By David Eaton
Since the tragic death of George Floyd, the United States has experienced societal convulsions not seen since the social unrest of the 1960s. Protests, violent and non-violent, have caused great distress in many American cities and communities.
This crisis has highlighted several significant socio-political issues including racial inequality, police brutality, poverty, family breakdown, and gender equality. Consequently, the role of political and spiritual leaders in ameliorating many of these injustices is now of great concern.
Needless to say, there have been a plethora of opinions offered to explain the conditions that have resulted in various injustices that have plagued the socio-cultural circumstances in the United States since its founding. The question as to what might be the best solutions to these problems can only be answered when the proper diagnosis of the root cause is identified.
In his advocacy of non-violent solutions for peace and justice, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., often invoked the narrative of “the moral arc of the universe bending towards justice.” Because we all have our portions of responsibility in matters of citizenship, family relations and with our extended communities, we can’t expect that the “moral arc of the universe” will bend toward justice without godly virtues and values being practiced in a forthright manner.
In Social Justice Isn’t What You Think It Is, Michael Novak and Paul Adams explore the origins of the term “social justice” and examine how the concept and its implementation evolved. “Social justice” was coined in the 19th century by Italian Catholic priest Luigi Taparelli d’Azeglio, who asserted it was important to make a distinction between legal justice as implemented by the state and social justice — remedying relational conflicts without state intrusion. As such, the idea of social justice has long been part of the social creed of the Roman Catholic Church and several popes have weighed in on the issue via papal encyclicals.
By Eileen Williams
Reading the memoir, Mother of Peace by Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, became for me a contemplative personal reflection of the labyrinth-like journey of the Unification Church and its metamorphosis into Heavenly Parent’s Holy Community.
I was late to reading True Mother’s memoir. It was daunting. I put it off. When I finally dove in, a few themes struck a reverberant chord: True Mother’s understanding of herself as a historical person, God’s healing power of love and forgiveness, and the singular purpose of the messianic mission.
I was moved by True Mother’s anecdotal retelling of her early life in the first four chapters. Middle chapters lose some of their intimate narrative as they veer towards grandiloquence when describing some of the philosophical underpinnings of the various church organizations; however, there are some powerful testimonies regarding foreign missionary work and True Parents’ visits to countries, unthinkable to visit at the time.
The last third of the book, a head-spinning account of travels to Africa and island nations, highlights behind the scenes activities and their interplay within the international scope of the work of True Parents. Therefore, if the reader perseveres to the end (not a particularly easy task at 359 pages) then he or she could certainly be rewarded — as I was — with an amazing glimpse into a vast global vision whose purpose is to shine a spiritual light onto one’s own personal realm of influence.
By Lorman Lykes
“All things reach perfection after passing through the growing period (the realm of indirect dominion) by virtue of the autonomy and governance given by God’s Principle. Human beings, however, are created in such a way that their growth requires the fulfillment of their own portion of responsibility, in addition to the guidance provided by the Principle.” (Chapter 1, Exposition of the Divine Principle)
Have you ever wondered how long it would take before you uttered the words, “I’m perfect?”
The quotation above succinctly explains the process of reaching the top of the completion stage, which in Unification terminology means reaching perfection as a child of Heavenly Parent.
I would venture that many Unificationists have dismissed the notion of personal perfection at best as far-off in the future and even as an unobtainable. How can Unificationists bridge the gap between the reality and the elusiveness of this lofty ambition?
In attempting to answer this question we must acknowledge that perfection is an ambiguous concept to define. Even though it is at the center of Divine Principle’s understanding of spiritual growth, it carries with it the ethos of Christian theology and secular psychology.
For Unificationists, a reasonable length of time has passed in which a consensus of agreement should have occurred to define clearly and conclusively the meaning, scope and parameters of the presumed goal of our physical life on earth.
What’s more, with a clear definition and understanding of perfection, it would provide for the individuals who exemplify a model of perfection an opportunity to pave the way for others to follow, encouraging them that it is possible.
By John Redmond
Across America, governors, administrators, teachers and parents are sending their children back to school.
A big problem is that the science around preventing the spread of coronavirus is almost completely opposed to the way schools have been designed and run for the last 150 years. When viewed from an epidemiological perspective, “social distancing” and “centralized schools” are almost complete opposites.
This is a perfect time to use the disruption of the Internet and the pandemic to rethink education, from its purpose and desired outcomes to effective use of the new technologies that are quickly becoming universally available. Unification Thought provides a useful framework that can refocus universal education on the skills, abilities and heart necessary for citizens of the 21st century.
The Research Institute for the Integration of World Thought has a great section on the Principles of Education. Several educational philosophies are reviewed and contrasted to Unification Thought.
The ultimate goal of Unification educators is to co-create with the student a person of character and love, a good individual, parent and citizen, and a natural genius. This large and visionary purpose of education is what sets the Unification approach apart from most education policy today.
Education of Heart: Unificationism assumes that human beings have an original nature of love that has to be intentionally and freely cultivated by the parents and the child. This is considered the fundamental goal and foundation of the educational process.
Education of Norm: This is where the student learns how others act and why, and practices the form of relationship that is culturally appropriate. In the best application, children follow role models and learn how to communicate love at many levels.
By Gordon L. Anderson
The bitter partisan divisions in American politics have several roots: political, economic and cultural.
In my 2009 book, Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, Version 4.0, I explain how a number of the political roots, like viruses, particularly through political parties, have hijacked the political system. The economic roots of the struggle essentially boil down to whether policies support an economy based on production for all (a win-win market economy) or taking from one group and giving it to another (a win-lose, hunter-gatherer economy).
This article focuses on the cultural roots of the struggle, looks at how deconstruction brought a crisis to post-modern thought, and considers whether a “constructivist” approach can overcome that crisis.
Several articles on the Applied Unificationism Blog have sought to understand the evolution of the idea of “truth.” Dr. Keisuke Noda discussed (July 23, 2018) the correspondence theory of truth, coherence theory of truth, pragmatic approach to truth, existential approach to truth, linguistic approach to truth, and an integral approach to truth.
I followed up (March 11, 2019) with a discussion of how our level of consciousness affects the way in which we understand the truth. I showed a cultural development of theological consciousness, metaphysical consciousness and scientific consciousness in the study of scripture and also argued for an integral understanding of scriptural truth (inherited cultural narrative).
The Death of Truth
However, we now find ourselves in a world where a significant part of society considers we are in a “post-truth world.” The April 3, 2017 TIME magazine cover story, “Is Truth Dead?” was a replica of TIME’s “Is God Dead?” cover story from April 8, 1966.
By Lorman Lykes
I am one of the early black members of the Unification Church in America, joining in 1973. But as I reflect on my identity, I am the product of conflicting messages regarding my true value in the United States vs. the guiding light message of hope, love and truth which shaped me in the Unification Movement.
Unfortunately, there were times when I could not distinguish which message was the loudest. After many years in a leadership capacity in the movement, I became inactive, preferring to focus on personal spiritual growth.
However, since 2020 has so far proven to be a transition year for enlightening people in America toward understanding the heart of black people, I feel I must express my opinion. Especially, I want to touch on the intersection of race and the Unification Church. I see this time as an opportunity not only for the racial reconciliation of America but also for the fulfillment of Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s vision for this country.
I begin with a statement many are familiar with by Father Moon. When asked in a 1976 interview who was the greatest American leader of the 20th century, he answered: Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. What was the justification for such praise? His wife, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, speaking at the 1985 acceptance speech for Rev. Moon’s honorary doctorate presentation, noted, “At a time when many oppressed people wanted to return hate for hate, Dr. King said, ‘We must return love for hate.’” This was a momentous occasion because it was a Historical Black College that bestowed the honorary doctorate upon Rev. Moon — Shaw Divinity School.
Was it a coincidence that the founder of the international Unification Movement, the embodiment of love for all people, received his honorary degree from a black college founded by ex-slaves? I think not. Black people have had to overcome hate, fear and suffering to learn the lessons of true love, so it foreshadowed things to come.
By Stephen Stacey
Within the Principle framework, social development is primarily seen to be a product of lineage development. If our children are a bit more wholesome than we, then future development is assured. Many parents in the movement are incredibly proud of the remarkable gifts their children embody. The Divine Principle notes social improvement occurs when development happens inside any of the three blessings.
But social improvement based on lineage improvement takes time.
It takes time for individuals to grow so that they can then enter the world and improve the education system, the health system, the legislative framework, the media, the national infrastructure, the way businesses are run, the products companies can make, medicines, the kind of help charities might provide, and what religious communities may be able to offer to the faithful and others — all as a means to improve social outcomes in the next generation.
For example, it took time to develop the education system in the West. But, eventually, each generation grew up to be slightly more skilled than the last.
As this happened, each successive generation typically became slightly wealthier and more capable of protecting itself from the ravages of life. Through taking this natural pathway, the West slowly but surely developed.
However, some can get impatient with this natural law. They might insist that social development should happen much faster, primarily through state intervention. Sometimes, new technology allows for this to happen. But often there is no way to solve a social problem other than for the whole of society to work together to improve the level of wholesomeness of the children we bring into this world.
By John Redmond
Everyone has some blind beliefs about the nature of existence. They will swear that their ideas are well-reasoned, tempered by experience and fully rational — but they are not.
This is due to the fact we do not cause ourselves to come into being. We can never be fully sure that our suppositions about where we came from and what our purpose might be are correct. Most people seize on a likely explanation or adopt their family framework and get on with the business of day-to-day living.
The unusual ones search out the larger truths and struggle to understand the patterns that underlie their assumptions. Based on those assumptions, every human, even non-religious ones, “act in faith.” They make decisions and act as if their concepts are true and blindly hope they are. Even existentialists, proud deniers of doctrine and belief, cling to a first principle of absurdity.
Historically, humans worshipped the sun or nature because of the power those things had over one’s continued existence. As civilizations developed and the forces of nature were tamed, the elite of most societies sought to develop more sophisticated and well-rounded explanations of how things actually were and then what to do about them. They made ontological assumptions.
Much of the conflict in society today comes from people with opposing ontologies, both conscious and unconscious.
Ontology is the philosophical field revolving around the study of the nature of reality (all that is or exists), and the different entities and categories within reality. All ontologies are hypothetical. They are a good guess about how things really work and what is behind them. The way these hypotheses are tested for accuracy is by history. As generations of humans live based on the assumptions of their ontology, they develop all the other philosophical practices based on those primary assumptions. They also test these for efficacy over time.
By Rohan Stefan Nandkisore
To be able to breathe the same air as True Parents on earth is something that seems so normal we sometimes forget how precious it actually is and how privileged we are.
Even though we have the truth, we are still ignorant about True Parents and their course. There are historical examples of how filial piety and resemblance was practiced 2,000 years ago and recited in thousands if not millions of churches every day.
What can we learn from historical examples? In the sometimes dramatic encounters mentioned in the gospels, the disciples of Jesus often do not look very noteworthy in their behavior towards the Lord.
Here, I discuss three challenges to filial piety and resemblance: 1) Ideal and reality; 2) From neglecting to negotiating and arranging with this world; and, 3) The theological confusion surrounding Romans 8:30.
Ideal and Reality
The period of history after Jesus’ passing cannot be understood as one harmonious body of Christ. Numerous different Christian groups, plus the Jewish claim of exclusive choice (Christianity was seen as the true Jewish faith by followers in the beginning), formed a religion causing disagreement among believers, as well as nonbelievers, from the very outset. It used to be common practice for different faith groups to live side-by-side, but with the advent of Christianity, a whirlwind of orthodoxy and intolerance arose that had never been witnessed before.
An experience with the Holy Spirit, caused by a scriptural context attributed to Jesus’ own words, could cause a major misinterpretation of the source — and therefore there were sometimes enduring struggles among competing missionaries.