To Bigotry, No Sanction, Reverend Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church
by Dr. Mose Durst
5. The Teaching Church
As much as I and those of us in the Unification Church admire Reverend Moon, we are taught by him to be people who embody principles rather than ones who blindly follow personality. Reverend Moon, above all, is the embodiment of what he teaches, but it is what he teaches that guides our lives. A Nationwide survey conducted of our membership reveals that a great appeal of the Unification movement is its theology. Members are attracted to a rational, systematic worldview. Furthermore, the survey points out many, were social activists in the late 1960s and early '70s. Our members are people who want to practice their ideals. The teaching sets forth ideals for the healthy person, the mature family, the creative community, and the peaceful world. These are ideals that have always moved people, and they speak to the deepest needs within each of us. It is no mystery, then, that the Unification movement has attracted thousands of people in the United States in only a few years.
The first gift Onni put into my hands when I visited the Dana Street house in Oakland was a little book entitled Divine Principle (although I have since learned that its Korean title might be better translated Discourse on Principle). I didn't ask who the author was, but I took it home and read it. I found myself elevated spiritually, and had a conversion of understanding through the teachings of this revelatory document. Only some time later did I ask Onni, "Who wrote that book you gave me?" She told me that Reverend Sun Myung Moon received the knowledge contained in Divine Principle through study, prayer, and revelation, and that he had suffered persecution for his faith. That statement doubly certified the teachings for me, and yet I was already convinced of the holiness of the message.
"How can we know the characteristics of God, who is an invisible being? We can know them by observing the world of His creation .... just as the work of an artist is a visible manifestation of its maker's invisible nature, every creation is a 'substantial object' of the invisible deity of God, the Creator. His nature is displayed in each creation. just as we can sense an author's character through his works, so we can perceive God's deity in observing His creation." With these words, I was off on my spiritual journey through the teaching of Divine Principle.
By looking at human beings, the Divine Principle continues, we find truth-seekers, beauty-seekers, and love-seekers. Our nature is to seek value, and the world just happens to correspond to our needs. It is truthful, beautiful, lovable. We have infinite desire, infinite creativity, and infinite love not to be frustrated, but rather to be infinitely valuable. The challenge of life, however, is to use our mind, heart, energy, and creativity in constructive ways. We must ripen or mature our nature before we can realize our full value. The Bible says "be fruitful," then multiply and have dominion. To be fruitful is to mature according to our nature and purpose.
What is our nature? We have a mind that allows us to know truth or reality. The Divine Principle explains that our desire to know is ultimately rooted in our heart, the ground of our being, which directs us to love that which we know. So, for example, if we study medicine, we ideally are motivated to heal the human body. If we study law, we ideally are motivated to heal the social fabric. Human beings, then, have developed the sciences by which to observe, to experiment with, and to know this world. Philosophy and religion have been developed to allow us to live well with what we know. The goal of human life, Divine Principle explains, is to fulfill our ideals and our love in the largest way possible. We are meant to be fully human beings, and thus to say, as with Buddha, "In me you see the fullness of the universe," or as with Jesus, "In me you see the Father."
It is reasonable for us to infer, the Divine Principle elaborates, that since we have a mind that seeks to know and a heart that seeks to love, there must be a cause or source for our nature. We speak of this cause as God. Where else could mind come from? Out of what original, white-hot heat of creation could mind come from? Where does love come from? From what material, evolving in what random way, do we get Moses, St. Paul, and Gandhi? Human beings in their nature resemble God in His nature. Indeed, the Bible tells us that human beings are created in the image of God.
The ground of God's being, and thus the ultimate ground of all beings, the Divine Principle points out, is purposeful love. We seek to know the truth or reality of an existence so that we may connect well with it, be stimulated by it, and love it. We look to perceive and to create beauty because our heart is stirred to love that which is beautiful. In like manner, God seeks to connect with what He creates, so that He may feel the fullness of His own love.
I remember so well how, when I first read this, I felt like I had looked up at the sky and saw stars for the first time. It was not that I was unaware of the infinity of existence, but rather of how I was purposefully related to it. Now, for the first time, I felt intimately connected to the universe. I felt as though I had come home, that it was all right to come home, and that my parents were waiting to embrace me. Recently I was given a small sculpture of the Prodigal Son by Benjamin Bufano, the San Francisco artist. It depicts a father embracing his son so that they form one being. So, too, I felt that God was my personal parent when I understood my relationship to Him.
Onni had told me many times that the purpose of life was to be "a value-maker and a happy-maker" through purposeful love. By reading Divine Principle and studying the lectures that accompanied it, I realized that Onni was urging me to resemble God in heart and love. All of my life seemed to come into focus, as I realized that I could use my mind, energy, and love to resemble God's loving nature, and thus to become fully human. I felt like an artist who realized that his own life was the consummate work of art. It struck me that my fascination with art was its beauty and thus its ability to bring joy and consolation to a world filled with suffering. Now I realized that I had to make my life beautiful, through truly ethical action, and thus be a joy and comfort to others.
With my new-found joy, focus, and excitement came a sober sense of responsibility. If I were to become the consummate artist, I had to take responsibility for the direction of my every thought, feeling, and action. No longer could there be an arbitrary or indifferent standard for my activities. Rather, God as the standard of value would represent a universal love, a universal care, a universal heart. I, too, would actively have to seek to build a human community centered on love. The world would now become the Garden I would have to cultivate. The human family, was no longer an abstraction, it became real as I felt the reality of the brothers and sisters around me.
I was powerfully aware of God's universal love when I first studied the teachings of the Unification movement. It was not that I had never heard these ideas before, but that they had never been presented so rationally or "heartistically." Even to this day, I feel moved when I hear Reverend Moon speak about God's love. In a recent sermon he spoke about how
All creation is made to stimulate love. When God looks at His creation, He says, 'It is good.' The perfection of love is the purpose of life .... We are born as the prince and princess of love, to become king and queen of love, and to build the Kingdom of love.
If life is the process by which we are to perfect our love, the family is the palace of perfection. With the Divine Principle as my guide I had new hope for creating a healthy, loving family as the basis for a peaceful world. Before joining the Unification movement, two of my greatest ideals had been unrealized. I wanted to have a loving family that would be a source of great joy, and I wanted a world without war. Unfortunately, I did not know how to achieve either of these ideals. With the teaching of Reverend Moon and the Unification movement I had clear, if not easy, directions.
I realized that the family unit was the basic structure by which God could realize His ideal (and mine) of a peaceful, loving world. Children had to be taught respect for parents, who could seek to represent God's unselfish and unconditional love to children. If parents sought to resemble God's love, and children sought to follow their parents, then God's love would be the guiding force for family life. The innocence and purity of children would be guided by ethics. The way of love would become the ethic of life.
Along with respect for parents, children would learn the art of brotherly-sisterly love. Older brothers and sisters would learn to care for those who were younger, while those younger would learn to respect the older. Since boys and girls reflect God's masculine and feminine nature, they would mature in such a way as to embody God's parental heart. A mature man would reflect God's universal masculine love, and a mature woman would embody God's universal feminine love. Literally, cosmic man and cosmic woman would come together in marriage. What would be the quality of their love? Well, they would reflect God's love, which is eternal, absolute, and unchanging. As God gives Himself completely to the world, the mature man and woman would exhibit a love that is unselfish and sacrificial.
When Onni and I were married, she soon began calling me her "eternity-mate." "What?" I asked, thinking she was again dismembering the English language. "You know," she replied, "we will be together for eternity and love each other for eternity." As I looked at her I saw a person totally confident about and committed to the words that had come out of her mouth. I began to feel that something that had died within me was being reborn.
Fidelity of husband and wife to each other, the husband living for the well-being of his wife and the wife living for the happiness of her husband, is the ideal of marriage taught in the Unification movement. The family unit, then, would be a model for the larger society. All those in parental positions, like teachers, would feel responsible to raise up young people to an ideal of public service and civic virtue. Furthermore, all families would seek the well-being of all other families, for God would be recognized as the parent of one human family.
You ... must be loving your spouse and as God would have you love your spouse and as God would love your spouse; and in loving your parents, you must be loving them as God would have you love them and as God would love them; and in loving your children, you must be loving them as God would have you love them and as God would love them. If you do that, the children will do the same toward you and their grandparents, and the parents will do the same to reach you and their grandchildren. That is the measure of love, that is the tradition. 1
Be fruitful, multiply, and have dominion was clearly the blessing given to us by God. The Divine Principle clarifies the meaning of biblical blessing and illustrates how that blessing can be realized. Each human being could fulfill his or her purpose by maturing in love. We would thus be "fruitful" as we developed a caring, giving, unselfish love for the entire human community. We could "multiply," and thus receive the second blessing, by entering into marriage and bringing forth children. Finally, we could have the blessing of "dominion" by entering into lawful and loving relationship with all things. This was not to be a dominion of destruction and control, but one of harmonious interaction.
"Be a value-maker and a happy-maker through purposeful love" ran through my mind so many times as I studied the Divine Principle. Onni had a way of simplifying complex material by speaking to its essence. "Use your creativity to bring joy to God, joy to the world, and joy to your family," she would say. The creativity of love was the key of life, I thought. What is life other than creative "strategies of love." I felt surging within me the power of religion in its most vital form. I could use all of my energy and all of the energy around me if I could learn to resemble God's lawful and loving creativity. The question of understanding the nature of creativity became central to my desire to use it constructively. Onni then had me reread the section on "The Purpose of the Creation of the Universe" in the Divine Principle.
In order to understand more precisely the questions concerning God's purpose of creation, let us first examine how joy is produced. joy is not created by the individual alone. Joy comes when we have an object, whether invisible or visible, in which our own character and form are reflected and developed, thus enabling us to feel our own character and form through the stimulation derived from the object.
For example, man feels joy as a creator only when he has an object, that is, when he sees the product of his work, whether it be a painting or sculpture, in which his plan is substantiated. In this way, he is able to feel his own character and form objectively through the stimulation derived from the product of his work. When the idea itself remains in the objective position, the stimulation derived from it is not substantial; therefore, the joy derived from it cannot be substantial either. God's joy is produced in the same manner as man's. Therefore, God feels joy when He feels His original character and form objectively through the stimulation derived from His substantial object. 2
Onni would simplify this discussion of creativity in the following way: "How do we create? Let us assume that we are not just blank slates, but that we are pulsating beings, beings of energy, beings of mindfulness, beings of beauty, and beings of love. Suppose we have an idea for a song in our minds." She would then sing a few lines from Frank Sinatra's "My Funny Valentine" or Patti Page's "Tennessee Waltz. " (Onni was listening to exactly the same songs in Tokyo that I was listening to in New York.) "The idea itself," she would continue, "gives a certain amount of pleasure. We then get into the shower and start singing. What happens? We have more stimulation. Then what do we want to do? We want to get an orchestra, a band, a microphone, amplifiers, and belt it out! We want greater stimulation. We want to express, to interact, to feel joy."
What happens when someone creates anything with a tremendous investment of energy, heart, and mind? It gives us joy. Why? Because our own mind and heart are stimulated by what an artist has invested of himself.
More than just inventions or works of art, what things give us the greatest joy? Our children, of course. Those in whom we invest the greatest love give us the greatest joy. If we invest our full self in someone, and there is a full response, then there is the greatest joy. In most normal cultures, children give individuals the greatest joy. We look at our child's picture on our desk. We write a postcard to our child if we are ten thousand miles away. We hope our children will be better than we are; I never met a parent who did not hope that his or her child would be more beautiful and more loving than himself or herself. If our children act in such a way that they are truthful, beautiful, and loving, we feel the greatest joy. But if our children act in ungrateful ways, if they are hateful, unloving, unkind, then there is no greater suffering to the human heart.
If we feel joy from what we create, and from our children, our feeling is exactly analogous to what God must feel. The world is charged with the grandeur of God. Everything in creation is a testimony to God, and God creates to experience joy. Human beings are the fullest reflection of God's nature and, thus, as we resemble God, we can bring Him the greatest joy.
God can experience joy! His own being can become joyful if He beholds the beauty of human life, if we humans are truly able to be loving in a divine way. But the contrary is also true. If human beings fail to act in a large or loving way, God suffers. The world suffers. Everyone suffers. And we suffer. When we look at human history, we have to grieve over what people have inflicted on each other. We have acted like vermin rather than like human beings filled with any large kind of love. We have exploited, abused, violated, and perpetrated every kind of viciousness upon the sacredness of human life and the sacredness of this lovely, spinning globe. God's situation is one of ancient grief. Human history is a tragedy, and our own life is a mockery of what we are meant to be.
If the Divine Principle clarifies how we are meant to live purposefully in order to receive God's blessings, it also explains how a violation of our purpose and nature causes us to be cursed. When I first understood the fall of humanity, or the root cause for evil and tragedy, I felt as though a heavy curtain had been lifted from in front of my eyes. I had always attributed the cause of evil to greed, hatred, anger, and envy, but I did not understand how even these ignoble qualities were rooted in the misdirection of love.
Love centered upon God, the Divine Principle explains, is the source of human life and happiness. To love the world as God loves the world, to care for it as He does, is the foundation for a life of value. To love the world from God's point of view demands, however, that we grow. We have to love as we are guided by an ethical ideal of God-centered love. If, however, we fail to take God as the object of our love, we become idolators and commit every kind of evil.
Good and evil are fundamentally different. Evil asks everything different. Evil asks everything and everyone for himself. It asks everyone to be and exist for himself. But good exists for others. We have to make this clear and understand that this is the dividing point. When we follow this formula for goodness, we become the greatest of all men. If we go the first way, we become dictators. Patriots are those who sacrificed themselves in the interest of their own nation. Saints live not only for man, but for God.
We can see that good and evil start at the same point but head in different directions. Service to others is seemingly good, but unless the service is centered on Godly love, we cannot call it good. So, we cannot deny that good and evil are headed in different directions according to the quality of love they are centered upon. 3
Self-centered love, immature love, and misdirected love became the source, I was to learn, of breakdown in the family and destruction in the larger society. I thought of my own marriage and realized that the only hope for significant and lasting relationship was profound purpose. I could see all around me how people were attracted to each other, and fall in and out of marriage, because the marriage partners did not live for any meaningful purpose. I would see children disrespecting their parents because they could not respect the purpose for which their parents were living. I thought of the crime that rages throughout New York City and the violence that pervades much of the world, and I could see clearly the failure of loving purpose, the failure of constructive purpose, and thus the lust to destroy.
What was the tragedy of human history, I would ask myself many times while studying the Divine Principle, but hatred of individual against individual, tribe against tribe, nation against nation, race against race, religion against religion. When would hatred end? Only when we could learn to love. It was the simplest answer in the world but, as I was to find out, the hardest to practice. Could I genuinely seek to benefit others in all of my actions? This was to become the great challenge of living the tenets of the Divine Principle. If God grieves and the human community suffers because of the misdirection of love, could I develop a heart of redemptive love to restore myself to God's original ideal?
The restoration of original value, of God's original ideal, is the purpose of human history, the Divine Principle explains. Salvation is the restoration of God's original purpose of creation. Unlike many religions, which believe that salvation is merely personal, or perhaps primarily mystical, the Unification view is that salvation is the restoration of this world to the fulfillment of God's original ideal of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. That kingdom on earth is a world where God's love reigns as the operational principle of human life. Individuals, families, nations will comprise one family under God. Individuals may still do stupid things, people may still hurt each other, and the New York Yankees may still not win the pennant every year, but God's love will be the overwhelming force guiding human relationships.
The concept of the Last Days, from the Unification point of view, is not one of mystery in which God will magically lift up those who are to be saved and turn away from those who are damned. Rather, it is a time when human beings will exercise their full responsibility in turning away from the selfishness of the past to the God-centeredness of the future. What is needed, Reverend Moon teaches, is a revolution of the heart from selfishness to unselfishness-not a violent revolution of guns and bullets, but a quiet one of human motivation. Even though Jesus taught us to pray "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven," we look around us and see that the world is essentially as rotten as it was two thousand years ago. What Christ taught us to pray for remains unfulfilled. When Jesus appeared to Reverend Moon on Easter Sunday in 1936, he urged the sixteen-year-old boy to take up the mission of establishing God's ideal upon earth. This has been Reverend Moon's life-long mission.
The Messiah, the Lord of the Second Advent, the Divine Principle teaches, will be one who appears in this age as a model of God's love to a world that knows little about God and even less about His love. He will be one who seeks to bring unity of religion, race, and culture centered upon God's ideal. He will seek to communicate to the world how God grieves, and how we, as loving sons and daughters, must liberate God's suffering heart by establishing a peaceful world centered on God's love. Through the teaching of the Divine Principle I have felt new life. For the first time I feel like God's son, and I am motivated to love my brothers and sisters so that I may comfort Father and Mother (God). Reverend Moon has given me this new life through the teachings of the Divine Principle.
1. Reverend Sun Myung Moon, The Way of Tradition, Vol. 4 (New York: HSA-UWC Publications, 1980), p. 175.
2. Reverend Sun Myung Moon, Divine Principle, fifth edition (New York: HSA-UWC Publications, 1977), p. 42.
3. Reverend Sun Myung Moon, The Way of Tradition, Vol. 2 (New York: HSA-UWC Publications, 1980), p. 2.
Download entire page and pages related to it in ZIP format
Table of Contents