The Merit of the Age (Or, Why I Am an Optimist)

By David Balise

What is this time in which we are living?  The rapid changes taking place now are constantly in the news: globalization, the transforming effects of technology and communication advances, the looming possibilities of artificial intelligence, driverless cars, and the increasing ability of machines to do what used to be done by humans, to name a few.

But what about the internal side of this era?  Unificationists have a dramatic insight here.  Divine Principle explains that the great acceleration of external advances we are seeing has an internal cause, a “merit of the age.”

As Divine Principle says, “spiritual and intellectual levels have gradually been elevated due to the merit of the age,” “the merit of the age has increased in proportion to the foundation of heart,” and “with the flow of history, humankind’s spirituality has become enlightened due to the merit of the age in the providence of restoration.”

We are probably much too close to this historic transformation to understand it very well; in time the changes we are living through will become much clearer.  But it’s very helpful to have some kind of framework to understand, as best we can, the internal changes taking place, and our role in those changes.

When I reflect on the work of the Unification movement and of Reverend and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon (referred to by Unificationists as Father and Mother, or True Parents), I find it helpful to think of it in three broad areas.  Together, I believe these three areas represent substantial fruits of the merit of the age.  In some areas the changes are more visible, while in other areas they are still mostly hidden.  Time will show their true worth.

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