By Jennifer Tanabe
“Christ at the Second Advent, who is to come as the center of Christianity, is the person of the Maitreya Buddha who is to return according to the teachings of Buddhism, the True Man who is awaited in the Chinese religious tradition, and the Chongdoryong for whom many Koreans yearn. He is the central figure whose advent is expected in other religions as well.” (Exposition of Divine Principle, Part I, Chapter 5: Resurrection, Section 3: The Unification of Religions)
This passage is familiar to all Unificationists, and it is our understanding Sun Myung Moon is the fulfillment not only of the Second Coming of Christ but, together with his wife, Mrs. Hak Ja Han Moon, fulfills the ultimate role of the True Parents of humankind. Thus, we easily recognize the Mahdi in this role of the awaited returning central figure in Islam whom we can see fulfilled in the True Parents.
But what about Hinduism? If there is no corresponding central figure in Hinduism, with a billion adherents, how will all religions come together under one God, one True Parents?
I knew little of Hinduism until recently, finding the many gods, some with the heads of animals or many arms, rather unattractive. On the other hand, the greeting “namaste,” which a colleague at an interfaith gathering explained means “I bow to the divine in you,” has a deep spirituality that impressed me and evoked my respect.
When I reflected on it, I knew there must be common ground with the other religions, and this must include the expectation of a messianic figure to come, soon.
By John Redmond
Here is the good news: The Heavenly Kingdom is coming whether or not the Unification Movement has anything to do with it.
I’ve been reading a series of future-oriented books: Al Gore’s The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change, Thomas Friedman’s Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations, and the most interesting, Who Owns the Future? by computer scientist and father of virtual reality Jaron Lanier.
All three books tackle the same theme: how the convergence of multiple areas of science and technology, each developing at exponential rates, will transform the world in an unrecognizable way in the next 20 years. It takes about two decades for an idea to move from the lab to mass acceptance.
The iPhone debuted in 2007 and in 10 years both it and its competitors have made humans omniscient all over the planet, each with a library and powerful computer in the palm of their hand. “Google it” has become the ultimate argument settler.
In this sense, we are not predicting the future; we are timing the growth of ideas from concepts to products to mass acceptance.
The computer revolution by itself has been shocking and globally transformational and now add the imminence of robotics and the ability to end world hunger with genetically engineered protein. Whether you like “Franken food” or not, starving people will love it.
Both artificial intelligence and robotics are on the cusp of creating either mass unemployment or a world where 80% of the people can live like the European elites did in the last century: vast houses, helpers everywhere, lots of leisure time to improve yourself, and cheap or free transportation everywhere.
Artificial Intelligence is demonstrating that it can not just calculate your bank balance in a microsecond, but predict health issues better than doctors, write better news stories than reporters, and beat anyone at Jeopardy.
By Mark P. Barry
Few Americans realize that the hasty 1945 division of Korea and ensuing communist eradication of Christianity in the north occurred despite the efforts of a handful of uniquely qualified American officials. These men were born in the pre-World War II American Christian community in northern Korea, and were concerned, while serving in the U.S. government, about the fate of a land no less their home than America.
Historians generally maintain the U.S. government was largely uninformed about Korea during the Second World War and paid it scant attention. But these American Christians, serving in significant roles in the wartime U.S. government, sought to direct U.S. focus and efforts toward Korea. Despite their best efforts, they were unsuccessful and there is an almost complete absence from the historical record of their efforts.
Dr. George M. McCune was the best-known of these second-generation born and raised in Korea of American Christian missionaries. He became the main expert on Korea for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the forerunner of the CIA. His father, Rev. George S. McCune, a Presbyterian missionary, headed Union Christian College (also known as Sungsil School, both a high school and college) in Pyongyang, where, interestingly, Kim Il Sung’s father (who later married the daughter of a Presbyterian minister) attended (the late Ruth Graham, wife of Rev. Billy Graham, also attended high school there for three years).
The younger McCune was born and raised in Pyongyang, the “Jerusalem of the East,” and earned the first doctorate in the study of Korea from an American university in 1941. He served in the OSS from 1942 and the next year became Korea desk officer for the Department of State, the leading official in the U.S. government on Korean affairs. His brother, Dr. Shannon McCune, was an expert on the geography of Korea and East Asia.
By Gordon Anderson
The rise of Donald Trump, Brexit, Geert Wilders, and Marine Le Pen can be seen as a reaction to the failure of Western liberal establishment culture to successfully lead the transition to global society. These popular figures do not represent a higher stage of development, but a return to the last successful level of social development—nationalism.
We could say it is a reset. A “headwing,” or integral, worldview should supply the necessary elements that liberalism has so far ignored in its zeal to create a more just and inclusive world.
A Fall at the Top of the Growth Stage
Unificationists can view this nationalist retrenchment as a fall at the top of the growth stage in Christian culture. Reverend Moon observed in 1960 that Christianity in the West had reached a peak and needed guidance to move the world to the next level. The cultural revolution of the 1960s sought equal rights, freedom from oppression, environmental sustainability, global harmony, and true love.
These were reactions against limitations in traditional societies that needed to be transcended. However, those who led the social revolution did not have solutions but reacted like children who had matured enough to sense injustice, but not enough to develop a parental heart or a responsible approach.
While a few extraordinary figures like Martin Luther King, Jr., and Mohandas Gandhi sought to move to the next stage of development on spiritual foundations, the masses engaged in social movements that sought political solutions—solutions based on the force of law. The result was, in Unificationist terms, “a reversal of dominion.”
By David Eaton
Confucius once averred:
“If one should desire to know whether a kingdom is well governed, if its morals are good or bad, the quality of its music will furnish the answer.”
I contemplated his observation as I watched the telecast of last month’s 88th Academy Awards. If we were to substitute the word “music” with “cinema” or “culture,” the Chinese sage might be more than a bit angst-ridden given the tone and tenor of the Oscars.
Predictably, the show’s host, Chris Rock, pummeled the Hollywood establishment for its lack of racial diversity among the nominees — a major issue in the run-up to the Oscars. But not far from the surface was Hollywood’s seemingly incessant need to sexualize the proceedings. Comedienne Sarah Silverman’s riff on sexual intercourse viz. James Bond, and Rock’s quips, about helping the show’s music director “get l__d at the Governor’s Ball” and the panties of a female pop star in the audience, were reminders of Hollywood’s duplicity in matters of sexual probity.
I wondered how Chris Rock’s Girl Scout daughters reacted to Silverman and their dad’s overt sexual suggestiveness. Surely they were watching (as I was with my 21-year old daughter), and I cringed at the vulgar and completely unnecessary sexual repartee. But here again was an example of the in-your-face sexuality Hollywood both glorifies and aggressively markets while attempting to be viewed as virtuous on other social matters.
To be fair, the serious issue of sexual abuse was front-and-center at the Oscars with “Spotlight” spotlighting the problems within the Catholic Church (and winning Best Picture). “The Hunting Ground,” dealing with the problem of campus rape, was not nominated for Best Documentary Film, but the film’s song, “Til It Happens To You,” was a nominee for Best Original Song.
by David Eaton
I’m a latecomer to the writings of C. S. Lewis, but through the prompting of my eldest daughter, I finally took the plunge. Putting the finishing touches on my own book, I was looking for several religious-based literary references regarding the perils of postmodernism that might support some of my contentions regarding music, aesthetics, radical egalitarianism, multiculturalism, and the pervasive influence of the celebrity-industrial-complex.
Lewis’ work, especially, The Screwtape Letters (1942) and its sequel, Screwtape Proposes a Toast (1959), provide a trove of insight in the examination of the whys and wherefores of our “fallen” condition in the context of “right and wrong as a clue to the meaning of the universe.”
Lewis admitted that writing The Screwtape Letters was simultaneously the easiest, but least enjoyable work of his career. He apparently went into deep depression after writing it. Given the brilliant exegesis of how the “Lowerarchy” of Satan effectively infects the human soul, it’s no wonder why. The Cold War was the backdrop of the sequel and the narrative of how leftist, neo-Marxist thought subverted academia and the intellectual class in the West underscores Lewis’ work here. The sequel is more ideologically-charged than the original and the perspicacious insights are like a punch in the gut that leaves you breathless — and somewhat forlorn.
The Screwtape Letters are a series of 31 letters written by a senior demon, Screwtape, to his nephew, Wormwood. The nephew is a younger and less experienced demon, tasked with guiding a man (called “the patient”) toward “Our Father Below” (Satan) and away from “the Enemy” (God.) As Wormwood’s mentor, Screwtape explains many tricks-of-the-trade to his young charge in the process of inculcating him with methods of “the Lowerarchy” (Hell).
In the preface to The Screwtape Letters, Lewis states there are “two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall” when we contemplate Satan. One is to deny Satan’s existence, the other is “to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest” in him. The first error is Satan’s greatest ploy — if he doesn’t really exist, why fret about him? The second error is that we too easily create common bases with the dark side by our “unhealthy interest” in him.
by Mark P. Barry
The Koreans: Who They Are, What They Want, Where Their Future Lies, rev. ed., by Michael Breen, New York: Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Griffin, 2004. Adapted from the Journal of Unification Studies, vol. VI, 2004-2005, pp. 165-68.
Although originally targeted for foreign business readers, Michael Breen’s The Koreans has emerged as a modern-day classic on the Korean character and culture. It is often recommended by Korean studies scholars, alongside such earlier general works as the late Donald S. Macdonald’s Koreans: Contemporary Politics and Society (now in its third edition, revised by Donald Clark). In its 1999 Korean translation from the original 1998 UK edition, The Koreans rocketed to the top ten list of Korea’s bestsellers, revealing Koreans’ own enthusiasm to understand themselves from an outsider’s perspective. The U.S. hardcover edition also appeared in 1999, and the 2004 paperback edition reviewed here is slightly revised with a new chapter on events since 2000.
Breen, a British journalist, originally went to South Korea as The Washington Times’ Seoul correspondent. He ended up living there, during which time he also served for three years as president of the Seoul Foreign Correspondents Club, and wrote for The Guardian and The Times of London. He later became managing director of the Seoul office of public relations firm Merit/Burson-Marsteller, and now runs his own company, Insight Communications Consultants.
Unificationists will remember him authoring in 1997 the meticulously researched Sun Myung Moon: The Early Years, 1920-53, based on in-depth interviews with early followers of Reverend Moon. No book has appeared in English since to rival it.
By Josephine Hauer
The Psychology of Prayer: A Scientific Approach, by Bernard Spilka and Kevin L. Ladd, New York: The Guilford Press, 2012. Excerpted from the Journal of Unification Studies, Vol. XIV, 2013. Dr. Hauer (UTS Class of 1990) is a family specialist with the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The Psychology of Prayer: A Scientific Approach offers a dense yet remarkably useful tour de force through the last 30 years of social scientific research on prayer. It is a major contribution that highlights the expanding role of prayer in the psychology of religion. While authors Bernard Spilka and Kevin Ladd view prayer as a critically important personal religious activity, their discussion is uncompromisingly scientific and offers substantive insights and recommendations for an empirical study of this rich human experience. Locating prayer as a psychological phenomenon, the authors offer a straightforward conceptualization: “Prayer is the psychology of religion in action and literally reflects virtually every facet of behavioral scientific psychology, from its neural roots to complex social responsivity.”
This book is a useful introduction to the various ways researchers have approached prayer psychologically. My own experience of prayer seems to be more expansive than the categories covered, but this is understandable since empirical approaches necessarily slice up experience into quantifiable pieces. People have been praying for thousands of years, and it is heartening to see that social scientists are beginning to chart this vast territory replete with religious and psychological meanings.
Spilka and Ladd accomplish a remarkable undertaking, given the range of studies critically scrutinized. As respected leaders in this field, these authors stake out prayer’s central place in the psychology of religion….
⇒ Click to read the full book review from the 2013 Journal of Unification Studies.