Essentials Of The Unification Principle
by Thomas Cromwell
20. Applying The Unification Principle To Life
Faced with a host of pressing problems, individuals and humanity as a whole need real, workable solutions, not just abstract concepts. A theory of life is only useful to the extent that it can benefit people substantially through its practical application. The Unification Principle, then, is not offered to the world merely as a new religious theory, to be added to the many already in existence, but as an understanding of God and humanity that can serve as a catalyst for the realization of people's highest aspirations and dearest dreams. It provides the basis for harmonization of religions, races and nations around the common goal of creating a peaceful world of loving relationships, thereby offering a blueprint for personal fulfillment and a joyful life. How does the Principle accomplish this?
The Vision of the Unification Principle
The Principle envisions a future in which enlightened and mature people of all cultures will grow to realize the ideal of true love. In the world they create, differences in culture will compose a beautiful tapestry of brightly varied but harmonious colors: each person and cultural group will have its own unique characteristics and attributes but, joined with others, will contribute to a larger all-encompassing design.
It is erroneous to think of the unity of religions as the achievement of common belief among all people. After all, no two people hold fully identical beliefs! Rather, religious unity should be conceived of as the achievement of harmonious relationships among diverse religious groups, grounded in mutual virtue and true love. To fulfill this ideal, Christians must become better Christians, Muslims better Muslims, Jews better Jews, Buddhists better Buddhists, Hindus better Hindus, and so on. Better means closer to the ideal of a true man or woman. Ultimately, all men and women are destined to fulfill their full potential through the realization of the three blessings. This is the fundamental purpose for which all people were created and will be fulfilled once men and women learn to fulfill their responsibilities fully.
The Unification Principle affirms the highest values of existing religions and shows them all to be part of God's plan to restore humanity to its original state and purpose. Thus, through the Principle a Christian can come to appreciate Jews and Muslims, for example. The Principle offers a way for believers to broaden their faith perspective without denying their own religious foundations. In a world rapidly shrinking in physical distances, this is increasingly important. No longer can one live in the luxury of cultural isolation. The Principle provides a framework for integrating many of the disparate intellectual and spiritual forces of this age.
People do not decide their own birth or the environment they enter when arriving in this world, but they can greatly influence the sort of people they become. Each person is endowed by God with spiritual and physical attributes that enable personal growth and transformation. All true religions exist to elevate the moral and ethical standards of believers by providing guidelines for spiritual growth, the maturing of heart and love.
However, if the standards of the world as realized by existing religious practice were sufficiently elevated to secure lasting peace, there would be no need for personal change. People everywhere, of all religious (and non-religious) persuasions, are beset with myriad problems. No one can honestly pretend that he or she is without need of improvement. However devout, however faithful, however immersed in a life of religious devotion or humanistic good works, there is always room for growth and improvement. If there is a line to be drawn between 'good' and 'bad' people, it would not be drawn along any religious or ethnic divide, but rather between those people who sincerely make an effort to improve themselves and those who make no effort to improve. The first group contains people who selflessly seek out ways to serve and learn from others, while the second group contains people who selfishly seek to keep what they have, clinging to their own ideas and seeking to impose themselves unrighteously on others. Among the first group are the humble peacemakers and reconcilers of the world, while among the second are the arrogant and greedy who engage in war and destruction in pursuit of unrighteous ambition.
A Principled world would be populated by people who put the needs of others above their own needs. This virtuous character would be cultivated in the family and demonstrated in the principles and practices of social institutions and governments.
The Principle points to the root problem of human existence as the corruption of love. Without relationships of true love, men and women are incapable of building a world of peace and prosperity. The solution to human problems, then, lies in mending love relationships. This is best accomplished in a good family. A true family is a school of pure, principled love, endowing its members with the qualities of good character they need to live a virtuous life. The love relationships in a true family (children's, sibling, conjugal and parental) are models for all true love relationships in society. For example, a parent-child relationship is mirrored in the ideal interaction between a government and those it governs, in which benevolent rule is reciprocated by loyalty. In another example, a teacher's parental, caring education is reciprocated by a student's devotion. Or, again, fraternal relationships should exist among organizations and institutions, as well as among all individuals.
The Principle recognizes that religious and familial ideals have to find application in all areas of human activity, from public education and culture to business and politics. For example, educational, cultural, business and political ethics should all be guided by universal, God-centered principles. Otherwise, when these essential areas of life are subjected to personal whims and prejudices they can be vehicles for the multiplication of evil rather than good. The Unificationist approach to solving global problems begins with the transformation of individuals, recognizing that one cannot expect to have good organizations, institutions and governments without good people. Consequently, Unificationism rejects the economic determinism of Marxism and the political determinism of those who believe liberal democracy (or any other political system) in itself can solve all human problems. The family is the most important determinant of human character and human institutions.
Today, a very large portion of human and natural resources is used for destruction, or to stem forces of destruction. The world's military budgets together consume trillions of dollars a year, while law enforcement uses many billions more. All of these efforts and expenditures are necessitated by the lack of true love in human relations, from the inter-personal to the international. Only by solving the problem of broken relationships can crime be eliminated and war made obsolete.
Furthermore, according to the Principle, a good family is not only the school of true love, but also a model of how human diversity can be embraced within a harmonious whole, without denying or limiting individual expression. The diversity of personalities found among children within a family is a source of enrichment among siblings. As children grow, they may clash with one another because of conflicting perspectives. However, their parents can see the value of each and every one, and love them all. Through the mediating love of parents, children can be reconciled. Once mature, siblings usually clash less as their mutual appreciation grows and they learn to accept and love one another because of their differences as much as their similarities. Likewise, as societies mature, their mutual acceptance and appreciation increases. Human diversity should be a source of great joy. Undoubtedly, the Kingdom of Heaven is where individuals can express their true individualism to the maximum, in harmony with all others. It is not a realm of bland sameness and conformity.
The Resolution of Conflicts
Unificationism recognizes the value of political and economic reform, of developing legislation to deal with issues of human governance, but points out that the work of addressing problems in the world of result will never end if at the same time the causes are not being dealt with. Therefore, the Unification Movement, which embraces those projects and activities inspired and guided by the Principle, takes as its fundamental task the elimination of the causes of violent conflict, crime, abuse of other humans and nature, corruption and oppression. Only when individuals recognize and respect the value and sanctity of others, irrespective of religious affiliation, race or culture, will the tendencies to conflict, greed and exploitation be removed. To change attitudes requires education. Once there is mutual respect there can be love.
As described in Chapter 9, the Principle presents a profound understanding of the root of conflict and how conflicts can be resolved. Conflicts result from individuals and groups with fallen nature clashing because of differing interests. According to the Principle, in any conflict there is typically an Abel side, which is closer to God's point of view than Cain's. Abel must take the initiative to love Cain so that Cain can overcome resentment and unite with Abel. The practice of love is service of others, hence Abel must serve Cain, even though Abel is in the privileged position and typically faces great difficulty in overcoming a tendency to look down on Cain. Cain has to obey and follow Abel, even though doing so requires great effort in overcoming a natural tendency to resent Abel's privileged position. It is not important for one side or the other to determine who is Abel and who Cain; each must try to serve the other. Because of his advantageous position, Abel should initiate love.
Thus, to resolve conflicts each side has to find a way to love the other through self-sacrificial service of the other. Because this is extremely difficult to realize, history has been characterized by human conflict rather than harmony and peace. In inter-personal relations, there are always clashes of personality, which often lead to open conflict and mutual suffering. It often seems nearly impossible to love another. Such conflicts can be defused only if one side, at least, makes a conscious effort to serve the other with love, despite bad feelings. This inter-personal dynamic is reproduced on all levels of human interaction. Even on the scale of international relations, one often sees childish interaction that fails to rise above tit-for-tat exchanges (we will stop oppressing our minorities if you stop oppressing yours; we will stop interfering in your politics if you stop interfering in ours; we will remove our tariffs if you remove yours, etc). According to the Principle, international (as all other) conflicts can best be resolved by each side considering the needs of the other and taking sincere steps to address those needs. (Of course, this does not mean an Abel side should naively expose itself to the destructive attacks of Cain. This would be irresponsible.)
Restoration follows a reverse course, in which the solution of resultant problems makes a condition for the solution of causal problems. Therefore, because conflict between siblings was a result of the deeper problem of unprincipled love between their parents, the resolution of Cain-Abel conflicts precedes resolution of the root problem of impure love. Once love is purified through the creation of true families, the cause of conflicts will be eliminated. Hence, the Unification solution for the world's problems focuses on individual preparation to establish a good family and then the dissemination of true family values to every area of life.
The Unification program to create families of true love is centered on the Blessing, granted by the True Parents, which establishes a family on a strong, God-centered foundation. Such families nurture pure character and love, and are protected from many of the destructive forces of this world, including sexual promiscuity and the many sexually-transmitted diseases (such as AIDS) that are associated with it. The Blessing protects a family from destructive influences by linking it substantially to the realm of unblemished love created by the True Parents. Through Blessed families, individuals can grow to realize the ideal of parental love, which is the key to solving global problems on all levels.
The original sin of Adam and Eve made a condition for Satan to enter their family and lineage. Representing Adam and Eve, the True Parents had to fulfill all the conditions necessary to negate completely the evil affects of the original bad conditions. Having achieved this, they stand in a realm completely free from the influences of the original sin. Through the Blessing, then, they transfer their freedom from the original sin to other couples. Nevertheless, this removal of the burden of original sin from Blessed couples still leaves each individual responsible to overcome his or her fallen nature.
During the first years of Unification Movement history, the Blessing was exclusively available to Unificationists (those who accept the Unification Principle as the basis for their lives of faith). Now, however, anyone who respects the work and position of the True Parents as representatives of God qualified to give the Blessing to humanity, and is also willing to make a lasting commitment to marital fidelity, can receive the Blessing. Already there is a growing number of people from the non-Unificationist traditions who have received the Blessing. Married couples, of whatever tradition, who receive the Blessing can renew their married life on a completely new basis. Furthermore, the children of a Blessed couple receive the special benefit of a purified lineage. All Blessed couples are qualified to join the Family Federation for Unification and World Peace, which was established by the True Parents on May 3, 1994. Blessed families are realizing a global network of purified and conscientious people working to build a better world. The vast majority of the couples who have received the Blessing honor it and make great efforts to create good and healthy families.
The family is the best place to break down traditional divisions along racial and nationalistic lines. After all, the children of interracial parents cannot grow up prejudiced: they love both their parents and cannot see a racial division between them. For this reason, Unificationist couples are often inter-racial and international, pioneering a world free from destructive prejudices.
The Unificationist's Life of Faith
All Unificationists seek to live for the sake of others. Whatever they have, whether abilities or possessions, they try to offer to God. They believe they should always do their best, with humility. To do their best, they have to study God's word, listen to those with greater knowledge and pray to God for guidance. To fulfill their God-given purpose and experience joy, they must always try to share what they have received from God and others, and they must cultivate within themselves a parental heart that ultimately mirrors the all-embracing parental heart of God. In this way they can overcome the deep-seated prejudices of fallen nature and transcend the consequent divisions of race, religion and nationality.
Because of the Blessing's importance, the Unificationist life of faith is ultimately centered on it. Before the Blessing, the focus of Unificationist religious devotion and activity is preparing for the Blessing. After the Blessing, this focus shifts to fulfillment of the Blessing.
During the pre-Blessing period, Unificationists make every effort to maintain purity, treating members of the opposite sex as brothers or sisters and not potential partners. This endeavor centers on the discipline of achieving mind-body unity, which is to obey the will of God despite temptations and the reluctance of the body to accept a life of self-sacrifice. Each individual must make foundations of faith through prayer, studying God's word, fasting and tithing, and foundations of substance by serving and loving others, resolving conflicts. This latter effort means uniting with an Abel figure, or central figure, despite the fallen tendency to reject Abel, and winning Cain through love, in this way developing true parental heart through raising spiritual children.
After the Blessing, couples make every effort to maintain the sanctity of their marriage, focusing on husband-wife unity as the foundation for creating families of true love. The example they seek to emulate is the True Parents, whose sacrificial love is the ideal. The True Parents have always lived for others, putting the needs of the world above the needs of their own family, and giving with unconditional love. Yet they have also demonstrated the highest standard of familial love, sharing a profound and evident love for each other and for their children and grandchildren.
What Does Unificationism Offer?
In a world fragmented along the lines of human differentiation, and held superficially together only by a thin veneer of western culture, there is a great need for a unifying world view that looks beneath the surface of divisions to the underlying harmony of humanity, and shows the way forward to integration. All the findings of science confirm a universal order and harmony in the non-human creation. Surely, then, the God that created minerals, plants and animals according to a set of unifying laws also created humans to exist within a global unity. The Unification Principle provides an understanding of God and His creation that synthesizes diverse threads of religious and philosophical knowledge as a basis for harmonizing humanity into a global family. In doing so, it also answers clearly the basic questions of life posed by inquiring human minds.
On this ideological foundation, the Unification Movement embraces a wide variety of activities which help promote international, inter-religious and inter-racial understanding and reconciliation. In every case, the Movement seeks to serve others by offering substantial assistance, as appropriate and available. Its activities, carried out by dozens of organizations, have included hundreds of initiatives, including inter-religious dialogues and theological exchanges, inter-disciplinary and international scientific conferences, international gatherings of political leaders, media projects designed to set standards of responsible journalism, ethically-oriented education, international cultural exchanges, relief projects in under-developed countries and a wide range of social-service activities. Several major initiatives are now the primary focus of Movement efforts: the Inter-Religious Federation for World Peace seeks to bring together all religions, thus working to unify the world of mind; the Federation for World Peace seeks to bring together all political and economic entities, thus unifying the world of body; the Women's Federation for World Peace seeks to bring together the world's women so that they can fulfill their natural role as peacemakers; the Youth Federation for World Peace mobilizes the World's youth, filled with idealism, to the same end; and the Family Federation for World Peace combines all these initiatives in the oneness of family unity. This is not to say that these projects in themselves can heal all humanity's illnesses, but rather that in their design they recognize the core problems and demonstrate viable approaches to solving them.
Above all, Unificationism. recognizes the importance of individual responsibility in the solution of human problems and the creation of a peaceful, loving world. It is a mistake to wait for God or other people to intervene in the affairs of the world so that they (not 1) can bring about an ideal world. All men and women must do their part. God provides abundant help for those who undertake this responsibility.
Furthermore, the Unification Movement applies the principle of the centrality of the True Parents and true love families to the realization of an ideal world. The mature love of parents can keep disparate parties working together in even the most difficult circumstances. The goal of human development in the Movement is, then, the achievement of true parental heart capable of embracing the full diversity of humanity. Mere tolerance of others is not enough -you tolerate a nuisance; there must be real appreciation, acceptance and love. The True Parents have established archetypal parental love in its true and pure form, and hence they and the Blessing they give are the ultimate gifts God has to offer the fallen world.
How successful has the Unification Movement been in realizing the ideals it espouses? The Movement is a microcosm of what can be realized on a global, all-encompassing scale. But it is a fast growing microcosm! Beginning with a mud shack built by its founder, Sun Myung Moon, in 1954, the Movement has grown to establish a presence in 160 countries and caries on a range of activities that is breathtaking in its diversity and scope. This diversity is matched by the diversity of people who have found a role in it: members of all religions, races and nationalities. Of course, many who are involved in Unification Movement activities are not adherents of the Unification Principle as a system of belief, but they support the broad goals of the Movement, or at least the goals of specific Unificationist projects and activities.
Among Unificationists there are all types of people from every comer of the earth. Like all people, they face the personal and social problems that prevail in the world. However, there are certain characteristics cultivated among Unificationists that collectively create a Unificationist ethos. First, all Unificationists are committed to a life of serving others, of putting the purpose of the whole above their own purpose. Second, they are all committed to improving their own lives and creating good families by pursuing a high moral standard. Furthermore, Unificationists typically do not smoke, drink, take drugs, or lead promiscuous lives. Many have been transformed for the good through their association with the Principle, sometimes leaving behind lives of crime, violence, materialism or dissipation.
Building a world of true love may sound like a fanciful dream, but the alternative is inconceivably grim. Their are really only two options that lie open to humanity. First, people can continue in the self-centered pursuit of personal enrichment at the cost of others' well-being, interminably clashing across the human divides (with ever more sophisticated weapons) when their interests conflict. This is the road to the creation of an ever more hellish world of total human degradation and destruction. The second option is for humanity to choose the way of true love, of learning to understand others and live for them. This path will ultimately lead to the creation of a world of peace and prosperity for all.
As the speed of human progress accelerates, the potential for good and evil accelerates as well. Certainly the ability of humans to harm one another and their environment has reached awesome proportions today. There is no standing still. Humanity must choose. The Unification Principle and the Unification Movement offer themselves as means to the second option. They are worth considering by all men and women of conscience and responsibility.
You, the reader, are invited to participate in the work of world unification and peace. Whatever you have gleaned from these pages can be put to use in your life. You can contribute to global understanding and harmony by applying what you have learned. Most important, you can receive the Blessing, linking you and your lineage to the pure love of True Parents, and setting you on a path to ever greater fulfillment and joy.
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