The Unification Pater-Materfamilias

By Alexa Blonner

The Paterfamilias motif has dominated world religious history.  It is most obvious in the Roman Catholic Pontiff, but the senior male as the “family” head, holding chief responsibility for carrying out householder and state religious rites and other duties, is a familiar one in most cultures.

The True Parents doctrine of the Unification faith represents a unique innovation.  It replaces the Paterfamilias with a Pater-Materfamilias.

Surprisingly, the Unification True Parents are barely mentioned in the chief Unification text, Exposition of the Divine Principle (EDP), but the concept increasingly featured in the sermons and other homilies of the founder, Reverend Sun Myung Moon, to emerge by the end of his life in 2012 as perhaps Unificationism’s most seminal and distinguishing theological principle.

The True Parents doctrine has been further refined under the leadership of Rev. Moon’s wife, Hak Ja Han.  Indeed, without this doctrine, it is unlikely Mrs. Moon would have been accepted as leader of the Unification movement following her husband’s death.

Paterfamilias

The Roman paterfamilias classically exemplifies the status of the father or male elder as the socially dominant figure. Pater, or “father,” is an Indo-European word that stems back many thousands of years. By a range of evidences, the Indo-European kinship system was patriarchal, patrilocal and patrilineal.  This patriarchalism had cosmological justification. Women were related to the raw, untamed processes of nature while men were associated with the progressive civilizing force by which nature could be tamed.  The male was thusly construed as being the more important of the two genders and deserving precedence.

Among the paterfamilias’ duties was that of priest.  It was his responsibility to faithfully and accurately execute the household religious rites. The Roman Emperor, who from imperial times was also the Pontifex Maximus, or State High Priest, was like the Paterfamilias of the Empire.  He was both the Empire’s administrative and religious caretaker.

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The 21st Century Cities in Global History

By Ronald Brown

Futurists have consistently undervalued the role of the city.  I believe the 21st century megacity will enter human history as an autonomous independent actor and exert a determining influence in world affairs.

Megacities, typically with over ten million population, have constantly increased in size and importance, and today account for 55% of global population. By 2050, this number will increase to 68% according to the UN’s World Urbanization Prospects.

After a brief historical introduction on the changing role of cities, this article describes five characteristics of the 21st century megacity: 1) demographically dynamic, 2) politically autonomous, 3) economically driven, 4) religiously vibrant, and, 5) globally networked.

The changing role of cities

Cities created the great cultures and civilizations of humanity. The rulers of Memphis in Egypt, Ur in Mesopotamia, Xi’an in China, Harappa in India, Athens, Rome, and later Paris, Mexico City, Cuzco, Timbuktu in Africa, London, and New York exploited the surrounding agricultural peoples and natural resources to create kingdoms, empires and states.

These great cities centralized the economies, founded the first writing systems and official languages, wrote law codes, established formal religions, and constructed monumental public buildings. The civilizations these cities created dominated humanity until today.

With the rise of the nation-state, upon the unification of Spain in 1492, the new cities of Madrid, London, Paris, and later New York City, Cairo, Moscow, and Beijing, replaced the cities of old as the creators and disseminators of national and eventually global cultures.

The city continued as the incubator of national cultures until the dawn of the 21st century. In his book, The World Is Flat, Thomas Friedman describes the rise of a world in which globalism is replacing nationalism. Globalism, according to Friedman, is marked by the free and unimpeded flow of people, ideas, capital, cultures, languages, products, raw materials, and religions across once impermeable boarders.

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‘Two Nations Are in Your Womb’: Unificationism and Partitioned States (1948-2018)

By Laurent Ladouce

Unificationism promises the advent of a unified world, where heaven, humankind and earth live in harmony. On the path toward unification, a major obstacle is that of partitioned states, beginning with Korea.

University of Pennsylvania political scientist Brendan O’Leary defines political partition as “an externally proposed or imposed fresh border cut through at least one community’s national homeland, creating at least two separate units under different sovereigns and authorities.”

Partitions have occurred throughout history, seldom bringing good results. Some were considered a “lesser evil” or a “necessary evil.” Here I consider contemporary partitions which have been or still are major obstacles for the Providence.

The “Two nations are in your womb” paradigm

Unificationism in general sees partitions as resulting from a failure of human responsibility to achieve unity or integration. There is then a division into two parts, one representing relative good (Abel) and the other relative evil (Cain). A major input of Unificationism is to emphasize the pivotal role of women in the origin (Eve) of and the final solution (Rebecca) to the partition.

When Rebecca protested to God about the struggle of the two twins, Esau and Jacob, in her womb, the Lord said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.” (Gen. 25:23)

This paradigm of the “two nations in the womb” is relevant in four of the five cases presented here.

The external cause of many partitions in the 20th century was the process of decolonization: the colonial power was unable to give birth to two communities or states living harmoniously and cooperatively, but gave birth to twins sharply pitted against one another.

I cover five partitions which had a direct impact on the Providence, grouped together for three reasons of direct concern for Unificationism:

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On Being and Consciousness

By Graham Simon

The scientific methodology for uncovering knowledge relating to the world around us – let us call it “external truth” – is a familiar one. A thesis is posited. Experiments are conducted exhaustively until the thesis is either proven or disproved.

The discovery of “internal truth” follows a parallel course.

We absorb some statement or teaching. Internally our mind validates the statement against accumulated experiences. When the statement accords with our experiences, the lights go on, so to speak, and the new-found truth then becomes part of our personal knowledge base and operating reality. The statement can encompass something as simple as a mother’s instruction to a child such as: “Don’t touch, it’s hot,” to a philosophical maxim like, “What you give out, comes back.”

As sentient beings, we all have experiences. Through study, exposure to the thoughts of others or an inspiration from a higher source, we are able to order our experiences in a meaningful way.

Sometimes we ingest knowledge prior to having had the experience. When the experience later takes place, we may encounter an “Ah, now I understand what the speaker meant” moment. At other times, we may have experiences that lie dormant until revealed. Those moments are more of the “Somehow I’ve always felt that was the case” variety. Either way, it’s not just a matter of knowing; we also need to “know that we know” for that knowledge to be incorporated into our being.

While scientific knowledge, or external truth, is largely validated and monitored by the scientific community, internal truths can only be validated by each of us as individuals. Nonetheless, there is no shortage of religions, philosophies and political movements, each peddling their own views of the world and each eager to help people make sense of their life experiences.

The problem people encounter is that all these teachings, especially those which form the basis of the world’s religions, mix inner truths with half-truths and even with teachings that are completely unverifiable or plainly false. The teachings of the Unification Movement are no exception.

It’s an observable fact that if an institution or accredited teacher reveals valuable knowledge to a person that stimulates the inner self, the recipient is much more likely to indiscriminately accept other teachings from the same source. When we imbibe a set of teachings in its entirety, some parts will genuinely enhance our being, while other parts just get incorporated as beliefs or opinions.

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The Hope and Promise of the Singapore Summit

By Mark P. Barry

I usually tell people that if you visited Earth from Mars, looked down at the Korean Peninsula and saw it’s divided and technically in a state of war since 1950, you’d say, “This has got to end.”

In other words, this kind of situation is simply unsustainable, despite that many practitioners of international relations seem to believe it’s possible to manage conflicts in perpetuity.

Last Tuesday’s summit in Singapore between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is at least notable for one important thing: it potentially changed the trajectory — hopefully for the better in the long run — of events on the Korean peninsula. This is because no sitting American president had ever met a North Korean leader. Previous presidents generally would not even consider the idea; Bill Clinton was the exception, but in the waning weeks of his presidency, he chose to focus on Middle East peace rather than Korean peace.

Ironically, Jimmy Carter was the first former U.S. president to meet his North Korean counterpart, Kim Il Sung, in 1994. He wisely observed at the time that “we should not ever avoid direct talks, direct conversations, direct discussions and negotiations with the main person in a despised, misunderstood or condemned society who could actually resolve the issue.” To his credit, Carter brokered an agreement, concluded months later, that froze the North’s fledgling nuclear program — which endured until the early years of the Bush 43 administration.

This simple truth — of the need for top-to-top communication and relationship-building — was easily grasped by President Trump because it had been a key lesson of his years of business experience. Kim Jong Un knew he had to take advantage of the opportunity to meet the U.S. president — the one person who could make fundamental foreign policy decisions without the encumbrance of a bureaucracy with a long and deep institutional memory.

It matters less what were the motivations of Trump and Kim; in both cases they were a mixture of the strategic and the selfish. But history shows that key figures, sometimes with unsavory motives, nonetheless produce changes, however unintended, whose impact endures for decades or even centuries (e.g., Henry VIII’s disagreement with the Pope over marriage annulment led him to initiate the English Reformation, separating the Church of England from papal authority).

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Truth and Authority in Scientific Discovery: Implications for the Religious Quest

By Chris Le Bas

Trusting something is true really comes at the point when your life depends on it.

An astronaut trusts the engineers who made the rocket and calculated the trajectory to the Moon and back.  In turn, the engineers trust the scientists who told them how cold it would be on the Moon and what force of gravity they would have to work against to take off from its surface. And the scientists trust the theories behind the solar panels that would power their return.

In the same way, a patient trusts the surgeon preparing to cut open his heart, the surgeon trusts the medical experts who weighed the risks of not operating against the dangers of open heart surgery, and the medical experts trust the interpretation of gamma camera scans and calculations made by microchip-based computers.

When our theories are correct, namely, they resonate with nature and identify natural processes, then we can predict (or at least know the degree to which we can predict) the outcome of our actions.

“Truth” in the scientific sense means we have a description, a pattern, law, or principle accurately matching the nature of the world around us.

This may come in the form of an image or model of something we are unable to see, such as a molecule or subatomic particle, or a mathematical equation that provides the link between different quantities we can measure. Or it may be the explanation of a technique or process that takes place in nature or can be made to happen under the right conditions.

Those who act as guarantors of the reliability of such information are often called “scientific authorities,” be they individuals like Isaac Newton, or institutions such as the Royal Society. Teachers and lecturers act on behalf of these authorities, relying on the historical hand-me-down record of constantly edited information from senior teachers, books and articles.

Some aspects of this knowledge can be tested and observed in classroom experiments, considered in the light of “common sense” and logic, but the majority of it relies on the authority it came from.

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Seeking Vital Community

By Mi Young Eaton

In fall 2014, I lived for two-and-a-half months with a small, Evangelical Christian community in Greatham, England, called L’Abri (French for “the shelter”). The L’Abri Fellowship in Greatham is one of eight such communities which have been established around the world and grew, like the rest, out of the pioneering ministerial efforts of Francis and Edith Schaeffer.

Although I was at L’Abri for only ten weeks in my senior year of college, I was transformed by my experiences there. Deep wounds began to be healed and confusions clarified; the spiritual life as fundamentally a relational life with God, others, and even myself began to open like never before, as concepts of faith became lived realities.

I experienced challenges, of course, understanding for the first time key differences in belief, from a Christian perspective, between the Christian and Unificationist worldviews, and carry fundamental questions of faith that arose from my time there even now, almost four years later. Principal among these is the question of the replicability of L’Abri as a model of spiritual community.

Were there spiritual principles at work in the structure, practices, and functions of L’Abri that allowed it to so deeply touch not only my heart and life but the hearts and lives of many others? Could these principles be applied in another context, for instance, either an extant or a potential Unification faith community?

My time at L’Abri and other experiences in the last few years have convinced me of the value of having the home serve as the hub or basis of ministry, as well as True Father’s prescience when he attempted to initiate the home church providence in the Unification Movement over 40 years ago.

I don’t think that the work of L’Abri fully answers the question of how Unification members should proceed with home church today. But I do think the current relevance of their work reveals a need and an entry point for the renewal of this kind of ministry

An Unusually Ordinary Evangelical Community

When I first left for L’Abri, I had little sense of what the experience would entail. I had heard about L’Abri like most others who have walked through the doors of its various branches around the world, by word of mouth, since L’Abri has eschewed any formal advertising about their work.

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First Step on the Royal Road: Living with God and the Angels

By Kathleen Burton

On March 16, 2018, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, True Mother, made an historical remark at Famicon 2018 at the International Peace Education Center in Las Vegas. In her address, she referenced the need for updating the Divine Principle: “In the future, the Divine Principle will need many updates. What I mean is that theories from the Completed Testament Age do not suffice.”

Last year on this site, I authored “The Royal Road to Original Design: Divine Principle Post-Foundation Day and the Questions to be Asking.” Reading True Mother’s words encouraged this second article on the Royal Road journey toward the essential lessons found in the Principles of Creation.  It is there that the building blocks of God’s Ideal are to be found.  Essential to keep in mind is a collaborative exploration. The Realm of Heaven is built together with God so in this article’s title is the concept of living with God.

As the Original Design takes shape, we open our hearts in intellect, will and emotion to build with God.  To consider an interactive approach for the new era of Cheon Il Guk is to move beyond the requirements of God’s providential history where living for God meant to accomplish the necessary restorational demands to defeat evil.  Yet, it is the working with God that will usher in the dynamic interaction needed to pursue CIG.

In a clarifying terminology note, this article does not use the term “Kingdom of Heaven.”  It is not a gender-balanced term since it does not reflect the feminine nature of God (Latin languages always used the term “Realm of Heaven”). In this new era of Post-Foundation Day, terms such as “God’s Original Ideal or Design,” Cheon Il Guk, or “Realm of Heaven” bring a newness not yet been seen until Foundation Day.

Are we, as human beings, on the threshold of creating this Original Ideal alone with only God’s guidance? What of the interconnectedness of the physical world and spiritual world in that creative process? A primary question to be sure. Gen. 1:28 was not to be achieved by humankind alone, either before or after the Fall narrative. The Realm of Heaven was designed to be built in conjunction with the angelic world, whose creation preceded human creation, and enabled God’s creative expression to have an active object partner with whom God’s Ideal could be accomplished on earth.

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The Technology-Empowered Cleric and the End of Religions as We Know Them

By Ronald Brown

Thomas Friedman argued in Longitudes and Attitudes: Exploring the World After September 11 (2002) that modern technology had given rise to “super-empowered individuals” such as George Soros, Mark Zuckerberg, Robert Murdoch, Oprah Winfrey, and Osama bin Laden, who have amassed more power than traditional presidents, kings, generals, and dictators.

I believe super-empowered clerics have joined Friedman’s list of super-empowered individuals shaping the 21st century. These clerics are doing religion in ways never before imagined, hastening the decline of historic religions, and pioneering the rise of new global religions. Super-empowered clerics are taking religions to places where no one has gone before.

Here, I analyze the six (sometimes conflicting) characteristics of emerging religious movements: 1) The centrality of super-empowered clerics, 2) the merging of past, present and future, 3) the transience of religion, 4) the globalization of religions, 5) the deification of humans, and, 6) the politicization of religions.

Super-empowered clerics

The modern technological revolution is radically altering thousands-year-old systems of religious leadership. Super-empowered clerics such as Rev. Billy Graham, Menachem Schneerson of the Lubavitch Jewish sect, the Dalai Lama, Christian televangelists Robert H. Schuller and Joel Osteen, the Brazilian cleric Edir Macedo, ISIS caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Buddhist Dhammakaya Chandra Khhonnokyoong, and bin Laden emerged as religious superstars. They preside over virtual congregations, even empires, that exploit the Internet, cheap air travel, mass communications, videos, neuroscience, and have at their disposal colossal financial resources made possible by the new global economy.

Brazilian pastor Macedo is a prime example of the cleric of the future. Unlike traditional religious leaders who received their authority from long-established institutions, Macedo claims he received his calling and empowerment directly from God. He did not consider himself bound by ancient tradition, long-decided dogmas, historical precedent, or hierarchical superiors.

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