It is a great honour and a pleasure to be the Chairman of this great public ceremony here in Tokyo today.
The great religions of East and West are meeting here. This is no ordinary journey. We must travel together that mankind may come to know the Creator of our world and universe.
This is the first time the public ceremony of the Templeton Prize is being held outside London and we are honoured that this home of our Japanese Templeton Prizewinner has been chosen.
This is the first time that there are joint winners of the Templeton Prize – the most valuable prize in the world.
May I therefore on behalf of the people of Japan offer my congratulations to Lord MacLeod and Professor von Weizsacker – the joint winners of this prestigious award for 1989.
We in Asia have had great experience of people of Scotland. They were the great bridge-builders of the last century and it is no wonder for Scotland has always placed great emphasis on learning. I understand it was the first country in Europe to introduce an element of compulsory education as far back as 1492. Today Scotland reflects the belief in the value of a broad based education. That is very much reflected in one of the joint winners this year – the Very Reverend Lord MacLeod who at 94 years of age is a vibrant reminder what good one person can do in a lifetime. The Iona community first founded in 563 by the Irish monk St. Columba is today a living witness to the value of a great spiritual tradition. This has been made possible for many people by the response of Lord MacLeod when during the economic depression of the nineteen thirties he took both the unemployed shipbuilders of the Clyde in Scotland and theological students of the universities to Iona to rebuild St. Columba’s Abbey and set out together on a journey that is forever beginning.
Lord MacLeod is honoured here today. Though he is unable to be with us in person we are most happy that with the aid of modern technology he will join us from Edinburgh and that his son Maxwell will deliver his acceptance address.
The other joint winner of the 1989 Templeton Prize is with us today. He is one of those unique persons who in different generations walks on the world stage and makes an impact and leaves an everlasting impression on his time and history. Such a person is Professor Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker who when a mere boy wanted to become an astronomer. At the age of 12 he walked out into a wonderful warm clear summer night and looked at the stars. One thing was evident to him: God is present in the sky. This led him to a lifetime’s work that has produced some of the finest seminal writing of this century and the reason why he is with us today.
Professor von Weizsäcker, whose younger brother Richard is President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Germany, has been a pioneer. He laid the foundations for the current discussions between Science and Faith that are now world-wide. Professor von Weizsäcker is convinced that Relativity and Quantum Physics offer thought structures by which religion may be renewed and be relevant to the modern world. When integrated with the Biblical understanding of God as the All-Encompassing Mystery who holds the world in a living contingent relationship to Himself, these enable us to appreciate both the benevolence and justice of God and the goodness of his creation. Such concepts facilitate our understanding of the universality of God’s love and mercy and inspire us to engage ourselves to bring about peace and prosperity to the whole of mankind.
These two creative, inspiring and charismatic men are today brought to the centre of the world religious scene by receiving the Templeton Prize for 1989.
With the spirit of the Templeton Prize of mutual understanding we have gathered here today in the religious centre of Japan. It is here I hope we from East and West will begin anew our journey together that we too will leave a rich history of peace and togetherness for future generations.
I am most grateful to the religious leaders of Japan who are here today. Their presence together with those from a wide spectrum of Japanese life makes this a memorable day.
Last and by no means least may I offer my sincere congratulations to Sir John Templeton, the Founder of this great Prize, whose foresight and wisdom has made today possible.