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Unlimited Love Youth Essay Contest And Awards

Unlimited Love Youth Essay Contest And Awards

The Institute is announcing an international essay competition for youth from 15 to 21 years of age to address our 7th big question: How can the major religions of the world come to abide in their various concepts of Unlimited Love, and practice love for all humanity rather than merely for those who adhere to a particular set of beliefs?

Our goal is to challenge young minds to respond to this question and to begin what we hope will be a lifelong engagement with one of the pressing intellectual, moral and spiritual concerns of their lifetime. In turn, their responses will enable others to get glimpses of youthful perspectives and even to challenge their own thinking.

Young people are growing up today in a world where human progress both spiritual and material depends on a peaceful co-existence between religions and on the creative freedom of religiously pluralistic societies. However, we cannot take this progress for granted. The expressions of brutal intolerance between religions range in severity from slanderous graffiti and hateful comments to acts of terrorism, mass death, and destruction. These expressions are manifest across the globe, are directed against all the major world religions, and have been perpetrated in the name of each of these religions. In some places around the world research shows that religious hatred is evident in children as young as four years of age.

We invite you to challenge all religions to live up to their unique expressions of universal love. What do we mean by Unlimited Love? When the happiness, security, and well-being of another feels as meaningful and real to us as our own (or sometimes more so), we love that person. Unlimited Love includes but extends beyond our nearest and dearest to all humanity based on our shared dignity and interdependence, regardless of belief system. For those who are spirituality and religiously inclined, Unlimited Love is often thought of as an Ultimate Reality (Supreme Being, Higher Power, “God,” Divine Mind) underlying the universe, the participation in which leads to inner peace and expanded works of kindness and benevolence. Whether we describe ourselves as secular, religious, or spiritual, we can generally agree that such love constitutes the greatest imaginable leap forward in human consciousness and action.

Topic

‘How can the major religions of the world come to abide in their various concepts of Unlimited Love, and practice love for all humanity rather than merely for those who adhere to a particular set of beliefs?’

You are free to address the big question above however you would like, but we provide below examples of closely parallel questions that may help you shape your essay:

  • Can religious arrogance and hatred be replaced by a spirituality of tolerance, equal respect, freedom, mutual appreciation, and Unlimited Love?
  • What are the religious justifications for this Unlimited Love? Are they unique to each religion, or is there an overarching principle of Unlimited Love shared by all major world religions?
  • What does the spiritual ideal of “Unlimited Love” mean in your religious and cultural environment?
  • How might these spiritual principles of Unlimited Love be lived out and achieved in practice? Can they be shared and promoted within religions communities or even between different religious communities?
  • Can this practice be achieved by today’s youth? Is there hope for a worldwide Unlimited Love youth movement across all religions? What tools are available today that might make this possible that were not available in the past? How would such a movement be built? What practical steps could be taken to start such a movement?
  • How does the attitude of any young person evolve from hatred against those of another religion to acceptance and even appreciation for different traditions?
  • If you were able to speak to a fellow young person in your own religion who advocated religious hatred, how would you engage him or her? What would you say, and how would you steer him or her to Unlimited Love?
  • If you were confronted with religious hatred from a fellow young person in a different religion how would you respond, and why?
  • What can you do to promote Unlimited Love even when you are subject to religious hatred?
  • What tools does your own religious tradition have to justify Unlimited Love of those in another religion? How do these tools help you cope and even practice Unlimited Love when you are subject to religious hatred?
  • Is there a final identity of all genuine spiritual-religious paths as they approach the summit of spiritual realization in awareness of divine or Unlimited Love?
  • What practical opportunities are there in addressing this problem? How can those who do not experience religious hatred directly in their day-to-day lives help? How can those who were born into a situation of religious strife not only cope, but help improve the situation for themselves and the other youth around them?
  • Is there a time or situation when a young person is likely to embrace religious hatred over Unlimited Love? What can be done to help someone facing these situations choose Unlimited Love over religious hatred? How can someone born into a family and community beset by religious hatred resist accepting this hatred themselves, and help their community embrace Unlimited Love?
  • What fears are there in addressing any of these issues?
  • What can other young people learn from your personal experiences?
  • Is religious tolerance a “divine virtue” in some sense? One very distinguished spiritual thinker noted in his book Possibilities that “tolerance may be a divine virtue” (p. 122). He wrote, “It can be a religious virtue reverently to cherish scriptural beliefs and to study them with utmost seriousness. But of course a reverse side of this virtue can be the vice of intolerance. It is easy to become intolerant if we are not diligent to guard our minds actively to be humble and to remember that despite differences in religious traditions we all have profoundly limited concepts with respect to the vast divine realities? Can love and the vastness of divinity reduce out differences as we seek to understand by a variety of different ways and through many various traditions? Can diligence in humility help heal conflict between many communities holding different religious points of view?” (Possibilities, p. 28)

Organizer

The Unlimited Love Institute.

Unlimited Love Youth Essay Contest

Prizes

We are planning four essay competition cycles with up to four prizes in the amount of $500 (U.S.) awarded to winners in each cycle. The due date for the first cycle is October 1, 2015.

Deadline

October 1, 2015.

Guidelines

  • To Be Eligible for our First $500 Award Cycle, Submit Your Essay by October 1, 2015
  • All applicants must be between the age of 15 to 21 years of age.
  • Essays should be 2000 to 4000 words long, double-spaced, written in English (we may expand to other languages in the future cycles), using 12pt Times New Roman font and size, and submitted as an email attachment to UnlimitedLoveInstitute2035@gmail.com.
  • These essays will be judged by an international panel representing the major religious traditions.
  • We hope to be able to bring contest winners to the United Nations for a day-long conference with world leaders and journalists in late 2017. We will post these essays on a special interactive website and on social media. An edited volume of these essays will be published with a trade press and distributed widely.
  • Be sure to place your name, address, email address and phone number on the entry and submit it with the signed Release below.
    I, _____________________________, the author of this work, grant permission to The Institute for Research on Unlimited Love to use my original entry as described in the competition announcement. I understand that the winning articles become the sole property of the Institute. I represent and warrant that I am the sole creator of the work and have full power and authority to grant permission and to make this agreement. I warrant that the work does not infringe on any copyright or violate any property rights. I release any and all intellectual property rights to this entry. I understand that I will not receive compensation for my work, but for the winning entries, as described in the competition announcement.

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  • Compliance with copyright laws pertains here. Plagiarism disqualifies candidates from consideration.

Inquiries

To ask questions, e-mail: UnlimitedLoveInstitute2035@gmail.com

Announcer

This announcement is formatted using Naija Writers’ Coach Posting Format. If you republish this on your website, please provide a link to this post.

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