Unification News for October 2003
IIPC Consultation: Opening Remarks
Chung Hwan Kwak
October 3, 2003
I would like to take a few moments here at the outset to provide an overview of the broader framework for our discussions. In particular, I want to share some points related to the Founder's vision for world peace and the IIPC.
Throughout his entire life, Father Moon has been following the call of God, beginning with his experience with Jesus, as a 16-year-old boy, while praying in the mountains near his home in what is now North Korea. The simplest way to express his mission in life is to say that he is absolutely committed to working to establish the Kingdom of God. The term "world peace" is another way of speaking about the Kingdom of God.
To establish God's Kingdom is not a simple matter. Otherwise, it would have been achieved long ago. God certainly does not oppose the accomplishment of His original ideal. In order to establish God's kingdom, there needs to be a coalition of factors working together. These factors have to do with there being a central figure in God's providence, the right time frame, and the right conditions.
I will not be vague as I think many of you know that within our movement we refer to Rev. and Mrs. Moon as True Parents. This term is not only a term of honor for them, but represents a very important status in God's providence. What various religions have referred to as messiah, savior, anointed one, or the second coming, is included in the term True Parents. This is the position that Adam and Eve were to have taken, had they not fallen. If Adam and Eve had not fallen, there would be no need for a savior and no need for religion at all. A savior is needed and religions are needed only to help overcome sin and restore fallen mankind back to God. Once fully restored, we no longer need a savior or a religious vehicle.
My point is simply to state up front that Rev. Moon is not an ordinary man, but stands in a position to lead God's providence at this time.
Secondly, it is not only that he is a man chosen by God, but also that the time we live in is a turning point in history. It is a time when God is intervening directly in human affairs, on the foundation of not only Rev. Moon's mission and work, but also the good conditions of the founders of all the religions, along with other saints, sages and conscientious leaders from the past. The time we live in is a time of harvest. It is a time when the fruit is ripe and ready to be harvested.
Although I am speaking from a religious point of view, I think you can also understand, even from a humanitarian, or moral, or social perspective that we are living at a very critical juncture in history. Something needs to be done to put an end to the suffering of humanity and to bring each precious human being to a point where they can fulfill their God-given hopes and aspirations.
Rev. Moon is both a very religious man and avery practical man. While he is a man of prayer, he is also a man of action.
In thinking of how to transform the world he thinks very logically.
First of all, individuals must be transformed through direct experience of God's love and truth.
However, he also knows that in order to establish world peace, the family itself must become a social unit that manifests and expresses the love and truth of God. The family is the place where new human life is conceived, born and nurtured. It is also the school of love and ethics.
Along these lines he has initiated the Holy Blessing or the World Peace Blessing. This ceremony has both a very practical and a very spiritual significance. Spiritually, it represents the restoration of the Fall of Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, and then bore their children. In other words, their children were disconnected from God's lineage. These Blessings brings men and women back into God's direct lineage.
But the Blessing also provides a vision for family life that underscores the profound social significance of the family institution. For, when the family is stable, secure and loving, then society is also solid and unwavering. Good families and good parenting create children of good character who become good students, good citizens, good employees and professionals, good friends and ultimately become good husbands and wives, and good parents.
To establish God's kingdom, religion has a central role. It is to represent God's words of truth as well as the principles and practices we are to live by. Unfortunately, religious people have often been at the forefront of disharmony, sectarianism, and narrow-minded absolutism. For this reason, Rev. Moon has always advocated interreligious harmony and cooperation. He has encouraged all his followers to cultivate a respect for people of all religions, to develop a broad awareness and consciousness toward those of other faith traditions.
If religious leaders cooperate together, they can become a powerful force for good in the world.
Rev. Moon not only works among religious people, he also understands that to transform the world, it is necessary to reach people in all fields, including academia, education, media, the sciences, sports, the arts, NGOs, etc., so that through these leaders and their respective institutions, a message of peace can be presented.
Rev. Moon started the IIFWP in 1999, on the foundation of more than 50 years of effort in a wide range of areas, including interreligious dialogue, interdisciplinary dialogue among scholars, and the promotion of a moral and spiritual awareness among various professional communities such as the media, academia, etc.
The uniqueness of the IIFWP is twofold. First it seeks to integrate the potential of religious insight and religious influence into the effort to solve global problems. In this sense, Rev. Moon is taking interreligious dialogue a further step, seeking to bring those who have been able to move beyond sectarian narrowness toward cooperation, and calling them to now work cooperatively with others in governments, NGOs, international organizations to solve critical problems.
This vision of interreligious and international governance was expressed in his proposal to the United Nations to establish an interreligious council.
In his mind, the current charter and structure of the UN system is lacking a necessary component-religion. Religion is simply too important in human history, both in terms of its moral force and in terms of its sociological significance, to be either excluded or ignored.
In 1945 when the UN was formed, the exclusion of religion no doubt seemed reasonable, given the immediate urgency to try to prevent future world wars, especially realizing that some accommodation with the Soviet bloc seemed necessary for the UN to succeed. The exclusion of religion was taken for granted by many during the Cold War era. For example, the ideology of communism was officially atheistic, while at the same time, many Western democracies are officially secular.
But in this post-Cold War era, we must review this dominant paradigm. It is outdated. We should not be dominated exclusively by either19th century ideologies or by Cold War political analysis.
As you know, there is currently a proposal being worked out by the Philippines to establish an interreligious council at the UN. IIFWP continues to support this effort and remains on good terms with our friends both in Manila and at the Philippines Mission. IIFWP of course is not a member state, but an NGO, so, we hope many other member states will support and co-sponsor the Philippine initiative.
Rev. Moon wants to see the United Nations fully renewed. Even an interreligious council will not necessarily mean the UN will be able to bring peace to humanity. It will depend on the level of quality and authority that the council has. For this reason, Rev. Moon continues to move forward with a vision to provide a model of good global governance. This is the purpose of the IIPC.
This is a major historical development. In his mind, peace is not just a concept or slogan, nor a distant hope, but a reality that is coming into being at this time. The world of peace is a unified world under God, with no borders or boundaries, and no discrimination. Furthermore, as committed people intermarry across lines of religion, race, nationality, culture, and class, etc., we will see a breaking down of barriers. Along with this, there will be a move toward equalization of wealth, technology and information.
A true realm of peace calls for increasing equality of living conditions. As each person is transformed and develops a God-centered character, he or she begins to live for the sake of others, going beyond personal self-interest. As this happens, a world of true love becomes possible.
God truly does not like borders, discrimination, inequality and conflict. He wants only that we live as one family, as God's true sons and daughters.
Think about it, please. We can never reach peace as long as there are so many different levels of material wealth. There must be a process of equalization. Those who have wealth and prosperity must devote themselves more to assisting, serving and supporting those in greater need so they can improve their level of prosperity. There is no alternative to this. It is our destiny. Peace cannot just be an empty slogan. It calls for revolutionary action. We have to examine our lifestyle and change the way we live.
In relation to this, we also need to develop our understanding and appreciation of spirit world. We will all go there after our time on this earth. The spiritual world is a substantial reality, and not just a concept. It is a real, true world. There are no boundaries or borders there. Just imagine our ancestors living there. Also think about the saints and sages of history, are they living apart? Are there borders? What are the laws and principles that guide life in the spiritual world? The core and most absolute principle is the standard of true love, the principle of living for the sake of others.
But let me get back to the discussion of the IIPC.
Rev. Moon refers to the IIPC as the "Abel UN." What does he mean by this unusual terminology? Rev. Moon also thinks about the roots of our global problems and those roots take us back to the Fall of Adam's family. As you recall, not only did Adam and Eve Fall, but their children suffered the results of the Fall too.
Among Adam's children, Abel was a relatively more God-centered person. Cain, the elder brother, killed his younger brother. In God's ideal, however, Cain should not have killed Abel, but the two should have learned to love one another, forgive one another and reconcile with each another. For this to happen, it is Abel's mission to love and embrace his elder brother Cain.
Rev. Moon wants the IIPC to be an "Abel UN," that is, an institution that is God-centered and that lives for the sake of others.
He wants the IIPC or "Abel UN" to be an example of good governance and to apply these core principles in its practices and to its programs. He also wants the IIPC to work cooperatively with the United Nations, and to serve and support that institution as it seeks to fulfill its own global mission.
It is Rev. Moon's hope that the IIPC and the UN will come to a close, cooperative and productive working relationship. If this comes about, it will represent a new era for the UN. He refers to this stage as the era of the "Peace UN."
Actually, he is already thinking of the "Peace UN." The true meaning of peace, freedom, happiness, and unification is related to God, and being centered on God's true love. When we are centered on God's true love, true and lasting peace will follow.
Ultimately, however, the goal is to build God's Kingdom, or what Rev. Moon calls the Peace Kingdom. The Peace Kingdom represents simply the universal hope and aspiration of all people, based on their God-given original nature that seeks a world of peace, happiness, freedom and unification. This is also IIPC's long-term goal.
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