Essentials Of The Unification Principle
by Thomas Cromwell
18. The Second Global Preparation For True Parents
The two previous chapters discussed how Christianity and Islam have played leading roles in the providence to prepare the world for true parents in the aftermath of Jesus' crucifixion. Expansion of these two religions was boosted by global developments of providential importance which ushered in a dramatic period of growth some five centuries ago. The great speed and intensity of these developments was brought about by an acceleration in the providence of restoration as, for the second time, the whole world was made ready to receive true parents. The preparations this time exceeded those that preceded the birth of Jesus by every measure.
There have been several powerful currents running through this period: religious, philosophical, scientific, economic and political. No field of human knowledge and endeavor is even remotely the same today as it was five centuries ago, when the modem revolution began. The ways people live, travel and communicate have changed so dramatically that today's world would be unrecognizable to the early Protestants who were just beginning to taste religious freedom or to the Ottoman Turks securing control of the Arab heartland.
In the terminology of the twentieth century, the world has become a global village in which modem communications and jet travel link all people in a single, worldwide community. The divine purpose behind shrinking physical barriers is to facilitate the unification of the world under one true God. The human race was always intended to be one family, bound together by true love and ordered according to a unified hierarchy of men and women under God and true parents.
This chapter briefly examines some of the major forces that have transformed the world over the past five centuries and how these changes relate to God's providence of restoration.
The most powerful force in human society is religion. Belief in a supreme being, or transcendent spiritual power, motivates people to build their lives according to religious principles, whereby they expect to be rewarded for doing good and punished for doing evil. In medieval Europe, the Church of Rome maintained authority over Christian knowledge. Few lay people could read or write and fewer yet knew Latin or Greek, the languages in which copies of the Bible were produced. Without printing presses, there were not many Bibles available anyway. Thus, the common folk had to believe whatever the ecclesiastic authorities told them. This made the church responsible for the communication of God's truth to believers, a trust which was frequently abused.
The Protestant Reformation was sparked by criticism of the church from a new class of enlightened laity, men and women who were sufficiently educated to study the scriptures and learn for themselves how the church had grown to abuse its authority. They were joined by disaffected clergymen, who had observed the hypocrisy and corruption of the church from inside. Their revolt against Rome started a snowball of defections from the church, forever changing the face of western Christianity. By the end of the twentieth century, there were literally dozens of major Christian denominations and thousands of smaller ones. By and large, the rejection of church authority and the proliferation of independent churches made individuals feel more responsible for their own religion. This was a healthy development, leading to inquiry into the meaning of scriptures and the responsibilities of believers.
The Reformation also produced a new Christian zeal, inspiring believers to take the message of Jesus to the four corners of the globe. Missionary movements sprang up to carry the word to nearly all nations, making Christianity a truly global religion for the first time. The Catholic Church had missionized before, but the Reformation stimulated its efforts greatly, especially through movements of the Catholic counter-Reformation. The Society of Jesus, or Jesuits, which was dedicated to spreading the Gospel throughout the world, was one of the most successful Catholic mission organizations. The missionary movement was considerably aided by the development of improved means of international transportation, by land and sea.
Unfortunately, missionary activity was all too often used by those with political and economic interests to secure colonial holdings around the world. Mixing objectives diluted the purity of the Christian outreach and generated resentment towards the Christian powers in the peoples targeted for conversion. Nevertheless, the work of missionaries made God's salvation providence centered on Jesus known to most of the world.
The geographic expansion of Christianity was matched by a growth in theological studies, and all issues were open to question and debate as never before. Numerous schools of theology sprang up, representing a wide spectrum of views. The result was that Christians realized there are many ways of interpreting scriptures, depending on one's position or perspective. Knowing this, Christians have to take personal responsibility for their beliefs. This is positive since it is only when individuals take responsibility to know and obey God that they can fulfill their God-given purpose.
Islam also spread throughout the world during this period, making major inroads in Africa and Asia. As Islam encountered diverse cultures it proved flexible in adapting to them. During this period, spiritual movements were a major source of conversion. Sufi groups, which practiced special rituals aimed at bringing members into direct contact with God and the spirit world, were particularly effective. In the period of final preparation, well-established sects, such as the Qadiriyya, Nakshabandis, Shazlis and Mevlevis, were joined by such groups as the Mahdis of Sudan, the Fulanis of Nigeria and the Sanussis of Libya.
While the Ottoman Empire did not foster a particular movement of religious renewal, it was in many respects tolerant of religious independence and free scholarship. Stimulated by the religious and scientific upheaval in the West, a number of Muslim thinkers began to re-examine their faith critically, in particular seeking to reconcile their beliefs with modern science. Among those of note were Ibn Tamiyah, Mohammed Abdu, Sayyid Amin Ali and Mohammed Iobal.
When the Protestant Reformation challenged Catholic orthodoxy, a tradition of religious freedom began to take root in western society. Thinkers were liberated to explore with new creativity the basic issues of life: the origin of human beings, their attributes, purpose, potential and destiny. In general, the early Greek philosophers provided the base on which modem philosophers built their systems. At one point, two important camps emerged out of philosophical debates: the idealists and the materialists. The former (such as Kant and Hegel) sought to construct logically sound theories on principles that recognized the existence of an invisible creator. The materialists (such as Feurbach and Marx) did not accept religious belief or speculation about the existence of a transcendent, invisible world in formulating their theories of humanity and the creation. They had great faith in science and its ultimate ability to answer questions about life.
The idealist philosophers provided support for religion, whereas the materialists supported humanistic ideologies. The most important materialist thinker was Karl Marx, not because of his brilliant philosophy, profound economic theory or perceptive understanding of history (few of his theories stand up to rigorous scientific questioning), but because his theories provided the ideological basis for the most successful materialistic movement in history: Marxism-Leninism, or Communism. With its denial of God and human spirituality, Communism set out to conquer the world for the "workers of the world."
The first Communist regime was ushered in by the 1917 Bolshevik revolution in Russia. Like a cancer, atheistic Communism spread from Russia throughout the world. By the late 1970s, almost two-thirds of the earth had come under the control of Communist rulers. Only after seventy years of cruel dictatorships and endless lies did the Communist monster finally falter and collapse in a heap of unfulfilled promises, leaving behind the corpses of tens of millions of innocent people.
The Communists promised a materialistic 'kingdom of heaven', in which each person would receive according to his need and give according to his ability. Yet Communism caused much more suffering than it ever mitigated. Despite legitimate concerns about inequities in the fallen world, Communists never understood the origin of evil and how it can be defeated. For instance, they incorrectly assumed that internal problems were caused by external circumstances and could be solved through external change. But the most serious error of Communism lay in its pathological hatred of God and religion. By denying God, Communism was no more than a tool of Satan, a system of false ideals susceptible to his manipulation. Although many sincere people were drawn by its promises and sacrificed to help in the realization of the good world it claimed it could create, they were ultimately deceived, and most became disillusioned and deeply disappointed.
Ever since Adam and Eve set up a satanic imitation of the true family, Satan has preceded God in creating false imitations of the ideal world (fallen families precede restored families, fallen systems of government, restored systems, and so on). In a sense, Satan denied his own existence in promoting materialist Communism, a strategy which gave Communism immense spiritual power. Communist expansion imitated the pattern of restoration: it began with one individual, Marx, and grew in stages. Once one nation, Russia, was claimed for the new, atheistic faith, it was able to expand rapidly to embrace many states around the world. Thus Communism created a kingdom of hell on earth, a world completely under the dominion of evil.
Any good library contains many thousands of volumes on philosophy, offering readers a full range of theories on life. Providentially, the purpose of philosophy is to provide a framework for understanding God and internal truth in the realm of human reason and logic. The plethora of theories has provided ways out of the confining straitjacket of religious dogmatism, to explore truth with complete freedom of mind. Thus philosophy has contributed to the exercise of human responsibility. In any philosophy, the most important concepts are those that enable men and women to fulfill their God-given purposes in this complex modem world. Conscientious humanists who follow philosophy are thus able to make valuable contributions to God's providence by affirming good values even though they may not believe in God.
Science and Technology
Much of the wisdom of ancient Greece, including the basics of science, was preserved, elaborated and significantly supplemented by Muslim scholars during the early centuries of the Islamic Empire. These scholars then transmitted their learning to Europe, especially through Spain and Sicily. This injection of scholarship proved to be a key element in Europe's awakening. The first major scholarly movement in Europe was the Italian Renaissance (which preceded the Protestant Reformation and helped provide critical educational tools to the reformers), followed two centuries later by the Enlightenment.
Both the Renaissance and the Reformation were important in stimulating science, which finally began its modem life. Religious authorities agreed to let scientists pursue knowledge of humankind and the universe through postulating theories and gathering empirical data to prove or disprove those theories. Before this, the church held a monopoly on knowledge, judging all ideas by the rules of Christian dogma.
Science, released from the constraints of stifling church authority and erroneous religious doctrines about humans and the universe, began to discover laws governing the physical world, leading to the creation of a growing array of technologies to assist people in performing the tasks of life. Thus, science became the leading force in transforming lifestyles in the modem era. By the end of the twentieth century, science had reached such a pre-eminent place in life that it had supplanted religion as the accepted authority on practically all matters pertaining to human existence. It seemed that science, through the development of appropriate technologies in medicine, communications, travel and the provision of human comforts, could meet all human needs. In many respects this widespread dependence on science signifies the elevation of science to the status of religion. In today's secularized, science centered world, religious beliefs that cannot meet the criteria of science are suspect. In this reversal of roles between religion and science, people who are afraid to change their materialistic belief systems adhere to scientific theories with dogmatic faith.
However, the world of modem technology, despite all its facilities and benefits, has produced unprecedented human alienation: of individuals from their families, families from their communities, and groups from their nations. The pervasive alienation of modem society has developed to such an extent that all too many people feel completely alone in the world. Ironically, this is especially the case in crowded cities where the universal preoccupation with survival tends to leave individuals feeling isolated.
God facilitated the development of science as an instrument for the fulfillment of His dispensation, but it was never intended to dominate humanity or take a subject position over religion. Science and technology bring joy to humankind when used in accordance with God's will.
The last four centuries have witnessed a dramatic change in the way power is wielded and shared. There have been countless upheavals and revolutions, many of them violent, and often intended to put an end to governmental systems that gave absolute power to rulers who abused it at the cost of those they ruled. Although there still are kingdoms, emirates and various forms of dictatorial rule on earth, the idea of democracy has become firmly established as the modem way of government, not because it is perfect but because it offers the greatest measure of freedom to individuals in an imperfect world. Democracy allows choice of religion, association and political leadership, and protects other important personal liberties. Ideally, it provides a political environment in which God can work with humans for the development of faith and the creation of a good society.
From God's viewpoint, an ideal system of government would be one in which political power expressed God's loving will, and religious and political leaders, aided by science, worked together for the benefit of all. Prior to the advent of modem democracy, however, religious institutions failed to preserve the purity they needed to give proper guidance to political leaders. For their part, though, political leaders are to be faulted for frequently acting against the advice of religion or for arrogating religious authority to themselves, damaging religion through abuse of their positions. Thus religion has been harmed by religious and political leaders ignorant of God's will.
Given this experience, democracy has been a relatively better system of government than unrighteous authoritarian rule, even in the name of "theocracy." Most important, it has protected religious freedom, under which people can worship God together in their chosen ways, study together and freely convey their beliefs to others. In this way democracy (which came to modem life through the Protestant church) has provided God with an opportunity to educate fallen humans away from primitive or erroneous beliefs and towards true understanding. This is vitally important since a major cause of human error and conflict is ignorance of God's love and truth, derived from the loss of true love through the fall. Ultimately, only through the practice of true love will the problems addressed by democracy be finally overcome. However complete a person believes his or her religion to be, from God's standpoint there is always scope for development and growth in the faith and practice of religion, a process facilitated by democracy. Not until members of the various faiths work together to restore all humankind, by creating a world of true love relationships, will religion have fulfilled its purpose.
Nevertheless, modem humanity should understand that democracy is not an end in itself. It is not the solution to all human ills. The solution lies in the elimination of evil and the creation of a world of true love, centered on God and true parents. Thus democracy is virtuous only if it is based on religious values. Once these are removed, it can be abused by evil influences, including all forms of immorality, and even succumb to totalitarianism of the right (fascism) or the left (Communism).
Side by side with political transformation, there has been a dramatic change in economies, in how goods and services are produced and exchanged. The modem network of sophisticated financial institutions, multinational corporations, individual and mult-owner companies, private and public sector industries, is extremely complex. Karl Marx, who died as recently as 1883, could not have imagined how economies would work a century after he wrote Das Kapital, which describes the evils of European capitalism and prescribes a Communist remedy.
Political freedom has been accompanied by economic freedom, with each taking turns at leading the other. As a result, at the end of the twentieth century fewer and fewer people are the economic property of others, while a significant and rising percentage enjoy a growing range of livelihood choices. This economic freedom is important in enabling individuals to make ideological choices.
The world God created was to provide Adam and Eve with an abundant life, as long as they fulfilled their role as loving lords over the creation. After they fell, they lacked the internal capacity to care for nature properly, leading to a conflict between humans and nature that has persisted to this day. Destruction of the natural environment out of ignorance and selfishness is now a problem that threatens the survival of all people.
Ideally, prosperity should not be a value in itself but rather the fruit of a good life. In the fallen world, prosperity is often created by one person at the expense of others, thus violating the purpose of the whole, which should govern all human affairs. Human greed has caused tremendous suffering in history, and continues to do so today.
Economic power and wealth should be used for the benefit of all humankind. God loves all His children and cannot bless a system that deprives some of them of a livelihood while supporting an abundant or even wasteful lifestyle for others. God is fair and just. In a world of true love, that fairness and justice, inherited by His children, will be reflected in an equitable distribution of wealth. For all individuals, the moral way is to use one's wealth for the benefit of others, centered on God's will. The person who does this will find his wealth a blessing. Used selfishly, however, wealth is a curse for its owner, since the creation itself wants to be used for God's will and the betterment of the whole.
The Twentieth Century
The second period of global preparation for true parents was launched in 1517 and has come to a climax in the twentieth century. At the beginning of the century, the First World War and the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 catapulted humanity into the most incredible era of change in history, with all the developmental trends accelerating at a dramatic pace. There is a providential basis for the rush of events in this century, since this is the time for the coming of true parents and fulfillment of the whole history of humankind. For this reason, the twentieth century has witnessed a cosmic final battle between God and Satan. The forces of evil have made a last desperate struggle to dominate the world before the mission of true parents is consummated.
The World Wars
The internal battle between good and evil has produced a century of bloody conflict of an unprecedented magnitude. In particular, the two World Wars and the many conflicts related to the rise of Communism as a world-threatening military phenomenon have pitted forces of relative good and evil against each other on a global scale. That is not to say that in each conflict there has been a clear separation of good and evil people in opposing camps, but rather that certain leaders have been used by God or Satan to accomplish particular objectives: God has chosen and supported Abel figures to complete a worldwide foundation for true parents; Satan has chosen and supported Cain figures to preserve his dominion over humankind.
In the First World War, the Central Powers of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Turkey were in the Cain position. They fought to maintain and expand their hegemony over other nations. This unrighteous campaign stood in the way of God's providence to liberate nations from imperial domination, freeing them to find their own way to fulfill God's will. The Allies, in the Abel position, were led by Britain, France and America. They successfully opposed the Central Powers and opened the way for the advance of freedom and democracy throughout the world. However, they made several mistakes in victory. They themselves did not relinquish control of their colonies and they imposed such punitive burdens on the defeated alliance that seeds were sown for the outbreak of a second global conflict.
In the Second World War, the Cain-like Axis Powers, Hitler's Germany, Mussolini's Italy and Imperial Japan, took up arms in unrighteous conquest, killing tens of millions in pursuit of their self-centered ambitions. Their evil, racist ideologies, which led to the Holocaust and a host of other atrocities, were in contradiction to God's loving Heart, which embraces people of all races and religions. They were opposed by the Allies: the United States, Britain, France and the Soviet Union, on the Abel side. Their victory over the Axis Powers put a stop to racist ideologies and discredited them for all time. At the end of the war, the Allies planned a new international order of freedom and democracy, and established the United Nations. America, England and France offered generous terms to the defeated nations and liberated their colonies, according to the Christian ideals of forgiveness and charity. This laid the foundation for an era of unprecedented prosperity and progress. However, the Soviet Union had other intentions: to spread Communism worldwide. It used the end of the war to impose a brutal occupation on the recently liberated nations within its sphere of influence and begin a campaign of Communist expansion. The world divided once again into warring camps.
The Cold War conflict between the Cain-like Communist camp, with its ambition to rule the world in the name of atheistic ideology, and the free world, centering on the United States, can be considered the Third World War. Although the nuclear deterrent apparently prevented outright war between the two sides, the conflict between them frequently produced major wars (Korea, Vietnam, Angola, etc.) and resulted in millions of deaths. Only by the end of the 1980s, when communist regimes collapsed in disarray in one country after another, was the global Communist threat finally put to rest and the ascendancy of the Abel side unequivocally assured.
Each of these successes for Abel made a condition for the advance of God's providence in the final dispensation. The victory in the First World War set up the condition for the birth of true parents, the fulfillment of the first blessing, and the fulfillment of the three blessings in the formation stage; the victory in the Second World War set up the condition for the launch of the public mission of true parents, the fulfillment of the second blessing, and the fulfillment of the three blessings in the growth stage; and the victory in the Third World War opened the way for true parents to complete their mission: the total fulfillment of the three blessings.
Over the course of the past few centuries, the world has been transformed because of God's intense activity to prepare for the age of true parents. To prepare for that world, religion, philosophy, science, politics and economics have all passed through dramatic changes. While the world still suffers from human ignorance and evil, the forces of good have been quietly establishing indestructible foundations for the realization of God's will on earth. In the twentieth century, the world has experienced struggles between good and evil of apocalyptic proportions. After three great world wars, Satan's last great attempt to control the world had collapsed with the downfall of Communist regimes everywhere. Such universal conflicts portend that we live in the last days, foretold in the Bible and Koran.
The next chapter looks at the phenomena of these last days and how one can understand the dispensation for true parents in the context of recent developments and the current realities of the world.
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