contemplating the architectural symbol of unity which I have described.




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For more information please go to:


Analysis of the Inner Logic of the Middle East Conflict


English translation of 57 minutes of the TV-talk  by high ranking representatives of the three Abrahamic faiths in Germany


Even more you will find at www.Temple-Project.de