The Ethics of Care

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By Keisuke Noda

Keisuke_NodaThe ethics of care is an emerging discipline developed by feminist ethicists in the latter half of the 20th century. It has gradually gained support from non-feminist ethicists and is now examined not as a feminist ethics but as a possible general ethical theory.

Care ethics has three main characteristics:

  • It views the human being as interdependent, who values caring relationships and recognizes the family as the primary setting where interdependence is evident and caring relationships are cultivated.
  • It recognizes the moral value of emotional feelings and emotion-based virtues such as benevolence, empathy, receptivity, and sensitivity.
  • It acknowledges the moral value of partiality in intimate relationships, such as those defined by family ties and close friendships.

This article considers each of these characteristics, notes criticism from traditional ethicists, examines the Unificationist perspective, and suggests that it offers the basis for a global ethic.

 Interdependence. Major proponents of this theory such as Carol Gilligan, Virginia Held and Nel Noddings argue that dominant modern ethics, such as Kantian ethics and utilitarianism which they characterize as ethics of justice, were built upon the assumption that the human being is an autonomous, rational, independent individual.

Care ethicists disagree. They point out the fact that no human can survive without caring adults who nurture and raise him or her at the early stages of life. Later in life, one also becomes dependent upon others who take care of them. It is an illusory view, care ethics theorists argue, that a human being is independent. Rather, they argue that an adequate ethical theory must be built upon the understanding that human beings are essentially interdependent.

This insight is similar to the Unificationist understanding of co-existence. One’s identity is not an isolated, atomic entity. It is intertwined with others.

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The Third Great Awakening

By Hugh Spurgin

This article is adapted from a sermon delivered May 15, 2016, in the UTS Chapel to a FFWPU New York regional congregation.

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We are living in a special time in history due to the role and mission of the co-founders of the Unification movement, the Reverend Sun Myung Moon and his wife, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon.  The time of Jesus was a period of transition from an old world to a new one when a new religion was born.   It took nearly 400 years for that religion, Christianity, to gain acceptance by the Roman Empire.   It will not take centuries for the Unification movement to be accepted because events are happening much more quickly in our lifetime.  It will take decades, not centuries.

Jesus proclaimed good news based on a new revelation that established a new religion.  Externally at that time, the power of the Roman army created stability in the Mediterranean world, establishing the Pax Romana that allowed Christianity to spread widely.  At the same time, new mystery religions internally caused uncertainty and insecurity for people; even Christianity had many different sects.

Out of that confusion, an entirely new world, not just a new religion, emerged.

There is a parallel between the Roman Empire 2,000 years ago and America after World War II.  The power of the American military and economy provided for a time of relative peace and stability called the Pax Americana.  Yet in the 1970s, when Rev. and Mrs. Moon arrived in the U.S., America was in a chaotic state.  Many people were confused and could not understand what was happening.  From my perspective, America was in a state of decline.  There was a danger that the United States would fall in the same way that Rome did when Christianity emerged.

During that time, Father and Mother Moon played a major role in helping to revive America, even though most people still do not know their historical role. Nor did people know who Jesus was, since very few people heard about him.

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Cognitive Dissonance and the Human Fall

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By Gordon L. Anderson

GordonI find it increasingly difficult to talk about the human fall in a secular culture by using scriptural justifications. The Divine Principle is a book written in the language and culture of Judeo-Christian thought, but the language of our current culture is more shaped by universities than by churches. I have found audiences show greater understanding of concepts like the Fall when using terms from social psychology.

Reaction and integrity

My basic position is that reaction is a characteristic of the growth stage and integrity is characteristic of the perfection stage or maturity. Adam and Eve were given a commandment “not to eat of the fruit” when they were children because they did not live in a state of integrity, and were subject to impulsive reactions. Adam and Eve fell at the top of the growth stage through such a reaction and disobeyed the commandment. If they had reached integrity they would understand the consequence of their actions and would not have acted blindly. Obeying the commandment would have kept them on course so they could each grow to maturity and be in a position to raise children from integrity before consummating their marriage.

Cognitive dissonance

The concept of “cognitive dissonance” can help us understand the motivation for the human Fall. Cognitive dissonance is when we expect one thing based on our beliefs and understandings, but experience something else. Cognitive dissonance causes frustration and is uncomfortable.

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Want To Be a Minister?

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By Tyler Hendricks

14_12_CfE_Tyler 10.55.08 pmThe path to professional ministry would seem to be simple, but it is very complex — for the aspirant and for the community they hope to serve.

In order to ordain their spiritual leaders, i.e., pastors, religious institutions have to: define their purposes, their beliefs, their standards of practice for members as well as leaders, put all this in writing, and set up methods to inculcate these things. Methods include general pastoral care and education as well as pastor preparation, measuring people’s performance in achieving them, and helping people overcome their failures in achieving them.

One indicator of the difficulties involved is that our Unification community, after over 60 years of formal existence and spreading throughout the world, has no ordination. What does one do to become a Unificationist pastor? What do pastors do? Do we even want pastors? Should pastors get paid? How do we assign a pastor to a congregation? By election or appointment? We have no formal or consistent answers to these questions.

Another indicator is the fact that it was not until now that we in the U.S. have set forth publically what it means to be a Unificationist, what is unique about us, what is our position on smoking and drinking, abortion, religious freedom, and many such matters (to get involved in this discussion, see the PDF “FAQ” on the FFWPU-USA site).

From the viewpoint of human history, this is not surprising. It takes religions a long time to decide these things. And there is a very compelling reason: in reality, for religions that last, the answers to these questions are not decided by theory, but by practice. We could call it “form follows function,” or use the traditional saying, “necessity is the mother of invention.”

What follows is a progress report on how this is working for our Unificationist community here in the U.S.

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An Inquiry into “Parallels of History”

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By Michael Mickler

Michael_MicklerUnificationists are, if anything, a people who take their history seriously. Reverend Moon continually spoke of divine providence in his speeches and sermons. Wolli Kangron (1966), translated into English as Divine Principle (1973) and Exposition of the Divine Principle (1996), also focuses to a large extent upon historical matters, devoting more than half its content to a comprehensive survey of salvation history.

Unificationists, likewise, are encouraged to view themselves as being responsible for “all the unaccomplished missions of past prophets and saints who were called in their time to carry the cross of restoration.”

A striking feature of Unification theology is its exposition of “parallels” in history. The basic premise is when a “central figure” fails to fulfill his or her portion of responsibility, God will set up another person in place of the former.

This applies not only to individuals but also to collectives. The Principle focuses special attention on “parallels of history” between Judaism and Christianity. It highlights six specific parallels:

  1. Israelite slavery in Egypt and Christian persecution under the Roman Empire;
  2. Israelite conquest of Canaan under the Judges and Christian conquest of Rome under the patriarchs;
  3. The United Kingdom under King David and the Holy Roman Empire under Emperor Charlemagne;
  4. The Divided Kingdoms of North and South (Israel and Judah) after Solomon and the Divided Kingdoms of East and West (Germany and France) after Charlemagne’s successors;
  5. Jewish Captivity and Return (from Babylon) and Papal Exile and Return (from Avignon, France);
  6. Jewish Preparation for the Advent of the Messiah (from Malachi) and Christian Preparation for the Second Advent of the Messiah (from Luther).

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Transcending Cain and Abel: Revolutionary and Reactionary Consciousness

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By Gordon L. Anderson

GordonIn the Divine Principle, the biblical story of Cain and Abel is seen as two brothers in a fallen family. Abel’s offering was accepted by God and Cain’s was not; Cain got angry and killed Abel and then fled his parents to start a new life. Abel is described as “closer to God,” but his consciousness is still that of an immature son and not a mature parent.

I often think of Cain and Abel as representing reactionary and revolutionary consciousness in the wider political spheres we see around us today. By “revolutionary” I mean the idea of “revolt” like Cain’s, and not peaceful revolution. These two different approaches to politics each claim to be right and when they compete with one another for political power, often end up repeating the “Fall” on a national scale.

Human society is always evolving as changes in science, technology and population lead to changes in human life. The reactionary refuses to adapt and looks for refuge in the past. The revolutionary recognizes the need for change but wants to violently jettison the past. The French Revolution and Communist Revolution in Russia are examples of “Cain-type” revolutions that led to violence and murder on a massive scale. By wiping out the traditional “reactionary” rulers, the Ancien Regime in France or the Czarist feudal system in Russia, and starting over, creating a new society, they ended up re-inventing many wheels and causing much evil, death and human suffering.

In developmental psychology, Cain and Abel attitudes represent typical responses of children who begin to compare and question at age 12 or 13. Children are born like sponges and soak up the environment of their parents and nurturers; they initially know no other way of life than the traditions they are given. However, as they begin to individuate, particularly in middle school, they begin to compare their lives to those of other schoolmates who came from different homes, with differences in wealth, discipline, religion, family integrity, etc.

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My Journey to Become a Hospital Chaplain

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By William P. Selig

WS CU cropIt was early morning at the hospital when I was called to an elderly patient’s room. The son and his family had driven all night to be there. As I entered the room, it was as if a curtain was being drawn open, a spotlight appeared, the audience hushed, and the performance was about to begin. There were no introductions, not a single word was spoken. Somehow everyone “knew” me. Frankly, they knew me even better than I did – the chaplain is here.

In that spirit-filled atmosphere, my heart “heard” and understood that we were in the midst of a sacred moment. We stood around the bed and held hands. As a prayer came from my lips, in the background I could hear the weeping of the family and relatives. When I stopped speaking and opened my eyes, I felt like a spent rain cloud. Everyone was looking at me. After a moment, the patient whispered, “Thank you, pastor. Your words filled my soul.”

So many times I have seen how the power of prayer brings a sense of connection to God’s love and healing power. When a patient is lying in bed feeling distressed and anxious, prayer has the potential to provide spiritual healing and bring a sense of harmony and wholeness. Make no mistake. Spiritual pain and fear are just as real as physical pain.

My journey to become a chaplain truly has been a blessing. As much as God has used me to touch the lives of so many patients, family and staff, I have to testify that I too have been touched and my own spiritual growth has benefitted. More than once, I’ve wondered who gains more from the encounters: the patient or myself?

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Race, Student Motivation, and the Achievement Gap

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By Gordon Anderson

GordonIn many policy discussions about the “achievement gap” between whites and minorities in public schools, racism and insufficient public funding of schools are frequently given as the primary reason for the gap. But is blaming race or schools getting to the heart of the achievement gaps that exist today? Or, are social factors related to the motivation and preparation of students more important than either of these policy-driven reasons?

Most public schools are not consciously racist

While some individuals employed by public schools may be racist, and some subconscious racial practices may still exist, racist laws related to segregation and civil rights are largely a thing of the past. Further, the increased diversity and intermarriage in urban American melting pots has tempered old racial stereotypes. Especially, government laws and inner-city school policies have consciously strived to eliminate racism from schools over the last 50 years, and often extra programs are funded to help failing students catch up to others.

Yet, newspapers continue to report that inner-city public schools experience greater delinquency and lower performance among racial minorities. And, for at least the last 30 years, legislators have tried to address the achievement gap by earmarking extra funding for public schools in inner cities. However, performance disparities have not improved; if anything, the “achievement gap” is widening. Are minorities failing because of their race, or are other reasons like socialization of children more important?

Government statistical practices promote racial stereotypes

Social scientists can study whether race, or racism, is the strongest correlate to student failure or whether there are other factors. Because of the tragic history of slavery in the United States, statistics are often promoted racially. When schools report to governments on student achievement, they are asked to do so by race. So charts based on statistics from departments of education get generated like this:

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“Scaffolding” the Principle

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by John Redmond

JohnRedmond2Instructional scaffolding” is an educational term that borrowed its imagery from bricklayers and construction workers.  Scaffolding is a temporary structure for workers to stand and climb on so they can build, repair or restore a more permanent structure.

In educational terms, scaffolding is temporary support given to students to help them approach a complex subject by building on things they already know.  A five-year-old student learns about animals starting with cats and dogs.  They can then associate these understandings with lions and wolves.

Abstract concepts can be explained by similar substantial relationships.  For instance: “The relationship between humans and God should be like the relationship between mind (heart) and body.”

All teachers use these tools both intentionally and subconsciously.  Jesus used parables and Reverend Moon used many examples and analogies, often acting them out.

Where to place the scaffold

An important concept is that the “scaffold” be constructed in the “zone of proximal development.”

This means the teacher has to be familiar with the cultural, intellectual and emotional level of the student and use appropriate models to reach him or her. Instruction for elementary students that depends on them knowing advanced math will fail.

The Divine Principle text uses many examples and analogies appropriate to college-educated Korean Christian audiences and has been re-edited many times to strengthen the bridge to different cultures and audiences.

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