The Next Great Awakening Through the Convergence of Science and Religion

By John Redmond

Students of human history are very aware of patterns and cycles that define our intergenerational experiences. The hope is that by discovering the systemic causes of failures in the past we can prevent or reduce the consequences of failures in the current age.

Karl Marx hypothesized that the important cycles of history were the ones defined by the conflict dialectic and that the arc of history is bending toward worldwide socialism, where material wealth is uniformly distributed.

In the Divine Principle, history moves by the Principles of Restoration in cycles, but the length of the cycles is dependent on the providential response of the central figure and chosen people of an age.  The arc of providential history creates a society spiraling upward in increasing beauty, truth and goodness, in addition to the abundance of material prosperity.

The last 400 years of human history have been a golden age of prosperity by any historical measure.  There is widespread anxiety that the scientific forces unleashed by the Enlightenment will cause humanity to end in disaster as previous golden ages have. Elon Musk said he’s determined to create another populated planet in case humans render earth uninhabitable.  The Dark Ages, which followed the Roman Empire and birth of Jesus, led to 1,000 years of dystopia.

Recent political polarization, exacerbated by Internet information algorithms, have created toxic levels of political discourse in America.  This was predicted by Marx, who thought that escalating conflict created conditions for a revolution that would destroy an old structure so that it could be replaced.

The Divine Principle also predicts that conflict can clarify roles of a subject and object, but that in cases where the opponents can be reconciled to a higher truth, a system of higher complexity, unity and effectiveness can be created.

A good example of this success is the creation of the United States.  The mounting conflict of the American colonies with England from the 1770s could have resulted in some representation in England, lower taxes, or a humiliating loss.  However, the Founding Fathers and Mothers of America were moved to create something new and higher than a simple political win, and indeed, America has been the indispensable nation for the last 100 years.

It seems that human history may be at a turning point from both the materialist and spiritual points of view.  What are the forces that affect that turning point and how can we influence the course of history to create an upward spiral rather than a 1,000 year decline?

History has some precedents for how society has been shaped by spiritual and religious movements.

This response from ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence chatbot, was to the question: “What were the Great Awakenings and what were the consequences for America?”

“The First Great Awakening took place in the 1730s and 1740s. It was sparked by preachers such as Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield, who emphasized the importance of personal conversion and a direct relationship with God. The movement had a profound impact on colonial society, as it challenged traditional religious authority and hierarchical structures. It led to the growth of new religious denominations, such as the Baptists and Methodists, and promoted ideas of equality and individualism.

Continue reading “The Next Great Awakening Through the Convergence of Science and Religion”

After 70 Years, Peace Treaty Needed to End Korean War

Note: This article is being re-posted from May 4, 2013, due to its continuing relevance today. Although some events cited in the article are a decade old, we see a repetition of events in 2023, only at a more dangerous level. Some experts concur that the threat of nuclear war over the Korean Peninsula never has been greater. Nonetheless, only this article’s title has been changed to “After 70 Years” rather than “After 60 Years.”

By Mark P. Barry

“The Korean peninsula was divided into north and south, not because our people wanted it, but because of the influence of the surrounding powerful nations….We have to transform the existing situation, where the United States, [Russia], China, and Japan play a leading role in the international order as they keep our nation divided….[W]e should develop the proactive influence of our people and of Korea so the neighboring superpowers can cooperate in the reunification of the Korean peninsula instead of obstructing it.”

— Sun Myung Moon, Cheon Seong Gyeong, 231-8, 1992.5.11

While Korea is the fatherland of our faith, Unificationists should remember that the peninsula continues to live under an uneasy truce signed [70] years ago this year. It’s also easy to forget that for 35 (in effect 40) years, it lived under oppressive Japanese colonialism, and that from 1895, two wars (Sino-Japanese and Russo-Japanese) were largely fought over it. We overlook that Korea has experienced [128] years of turbulence, captivity, division, and conflict.

With the 24-hour news cycle, Americans understandably fixate on North Korea’s latest threats, but the underlying cause of the problem of North Korea is the absence of a peace treaty following the 1953 Armistice that halted the Korean War.

Because there has been no permanent peace, the Korean Peninsula is inherently unstable in a neighborhood, as Rev. Moon’s words above attest, where the interests converge of four major powers: China, Russia, Japan, and the United States.

The world media’s obsession with North Korea’s bizarre behavior and larger-than-life threats ignores the fact the North has remained a festering problem in international relations for decades. Since 1990, the almost exclusive focus has been on Pyongyang’s nuclear program. The North’s nuclear capability is extremely important and cannot be ignored, but the nuclear issue won’t be solved by focusing on it alone.

The only lasting way to solve the problems presented by North Korea is to bring about a permanent peace agreement for a peninsula still in a state of war that will also lay the basis for eventual reunification. In the process, the nuclear issue will be resolved as part of comprehensive mutual security arrangements.

The absence of permanent peace in Korea not only gets short shrift in the media, it is a reality shunned by policymakers, who merely recalibrate U.S. policy toward the “Norks,” as former Obama Asia official Kurt Campbell dubbed the North, and excuse the lack of wise use of American power and diplomacy on Korea being the “land of lousy options.” But as analyst John Delury said, “everything that Washington and Seoul are doing is reactive….We need to break that cycle and essentially…go on the offensive, not with weaponry, but with diplomacy.”

Continue reading “After 70 Years, Peace Treaty Needed to End Korean War”

Enlarged Freedom for a Safer World: A Unificationist Approach toward Human Security

By Laurent Ladouce and Carolyn Handschin-Moser

After the end of the Cold War, many hoped the 21st century would be one of lasting peace. It actually started well with the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World.

During this period, Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon launched the Universal Peace Federation (UPF). With its network of Ambassadors for Peace worldwide, it has an impressive record of peace initiatives. Hopefully, the emergence of a graduate school for peace and public leadership in the Unification movement will also bring innovative and creative ideas to the philosophy of peace studies.

Regrettably, peace studies often stop at conflict resolution or conflict transformation. We need more “positive peace studies.” We keep viewing peace as pacification, the return of tranquility after a period of conflict. According to Heraclitus, the founder of dialectics, “Polemos (war) is both the king and father of all.” We still live in a culture where there is only a truce between two wars. The term “irenology” (from the Greek irene, meaning peace) exists, but is rarely used.

The Genesis of Human Security

Peace is more than the absence of war, we say. But what should be present when war is absent? The revolution of Satyagraha, launched by Gandhi, went far beyond the Home Rule movement which had blossomed in India in 1916-18 and was to end the British colonial occupation. Satyagraha literally means that truth has an element of love and an element of energy within itself. Gandhi added:

“Truth (satya) implies love, and firmness (agraha) engenders and therefore serves as a synonym for force. I thus began to call the Indian movement Satyagraha, i.e., the Force which is born of Truth and Love, and gave up the use of the phrase “passive resistance” in connection with it.”

Gandhi wanted to make Indians the actors of their own destiny, free to build a peaceful and good society. He noted:

“I would like to see India free and strong so that she may offer herself as a willing, pure sacrifice for the betterment of the world. The self, being pure, sacrifices himself for the family, the latter for the village, the village for the district, the district for the province, the province for the nation, the nation for all.”

We often chant “study war no more” (see Isaiah Wall photo below), but study what, then? Indeed, we accumulate valuable knowledge to gradually change from a very violent to a less violent world, and ultimately to a world with zero violence. But what stands above the zero? Unificationism states that Cain and Abel should reconcile and settle their disputes, then live together. In practice, most Unificationists still seek a roadmap for a feasible universal concord. The Unificationist community, not unlike most religious organizations, believes in some form of utopian universal concord. A proper understanding of human security may be an eye-opener to arrive at something more concrete.

Continue reading “Enlarged Freedom for a Safer World: A Unificationist Approach toward Human Security”

From Korea with Love

By Michael L. Mickler

I have had the privilege of chairing an editorial team that has been assembling a chronology of the life and work of Sun Myung Moon (1920-2021) and Hak Ja Han Moon (1943-) in the United States from 1965-2022. Dr. Ki Hoon Kim, FFWPU Cheon Eui Won Chair of North America, initiated the project in June 2020, and the team began work in August. In October 2020, Dr. Kim conveyed oversight of the project to Dr. Chung Sik Yong, FFWPU Regional President of North America.

For two-and-a-half years, the team — Dr. Franco Famularo, Dr. Frank Kaufmann, Michael McDevitt, Larry Moffitt, and Tal Zorer — has met twice weekly and spent countless additional hours with the goal of documenting Father and Mother Moon’s daily activities in the U.S. The initial draft is nearing completion. This article covers various aspects of the chronology: its rationale, organization, scope and limitations, and findings. It also offers thoughts as to ongoing work.

The Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU), also known as the Unification Church, has a distinctive terminology, reflecting its theology and traditions. The chronology (and the remainder of this article) follows Unification terminology. Most prominently, it uses True Father, True Mother, True Parents and True Family to refer to Sun Myung Moon, Hak Ja Han Moon, their couple and their family.

This chronology is not a full narrative of True Parents lives, which extended far beyond U.S. borders. However, chronologies of this type are foundational for broader narratives. Unificationists are confident that Father and Mother Moon’s nearly 60 years of ministry in the U.S. evidence unparalleled dedication and consistency. Whether they were tired, misunderstood or what time of day it was were secondary matters. The mission and people of the U.S. were primary. For Unificationists, they came from Korea with love. In this respect, compiling a chronology is a form of appreciation.


Early on, the editorial team agreed to organize True Parent’s activities in the United States and the chronology by decade, each of which has a distinctive character:

  • During the 1960s, True Father visited the U.S. for the first time in 1965, as part of his first world tour, establishing 55 Holy Grounds in 48 states in 43 days. In 1969, True Father returned to the U.S. with True Mother as part of the second world tour, during which they blessed 13 couples in marriage.
  • During the 1970s, True Parents shifted the focus of their ministry to the U.S. and became highly visible, conducting rallies in all 50 states, including at major venues such as Madison Square Garden, Yankee Stadium and Washington Monument.
  • During the 1980s, True Parents expanded their ability to exert influence in the U.S., establishing The Washington Times and educating American leaders as to the dangers of atheistic communism. At the same time, controversy which began in the 1970s led to True Father’s incarceration.
  • During the 1990s, True Parents publicly declared their messianic identity, established numerous federations for world peace, including the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU), and conducted massive International Marriage Blessings.

Continue reading “From Korea with Love”

The Veneration of Mary and Its Implications for Women in the Church

By Mika Deshotel

The veneration of Mary, the mother of Jesus, has been around for as long as the early Apostles. It emerged in conjunction with the understanding of the dual roles of Jesus Christ, as both fully human and fully divine. As the “Mother of God,” naturally Mary’s position was elevated. In order to be a sanctified vessel for the Son of God to be born, Mary needed to be recognized as having exceptional qualities, similar to Jesus.

The qualities of perpetual virginity, being immaculately conceived herself, and her bodily assumption into heaven were implemented within Roman Catholic Church doctrine from the 16th century. Mariology is the theological study of Mary through written accounts and the subsequent doctrines associated with her throughout the history of Christianity. It is distinct from, albeit related to, the practice of veneration and devotion to Mary.

Here, I explore the underlying circumstances for the prominence of devotion to Mary, especially in the Roman Catholic Church, how it became official dogma, and how official statements about Mary have been somewhat problematic for women of the Church in particular. I also explore how the Unification Movement addresses such issues attributed to Marian devotion, through the current leadership of co-founder, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, and how she is trailblazing a new view on feminine value which may ultimately help reform and encourage women leadership in the Church.

Historical background of the veneration of Mary

Given that so little is said about Mary in the Bible, it is amazing how the church as a whole, and Roman Catholic Church in particular, adores Mary. The rise of Mary came naturally as a consequence of the church developing its Christology, and the idea of Jesus being both fully human and fully divine. The term Theotokos, meaning “God-bearer,” was ascribed to Mary by the Third Ecumenical Council at Ephesus in 431 CE.

This was in contrast to the idea of Mary as Christotokos, or “Christ-bearer,” meaning Mary was the mother of Christ only in the sense of his body, but not his divine nature. Theotokos was not to make the assumption that from Mary’s body came the Word of God, but rather, as theologian Raymond Potgieter notes, Mary “was the vessel through which the eternal Word was incarnated in [the holy body of] Jesus Christ.” At the Council at Ephesus, Mary’s special role, not only as divine mother, but divine virgin mother, became clear.

Eventually the church credited her with titles like Mistress of the World, Queen of Heaven, and Mother of God. The early church historian and apologist, Irenaeus, called her the “New Eve,” as her son, Jesus, was the “New Adam.” Mary “obeyed” God, “whereas ‘the virgin’ Eve, did not.” Additional theological statements pertaining to Mary began from the 4th century, with church fathers such as Jerome and Origen promoting the idea of Mary’s perpetual virginity. The Council of Chalcedon, which reaffirmed Mary’s status as Theotokos, did not address the issue of her perpetual virginity, but by that time it was accepted within the larger ecclesial tradition. It was only a matter of time for the idea of the virgin Mary to be sinless.

Continue reading “The Veneration of Mary and Its Implications for Women in the Church”

Russia, Crimea, Ukraine and Beyond


Note: This article, originally published on April 14, 2014, is being re-posted on Applied Unificationism due to its relevance on the first anniversary of the 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

by David Stewart

David Stewart_edited-1In a sermon I gave in Kiev in late 1991, I warned that the Israelites, upon escaping slavery in Egypt, still had to endure 40 years of suffering in the desert. So it has been for the Ukraine since the break-up of the Soviet Union. I had arrived there as a missionary a few months before and would stay in Kiev until the end of 1994, when my family moved to Moscow.

Warning of a potentially troubled future, I was reminded of the words of Leon Trotsky: “The Ukrainian question, which many…have tried to forget or to relegate to the deep strongbox of history…is destined in the immediate future to play an enormous role in the life of Europe.” Despite its own desires, Ukraine remains caught between two powers far greater than itself – Europe and Russia.

In December 1991, I witnessed Lenin’s massive head finally separated from his shoulders, hanging motionless from a crane above us at October Square (now Independence Square) in Kiev. The wildly cheering crowd was bursting with hope this would be the beginning of the end of Lenin’s communist legacy and the start of real freedom and a brighter future.

Ukraine had suffered the horrors of Stalin’s “dekulakization,” forced famine, the Holodomor (1932-33 extermination by hunger, with up to 10 million dead), “Russification,” the horrors of World War II (up to seven million Ukrainian dead), and life after the war under the heel of Moscow. It just wanted to be free and decide its own future.

This dismantling of Lenin’s giant statue followed the referendum on the Act of Declaration of Independence, supported by over 92% of the Ukrainian population with a voter turnout of almost 85%. Ominously for today, the lowest figures came from the Crimea – 54% of a 60% turnout – and throughout Ukraine only 55% of ethnic Russians voted “yes.” Ukraine’s decision effectively ended the Soviet Union, which was formally dissolved a week later with the signing of the Belavezha Accords by Russia, Ukraine and Belorussia (now Belarus), two of whose leaders, Mikhail Gorbachev and Stanislav Shushkevich, became friends of Reverend Moon.

In the recent ousting of President Yanukovych’s pro-Russian regime by the seemingly pro-European opposition, the choice of December 8, 2013 for the destruction of one of Kiev’s remaining Lenin statues was not haphazard. It symbolized the continuing desire of many Ukrainians to shake off the long shadow from the north. But how to accomplish this with a Russian president, Vladimir Putin, who declared in 2005 that the collapse of the Soviet empire “was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the (20th) century,” and that Russia’s “place in the modern world will be defined only by how successful and strong we are”?

In 2008, Russia annexed 20% of Georgia, with significant casualties, but with few diplomatic repercussions. The pro-European president, Mikheil Saakashvili, was ousted, and Georgia returned to Russia’s sphere of influence. Vice President Dick Cheney threatened that Russian aggression must not go unanswered, and that its continuation would have serious consequences for its relations with the United States, as well as the broader international community.”

Continue reading “Russia, Crimea, Ukraine and Beyond”

Traditional Roman Catholicism vs. Franciscan Mysticism: A Case Study for Unificationists

By Ron Pappalardo

Recently, a significant reconciliation took place between two opposing factions within Roman Catholicism.  In light of divisions plaguing the Unification faith community at present, it is instructive to look at how this reconciliation took place.

After watching a video on Franciscan Mysticism by Father Richard Rohr, it occurred to me that there is quite a contrast between traditional Roman Catholic theology, such as found in the Baltimore Catechism I studied as a child in parochial schools, and Franciscan Mysticism.

Here, I examine the possibility — perhaps even probability — that these two traditions contradict each other in various ways. I briefly describe the different theological positions of traditional Roman Catholicism versus Franciscan Mysticism. If these positions do contradict each other, then there might have been, and still may be, tension and conflict within Catholicism at large between these two traditions. I investigate this possibility and discuss any attempts that have been made to deal with and perhaps resolve these intrafaith tensions.

Traditional Roman Catholicism

Roman Catholicism teaches that all human beings since the fall of “our first parents,” Adam and Eve, have been born with original sin, making necessary the coming of Christ for the purpose of redeeming us from sin through his crucifixion.

These teachings are clearly stated in the Baltimore Catechism, an official text used to educate Catholics and prospective converts about the basic doctrine of the Catholic Church. Most Catholics, in the United States at least, studied this text as part of the curriculum of their parochial school education, or by attending Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) classes usually held on Saturdays. The catechism book is presented in a “question and answer” format, with each question identified by a unique number. It was originally written in 1885; the following questions have been selected from the 1941 revised edition:

47. Q. What is the sin called which we inherit from our first parents?

A. The sin which we inherit from our first parents is called original sin. Because of this sin, it was necessary for Jesus Christ to be born. His purpose was to redeem humankind by dying on the cross.

60. Q. Did God abandon man after he fell into sin?

A. God did not abandon man after he fell into sin, but promised him a Redeemer, who was to satisfy for man’s sin and reopen to him the gates of heaven.

83. Q. Why did Christ suffer and die?
A. Christ suffered and died for our sins

103. Q. What do we mean when we say that Christ sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty?

A. When we say that Christ sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty, we mean that Our Lord as God is equal to the Father, and that as man He shares above all the saints in the glory of His Father and exercises for all eternity the supreme authority of a king over all creatures.

Continue reading “Traditional Roman Catholicism vs. Franciscan Mysticism: A Case Study for Unificationists”

‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’: More Than a Marvel Adventure Movie

By Kathy Winings

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is a rare sequel — one I found to be even better than its predecessor, “Black Panther,” in terms of the depth of its message and themes even though the Marvel Cinematic Universe film is minus its former lead actor with the 2020 death of Chadwick Boseman.

The movie is a typical Marvel film complete with lots of action, superhuman feats and high-tech wonders. “Wakanda Forever” also continues to emphasize the theme of diversity, but expands this focus more powerfully to highlight gender, age and Hispanic/indigenous culture along with that of Black culture. As good as this is, though, it is not the real power behind the film.

What makes the movie particularly poignant are timely and highly relevant themes that stand out for today’s world. Foremost is the focus on forgiveness vs. revenge. This leads to the closely-related issue of the meaning and power of love over hate that enables one to genuinely forgive. The final theme is the role of women as peacemakers.

What enables these themes to stand out is the context of age that is subtly present throughout the film. It took about 30 minutes before I realized that most of the main characters are part of the millennial generation. As an educator and minister, I found this to be a significant feature of the movie because of the issues the characters are facing. All this makes for a more sobering film this time around.

The death of King T’Challa (Boseman, the original Black Panther) is never far from the hearts and minds of the main characters and is woven into the storyline as the film begins with Wakanda mourning the death of its king despite his sister, Princess Shuri’s frantic efforts to save her brother. This sets Shuri (Letitia Wright) on the path of having to deal with her grief and anger over this loss, leaving her to question love, forgiveness and eternal life.

Soon after her brother’s memorial service, several pivotal events take place that become the catalysts for Shuri and several key women to come to terms with these important themes. One lingering question that hangs in the air from the first film concerns T’Challa’s previous offer to share Wakanda’s knowledge about vibranium with the world now that the Black Panther is gone. Are world leaders wise and mature enough to handle such an offer without greed and violence? Unfortunately, we know the answer to that question all too well.

In the year following T’Challa’s death, Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) and the Dora Milaje security forces find themselves protecting Wakanda from those forces seeking to gain access to vibranium. Some efforts led to violent confrontations that were wrongly blamed on the Wakandans. So each event increases the tension and fear for the future of Wakanda in the heart of Ramonda and Shuri.

At the center of this struggle comes a new threat, whose very existence came about centuries earlier because of vibranium — an underwater culture known as the Talokan. Their leader, Namor (Tenoch Huerta), sets things in motion by confronting Ramonda and Shuri when he finds them alone on a beach preparing for a final family ritual to end their year of mourning T’Challa.

Continue reading “‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’: More Than a Marvel Adventure Movie”

What Music Tells Me: Beauty, Truth and Goodness and Our Cultural Inheritance

By David Eaton

The 19th century French novelist, Gustave Flaubert, asserted that “the art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.”

In the process of writing my book, What Music Tells Me: Beauty, Truth and Goodness and Our Cultural Inheritance, I realized Flaubert’s assertion was quite apt.

The chapters in the book span several decades and were written for various publications, including The World & I magazine, the Journal of Unification Studies, the Peace Music Community blog, and the Applied Unificationism blog.

They draw upon many of my experiences as a musician, as well as my interest in music in relation to politics, philosophy, commerce, education, and religion. The influence of music on self and society is a central narrative of my book.

What Music Tells Us

One of my favorite composers is Gustav Mahler (1860-1911). Mahler is generally considered to be the last of the great symphonists of the European symphonic tradition. He composed nine symphonies and his third symphony, written between 1893 and 1896, has six movements. He ascribes the following titles to each movement:

1.  Pan Awakes, Summer Marches In
2.  What the Flowers in the Meadow Tell Me
3.  What the Animals in the Forest Tell Me
4.  What Man Tells Me
5.  What the Angels Tell Me
6.  What Love Tells Me

For Mahler, nature, angels, humankind, and love all had something to say to him — presumably something imbued with beauty, truth and goodness. He would say that it was through the art of music that he could find answers to many of his questions regarding life, love and the pursuit of happiness.

Mahler intuited, as did those in ancient cultures, that music wasn’t solely about pleasure or aesthetics. Like the philosophers of ancient China and Greece, Mahler believed music possessed moral and ethical implications and could be a gateway to higher truths and deeper understandings of the human condition.

Hebrew and Christian philosophers also shared this perspective and wrote treatises regarding the effects of music on self and society — psycho-acoustics in modern parlance. Any examination of our cultural patrimony reveals that the metaphysical, spiritual and axiological aspects of music, and its potential as a change agent in the spheres of politics and public ethics, has been a constant refrain from antiquity to Mahler, and remains so today.

The Unification movement’s founders, Rev. Sun Myung Moon and Mrs. Hak Ja Han Moon, often alluded to the importance of art and culture in establishing a culture of peace. In their respective memoirs, they each aver that it’s not politics that changes the world, but art and culture that can move people’s hearts and raise consciousness and thereby foster conditions for socio-cultural betterment.

Continue reading “What Music Tells Me: Beauty, Truth and Goodness and Our Cultural Inheritance”

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