Mainstream Unificationism

TP

By Michael L. Mickler

Mickler full-sizeMainstream Unificationism upholds two core affirmations. First and foremost, it affirms Rev. Sun Myung Moon and Hak Ja Han Moon as the True Parents of Humankind. Second, it affirms the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity (HSA-UWC or Unification Church) and the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) as the authoritative institutional expressions of Unification faith.

These dual affirmations are central to Unification identity and tradition. They are the sine qua non of mainstream Unificationism. Denial of one or both of them places one outside the Unification mainstream.

For most of its history, few within the movement questioned these affirmations. Members varied in their understanding of True Parents. They also behaved differently depending on their cultural background. But mainstream Unificationists did not challenge True Parent’s authority and did not seek to undermine Unification institutions.

That is no longer the case.

Mainstream Unificationism is now under attack. The most strenuous and ongoing attacks have come from Rev. Moon’s eldest and youngest living sons, both of whom at one time or another were considered likely successors. They have challenged True Parent’s authority, even their identity, and attempted to supplant Unification institutions.

Discord of this sort is far from uncommon in religious traditions. Sometimes, challenges to authority overwhelm communities of faith, especially new ones, driving them to extinction. Other times, religious traditions withstand attacks and root out opponents, stigmatizing them as heretics or schismatics. Occasionally, religious traditions channel dissent and opposition into sharpened or expanded versions of faith. The intent of this article is to consider the structure, purposes and dynamics of mainstream religion as it pertains to religious traditions in general and Unificationism in particular.

Continue Reading→

Evolution and Unification Thought

bluemarble

By David Burton

BurtonWhen dealing with issues of science and religion, evolution is probably the most well-known point of contention. The two camps, “Creationist” and “Evolutionist,” are entrenched. Most Unificationists tend to side with the Creationist camp because of its support for theism. Although Unificationists often take a strong stance against evolution, a rejection of evolution is not required by the underlying teaching, and the situation is actually far from clear.

There is a middle ground in the debate between creation and evolution: It does not have to be creation or evolution, but can be both creation and evolution. This is the message of Divine Principle, when it suggests that internal and external truth should develop in full consonance.

If we are to bring about a true unity between science and religion, what is needed is a more inclusive approach, which can be derived from the ontology in Divine Principle and an acceptance of the validity of scientific knowledge. Unification Thought provides fertile ground for exploring the relationship between religion and evolution.

In contrast to the Creationist a priori rejection of evolution, one of the goals of Unificationism is to establish a unity between science and religion. Exposition of the Divine Principle clearly addresses the importance and significance of science. It states “the way of religion and the way of science should be integrated and their problems resolved in one united undertaking; the two aspects of truth, internal and external, should develop in full consonance.”

The text also acknowledges the validity of scientific knowledge, and even goes further in suggesting that religious teaching has changed over time to come closer to science. “Today,” it asserts, “people will not accept what is not demonstrable by the logic of science … Indeed, throughout the long course of history, religions have been moving toward the point when their teachings could be elucidated scientifically.”

Continue Reading→

Cremation: An Acceptable Alternative to Burial

By William P. Selig

Bill SeligMany members have asked what is the Unificationist position on cremation. As a dynamic Movement relating to our Heavenly Parent, it is natural our traditions will continue to be reexamined and updated. Such is the case with our position on cremation.

The Tradition, published in 1985, was the first attempt to describe in an orderly form the official traditions of our faith – attendance, prayer, pledge, holy songs, holy salt, holy grounds, tithing, holy days and holidays, and birth and death rituals. It also put in writing for the first time our position on issues such as abortion, contraception, circumcision, as well as cremation.

Regarding cremation, it was declared to be “not in accordance with the Unification view, as it does not allow the physical body a natural return to the physical (material) world.”

Mother’s Position

After the ascension of Rev. Sun Myung Moon in 2012, the movement’s leadership passed to his wife, Mother Hak Ja Han Moon. On the one-year anniversary of Father’s ascension, Dr. Chang Shik Yang, former FFWPU Continental Director, North America, spoke with Mother and asked about cremation. She acknowledged that cremation has become common in Korea among members. Statistics are not available for the movement, but in the general population of Korea, almost 80% of people who die are cremated, while in Japan it is nearly 100%.

According to Seoul’s Hankyoreh newspaper, “A recent study shows eight out of every ten funerals is now carried out by cremation. It’s the result of a combination of factors, including changing family structures, more favorable perceptions among South Koreans, and a lack of space for burials.” There has been a big shift in South Koreans’ thinking due to Western influence and recently a strong government push to consider cremation as a way to save space. A law passed in 2000 requires anyone burying their dead after 2000 to remove the grave 60 years after burial.

Continue Reading→

You Say You Want a Revolution?

ConventionBalloons

By David Eaton

david_eatonIn our current election cycle, we hear the customary calls for “change,” “moving forward,” and getting away from the debilitating “status quo.” Speech after speech is laced with calls for social and political revolution as candidates of both major political parties, as well as a few political outliers, vie for the presidency. Yes, change is necessary, but as we observe, everyone believes in change but no one wants to change what they believe.

Regardless of political affiliation, those seeking the highest political office view government as inimical to effecting change in the manner they consider most beneficial to the common good. Limiting government overreach is a concern of traditional conservatism while expanding the role of government is the aim of the present iteration of liberalism. This is an important debate, however. Whatever side of the political spectrum one chooses to identify with, protecting our civil liberties remains a significant issue.

The advocacy to utilize government censure as a way to achieve social justice is fundamentally at odds with our Constitution, not to mention Divine Principle. Regardless of what one may think about women’s, voters’ and minority rights, etc., we intuit that when freedom is diminished or oppressed, regardless of intention, our portions of responsibility cannot be exercised in a principled fashion and love becomes a casualty. Yet the impulse to coerce via governmental authority has become part and parcel of liberal, progressive orthodoxy when it comes to social matters.

As Charles Krauthammer reminds us, John Stuart Mill — one of the first liberals of the 19th century — argued in his essays, On Liberty, that “truth emerges from an unfettered competition of ideas,” and we improve our individual character when we are allowed to develop our ideas in a free and open society without coercion. Free speech zones, prohibitions on religious belief, ruling by judicial fiat — Mill would consider these to be an affront to a truly liberal society and a shift toward a dystopian culture. Today’s postmodern iteration of liberalism is a far cry from that of Mill, or even that of senators Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson and Daniel Patrick Moynihan, or House Speaker Tip O’Neill.

Continue Reading→

The Third Great Awakening

By Hugh Spurgin

This article is adapted from a sermon delivered May 15, 2016, in the UTS Chapel to a FFWPU New York regional congregation.

UTS 43rd Street

We are living in a special time in history due to the role and mission of the co-founders of the Unification movement, the Reverend Sun Myung Moon and his wife, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon.  The time of Jesus was a period of transition from an old world to a new one when a new religion was born.   It took nearly 400 years for that religion, Christianity, to gain acceptance by the Roman Empire.   It will not take centuries for the Unification movement to be accepted because events are happening much more quickly in our lifetime.  It will take decades, not centuries.

Jesus proclaimed good news based on a new revelation that established a new religion.  Externally at that time, the power of the Roman army created stability in the Mediterranean world, establishing the Pax Romana that allowed Christianity to spread widely.  At the same time, new mystery religions internally caused uncertainty and insecurity for people; even Christianity had many different sects.

Out of that confusion, an entirely new world, not just a new religion, emerged.

There is a parallel between the Roman Empire 2,000 years ago and America after World War II.  The power of the American military and economy provided for a time of relative peace and stability called the Pax Americana.  Yet in the 1970s, when Rev. and Mrs. Moon arrived in the U.S., America was in a chaotic state.  Many people were confused and could not understand what was happening.  From my perspective, America was in a state of decline.  There was a danger that the United States would fall in the same way that Rome did when Christianity emerged.

During that time, Father and Mother Moon played a major role in helping to revive America, even though most people still do not know their historical role. Nor did people know who Jesus was, since very few people heard about him.

Continue Reading→

Cognitive Dissonance and the Human Fall

67072032.m7FEN4ki.Mainz69

By Gordon L. Anderson

GordonI find it increasingly difficult to talk about the human fall in a secular culture by using scriptural justifications. The Divine Principle is a book written in the language and culture of Judeo-Christian thought, but the language of our current culture is more shaped by universities than by churches. I have found audiences show greater understanding of concepts like the Fall when using terms from social psychology.

Reaction and integrity

My basic position is that reaction is a characteristic of the growth stage and integrity is characteristic of the perfection stage or maturity. Adam and Eve were given a commandment “not to eat of the fruit” when they were children because they did not live in a state of integrity, and were subject to impulsive reactions. Adam and Eve fell at the top of the growth stage through such a reaction and disobeyed the commandment. If they had reached integrity they would understand the consequence of their actions and would not have acted blindly. Obeying the commandment would have kept them on course so they could each grow to maturity and be in a position to raise children from integrity before consummating their marriage.

Cognitive dissonance

The concept of “cognitive dissonance” can help us understand the motivation for the human Fall. Cognitive dissonance is when we expect one thing based on our beliefs and understandings, but experience something else. Cognitive dissonance causes frustration and is uncomfortable.

Continue Reading→

Scripture, Authority and Lineage in Unificationism

collage1

By Jack LaValley

Jack LaValleyRecent events in our movement provide us the opportunity to review mainstream Unification teachings. Not to do so is tantamount to reneging on our responsibility to “usher in the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.”

In this article, I examine the role of sacred texts and spiritual authority, then tackle change of blood lineage theology. Addressing these two areas will enable us to more quickly reach our desired destination. Our destiny is to be in a living relationship with the living God, as explained to us by Rev. Sun Myung Moon in his historic speech, “God’s Hope for Man.”

Sacred scriptures and spiritual authority

According to Rev. Moon, “The Bible is…not the truth itself, but rather is a textbook teaching the truth (Divine Principle, p. 105; cf. DP, pp. 7, 104).”  He did not accept the doctrine of verbal inerrancy of the Bible as taught by fundamentalists and some evangelical churches. He approached the Bible as an authoritative text not to be taken literally in all matters, and open to interpretation. We ought to adopt the same approach regarding any sacred texts sanctioned by our religious authorities.

Prior to his death on Sept. 2, 2012 (Sept. 3, Seoul time), Rev. Moon compiled his “last words I will give to humankind” into eight textbooks which he believed reveal the essence of his teachings, and he admonished his followers that by studying these texts the will of God will be realized on the earth.  Since Moon’s passing, his surviving widow, Mrs. Hak Ja Han Moon — known by devoted followers as Mother Moon — guided in 2013 the publication of a new three-volume set of holy scriptures, and church officials now encourage followers to study those texts to gain a correct view of God’s will.

Continue Reading→

A European Earthquake of Epic Proportions

united kingdom exit from europe relative image

By Graham Simon

gs-1308On June 23, Britain held a referendum in which the public voted whether to remain part of the European Union (EU) or leave. While 48.1% chose to stay, 51.9% chose to leave.

The result reflected deep-seated frustrations within the British people, which had built up over an extended period of time, that neither UK politicians nor the leaders of the EU had fully recognised or made any meaningful attempt to address.

To grasp the truly momentous significance of this decision to leave the EU and its implications for Britain, Europe and the rest of the world requires some understanding of the political, economic and social history of Europe since the 1950s.

Following the Second World War, there was a resolve among mainland European leaders, particularly the French and Germans, not to allow the rivalries that had devastated the continent over the previous decades to occur again. In 1957, six nations — France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg — signed the Treaty of Rome with the aim of creating a single economic market for the free movement of goods and services, capital and labour.

The economic union known as the European Economic Community (EEC) came into force ten years later in 1967. In 1973, Britain joined the club along with Denmark and Ireland. By 1986, the nine had become the twelve, bringing in Greece, Spain and Portugal, and in 1995, they were joined by Austria, Finland and Sweden.

In 1991, with the passage of the Maastricht Treaty, the EEC dropped the word “economic” from its name and soon thereafter became commonly known as the European Union. The Maastricht Treaty also heralded the formation of a common currency bloc, with member countries adopting a single currency, the euro. Britain opted out and kept its own currency, sterling.

Continue Reading→

Can the Humanities Still Humanize?

139270154717183

By David Eaton

david_eaton“The humanities are ruined, and the universities full of crooks. Art in America is neglected, coddled, and buried under chatter. The right looks down on artists; the left looks down on everyone.”

This caustic bit of pessimism is from a 2005 interview by Robert Birnbaum with Camille Paglia in the online magazine The Morning News. Paglia is one of the great straight-shooters in contemporary academic circles and a provocative read.

Though I share some of the pessimistic derision Paglia expresses regarding the perfidy of the “effete literati” (her term) that is now ensconced as the arbiters of cultural discernments and values, I remain hopeful that we can find our way out of the malaise of misguided misreadings regarding art, culture and the human condition. It is without question the humanities as understood and appreciated by those of a generation or two ago have undergone a radical transformation due to the pervasive and deleterious effects of postmodernism and political correctness. But this is not a new phenomenon.

In 1977, the American sociologist Peter L. Berger despaired over the condition of American universities as they evolved into “vast identity workshops,” where “for four years…students sit under trees with their shoes off and engaged in the not so arduous task of finding out who they really are.” For Berger, this kind of speculative navel-gazing had the effect of turning students into creatures of comfort rather than inquisitive seekers of higher knowledge.

In his book, The Victim’s Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind, literary and film critic Bruce Bawer alludes to the stark contrast between John Stuart Mill and his advocacy of free speech as an essential characteristic of university culture, and neo-Marxist Herbert Marcuse, who called for “the withdrawal of toleration of speech and assembly” from groups and movements that didn’t advocate the leftist, progressive agenda.

Continue Reading→