How to Meet My Ancestors: A Theory of Spirit

By David Burton

For me one of the more fascinating requests Rev. Sun Myung Moon gave to us was his request to WRIST in 1984 to develop technology to communicate with spirit world. It is not something I would ever have thought of doing myself, but after I became aware of the problem he posed, it has stayed with me throughout my spiritual life.

The possibility of such technology requires a re-envisioning of what spirit world is. From 2005, and for about seven years, I was part of an online spirit world machine (SWM) discussion group called Technician2, or T2 for short, dedicated to keeping alive the dream of building a SWM. We even began some rudimentary experimentation, which, unfortunately, did not yield any results.

What we did have was lots of discussion, and differences of opinion, but that just petered out over time because we had nothing constructive to show for our work. It was on the science that things got stuck — and are still stuck. We agreed that spirit world existed and could be communicated with, but for a SWM we needed more than that. What we lacked was an experimentally testable theory about the nature of spirit world. Without such a theory we were groping in the dark while hoping for someone in spirit world to turn the light on.

Fortunately, our group was not completely in the dark. We did receive some communication through a medium in 2009 that we should look for a digital interface and that the Internet was being developed as a SWM. These insights, combined with my own writing on Divine Principle and Unification Thought, have led to the theory I present here. I am not claiming this must be true; just that it is a possible explanation for the nature of spirit world, one I believe is compatible with science. It is fully natural and potentially amenable to experimental investigation — in other words, a theory that could be tested experimentally.

Divine Principle

My beginning point is in Divine Principle and a passage I had read, re-read, and overlooked again and again for years. I believe this passage to be one of the most important in the Principle of Creation:

When [subatomic] particles join with each other through the reciprocal relationships of their dual characteristics, they form an atom. Atoms, in turn, display either a positive or a negative valence. When the dual characteristics within one atom enter into reciprocal relationships with those in another atom, they form a molecule. Molecules formed in this manner engage in further reciprocal relationships … [EDP, p. 16]

For us today, with our contemporary scientific knowledge, this seems obvious, even perhaps old-fashioned. Yet I believe it to be the key to the whole of the Principle of Creation, and is what allows the explanation in Divine Principle to be continuous with science. Here in one paragraph is the basic understanding of existence as presented in Divine Principle. We can restate it in one sentence: existing beings are compound beings of particles in relationship. That’s it. However, the implications of this simple statement are enormous.

Continue reading “How to Meet My Ancestors: A Theory of Spirit”

Idealism, Empiricism and Realism in Rev. Moon’s Philosophy

By Keisuke Noda

Conceptual frameworks for interpretation determine the limits, or horizons, of human understanding. This applies to the interpretation of Unificationism, the philosophy of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon.

Here, I look to Platonic idealism and Aristotelian empiricism as two frameworks to interpret “reality;” and I use these frameworks to explore how we can draw out different aspects of Unificationism.  One can certainly use other perspectives to disclose other dimensions of Rev. Moon’s philosophy.

Nevertheless, I use these frameworks to explore how we interpret and relate to Unificationism, and conclude by looking at fishing to highlight the radical realism of Unificationism.

Platonic Idealism: Divine Principle

The most common reading of Rev. Moon’s thought is as a form of Platonic idealism. This aspect of Unificationism is best described in Divine Principle, the core teaching of Unificationism presented in the Exposition of the Divine Principle, the main text of Unificationism. Unificationists, for the most part, understand Unificationism from the way it is presented in this text.

Plato described in his Republic his ideal state as a hierarchical society governed by the Philosopher-King. Likewise, Unificationism presents the Heavenly Kingdom as a society governed by the Second Advent, the “True Parents.” Just as the Philosopher-King, who “knows” the ultimate truth, can tell others what to do, the Kingdom of Heaven is portrayed in the Divine Principle as a hierarchical society where True Parents are the central channel who convey God’s Will and His messages.

Plato viewed the unchangeable and eternal, such as the Ideas of Good, Beauty and others, as reality, and the changeable or temporal as less real, a sort of shadow of eternal Ideas. Hence, the world of Ideas, where souls go after leaving the body in death, is the real world. Accordingly, reality is grounded elsewhere, in another world.  Although Unificationism presents the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth as the ideal, the society it envisions is still a Platonic hierarchical idealistic world under the Messianic “True Parents,” and so the center of gravity exists in Ideas that are eternal, absolute and unchanging.

When I joined CARP, a student organization of the Unification Church, in 1970 on the Waseda University campus in Tokyo, a place occupied by communist radicals, I was inspired by this Platonic vision. Idealism, be it Marxism or Unificationism, was appealing to youth in the 1960s and ‘70s. The majority of my classmates joined Marxist movements to build a socialist utopia. A “Grand Narrative,” a one-size-fits-all theory of modernism, was dominant as the spirit of the era. Many approached these theories through the question of which grand narrative was right, rather than questioning whether a grand narrative was the right approach to begin with. Hence, the Unificationist grand narrative appealed to me as a 19-year-old college student, and I joined CARP to build an ideal world.

Continue reading “Idealism, Empiricism and Realism in Rev. Moon’s Philosophy”

Who Are We Really? Spiritual Psychotherapy and Understanding the Self

My interest in spiritual psychotherapy stems from over 40 years as a student of Rev. Sun Myung Moon and the Divine Principle.  This was a life changing event for me filled with the hope of transforming myself into a spiritually conscious individual embodying love for all and ill for no one.

 

When my wife, Laura, departed the earth plane in 2006, I had an epiphany that it was imperative for me to take responsibility for my own spiritual development beyond the level of the Divine Principle.

 

Today, my journey has brought me to conclude that the Divine Principle is a religious philosophy that can transform the way we understand the original world as created by God, including the historical processes that will bring it to fruition, but is not a transformative principle to change the individual.

 

Spiritual transformation, enlightenment, or whatever name you give it is an individual responsibility that requires each person to seek help in his or her self-discovery process.  I believe the practice of spiritual psychotherapy is one of the ways to the next level of spiritual development after religious training in Unificationism.

 

“In the beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth” (Gen. 1:1). This quote postulates that the initial idea of God’s Creation was for the existence of a spiritual and material realm as described by Moses. Thus, one can extrapolate today that humanity’s existence between Heaven and Earth is a mysterious connection between these two realms that is still being explored.

 

As we search for the meaning of our existence between Heaven and Earth, it can serve as a metaphor for our search to understand a much more basic connection — that between the human spirit and mind. Their function as a harmonious, integrated system of processes and energies has been the domain of both scientific research and religious faith.

 

The discipline of spiritual psychotherapy has endeavored to unlock the mysterious connection between the spirit and the mind as a means of solving a problem that dates back to the Fall of Man and the accompanying social problems associated with it. Many of these social problems are aligned with mental health issues.  Let me address how well spiritual psychotherapy has been able to increase our understanding of the intricacies in the spirit/mind system that would enable the development of procedures and techniques to eliminate human mental and spiritual suffering.

Continue reading “Who Are We Really? Spiritual Psychotherapy and Understanding the Self”

Spiritual Connections: Living in the Flow of God’s Love

By Gordon L. Anderson

Spiritual Connections: Living in the Flow of God’s Love (Circle of Angels Press, 201 pp., 2022) is an engaging spiritual autobiography of Nora Spurgin, who joined what was then called the Unified Family (later Unification Church) in New York in 1967. She served in many central positions as the movement led by Rev. Sun Myung Moon developed into a new global culture. Nora’s identity is shaped by her connections to others in her lifelong pursuit to be in the flow of God’s love.

Her story begins with her ancestors who came to America for religious freedom. Her sixth great grandfather authored Confessions of Faith, which is still used for religious instruction among the Mennonites. She grew up in Lancaster County, PA, in a farming community with large families, connected to her parents, siblings, extended family, and nature. Life was a mixture of hard work, fun play, and worship of God. Personal responsibility and maintaining the community was stressed. Her community was self-sufficient. Nora learned to design and sew clothes and her father even taught her every step in building a house!

At a young age, Nora’s curiosity prompted her to ask questions about her faith in comparison to Catholics and others. She studied the people she met, wanting to learn behavior patterns and whether people were genuine or putting on a façade. She learned to approach others with confidence. While Nora wanted to learn fastidiously, her parents believed outside education would corrupt children’s faith. She dropped out of high school after one year and worked at home and in a sewing factory until she turned 21 and became a free adult. Then she grabbed lots of books, studied, passed the GED exams, and set out on the world.

A Mennonite Voluntary Service program caring for children of migrant workers in Florida exposed Nora to poverty and other cultures and broadened her faith. In college, she loved philosophy and history. On weekends she visited and served people in Appalachia, and experienced charismatic spiritual events. Then she went on for her master’s degree in social work at New York University. The intellectual confrontations and big city life were far different than life on a simple Mennonite farm. Through all her encounters, she continued her search for connections to God and was prepared to meet the Unification Church.

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A Remedial Shift to the Esau-Jacob Model: An Internal Monologue

By Incheol Son

As a second-generation Unificationist, I’ve suffered for a long time from the Cain-Abel model, a prototype relationship that has been applied to almost all kinds of personal as well as official relationships in the Unification movement.

The Cain-Abel model in the Divine Principle is one of the key concepts that have long been promoted. It describes the nature of relationships inside the first human family that ended with great tragedy. The relationship was of the two offspring of the first human ancestors, Adam and Eve. It was the start of a subsequent series of unhappy historical events for God after their fall.

On the other hand, there’s the very successful story of the grandchildren of Abraham, the model of Esau-Jacob, which has not been promoted that much relative to the Cain-Abel model. Yet, it was surely a restored and successful relationship and thus it laid the foundation for the birth of the Messiah, Jesus, from the family’s lineage. The reason why this latter model has been less promoted is the Esau-Jacob model is full of fallen human nature such as deception, running away, fighting back, betrayal, and total surrender in fear.

But, I believe now is the time we may need to intentionally move on to the next phase and start promoting the Esau-Jacob model more than habitually sticking to the first tragic Cain and Abel model. This is mainly because a trauma has been bequeathed to us, especially to the second and third generations, as a scar deep in our spirit. We’ve been inculcated with such traumatic and guilty feelings from early on, even from the mother’s womb, in the cradle, at Sunday service, to the university, the church, and providential organizations.

Fortunately, I am now somewhat recovered from such traumatic feelings.

The release from these traumatic feelings occurred when I realized the Cain-Abel model did not fit with reality all the time and was not the only model we could apply to human relationships. I rediscovered there was another model of human relationships between Esau and Jacob that had brought a great victory to the history of the providence. Yes, it is full of less admirable aspects of human nature such as deception. But I believe Abel should have been wiser in front of his elder brother Cain. It would have been much better than being killed by him. Abel should have been able to lie to Cain sometimes for the sake of the higher good. The first lie or deception in human history would have been much better than falling victim in the first homicide.

Continue reading “A Remedial Shift to the Esau-Jacob Model: An Internal Monologue”

A Proposal for a New Way of Worship

By Tyler Hendricks

Sociological research finds that healthy marriage and family life is the key to personal happiness and societal peace and progress. Natural families — lifelong, married, two-parent (man-woman) households — produce individuals who are significantly happier, healthier and more successful than those created out of any other family structure. Historical research finds that societies that sustain natural family life thrive, and societies that fail to do so collapse.

This means that, from the viewpoint of creating peace and happiness in this world, the main responsibility of religion is to foster healthy marriage and family life. None have accomplished this; in fact, none have even set it as a major goal.

A new religious movement, that of Reverend Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, has set it as a major goal. It teaches that God is our Heavenly Parent who created the universe according to the God-centered family design, and placed us in it with the responsibility to create healthy marriage and family life. Naturally, Reverend Moon defined the believers’ faith commitment as a Family Pledge. For the last three decades of his life, he and Dr. Moon crisscrossed the globe teaching God’s ideal of family life as the key to world peace.

The theological presupposition, based on movement teachings, is that the family is God’s eternal purpose of creation and eternal dwelling place of God on earth. God is love, and the quintessential embodiment of love is in the intimate, spiritual-psychological-biological relationships that take place only in the family. This would indicate that the deepest worship of God and experience of God happens in family relationships. Based on all of this, I propose that the Unification movement design its weekly worship for the purpose of creating healthy marriage and family life.

Thus far in history, God has entered the world through gifted individuals. The Unificationist idea is that God enters the world through every family. Each member of the family is created to be a vehicle of God’s love and Word to each of the others. Parents embody Heavenly Parent giving life to children. Husband and wife embody the oneness of Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother. Children are born into the bosom of Heavenly Parent, and grow to eventually embody Heavenly Parent themselves in their own family.

This, together with social science, calls us to envision worship based not on the individual paradigm (the God-centered unity of mind and body, creating an ideal individual) but on the family paradigm (the God-centered unity of husband and wife, parents and children, creating an ideal three-generation family).

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Building a Platform for Peace

By Andrew Wilson

On February 26, the Fourth Think Tank 2022 Forum for the reunification of North and South Korea was held which featured former U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. Appearing with him were former military leaders, former senior officials, and academics from the United States, South Korea and Japan. Afterwards, Secretary Esper took questions from the public of these nations, including students.

Think Tank 2022, which developed as an outgrowth of the eight Rallies of Hope for the reunification of North and South Korea that began in August 2020, is holding numerous such events throughout the world, focusing on leaders in government, religion, business, the academic world, women leaders, etc.

In my view, these Rallies of Hope and Think Tank forums are intended to provide the platform for Mother Hak Ja Han Moon to work for peace if she is able to visit North Korea, as she has stated she would like to undertake in the near future. Thereby, she hopes to build on the work for Korean reunification of her late husband, Rev. Sun Myung Moon, when they traveled together to Pyongyang and met with North Korean President Kim Il Sung in December 1991.

Let us look at platforms and the purpose of building them. First, we should recognize that this is a methodology that True Parents have used throughout their ministry. In the 1980s, Rev. Moon built a platform to prepare for his trip to Moscow, where in April 1990 he and Mrs. Moon met with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, accompanied by a large delegation of former heads of state and government.

Rev. Moon began constructing his platform with the Washington Times newspaper, which President Ronald Reagan is said to have read every day. He added leading academics in the field of Soviet studies through the Professors World Peace Academy (PWPA), which held a major conference in Geneva in 1985 titled “The End of the Soviet Empire.” He further built his platform with the World Media Association, which gathered journalists from major media outlets including the Soviet press agency, Novosti, and a delegation of former heads of state and government brought together under the Summit Council for World Peace and AULA. He extended his platform to the realm of sports, when he asked Unificationists to offer warm hospitality to the athletes from communist nations at the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics.

This was the broad platform by which Rev. Moon demonstrated both strength of conviction and solicitude for the communist world. Upon that platform, he was able to meet with President Gorbachev. Without such a powerful and distinguished platform, it is doubtful Rev. Moon could have met with Gorbachev, or even if they had met, for Gorbachev to treat him with commensurate respect.

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The Unity of Science and Religion: How We Can Save Ourselves and the Planet from Ourselves

By Henry Christopher

Since the creation of Adam and Eve — according to the Bible, or the evolution of humans, if you prefer Darwin — it seems humankind has been hurling itself towards self-annihilation and the destruction of the planet. Creationists would say that goes back 6,000 years. According to scientists, it’s more like 2-3 million years ago, but it appears the pace has picked up dramatically in the last few hundred years.

Where can we turn to save ourselves and the earth from ourselves? Could a coalition of religion and science lead the way out of our dilemma?

What if they could work together towards a truer understanding of who we are, where we came from, and why we are so torn between destructive behavior and the need to live together in peace and harmony?

An area that clearly needs new understanding and attention, if we are to “save” ourselves, is the creation myths of various religions and early cultures throughout history. They could use some updating.

A good example is the Judeo-Christian creation story in the Bible. God makes Man, and then decides Man shouldn’t be alone, so one night, when Man is sleeping, God opens him up, removes a rib, and makes for him a mate — Eve. They are told not to eat the forbidden fruit, but she is tempted by Lucifer, eats it and gives some to Adam.  They are kicked out of the Garden, and told they and their descendants will have to work for a living for the rest of their lives.

Perhaps science can contribute to our common understanding of what this story means, and what really happened in the Garden. It might give us some clues as to how to control our wild, destructive nature.

Science has been trying to shed light on the origin of our species through years of painstaking research and investigation by paleoanthropologists, geologists, archaeologists, and others. This is the story of human evolution.

Religion fiercely resisted at first. But in time most major religions have accepted the scientific theory by adding that God is the force behind evolution.

Today, only a small group of religious fundamentalists cling to creationism — a “literal” understanding of the story in Genesis that God made everything, including humans, whole and complete in one fell swoop in just six days.

Continue reading “The Unity of Science and Religion: How We Can Save Ourselves and the Planet from Ourselves”

Learning from Therese Stewart, True Pioneer of Faith

By Jennifer P. Tanabe

A memoir is a treasure trove filled with precious nuggets of information about a person’s life. No matter how well you may think you know someone, reading their memoir illuminates parts of their life that you knew little to nothing about. Dr. Therese Stewart’s memoir, My Life of Faith, does not disappoint.

Therese was born and raised on a farm in rural Minnesota. As a child, she learned and practiced her family’s Catholic faith, and when her older sister became a nun, she told God she would follow in her footsteps. World War II somewhat delayed that plan, diverting her to nursing. This proved a minor delay, however, as she joined the same Franciscan order as her sister in 1948.

Therese spent two decades as a Catholic nun. In the late 1960s came the first crucial turning point in her life of faith. She met a member of the Unification Church, Betsy O’Neill (now Jones), while studying at Columbia University in New York City. After studying Divine Principle for several months, and having a number of significant dreams, she committed herself to a new spiritual course.

Here is how she describes her early response to these new teachings:

I felt that my life had been preparation for this. Divine Principle reinforced much of what I believed as a Catholic but there was striking new content too. I had never thought of Jesus and the Holy Spirit as “spiritual true parents,” nor anticipated the coming of physical True Parents. Also compelling was the idea that the prophecy of the Second Coming was being fulfilled by a couple! The concept of True Parents as opposed to the fallen first ancestors, Adam and Eve, was new to me. (I had no problem accepting the idea that the fall of man was an illicit love relationship even though many considered that an archaic interpretation of the Genesis account). The idea that Jesus was to have married and extended God’s lineage immediately struck me as true. (I had read years before that it was not God’s will for Jesus to die on the cross but that someday we would understand why God had allowed it.)

I did not easily accept that the Second Coming would be fulfilled by anyone other than Jesus but neither could I deny that the allegedly unfulfilled part of his mission—to marry, create a True Family, and develop a loving dominion over the creation—required his having a physical body!

Continue reading “Learning from Therese Stewart, True Pioneer of Faith”

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