"Author finds love in everything, former financier preaches universal goodwill in new book" By William R. Macklin

Sir John Templeton cares so much about agape love that he’s even written a book about it. But when he’s asked to define it, he pauses, lets a few reflective moments waft by, then almost cryptically, says, "It’s not Eros love. It is not filial love. It is not tribal love," Templeton says. The onetime financier appears to reach into the recesses of the complex mind that helped conceive the rudiments of global investment and finds a definition that seems to belie all the hardnosed tactics associates with the business world in which Templeton made millions. "It’s pure love for every human being without any exception," he says. Love, boundless and all encompassing, a concept the ancient Greeks termed "agape." Templeton says it exists everywhere. "I might even say that the universe is an expression of God’s love," he says. Templeton, 87, a lifelong Presbyterian, expounds the prevalence of universal goodwill in his recently published book, Agape Love: A Tradition Found in Eight World Religions. The founder chairman and chief donor of an eponymous foundation that pays upwards of $35 millions a year for the scientific study of spiritual faith, Templeton is a forceful, sometimes controversial figure in ecumenical theology. Before remaking himself as a sort of Indiana Jones in search of lost spiritual virtues, Templeton made a fortune in international finance as the founder of the Templeton Groups of Mutual Funds. But while he once commanded the forces of global capitalism, he now seeks to understand the vast, "mysterious force" of agape. Its disparate strands are evident in Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Confucianism and Native American religions, Templeton maintains. Agape is the charity, kindness, forgiveness and compassion expressed by believers everywhere, he says. At least everywhere that human ego has been brought into check.

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March 18, 2000