Approaching the Muslim World with True Parents’ Thought

By Marilyn Angelucci

There were 1.8 billion Muslims in the world as of 2015 — 24% of the global population — according to a Pew Research Center estimate. Islam is currently the world’s second-largest religion (after Christianity), but it is the fastest-growing major religion.

This may scare some people, but as Unificationists we should take this fact very seriously. True Mother proclaims that she will fulfill her mission before she goes to the spiritual world. That mission is to give the Blessing to all the people of the world. Islam comprises a quarter of the world’s population and is growing every day. Therefore, it is essential we find a way to reach the Muslim world as the filial children of our True Parents, Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon.

My husband and I have been working in the Middle East since 1996 and have found that most Muslims are very tolerant and open-minded. They have a deep love for God and believe that religion should play an important role in people’s lives. They follow God’s words and tradition and are deeply conservative.

Because of this, they have little respect for the Western world which has lost its religious values and is becoming more secular every day. They become deeply disturbed when they see how Western values are influencing their young people. Because of the lack of values of the West, some Muslims see the West as the enemy who is promoting a sinful lifestyle and should be stopped.

But the reality is that the Muslim world is more open to Unificationist values and principles than the Western world. They have a great deal in common with the world of Unificationists. They are desperate to preserve the family and family values. They honor purity and marriage. They understand the value of a relationship with God and religious tradition as a cornerstone for the community and society.

Sharing our values and principles with the Muslim world is not difficult on a personal level but because of the political and religious control we have to be sensitive and adjust our approach to meet the current situation of Islamic nations.

Concerning the task of approaching Muslims with the Divine Principe, it is important to understand the Muslim world, the religion and the culture, before we start to share our ideology. This is important especially if we are not from a Muslim background.

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Jihad and World Peace

By Drissa Kone

People long for a world without war, but expect it can come only when others sort out their problems or when external circumstances change. I’m reminded of a relevant biblical story.

Responding to the Pharisees, Jesus Christ said in Luke 17:20-21, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the Kingdom of God is within you.” Thus, Jesus challenged them to first seek the Kingdom of God, in other words, to seek peace within themselves.

It is impossible to build lasting peace without looking deep inside ourselves. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” If we want peace in the world we have to start by becoming peaceful ourselves. We have to learn to resolve issues with non-violent methods such as dialogue, persuasion and negotiation.

Today, many radical Muslims justify their deeds through jihad. They believe the only way to make this world a peaceful one is by violently destroying those who do not believe in what they believe. The popular conception of jihad held today equates jihad with terrorism.

There are, however, two kinds of jihad in Islam, and neither can be construed as terrorism.

The Arabic word jihad means “struggle” or “striving,” which can be interpreted as the struggle to be a better person. Unfortunately, for decades, and especially after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, many Westerners perceive jihad as a call for Muslims to fight non-Muslims.

First, jihad speaks to the universal mission of individual Muslims as well as the Islamic community. This is the spiritual interpretation of jihad, in which itis understood to be the Muslim’s lifelong process of constantly fighting against the evil nature of his soul. This is the greater jihad, or the jihad kabir, which never ceases, according to Islam. It is a constant struggle.

The political interpretation of jihad is the second, smaller jihad, or jihad sagir, consisting of military means to defend oneself and the oppressed. This use of military force is understood to be temporary, initiated by specific causes, and able to cease at any time, for instance, when either victory or negotiations ensue. Political jihad is legitimately carried out only through the state and not by non-state agents.

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Where Does Unificationism Stand on Birth Control?

By Michael L. Mickler

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical, Humanae Vitae (“Of Human Life”), which condemned the use of artificial birth control methods. The arrival of the birth control pill in 1960 triggered Pope Paul’s letter, and it sought to stem the tide of the 1960s sexual revolution.

The encyclical was singularly unsuccessful.

A chorus of dissent, even within the Roman Catholic community, followed its publication.  A recent account recalls that, within days of its release, a group of American Catholic theologians issued a statement saying, “[S]pouses may responsibly decide according to their conscience that artificial contraception in some circumstances is permissible.”

A year later, a survey found that 44% of Catholic women of childbearing age were using artificial contraception and by 1974, 83% of U.S. Catholics reportedly said they disagreed with the ban. Commentators blamed the encyclical for a decline in people attending mass and for damaging the authority of the papacy, particularly among younger Catholics.

The encyclical also failed to stem the tide of the 1960s sexual revolution.

According to one author,

“[T]he year the Pill went on the market, most Americans lived in nuclear families, the average married couple had four children, and mothers stayed home. By 2000, the average family had two children, one out of two marriages ended in divorce, and almost a third of American children were being raised by a single parent or an unmarried couple.”

Acceptance of premarital sex, cohabitation, alternative forms of sexuality and abortion accompanied the trend. In the 2000s, Internet connections facilitated easy access to pornography and dating sites. Smartphone apps such as Tinder encouraged casual sex. However, “hook-up culture” prompted consternation and the #MeToo movement suggested that the sexual revolution had not ended predation but may have licensed it.

These developments prompted Catholic apologists to re-examine Humanae Vitae and assert its “prophetic power.”

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A Layman’s Cosmology: Speculation on the Origin of Existence and God

By Henry Christopher

Cosmology is the study of the origin, evolution and eventual fate of the universe. It is studied by both scientists and philosophers, can include scientific and non-scientific propositions, and may depend upon assumptions that cannot be tested.

Here, I offer a speculative layman’s cosmology which does not claim to present a scientifically verifiable conclusion on this subject. I adopt a more philosophical point of view. However, as much as possible, I believe we should seriously take into account leading scientific theories of the day.

Although the existence of God has neither been proven nor disproven, from a scientific point of view, my thoughts on existence stem from a layman’s logic, intuition and common sense which indicate that a Creator, rather than chance, is the origin not only of all things, but necessarily of all principles and orderliness of the world around us.

Not from randomness or chaos do the stars and planets in the sky stay put in their individual orbits day after day, year after year, but by the mathematical plan of a Creator. This is not just a belief, but a logical notion — a reasonable outcome of probability — that the chances are more likely the universe came about through the existence of a purposeful intellect than by some extraordinary accident.

This conclusion has been held by some of the most prominent astrophysicists, mathematicians and other scientists, including Fred Hoyle, Cambridge University astrophysicist, and Owen Gingerich, senior astronomer at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.

Writing on this very point, Roger Penrose, Oxford University mathematical physicist, said,

“…the only alternative to the universe arising from chance is for it to have arisen deliberately. Deliberate action requires a conscious creator (read: God). And for those who are still tempted to conclude that our universe is just the result of a very extremely improbable accident, I explain in “Why God? Why not just plain luck?” why bare probability (chance), alone, can never cause anything… let alone the creation of a universe.”

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Musical Science: Pythagoras, Einstein and Divine Principle

By David Eaton

From time to time, I’ve been asked if I believe in the concept of a “cosmic chord” or a universal “chord of nature”; Klang, as it’s referred to according to Schenkerian music theory. Is there some Aeolian harmony of the spheres that evokes a secret, metaphysical understanding of the laws that govern physics and music? Imagining that cosmic vibrations exist in the universe has been a part of the mythology surrounding music for eons.

When the late singer-songwriter, Leonard Cohen, wrote his iconic song, “Hallelujah,” he referenced a “secret chord”:

“Now I’ve heard there was a secret chord.
That David played, and it pleased the Lord.”

Could a single chord actually please the Almighty? St. Paul in Romans 1:20 asserts:

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

We understand from Divine Principle that the natural world possesses various dual characteristics that maintain their existence and develop by way of harmonious relationships: male/female, stamen/pistil, cation/anion, positive valence/negative valence, for example. Ontologically, the created world reflects the nature of God’s being and essence, and this comports with Paul’s assertion. We can extrapolate that within the Godhead there exists the harmonious union of original masculinity and original femininity, and an original positivity and an original negativity. When examining the theoretical basis of tonal music we find several prominent polar paradigms:

  • Consonant intervals/Dissonant intervals
  • Major modes/Minor modes,
  • Major chords/Minor chords
  • Tonic chord/Dominant chord
  • Primary dominant chords/Secondary dominant chords
  • Tension/Resolution
  • High pitches/Low pitches

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How Do You Know What You Believe Is True? Theories of Truth

By Keisuke Noda

How do you know what you believe is true? This is a difficult question.

If there were a definitive answer, we would probably not have myriad belief systems today. It is ironic that, while people hold mutually exclusive, logically incompatible claims and beliefs, each is often convinced of its exclusive superiority over others.

Suppose you asked a believer: “How do you know what you believe is true?” He or she may cite their experiences as evidence, or give several theoretical reasons, or refer to highly selective scientific findings. The problem is those who hold an opposite view can give plausible “evidence” and cite opposite scientific findings to validate their claims and beliefs.

What makes certain claims and beliefs truer than others?

Here, I explain four main theories of truth as conceptual tools for assessment: 1) correspondence theory of truth; 2) coherence theory of truth; 3) pragmatic theory of truth; and, 4) existential theory of truth.

Although Unificationism presents itself as “new truth” (in the Introduction of Exposition of the Divine Principle), there is no systematic explication of the concept of truth in religious as well as philosophical texts (such as Unification Thought). Since Unificationism claims its teachings to be the “unity of science and religion,” clarification of its concept of truth is necessary.

Correspondence Theory of Truth

The first view is to see truth as the correspondence, agreement or accordance between ideas/concepts/statements and reality/states of affairs. This position often presupposes an objective reality or independent existence of truth. In this model, because you posit reality as something that exists independent of or outside of your perception/judgment, you conceive your ideas/judgments as a sort of picture or mirror image of reality.

Religion and science are ways to reach reality. This is done through revelation and experiences in religion and observation and experimentation in science. The goal is to capture an accurate, neutral mirror image of reality free from interpretation.

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The Unification Pater-Materfamilias

By Alexa Blonner

The Paterfamilias motif has dominated world religious history.  It is most obvious in the Roman Catholic Pontiff, but the senior male as the “family” head, holding chief responsibility for carrying out householder and state religious rites and other duties, is a familiar one in most cultures.

The True Parents doctrine of the Unification faith represents a unique innovation.  It replaces the Paterfamilias with a Pater-Materfamilias.

Surprisingly, the Unification True Parents are barely mentioned in the chief Unification text, Exposition of the Divine Principle (EDP), but the concept increasingly featured in the sermons and other homilies of the founder, Reverend Sun Myung Moon, to emerge by the end of his life in 2012 as perhaps Unificationism’s most seminal and distinguishing theological principle.

The True Parents doctrine has been further refined under the leadership of Rev. Moon’s wife, Hak Ja Han.  Indeed, without this doctrine, it is unlikely Mrs. Moon would have been accepted as leader of the Unification movement following her husband’s death.

Paterfamilias

The Roman paterfamilias classically exemplifies the status of the father or male elder as the socially dominant figure. Pater, or “father,” is an Indo-European word that stems back many thousands of years. By a range of evidences, the Indo-European kinship system was patriarchal, patrilocal and patrilineal.  This patriarchalism had cosmological justification. Women were related to the raw, untamed processes of nature while men were associated with the progressive civilizing force by which nature could be tamed.  The male was thusly construed as being the more important of the two genders and deserving precedence.

Among the paterfamilias’ duties was that of priest.  It was his responsibility to faithfully and accurately execute the household religious rites. The Roman Emperor, who from imperial times was also the Pontifex Maximus, or State High Priest, was like the Paterfamilias of the Empire.  He was both the Empire’s administrative and religious caretaker.

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‘Two Nations Are in Your Womb’: Unificationism and Partitioned States (1948-2018)

By Laurent Ladouce

Unificationism promises the advent of a unified world, where heaven, humankind and earth live in harmony. On the path toward unification, a major obstacle is that of partitioned states, beginning with Korea.

University of Pennsylvania political scientist Brendan O’Leary defines political partition as “an externally proposed or imposed fresh border cut through at least one community’s national homeland, creating at least two separate units under different sovereigns and authorities.”

Partitions have occurred throughout history, seldom bringing good results. Some were considered a “lesser evil” or a “necessary evil.” Here I consider contemporary partitions which have been or still are major obstacles for the Providence.

The “Two nations are in your womb” paradigm

Unificationism in general sees partitions as resulting from a failure of human responsibility to achieve unity or integration. There is then a division into two parts, one representing relative good (Abel) and the other relative evil (Cain). A major input of Unificationism is to emphasize the pivotal role of women in the origin (Eve) of and the final solution (Rebecca) to the partition.

When Rebecca protested to God about the struggle of the two twins, Esau and Jacob, in her womb, the Lord said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.” (Gen. 25:23)

This paradigm of the “two nations in the womb” is relevant in four of the five cases presented here.

The external cause of many partitions in the 20th century was the process of decolonization: the colonial power was unable to give birth to two communities or states living harmoniously and cooperatively, but gave birth to twins sharply pitted against one another.

I cover five partitions which had a direct impact on the Providence, grouped together for three reasons of direct concern for Unificationism:

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On Being and Consciousness

By Graham Simon

The scientific methodology for uncovering knowledge relating to the world around us – let us call it “external truth” – is a familiar one. A thesis is posited. Experiments are conducted exhaustively until the thesis is either proven or disproved.

The discovery of “internal truth” follows a parallel course.

We absorb some statement or teaching. Internally our mind validates the statement against accumulated experiences. When the statement accords with our experiences, the lights go on, so to speak, and the new-found truth then becomes part of our personal knowledge base and operating reality. The statement can encompass something as simple as a mother’s instruction to a child such as: “Don’t touch, it’s hot,” to a philosophical maxim like, “What you give out, comes back.”

As sentient beings, we all have experiences. Through study, exposure to the thoughts of others or an inspiration from a higher source, we are able to order our experiences in a meaningful way.

Sometimes we ingest knowledge prior to having had the experience. When the experience later takes place, we may encounter an “Ah, now I understand what the speaker meant” moment. At other times, we may have experiences that lie dormant until revealed. Those moments are more of the “Somehow I’ve always felt that was the case” variety. Either way, it’s not just a matter of knowing; we also need to “know that we know” for that knowledge to be incorporated into our being.

While scientific knowledge, or external truth, is largely validated and monitored by the scientific community, internal truths can only be validated by each of us as individuals. Nonetheless, there is no shortage of religions, philosophies and political movements, each peddling their own views of the world and each eager to help people make sense of their life experiences.

The problem people encounter is that all these teachings, especially those which form the basis of the world’s religions, mix inner truths with half-truths and even with teachings that are completely unverifiable or plainly false. The teachings of the Unification Movement are no exception.

It’s an observable fact that if an institution or accredited teacher reveals valuable knowledge to a person that stimulates the inner self, the recipient is much more likely to indiscriminately accept other teachings from the same source. When we imbibe a set of teachings in its entirety, some parts will genuinely enhance our being, while other parts just get incorporated as beliefs or opinions.

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