The Internet as Intentional Communities

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By Andrew Stewart

I.

AndrewStewartAn anecdote often shared among Unificationists about the spirit world is that it is composed of places where like-minded people congregate together. The same largely applies to the Internet, for the most part composed of entirely intentional communities. Every decision to go to a website is mostly intentional, so where you go is very much an expression of personality.

Consider the news websites people go to, the videos they share, the comments we leave. These are all expressions of our unique online personalities. Overall, they generally reflect what we may really think, but doubly so if it’s possible to have a mask on to let no one know who we are.

This is not an assault on anonymity, but consider how anonymity removes the fear of backlash. It usually lets people find out exactly what they think when the pressures of society to conform or behave are removed. What is left is raw personality, which can be very scary, and yet very comforting. A person who behaves exactly the same way knows that they own their own behavior, and for others it lets them know what others have pushed on them. Your spirit is also likely on the same wavelengths as your online behavior, because in the spirit world there is no gap between what you think and what is created around you.

II.

Think of something which makes people very mad, and go to the comment section of any regular news story that deals specifically with that very thing. There’s no guarantee that comments will be intelligent, but people will be posting what they think or feel. Even without anonymous posting, people are probably very quick to judge that specific issue harshly, and the section escalates into an argument. Although it may be a very toxic environment, it means they are being exposed to different ways of thinking, and it is easy to disassociate that the words belong to a living breathing person with hopes and dreams.

On the other hand, it’s very easy to tell when you are in an echo chamber. Everyone agrees with what has been posted, with the things you say. There are no voices of dissent. Echo chambers are much more dangerous to be a part of, because there is no dialogue.

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Reconsidering Divine Principle’s Call to Create a Socialist Ideal

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By Jack LaValley

Jack LaValleyDivine Principle claims the ideals and values embedded in capitalist democratic free markets will give way to a socialist ideal:

“Because human beings are created to live in an ideal society, they will inevitably pursue a socialistic ideal as they strive for freedom and democracy and further search into their original nature (Exposition of the Divine Principle, p. 342).”

Regarding the economic system organized in a socialist society, Divine Principle:

“God’s plan is to develop a socialistic economy, although with a form and content utterly different from the state socialism that communism actually established (p. 341).”

Let’s examine Divine Principle’s call for the creation of a socialist ideal.

In the last 150 years, the Western capitalist system has proved better than any other method devised to produce politically and legally free individuals, distribute products via the free market mechanism and create material prosperity for the individual. In America — still the most prosperous country in the world — people enjoy the freedom to pursue material comfort, a stable democracy, limited government, and peace.

Yet great numbers of individuals in our midst suffer from various forms of mental illness. Available data in the United States on destructive acts such as suicide, homicide, alcoholism, illicit drug use, and a multitude of other psychologically-based disorders, can give us cause to ask if there might be something wrong with our way of life and the aims we are striving for.

Mental health professionals identify three causal factors to mental illness: biological; psychological, and environmental. Outside of genetic factors, brain trauma injuries and neurological disorders, mental illness is often viewed as a deviation from expected social norms and behaviors. Those individuals who break with established social norms and behaviors are viewed as abnormal or mentally ill.

One extreme example of this can be found in the 1970s anti-cult deprogramming phenomenon.

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The Only-Begotten Daughter

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By Andrew Wilson

WilsonSometimes we need theology. In Christian church history, the time theology becomes important is when there are differences of opinion between various leaders or groups of the church, or sects — what in church history came to be known as “heresy.” But “heresy” simply means opinion. To identify truth and distinguish truth from heresy shouldn’t mean to condemn the heretic to the stake — although that often happened in church history. Rather, to distinguish truth from heresy is to properly understand what God is doing and correct misunderstandings. It is the job of the theologian to clarify truth, but not to condemn; it is to clarify what is the core of our salvation.

These days some question, “How can True Mother call herself God’s only begotten Daughter? Was she born sinless? How could she be, when only the Messiah is born sinless?” Nevertheless, True Mother confidently stated at the second anniversary of True Father’s Holy Ascension (Seong Hwa), “I am God’s only-begotten Daughter.”

In fact, this idea can be found in Father’s words. It is in the Cheon Seong Gyeong (both old and revised versions) from a June 1972 speech in which he said, “Where there is an only-begotten Son, there is also an only-begotten Daughter.”

It’s important to understand the meaning of this term to properly honor True Mother as the True Parent, now that True Father has ascended to the heavenly realms.

We are well aware of the common view that True Father, coming on the foundation of Jesus Christ, is sinless. He then takes a woman from the fallen world and raises her up to be the Bride, at which point they become True Parents. From that point of view, Mother up to that time was just an innocent girl living a protected life. All her merit, and everything she had, came from Father.

God’s Equal Love to Man and Woman in the Original Creation

But think about Adam and Eve when God created them. They were brother and sister, each created out of a portion of God’s divine essence. As God is the Heavenly Parent having dual characteristics, God must have poured all of His masculinity into Adam and all of Her femininity into Eve. God then would have raised them individually as His son and Her daughter.

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The Puritan Model of Success

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By Michael Mickler

Mickler full-sizeReverend Sun Myung Moon was a great admirer of the Puritan movement, especially the pilgrims who migrated to Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620.

In “God’s Hope for America” he stated, “The story of the Pilgrims is a classic in God’s history. It fits into the pattern of the righteous people of history.”

What is that pattern?

Rev. Moon highlighted three elements. First, he said, the pilgrims “longed for … [a] new world … [a] new heaven and new earth where they could find freedom to worship God.” Second, they gave up “their families, their relatives, their surroundings, and their country.” Third, they exemplified “total reliance on God.” As Rev. Moon put it, “Their only hope was in God. Every step they took they depended upon God … When they were sick and dying … they turned to God … their life from morning to night, from dusk to dawn, was centered upon the will of God. God was their only comfort, their only hope and their only security.”

These attributes comprised the “internal” aspect of the Puritan pattern or, in Unification terms, their “foundation of faith.”

Rev. Moon also spoke about the “external” aspect of the Puritan pattern. He stated, “the first thing they built was a church … I am sure that after their church they built a school. They wanted outstanding schools for their children, better than any schools existing in the Old World. And their homes came last.”

Mrs. Moon made the same point in a recent address. Referring to the “Pilgrim fathers,” she said, “Before they built homes for themselves, first they built a church; then, for the sake of the future generations, they built a school, and then finally they built their own homes. That’s the … course that humankind should follow.”

Church, school and family (represented by homes) comprised the “external” aspect of the Puritan pattern, their “foundation of substance.”

Taken together, the internal (attitudinal) and external (institutional) patterns constituted the Puritan model of success.

How does this relate to Unificationism?

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