Religions that Thrive and Religions that Die

By Ronald Brown

Jacques Marion is one of those first generation Unificationists who, he told me, “dropped everything” when he met Reverend Moon and set off to spread the teachings and vision of Unificationism to the world.

He described his years as a missionary in Russia and Africa and the enthusiastic welcome the movement is receiving there. He concluded that it was in times of turmoil and trouble that people are most open to new and often radical solutions. Russia and Africa were in such states when he was there and largely remain so until today.

My conversation with Jacques and other Unificationist missionaries evoked major questions regarding how religions take root, thrive or die.

Why did Buddhism thrive in China, Korea, Japan, and South Asia, while it all but disappeared in its Indian homeland? Why did the Russians adopt Greek and not Roman Christianity, or even Judaism, Islam, or Buddhism as their national religion? Why is Evangelical Christianity sweeping the USA while mainline Christian churches are at best lingering?

In Paris this past summer, I decided to explore how Catholicism became and remains the dominant religion of France. My experience there led me to reflect on how Unificationism might fare in Africa.

The Thermes de Cluny: The latest in modern technology

In the early centuries after Christ, the Gauls swept out of the forests of northern Europe, eliminating all traces of Roman civilization in front of them. They sacked Rome in 387 B.C. but mighty Rome was not so easily humbled. Rome drove them out and back into their primeval forests. Finally, between 58 and 51 B.C. Julius Caesar conquered the barbaric Gauls and founded the city of Lutetia along the banks of the Seine River among the local Gallic tribe of the Parisii.

Little remains of the Roman town of Lutetia except for the underground ruins of the Roman Northern Baths beneath the ruins of the medieval Monastery of Cluny. Of all that remains of the ancient Roman bathhouse the most impressive and insightful was a massive marble bathtub dating from the 2nd century. According to the sign, the tub was made in Rome and brought to Lutetia to serve the ruling elite in the gigantic domed bathhouse.

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Where Are We Going and How and Why?

By Michael Hentrich

In some ways it seems our movement is suffering from an identity crisis.

Many of us are not really clear about where we are going or how we are trying to get there and why, even if we are doing our best to unite with True Mother. (The “we” in this article addresses Unificationists who understand Rev. and Mrs. Moon as the True Parents of humankind and who strive to fulfill their vision and directions)

Everything Father asked us to do was for multiple purposes. When we did campaigns, for example, we did it for our own spiritual experience and development, to make a good condition for ourselves, for the movement, for America and the providence, and usually it was to help create social and political capital so Father could get more social and political leverage and influence.

In addition, it was also to create a mechanism by which to overcome the exploding world population (there are 1.6 million more people on this earth every week!). And, it was also to stir up, inspire and motivate the spirit world.

When we went to workshops, it was to improve our personal understanding, elevate our ancestors, and hopefully improve our level of enthusiasm and commitment to the providential life we live every day.

When we went to Cheongpyeong, it was to bring healing to our ancestors and other spirits who were dragging us down, clean up our own spirit, nurture us through the educational classes, and hopefully inspire and empower us to be more active and effective back home.

So, there were multiple reasons for everything that we and Father did.

What about our lives today? What are we doing and why? Where are we trying to go in the long-term and short-term? We like to do campaigns, events and programs. That is what we did for the past 40 years. We should keep doing them. We know how to do them. We can bring some guests. We felt good doing them and we could make a positive report to headquarters and to True Parents.

Did we bring success? It depends what we were trying to accomplish. What were we trying to accomplish? People participated in our campaigns, events and programs, but too often they didn’t go deeper with us and become members. Why not?

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Fish Follow the Fisherman

By Allan Hokanson

In the early 1960s, in the little-known land of Korea, a man with a great vision had begun the work of developing the ocean’s resources by tending fish traps on the coastal mud flats.

He then looked toward the oceans of the world with the heart to provide food for all humankind facing the world’s growing population and the shrinking resources on land.

Meanwhile, across the ocean in the USA, and unknown to me, I was being prepared to take up the challenge of a life with God on the ocean. From the day I stepped aboard a boat bound for Alaska in 1966, my life would never be the same.

In a few years, our paths would converge. Rev. Sun Myung Moon came to America in the early 1970s with a plan that included unlocking the secrets of the ocean.

As the first captain of his boat, the New Hope, I had the great fortune to be with him from the beginning of the ocean providence in America. Suddenly I found myself at the controls of a high-performance sport fishing boat with Rev. Moon at my side — his life in my hands.

The hours at the controls seemed unending as records fell to this extremely successful fisherman. Every day the first three fish were released so they could “bring back their friends,” and it seemed to work as we loaded the boat with them all.

However, more important than navigation skills was my need to unite in heart with True Father (as I came to know him). I was determined to keep up and have the boat ready whenever he was ready to go.

Father never slept on the boat for more than three hours a night. Also, he never ate more than one meal on the boat each day.

Sometimes, his directions were contrary to my own thinking or experience. In such cases, it became necessary to let go of my concepts and find a way to accomplish his desire safely.

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Innate Conscience and World Peace

By Jeanne Carroll

As a young child, my friends next door had their grandmother living with them. She was a plump white-haired lady who spoke with a lilting Irish brogue. I so enjoyed listening to her speak.

One day my mom let me know that I shouldn’t talk to her anymore because we didn’t like her.

Shortly afterward, I broke a lamp. When asked by my infuriated mother if I did it, I simply said, “No.” I learned that by going against my inner voice and lying, I deflected punishment.

In summer 1964, I was eight years old. I happened to walk by a TV and saw men fighting on the streets with police officers. There were riots in New York and that scene sent a shudder of fear up my spine that I never had felt before. I knew someplace deep inside that this should not be happening.

On September 11, 2001, after watching the plumes of black smoke rise from the buildings of lower Manhattan from my window, I was sickened by the thought I would someday have to forgive the people who were responsible for that terrible devastation. Like all people, I wrestle with my conscience.

In a world where technology is king, it is easy see how the tools that humans are born with could be overlooked. As a long-forgotten super power, our conscience patiently waits to be used to its full potential.

Some consider “innate conscience” to be the basis of a philosophical debate, that conscience is formed only as an individual is introduced to family, society and culture. I maintain that innate conscience is a birthright bestowed on all humans equally. It is recorded in the Bible that after God completed each day of creation, God saw that it was good.  Therefore, all creation is the embodiment of God from birth or from the beginning, not only after maturity, religious ceremony or some other stipulation.

“Internal nature and external form refer to corresponding inner and outer aspects of the same entity” (Exposition of the Divine Principle, p. 17) which are in place at the time of birth. God desperately wanted an object partner in the form of children to love and to be loved by, embodying goodness. God, just as any parent, could take delight in them from birth. All people were born equipped with an inner knowing of their personalized innate conscience.

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