Unconscious First Principles

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.

Continue Reading—>

Heavenly Parent and the God of Dual Characteristics

By Tyler Hendricks

Soon after the ascension of her husband, Rev. Sun Myung Moon (for Unificationists, Father Moon), Dr. Hak Ja Han (Mother Moon) said that God is Hanul Bumo, Korean for Heavenly Parent(s). She thus upended 2,000 years of Christian understanding as well as the normative understanding of her own movement.

Some criticized her pronouncement and used it to justify rebellion. None of those people, to my knowledge, provided a meaningful theological basis for the rejection of Heavenly Parent.

Happily, others, including Dr. Ye Jin Moon and Dr. Andrew Wilson, developed meaningful theological reflections on God as Heavenly Parent. In 2013, I published on this blog an inquiry on the subject, and I appreciate the responses to it from both Dr. Moon and Dr. Wilson. Since then, I’ve continued my exploration into the idea of God as Heavenly Parent.

My purpose here is to show that the doctrine of God’s dual characteristics in Exposition of the Divine Principle (henceforth, Exposition) supports Mother Moon’s appellation of God as Heavenly Parent.

The Ontological God and Economic God

I begin with an important distinction. I will be talking about the dual characteristics in terms of the beginning of creation, the God beyond time and space, which I term the ontological God. God in relationship to time and space is the economic God. I derive these terms from the Christian theological categories applied to the Trinity. There is the ontological Trinity, God outside time and space, and the economic Trinity, God in relation to time and space. The subject of this article is Exposition’s teachings on the ontological God, which it calls the causal reality.” (p. 15)

Continue Reading—>

The Impossibility of God’s Ideal Without Angels

By Kathleen Burton

Why does Divine Principle place little emphasis on the topic of angels, yet our lives, in restoration history in what is now Heavenly Parent’s Holy Community, are based on the failure of a human/angelic relationship?

Furthermore, the Principle of Creation gives no guidelines for ideal interactions between the two worlds. True Mother (Mrs. Hak Ja Han) expects Heavenly Parent’s Holy Community to be the harbinger of world peace and God’s ideal, yet the contingency of that reality must manifest not only in our human world but in the angelic one as well.

This is God’s Original Design. We are not meant to have all the answers, yet Heavenly Parent does not usually use divine revelation in these matters. True Father had to work hard to understand the Fall. The same is expected of us. In a post-Foundation Day reality, we must work hard to ask the questions that lead to the “what should have been” in the first human/angelic relationship.

One reality is we do not have an even playing field. First, there are no experts on angels. Second, our Western membership has a great advantage with a Judeo-Christian foundation of over 300 references to angels in the Bible.  Nora Spurgin’s Circles of Angels remains untranslated, hence unavailable especially to our Asian membership.

Here, I examine the Christian tradition’s scholarship on angels as a base from which to work. I then compare it to the base of human growth in Divine Principle. If we were originally created to work together there must be a model. We begin to explore that possibility.

Christian tradition developed “The Celestial Hierarchy” of the angelic world. After my exploratory research, there emerged a relationship between this nine-level hierarchy and the nine levels of human growth from the Principle of Creation. Let’s look at each briefly and then consider this relationship.

Continue Reading—>

Are UTS Graduates Able to Engage Theologically With Christian Ministers?

By Robert Duffy

In taking online courses offered by Unification Theological Seminary in the past nine months, my amazement at the theological power of the Divine Principle has been renewed.

In the early 1970s, I was a DP lecturer at the International Training Center at the Belvedere Estate, north of New York City, and had the privilege to lecture many of the state leaders and others who went on to become international foreign missionaries in 1975.

At that time, under Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s personal direction, we lectured the DP almost verbatim, but from memory, not from notes, and the most important feature of our lectures was indeed the emotional and intellectual balance in our presentations, much like exists in the DP itself. Passion and logic were close friends in those lectures.

Is UTS turning out theologically-trained pastors and ministers of the Word who are able to engage with their Episcopal, Methodist and Roman Catholic counterparts in an informed and cogent way? Are there any Doctors of Theology or of the History of Christian Thought in our camp who can lead the way in helping to bridge the current chasm between mainstream Christianity and Unificationism? Is there a possibility of reviving the incredible excitement generated in an earlier period when UTS hosted theological conferences that challenged and inspired theological discourse in the time after the “Death of God”?

As I see it, our principal issue as Unificationists with regard to our Christian friends is that we don’t know how to adequately respond to the centrally-held tenets of Christianity:

Continue Reading—>

A Response to Andrew Wilson’s Article on the Only Begotten Daughter

By Claude A. Perrottet

This recent article, “Why Does True Mother Call Herself the Only Begotten Daughter?” by Andrew Wilson suggests that True Mother has chosen to lower herself by taking on the title of Only Begotten Daughter in reaction to failure and opposition.

While acknowledging the many insights of this factual article, I submit that True Mother (Mrs. Hak Ja Han) has not lowered herself at all, but promotes this view much in line with her role as the first woman in history to fulfill the purpose of creation. Being humble, at least here, does not mean lowering oneself.

It is undoubtedly true that True Mother had no choice but to engage in a sustained effort to create a foundation for herself, just as Jesus and later True Father had been forced to do. And it is obviously true that True Mother had to start her lonely course under circumstances that were not the ones she or anyone would have hoped for (an understatement).

True Father was entirely victorious, but he was largely deprived of the fruits of his victory, and so were God and humankind. In True Family and our movement at large, fractures had begun to appear even before True Father passed on to spirit world.

I never had any doubts about the status of True Mother before, during, or after True Father’s ascension, and believe I am part of an overwhelming majority on this point. However, when we first heard the expression “Only Begotten Daughter,” several thoughts came to mind.

Continue Reading—>

Sun Myung Moon, Spiritual Virtuoso

By Laurent Ladouce

Reverend Sun Myung Moon was born one hundred years ago in 1920. He was certainly the most global leader to come from Korea.

During his life, he built a universal movement, which gained worldwide attention in a very short period. Most observers were puzzled to see that a religious leader could conduct activities in strategic sectors so quickly and efficiently. Reverend Moon often claimed to be a very versatile person and that he had fought to achieve his mission with an extreme sense of urgency.

This versatility and velocity make him a model of a spiritual virtuoso, a concept first coined by German sociologist Max Weber.

First of all, what is virtuosity?

Having outstanding musical technique in the mastery of one or several instruments is called virtuosity. The virtuoso can play complex compositions with dexterity, velocity and mastery.

Bach, Mozart and Beethoven were geniuses in composition as well as virtuoso instrumentalists. When a genius composes profound music and plays it in a virtuosic manner, the audience receives this as sublime beauty.

In classical music, virtuosity is enhanced by live performances in concerts. With the strong communion and support from the conductor and public, the virtuoso may look possessed, as if in a trance.

A devout believer may be disturbed by the Weberian concept of spiritual virtuosity. Virtuosity belongs to the world of the arts, and it procures sensual pleasure and aesthetic stimulation, whereas spirituality aims at elevating and purifying the soul. Moreover, even in the world of the arts, virtuosity is sometimes looked down upon as being vain, self-aggrandizing and narcissistic.

Continue Reading—>

Unification Faith Parenting: Thirteen Best Practices

By Jennifer Tanabe

Unification Faith Parenting: 13 Best Practices, by Michael H. Kiely, a recent publication I edited, is based on his dissertation for the Doctor of Ministry degree at Unification Theological Seminary.

Much more than an academic exercise, it documents the real-life faith parenting experiences of six Unification families, an opportunity for first generation parents and their adult second generation children to share what worked and what didn’t in passing on their faith.

Their honest testimonies are fascinating, funny, heartbreaking, and enlightening. They faced practical as well as spiritual challenges, adapted when things went wrong, and celebrated when they experienced success. The understanding gained from their experiences is presented in the form of 13 “best practices”:

1. Attend passionately
2. Model attendance with love
3. Read the word together and translate it
4. Trust in heaven and in original nature
5. Love each other, and love children unconditionally
6. Know and understand them
7. Converse with them
8. Practice heavenly tradition together
9. Pray for them
10. Protect their virginity for the blessing
11. Liberate ancestors and other spirits and bless them
12. Create and shape the environment
13. Keep learning, adapting and trying new things

Continue Reading—>

Imagining the Third Millennium

By Ronald Brown

As I walked into the monumental replica of the Temple of Solomon in a slum of São Paulo, Brazil, I was struck by the other-worldly atmosphere of the holy place.

Ushers were dressed in tunics and sashes like Jesus might have worn. In the center of the stage stood a gilded replica of the Ark of the Covenant with two angels keeping guard. Rows of temple candlesticks, menorahs, lined the walls, and copies of the Ten Commandments, Stars of David, and a plethora of other Judaica filled the interior. Forgotten was the downtrodden neighborhood in São Paulo. The congregation was treading the sacred ground of Jerusalem as Jesus had over two millennia ago.

Humans have never been satisfied with the world as it actually exists. Robins have built the same nests since time immemorial, but humans are never content with the world as it is. From the founding of the first Jewish Kingdom under Kings David and Solomon to the Marxist utopia of the Soviet Union, from Catholic monasteries to the Mormon utopia of Deseret, and from California communes to the Islamic State of ISIS, humans forever seek to fashion a perfect world out of the mud and rock of this world.

As I’ve argued on this blog, religion is the human quest to create a perfect human being inhabiting a perfect world. All else, gods and spirits, heavens and hells, creation stories and future bliss, rituals and theologies, are but commentary on this human quest. Here I focus on four of the most exciting experiments in religious engineering I studied during my 2019-20 university winter break in Brazil, Mexico and New York.

Envisioning the Third Millennium

As humanity plunges into the Third Millennium, chaos may best describe our condition. Global warming, epidemics, economic rivalries, wars of religion, immorality, crime, homelessness, the spread of nuclear weapons, and a host of other problems cause many to view the new millennium with fear.

Continue Reading—>

The Lost Lambs: One Mother’s Reflection on the Alienation of Unification Youth

By Maree P. Gauper

“What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the slopes and go in search of the one that has wandered off?”

— Matthew 18:12

The Unification Movement has no shortage of programs for youth. In addition to Sun Moon University in Korea, there is CARP (Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles), GPA (Generation Peace Academy), the Youth Federation for World Peace, the Crane’s Club, and many other youth-centered organizations.

When I see groups such as CARP or GPA at public events, they are truly an inspiration and are some of the loveliest fruits of the decades-long global investment of True Parents.

Yet there is a part of me that always hurts at the same time, a part that asks, “What about the other children?” I mean, the ones who were raised in the movement but became estranged.

I can think of so many families where all three, four or more siblings became completely disengaged from the church after high school. (Note: This is not a data-driven study based on scientific research. It is simply one mother’s personal experience and observations)

Continue Reading—>