Exploring Unification Theology Edited by M. Darrol Bryant and Susan Hodges

Women In The Theology Of The Unification Church - Elizabeth Clark

Unification theology employs various myths and symbols revelatory of its attitudes toward women and sexuality, the most important of which is that of Eve's role in the Fall of humankind. The latter topic, we may remember, was also a favorite of the church fathers, whose comments on the subject had disturbing consequences for the evaluation of women's position throughout the course of western history. It is thus startling from a feminist perspective to discover similar themes propounded in the theology of the Unification Church. There are, however, elements both in Unification theology itself and in the present social setting which could militate against those symbols finding a "real-life" correlate; some aspects of the theology actually appear to temper the otherwise misogynist and anti-sexual tone of the Divine Principle. I hope the members of the Unification Church will develop these positive themes as they concomitantly eliminate those features of their theology which long ago and in another form contributed to the suppression and degradation of women in western theology. Not every church has a theology so new and flexible that it can be reshaped when the unfortunate consequences of its presuppositions are uncovered! Unification theology follows the traditional Christian pattern of linking the position of women with Eve's role in the Fall, and combines a literal understanding of Adam and Eve as historical persons with a symbolic interpretation of some details of the Genesis account.1 Biblical literalism is, I believe, one of the chief difficulties hampering Unification Church members in all of their theological formulations; their exegesis of the opening chapter of Genesis provides a case in point. For example, I heard from one of the Church's more thoughtful and articulate devotees about "Eve's very real emotions and experiences during the Fall. She was, after all, a human being, and not so different from you and me." Such a statement combines sheer fabrication (Eve's "emotions" are not, after all, a point on which Genesis 3 dwells) with a misunderstanding of the mythical character of the Genesis account, especially of the socially determined component of myth. Just as Genesis seeks to provide answers to such questions as "Why do we Hebrews consider the Canaanites cursed?", so it attempts to answer the query, "Why do we see all around us that men dominate women?" Biblical scholars interested in the social structures of ancient Hebrew culture would no doubt offer less ingenious and charming answers to these questions than do chapters 2 and 3 of Genesis. Just as they might note that the religious leaders of the Hebrews were for centuries involved in a fierce contest with Canaanite values and used any opportunity available to slander that culture, so likewise they could assert that Hebrew men did in fact rule over their women, and that Genesis 3 provides an explanation of how that state of affairs came to be. To interpret such myths apart from the cultural context which produced them can result in the upholding of values inappropriate to twentieth century western culture, as we shall shortly see.

Adam and Eve, according to the Divine Principle, should have first perfected their own individualities, then married and formed a family centered on God. [41-43] Their relationship with God would have formed a "Trinity," and as their descendants matured and married, each couple in turn would have become a "Trinity" with the Deity. [217] God's original intent for the human race was that it should be "one great family" [123] constituting the Kingdom of God here on earth. [101] The Fall, unfortunately, prevented these ideal conditions from being realized.

The essence of the Fall is given a somewhat different interpretation by Unification theologians than by traditional Christian writers: it is sexual and is viewed as fornication, or variously, as adultery, [72, 75] first committed by Eve with the tempter archangel. This union is described as a "blood relationship" having both spiritual and sexual components. [77] And to those who might raise a skeptical eyebrow at the possibility of a flesh-and-blood woman mating with an archangel, the Divine Principle affirms that "sexual union with a spirit is possible" and offers the near rape of Lot's two angelic visitors as a confirming example.2

Lucifer had a threefold motivation in occasioning the Fall: he envied God's love for Adam and Eve; [78] he was jealous that Adam was to be Eve's future husband;3 and his desire was aroused. (Eve seemed beautiful to him because he was a member of the opposite sex, the Divine Principle Study Guide informs us.4 Are we to assume that if Lucifer had had homosexual preferences, the onus of guilt for the original sin would have fallen on Adam?) Unification Church practitioners stress that Lucifer's sin was essentially spiritual: He followed his own desires rather than God's, attracted primarily by the radiance Eve exuded as the result of God's love of her. Although the archangel was motivated by love, his mistake lay in his misuse of that emotion.5 Such an exegesis does much to offset the simplistic picture of Lucifer as a lusty male, desirous of sexual relations with a human female, as were the "sons of God" of Genesis 6. On the other hand, this interpretation is not one which uninstructed readers would necessarily derive from a straightforward reading of the text of the Divine Principle.

Eve's motivation, in contrast, was her "excessive desire to enjoy what was not yet time for her to enjoy; that is, to become like God, with her eyes opened (Gen. 3:5)." [242] This explanation is confusing. What Eve was going to enjoy later on was a sexual relationship; are we to imagine that "becoming like God and having her eyes opened" also refers to her introduction to sexual experience? Such an assumption implies that if our likeness to God is sexual, the Deity also engages in sexual relations. Or are we rather to revert to the traditional interpretation, that the serpent lured Eve with a promise of superior "wisdom," however that word may be interpreted, and that this is what "having open eyes" means? This second interpretation appears to govern the statements in the Divine Principle that Lucifer seemed "older and wiser" to Eve and that through her union with him she received "fear and wisdom."6 (In any sexual relationship, according to Unification theology, we acquire the character of our partner; hence Eve in her union with Satan also "inherited" his evil nature. [89]) We are in addition given the explanation that it was because the good impulses of Eve's "original mind" were overcome by the power of "non-principled love" that she engaged in "give-and-take action" with Satan. [93-94] The Divine Principle is thus some what ambiguous as to whether Eve was impelled primarily by sexual desire or by more spiritual promptings.

Even at this point in the drama of the Fall, however, Eve could have been rescued and the horrendous consequences of the Fall avoided. [91] If Adam had not fallen and had developed his own perfection, he could have served as a mediator between Eve and God, restoring her to God's good favor7 -- a point which leads me to doubt whether Eve's sin was so terrible after all and Christians to inquire whether Adam is here being endowed with Messianic capacities of mediatorship between the divine and the human.

Eve, alas, was not rescued, but rather proceeded to seduce Adam. She is at least given credit for having had a virtuous motivation in doing so: we are told that she "wanted to go back to God's side after realizing the illicit nature of her relationship with the archangel." [80] Unification Church members emphasize that Eve was acting in ignorance of God's will for her and for Adam. She possessed so little faith that she did not even think to ask God what His plans for them might be. This rather than the sex act with Adam was the essence of her sin, they claim.8 But however good an intention we attribute to Eve, her temptation of Adam constituted a second Fall. [241] Eve assumed the role in relation to Adam that the archangel had assumed toward her (that is, as seducer to seducee), and thus transferred to Adam in her "blood relationship" with him all the evil elements she had received from Lucifer. [80, 89]

What were the results of the Fall? First of all, Unification theology makes it clear that it was not physical but spiritual death which was introduced by the Fall. [169-170] Adam would have died a physical death even if he had not sinned, the Divine Principle, following Pelagius, states. Not physical death, but the relinquishing of human beings to "Satanic dominion" was one effect of the Fall. In becoming one body with Satan, man became Satan's dwelling place, [102] and the physical transfer of original sin is the sign of Satan's rule over us. Secondly, Adam and Eve felt shame about their sexual organs, since the sinful "blood relationship" with Satan had been engaged in by means of those "lower parts." [259] Thirdly, the order of dominions was upset in the Fall: the angel who was to be dominated by man instead dominated Eve, who was supposed to be under the dominion of Adam, dominated him instead." [91] The result was a disorderly human society.

Since the original sin involved us in both physical and spiritual evil, we must await a Messiah who will redeem us not just spiritually, as Jesus did, but physically as well. [148, 511] The original sin which is transmitted through the flesh still awaits dissolution so that it is not transferred to the next generation. This step will be achieved by the Lord of the Second Advent.9 As far as the redeeming of male dominion which had been upset by Eve's ill-conceived action, we gather that this has already occurred and is symbolized by the institution of circumcision in the Old Testament, explicitly described as "the sign of restoring male dominion." [305] The myth of the Fall thus provides one central group of images by which women and human sexuality can be understood in Unification theology.

The Fall of Eve, of course, is scarcely a new theme in western theology. Since the early days of Christianity, Eve and all women after her have been blamed for the world's sinfulness. Despite Paul's words in Romans 5 that "in Adam all sinned," the author of 1 Timothy (2:14), writing forty or fifty years later, claimed that "Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor." From here it was but a short step to Tertullian's famous invective against women:

Do you not know that each of you is also an Eve?... You are the devil's gateway. You are the unsealer of that forbidden tree. You are the first deserter of the divine law. You are she who persuaded him who the devil was not valiant enough to attack. You destroyed so easily God's image, man. Because of the death which you brought upon us, even the Son of God had to die.10

It is obvious why feminists from Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Mary Daly have understood the story of the Fall to be the central destructive myth concerning women in western culture. Stanton had a simple remedy for the problem. She wrote:

Take away the snake, the fruit-tree, the woman from tableau, and we have no fall, no frowning Judge, no Inferno, no everlasting punishment -- hence no need of a Saviour. Thus the bottom falls out of the whole Christian theology.11

Many might object that her solution is somewhat simplistic; nonetheless, it pointedly reveals the strength of her conviction that the story of Eve has exerted a deleterious influence upon western attitudes toward women. The major motifs of the Christian religion, Stanton implies, unfold from the tale of Eve's sin, and consequently Christianity has given its support for two thousand years to the denigration of women. If I were given the opportunity to write a new theology, I surely would wish to avoid the theme of woman's culpability for bringing sin into the world!

Another disturbing point in the Unification interpretation of Genesis 3 is that it links original sin with sexual intercourse more resolutely than does mainline Christian theology. Whatever sexual overtones traditional Christianity read into (or out of) the Fall myth, it tended to see the essence of the Fall in man's pride or rebellion against God. But when the Fall itself is an explicitly sexual act, it becomes more difficult to redeem sexuality, despite Unification theology's glorification of marriage and children. In addition, the very literal understanding of the transfer of original sin through sexual intercourse has negative implications for human sexual relations in general. Even Augustine, the chief architect of the theory of original sin, was careful not to claim that it was sexual intercourse per se which caused transfer of original sin;12 rather, it was God who placed the guilt of that sin on the souls of fetuses at conception. Unification theology, on the other hand, explicitly associates the transfer of original sin with sexual intercourse. But even here the Church might stress other themes; if, as Unification theologians claim, Adam and Eve were intended by God to have a sexual relation in Paradise when they were mature, sexual intercourse cannot in itself be evil.13 This notion provides a more positive understanding of sexual relations than does the insistence that the sex act itself is the cause of the transfer of original sin.

In addition, Unification theory teaches that in the Kingdom, children will be conceived and born without original sin, which implies that sinless conception is a theoretical possibility for the future. Traditional Christian teaching appears conservative in comparison. Augustine, for example, thought that although Adam and Eve might have brought forth sinless children in Eden had they themselves remained innocent, that possibility is not now an option. Even regenerated Christian parents cannot but conceive their children in original sin.14 The only way to break that chain will be for humans to stop reproducing, as we shall indeed cease to do in the Kingdom of God, according to Augustine.15 A more encouraging view of human sexuality could emerge in Unification theology if the possibility of sinless conception were emphasized, rather than the inevitable linking of procreation with the passage of original sin.

A third point concerning which Unification theology might be criticized by feminists is its tendency to view all life, the whole created order, as dual, describable as one or the other of two types, either "male" or "female." [21] It is not just Adam and Eve as man and woman who represent the two contrasting sets of qualities; the whole universe can be so depicted. Thus God (who is masculine) is said to create the world (which is feminine) as His object. [25] Not only is the depiction of God as masculine objectionable; the subject-object distinction is equally so, for in each such polar situation the male is described as the subject and the female as the object. Eve, for example, is called the object to Adam's subject. [24] (Such phraseology calls to mind Simone de Beauvoir's discussion of woman as "the Other" in The Second Sex16. The masculine characteristic is, furthermore, described as "positivity" and the feminine one as "negativity." [24] There is apparently no end of things to which such male-female typology can be applied. W e are even told that during the Second World War, countries divided themselves into "male" and "female." (America and Germany were male, England and Japan were female, for some reason which totally eludes me!) [486]

Since everything operates through the combination of polarities, redemption too will require the union of a male and female to restore what Adam and Eve ruined. [123] The perfect male-female relation has already been symbolized in the divine sphere by Jesus as the model male joining Himself to the female Holy Spirit; their union gives "rebirth" to mankind. [118] The Holy Spirit is further described as the "female negativity" at work on earth which counterbalances the "male positivity" of Jesus operative in the heavens. [215] Even in the Old Testament, the "male positivity" of Jesus was symbolized by the "pillar of cloud by day," whereas the "female negativity" of the Holy Spirit was represented by the "pillar of fire by night."17

A student of Chinese religion might remind us at this point that Unification theology has here simply adapted for its own purposes the ancient Chinese yin-yang theme, the polarity of universal forces which can be described as male or female, positive or negative, and so forth. It could be argued that the motif as it appears in Unification theology is simply a carryover from the oriental culture out of which the Church sprang.18 But from a feminist point of view (or more precisely, from the kind of feminist viewpoint which I espouse), viewing the world as composed of polarities and calling those polarities male and female has unfortunate consequences for our attitudes toward women, for such a mode of conceptualization serves only to reinforce the essential "differentness" of the sexes and makes any approach to an androgynous vision of life virtually impossible.

Some of my contemporaries posit the view that men and women are basically different in their mental, emotional, and psychic natures, but that we should not on this basis assign higher value to one group of characteristics than to the other. This view can be dubbed the "different but equal" theory of sexual relations, and it is one which I find dangerously deceptive. (Just look at the consequences of that theory as it was applied to the blacks during the civil rights struggles of the 50's and 60's.) Either you must affirm that men and women are or can be essentially alike, if they are given identical educations and have identical social expectations placed upon them, or you must affirm that one differentiating set of qualities, male or female, is superior to the other -- and I fear I know which set that inevitably turns out to be, despite the arguments of some feminists that the supposed female characteristics are more valuable than the ones traditionally assigned to men. The nineteenth century opponents of women's suffrage championed the theory that women were morally superior to men, that they were more loving, generous, virtuous, and so forth -- and hence were so ethereal and unsullied that they could not possibly be allowed to vote, sit on juries, hold public office, make the laws which governed them, own property, or be given college educations. The "real-life" consequences of the argument that women are morally superior turn out to be the very same as those of the argument that women are inferior to men. It appears that the wolf lurking under the sheep's clothing of a supposed "female superiority" is the very same wolf who gobbles up unsuspecting little girls in a more blatant expression of male supereminence. It is no comfort to be lulled with the assurance that you as a female are really "superior" to men when you are going to be the wolf's dinner, in any case! Theories advocating the essential "differentness" of the sexes in one way or another almost always lead to a favoring of the supposedly male province, and I suspect the same tendency is at work in Unification theology. A theology which describes women as "objects" to male "subjects," or as the "negativity" which sparks men's "positivity" cannot extricate itself from the unhappy consequences of the "different but equal" theory of the sexes.

Another point on which I question the implications of Unification theology is the prevalence of its parenting imagery. Just as God is described as a Parent [12] so men and women are defined by their parental roles. In fact, this appears to be the only understanding of marriage in Unification theology; reproduction is the goal of the union of husband and wife. "Multiply and fill the earth" is taken as the second blessing God pronounced on Adam and Eve; [41, 43] their production of children was "the purpose of God's creation." [48] With Adam and Eve's love for God and for each other, and their children's love for them and for God, the "four-position foundation" would have been established, [83] the perfection of God's intent for His world. For redemption to occur, the good parenting practices which the first couple forfeited need to be established, for which Jesus and the Holy Spirit provide us with a model. [118] With the Second Advent, Christ as Bridegroom and His bride will complete the mission which was left unfinished at the time of Jesus' death. [152] Although the saints since the time of Pentecost have (in Paul's words) "grafted onto" their True Parents, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, [362] physical redemption still awaits them. The Lord of the Second Advent and his bride will succeed in stopping the transfer of original sin through the flesh. [368-69, 511-12] Presumably the children of the True Parents, the Lord of the Second Advent and his bride, the embodiment of the Holy Spirit,19 will be the sinless inheritors of the Kingdom.

Just as students of eastern religions might note the yin-yang motif in Unification theology, so they might also trace the Church's heavy stress on the family to the emphases of traditional Chinese religion. The importance of reverence for ancestors dead and parents still alive in ancient Confucianism can hardly be overstated. Filial piety, it has been said, was "the measuring stick of all behavior and of the worth of the individual."20 Marriage was expected of everyone, and the practice of arranged marriages and society's expectations regarding the childbearing combined to ensure that nearly all members of the culture did marry and reproduce. To a significant extent, religious ritual centered on the family, the continuance of which was viewed as an ideal to which religion gave its blessing. This emphasis on reverence for the past, for ancestors, and for parents also suggests that the appeal to authority, especially to an older or past authority, would be central to the culture's values.21

But to whatever extent we can explain the emphasis in Unification theology on parenting and filial devotion as an end-product of Chinese religious affirmation and hence understand its historical precedents, there are certain elements pertaining to them which are disturbing to a feminist.22 First of all, the Unification Church teaches its practitioners to become "good children" to the True Parents. Obedience of children is essential for the Kingdom, we are told,23 and we assume that that includes adult "children" as well as juveniles. The exaltation of filial obedience is somewhat in conflict with the high evaluation of self-assertion in the western world and its assumption that adolescent rebellion is inevitable in the process of maturation. That Francis of Assisi and Martin Luther, whose individual geniuses emerged only through rebellion against parents, are spiritual heroes of western civilization is no accident.

Women in our culture, however, have traditionally been strapped by a double demand for obedience, not only from older authorities, but from members of the male sex of their own age. The image of woman as a child who passes from the hand of her father to that of her husband is one against which western women have been struggling for the past two centuries, and it appears to be a retrograde action for women to accept docile roles as well-behaved obedient "children." If the exaltation of obedience as a virtue is somewhat out of keeping with the values of our society for men, it is at present a most unfortunate characteristic to laud before women.

A second bothersome aspect of the family and parenting stress in Unification theology is that presumably the only route open to members of the Church is to marry and become parents, a pattern of life somewhat at variance with the new interests of women in assuming non-maternal roles or embarking upon motherhood in such a way that they are not defined as individuals by their functions as wives and mothers. That the rejection of marriage does not seem to be an option for Unification women strikes me as unfortunate, comparable to Luther's insistence that everyone should marry.24 (Catholicism at least gave everyone a choice!) Unification women would do well to reconsider and perhaps redefine their Church's attitudes on this point.

Let us turn now to the positive elements in Unification theology which could be developed to create a more supportive image of women. The first and probably the most important aspect of the Church's teaching in this regard is that God's first blessing on Adam and Eve was the command to develop his or her own individuality, so that body and mind should be brought into harmony [41, 43] and the "perfect goodness" of each would have been cultivated. [101] Adam and Eve, according to the Unification theology, were still in their "growth period" in Eden and had not yet achieved adult maturity, [79] so that the sexual relationship which was the occasion for the Fall occurred prematurely. Their own perfection should have been established before they entered into a love relationship with each other and conceived children, [82-83] and this is precisely what they failed to do.

It is not at all evident that the Divine Principle and I would agree on what "developing individuality," particularly women's individuality, might mean; I am suspicious when that theology in forms me that Eve was supposed to be under the domination of Adam as part of God's good created order [91] -- a view, incidentally, which is not in accordance with the texts of either Genesis 1 or 2.25 But whatever the original intent of the phrase concerning individuality in the Divine Principle, here is one element of Unification theology which could be helpful to the Church's women in the affirmation of their own rights and status.

I do not, however, particularly favor the implication that the cultivation of individuality is the first stage in human development, after which a person passes on to marriage and childrearing, as Unification theology tends to suggest. Just as promoting a young woman's individuality should not be taken to mean, first and foremost, her preparation for motherhood, so the blessing regarding individuality should not be interpreted to imply that a person's development grinds to a halt once marriage is undertaken. In fact, marriage is the very stage of life in which the continuation of individual development is vitally important for a woman, so that husband and children do not engulf her life and define her personhood for her. That each individual should strive to become all he or she can be is a noble aspiration and one which could merit even more consideration by members of the Unification Church.

Secondly, Unification theology proclaims that the individuality which God intended for us to develop has found its social correlate in the liberation movements of the present age. The fact that slaves have been freed, that minority groups have been welcomed (albeit sometimes grudgingly!) into the mainstream of society, and that equality of the sexes has been acclaimed is in Unification theology a positive sign that the Last Days are nigh and that fallen humans are entering upon "a new age, in which they will restore God's first blessing to men," [121] that is, the blessing of the perfection of our individuality. This resounding affirmation of liberation for the oppressed and the praise of the democratic ideals which make such liberation possible could be further emphasized to the obvious benefit of Unification women.

Thirdly, the theme of the Unification Church as itself a family could, I think, be liberating for women. Throughout Christian history, the family metaphor has served to liberate devotees of the faith from the confines of blood-kinship families and of status quo living arrangements in general. The "family" can well mean a community of like-minded persons who on the basis of a common ideology renounce more traditional lifestyles in order to devote themselves to ideals above and beyond the ones engendered by kin, race, and nation. The early Christians, for example, seemed to conceive their devotion to the new religion in family terms; they called one another father, mother, sister, and brother (to the horror of outsiders who looked askance at the implications of such language), and thereby they created a society which transcended the constraints of clan and family in the ordinary sense. Monasticism was another way in which Christianity broke the family tie and created a new "family," and I am prepared to argue that it was indeed a beneficial development for women. Centuries later, we find John Humphrey Noyes' Oneida Community freeing women from the usual ties of family life on the basis of the principle of universal love advocated by the Christian religion.26

Unification Church members have told me that there are at present husbands and wives living apart, and children in the community being raised by adults other than their natural parents. In addition, the nuclear family is not the projected goal for personal relationships, they claim; rather, it is envisaged that trinities of couples may live and raise their children together in a variation of the extended family system. All of these developments are encouraging, since they could be more liberating for women than the nuclear family arrangement sanctioned by our culture. I hope in general that Unification Church members will courageously attempt to live by these positive aspects of their vision and not relapse into traditional patterns of relationship which are proving themselves to be increasingly unsatisfactory for young women.

Discussion II

Dr. Richardson: I'll begin. Is it the case that family and marriage is what is preeminent in Unification theology? There is a three-fold blessing: perfection of individuality, and then marriage and children, and then dominion over creation. It seems to me that the whole logic of the theology calls for people to grow beyond marriage and the family into the larger task of exercising dominion over creation. I had a conversation with someone else in the Unification Church who stressed this as the mark of the Kingdom: a more righteous world, government, economic order, etc. It does seem to me that there's a social value that's higher than marriage and the family.

Linda Mitchell: At least the second blessing has to be seen in relation to the first and third blessing. There is also something else that is very important. The concepts that we have of marriage today don't necessarily apply to the concepts in the Divine Principle. According to the Divine Principle man and woman equally take responsibility for the raising of children. So just as a man can be freed to fulfill himself as an individual, so a woman, too, fulfills herself as an individual and as a mother, and then also in the world. The entire universe is an extended family, so you're not closed into a nuclear family, but you're involved with the entire world.

Betsy Jones: I want to respond to your notion that right now we are in an emergency situation after which everybody will settle down to a regular type of existence. In my own case, my family and I have gone through periods of separation from each other. That's partly because it's an emergency time. But I also know that it's been a liberating experience of finding myself, finding my own value, having a freer attitude towards my children. I hope I will see it not just as an emergency measure, but as an internal training experience so that I can live together with and also live freely within my family. And I hope when we are more settled that we will not be settled in the sense of closed in, but with the vision of families living for the sake of the whole as well as fulfilling their family responsibilities.

Diana Muxworthy: The Unification Church views marriage like a small society. A husband and wife are not just husband and wife, but they're also friends. In this way, it's like a small society. I think that Unification marriage contributes to women's restoration.

Dr. Clark: I can see that.

Lloyd Eby: May I talk a bit about my personal experience? In 1970 I marched in the women's parade in New York, (laughter) Then, when I first heard the Divine Principle, I heard the Principle of Creation and I felt good about that. Then I heard the story of the Fall. It made me enormously angry, because it seemed to me that the same mistakes were being made as you were talking about in the first part of your paper. As time went on, I began to see that those distortions had come about because people have been blaming the opposite sex. In other words, it seems to me that much of the feminist movement is a way of saying, "Man, you did it." And much of male chauvinism is a way of saying to women, "You're the one who is responsible." Within the Unification Church, in the process of restoration, the focus is on saying "I'm the one that's responsible." And once one takes that view, then rather than blaming women or blaming men, there's enough blame to go around for everybody, (laughter)

Dr. Clark: I would agree with that view if we were already involved in a society where all children, regardless of sex, were brought up in the same way and given the same expectations and opportunities. However, I think it's harder to say that when we live in a society that has been unequal and unjust.

Lokesh Mazumdar: I agree with you that society is unequal and unjust. I think we would see our responsibility as building a society in which that injustice does not exist. Then, within that society, you can begin talking about relationships between men and women and families in ways that are not coercive or destructive, but rather creative.

Dr. Clark: I suppose my question is exactly the one raised earlier. I see you are trying to build a new society. But what are you going to do about the Divine Principle? Are you going to do a different version of the Divine Principle so it doesn't contain these elements I'm talking about?

Dr. Richardson: I don't think that the Divine Principle describes Adam as having dominion over Eve, or that he is to be her lord. One has to read those texts in the light of what they mean, and the determining categories are these: subject-object, positivity-negativity, and most important, because most concrete, give-and-take. Now, it seems to me that if I were to try to make the argument that the Unification people are trying to make, it would run something like this. What is wrong with the Christian thinking that the man has dominion over the woman is that there can be no give-and-take relationship where one party is subservient to the other. Give-and-take can only take place where there is equality between parties. Now, a certain kind of an American abstract individualism is interested in equality between parties, where the Unification Church is concerned about the creative process, the creative interaction between the parties. And for creative interaction between the parties, there does have to be that which simple justice requires, namely, equality; but there also has to be a kind of difference. Now, when we say the difference is positivity-negativity, give-and-take or subject and object, we don't say that those roles remain always the same. Sometimes the male is subject, and sometimes the woman is subject, and when you give-and-take, the one who receives also gives. So what we're concerned about then is a creative process or interaction between the two parties. Now, to have that, it works out like this. Both parties can't be talking at the same time; someone has to be listening while somebody else is talking. If you want the other party to talk, you have to stop talking and listen, so that they can talk. Essentially, the relationship between man and woman should be a model for every relationship in the sense that equality and difference facilitates process. I think that's the view of the Unification Church.

Dr. Clark: But there's absolutely nothing built into that scheme that has anything to do with men and women, insofar as every single human being is a different individual. Two men could have this relationship and two women could have it, etc. Why do we have to divide it into male and female? It's loaded.

Dr. Richardson: Unification holds the view that masculinity is in women and feminity is in men when women act as subject and men act as object. And I would take it that the categories masculinity and femininity are not the same as male and female, but refer to that capacity in either or anyone to play the role of subject or object. Essentially, then, there is the definition of biology in terms of a spiritual range of concepts rather than the other way around. And I suppose a kind of a sophisticated argument would say that the biological difference is only to remind us of the spiritual difference, and we shouldn't get trapped by it. You have to realize that the focus is not, as Lloyd was saying, on who's to blame, or who more than the other; but the focus is this very practical problem, namely, how you get something going with another person is by finding a point of interaction and access, and that's what this language is about, I think.

Jonathan Wells: We've all heard Rev. Moon talk about this point often, and I think it's important to distinguish between the word "dominion" and the word "domineering." When Rev. Moon talks to us about marriage, he never tells the men how to keep their wives under their thumbs, (laughter) It's never like that at all. Instead, he says that the essence of marriage is living your life for the sake of your spouse, and sacrificing yourself completely for your wife, or for your husband. The spirit is constantly the spirit of self-sacrifice and humility, and never of domination.

Dr. Clark: I would say that, in itself, is very unfortunate for women. I feel very differently about men. Men can be nice, filial, obedient children. That's fine with me. They can be humble, patient, self-sacrificing; that will do a lot of men a great deal of good. But I think that for women to be told to be humble and self-sacrificing is destructive: that's what women have had to be for thou sands of years. They ought to get out of being humble and self- sacrificing.

Lokesh Mazumdar: May I say something about this? There are two aspects that one needs to look at. One is the ideal state of affairs that should have been but wasn't because of the Fall. The other is things as they are in a context of restoration. The archangel took Eve away first, from God, and second, from her future husband, her potential mate. So, in a sense, the archangel dominated the relationship that Adam and Eve had, so, in a sense, he dominated both Eve and Adam. Now man has that archangel's nature and seeks to dominate women. In the restoration context, you will see a reversal of all these things, with the woman leading the way to God. W e see that the task of the woman is to break away from domination, from the influence of the archangel, or of man, and to move towards an unwavering relationship with God. Then man, who has been captivated by woman, will follow. This is the way the restoration takes place. Without Eve leading the way to God, there can be no restoration.

Dr. Clark: Is that going to be written into the Divine Principle?

Lokesh Mazumdar: It is written into it. There's a sequel to what I said. I think the subject-object relationship that we see enacted in the fallen world may not be true to the way things were actually meant to be. I think that once the restoration is accomplished up to a certain level, then the real significance and the real meaning of subject-object relationships will probably get worked out. Then we will have something different from what we have today.

Dr. Sawatsky: I want to raise one question that we have missed so far. And then I want to come back to the same discussion. In the eschatology of Unification, there's a differentiation made between democratic countries and regimes and ideologies and more authoritarian and communistic structures. God is obviously on the side of the democratic countries and structures: salvation is not individualistic, salvation is communal. So I think what you're looking for from a feminist perspective will not work here. I think it's obvious that it won't work, simply because a fulfilled person is always in relationship with somebody else. Unification salvation is communal. You have to have a relationship, you have to have give-and-take. That's essential in salvation.

Dr. Clark: What I object to in Unification theology is the heavy stress on the one man, one woman tie as the model of mutual support, rather than the notion that people of different sexes can relate to each other and give to each other support and strength without necessarily tying that community support to a nuclear family pattern.

Dr. Bryant: It seems to me that you take some of the language of subject-object, masculinity-femininity and see problems in it that do not respect some careful definitions of these terms within the text. Masculinity-femininity are not just general terms, but are identified with certain qualities which are specified. It seems to me that there's a prior assumption of the meaning of these terms in your paper. This allows you to assume that if they use this kind of language, certain consequences are more or less inevitable. You assume that these concepts have such fixed consequences that they inevitably work themselves out in a community in a specific way. I wonder about that. Sometimes when I read the Divine Principle I find myself objecting to the language. And then I try to figure out what the language means in the context. It isn't always the language I would choose, but at least I find that it is more carefully used than I thought on first reading.

Dr. Clark: The language has been so loaded for so many centuries! Reading it probably doesn't strike you with the same malaise as it strikes me. To me, it's as if you were saying that we're all really equal in terms of race and so on, but then went on to talk about niggers and kikes! It's as if the Unification people were asking us to erase from our minds all the negative associations those words have had and to think of them in a new and positive way. There are lots of other ways of talking which avoid that kind of loaded language. If you don't mean by those words the kind of connotation they've carried historically, well, then, find other words. So many of you have said, "Well, we don't mean that, what we really mean is something else." Okay, express the "something else" rather than use terms which buy into centuries and centuries of bad associations.

Dr. Richardson: The problem is that this language is in the Bible, so any religion that works with the Bible is stuck with this destructive language. And I think there's no question about its being destructive. As a practical problem, it's a difficult matter to know how the Unification Church could get rid of this language and put it another way. How could any Christian church get rid of that language? It would seem to me that the way to get out of the language is to invoke the Completed Testament. Unification is a religion that's going to deal with three states, and systematically I suppose one can argue that the language of creation in the Old Testament is going to have to be qualified by the language describing man and woman in the Completed Testament. I think there's some reason to say that a kind of male-female dual Messiah is a help here. I think it's a help also to have equality between the husband and the wife. And then, of course, what would really help would be to develop a social institution which would embody these things, so that when someone said, "Hey, but you have this Old Testament dominion stuff" you could say, "Well, we have to interpret that in the light of what we actually do and have and are." I think that if one could do that, that's the best that any Christian church can do. I don't know what anybody can do, because as you know, the dominion language isn't just in Genesis, it's all through the Old Testament. You have concubines, polygamy, the slaughter of wives to assuage enemies, etc. I don't know what Christianity can do about this stuff. It's in there, but hermeneutically speaking, the text is not written with a view to propagating these theories.

Lloyd Eby: I very much agree with Dr. Richardson. First of all, one of the things that obviously needs restoring is language itself. One of the results of the Fall is that language itself has been debased. I agree with you that it's unfortunate that some of these terms we use have a history of bad connotations; but if one can take this language and use it in a way that reinterprets it for what we would call restored meaning, I think that's a step toward restoring language.

The second thing I want to say is that in the practice within the Unification Church as compared to religious societies in the past, I think we've gone some distance toward working out some of the problems between men and women. I know, for example, that the first missionary to the United States from Korea was a woman. I know that in the past the Church leaders in some countries have been women. When I came into the Unification Church the person from whom I learned the most in the first six months was a woman, a woman who's now the wife of one of the Seminary students. The director of perhaps the largest and most active Unification Church Center in America is a woman. These are just some of the examples of women who have had positions of responsibility in the Church. So, it seems to me that we've gone some distance toward restoring two things: restoring language, and restoring relationships.

Dr. Clark: I can see something of the restored relationships. But I doubt whether the language can at this point be restored. We're too close in time to the negative use of the language. You can't just use a word which has had a negative association and claim that now it has a positive use. It probably isn't going to work.

Dr. John Kuykendall: What do the women seminarians see before them as vocational possibilities? Do you see the same opportunities, prospects, and challenges as the men going through the seminary with you?

Diana Muxworthy: I say yes. There are some other things I'd like to say, but I'll just answer that and let some other people answer.

Dr. Clark: Can I ask you, then, how you think your family life is going to work with your role as Church leaders? As a very practical kind of project, how are you going to get it together? It's one thing to say you will, and another thing to do it, which, I guess, is what I'm interested in.

Diana Muxworthy: I would say I could do it, and it's just up to me to do it. The Church is not standing in the way of my doing it. I only stand in the way of whether I do it or not. And the Divine Principle is certainly not standing in the way of my doing it.

Dr. Kuykendall: Could you live with a "house husband?" Could you maintain your ministerial office and allow your husband to take care of the necessities of home and the small children?

Diana Muxworthy: I would like to answer that in terms of my own personal relationship with the Divine Principle. Within feminism the issue -- correct me if I'm wrong -- has to do with the woman's and man's functions: woman as mother, woman as housewife and husband as moneymaker and all that kind of thing. I don't think in those terms, and I don't really think the Divine Principle, at least for me, has anything to do with that way of defining the issue. To me, the Divine Principle has much more to do with an internal understanding of my relationship to my husband, whether I have a job or whether I am a mother doing dishes. The value is not in doing dishes or having a job; the value is in the depth of the relationship with that husband, but not in the function that I have. In other words, I don't think of the Divine Principle as defining external roles, which I think is what a lot of feminism does. The value that is given to cleaning dishes as compared to the value of the president of General Motors isn't something I worry about. I think that will all be taken care of. The real question is the internal one: how the individual person is involved in the application of the Divine Principle. Those practical matters will be taken care of if the divine principle is fulfilled in the internal connection that the individual people and that marriage have with God.

Linda Mitchell: There is something else that's important. I think that there are many men who enjoy cooking, and I think that because in the past this has been a job given to women, it's been degraded. But there's nothing that's unfulfilling about cooking, nor is there anything unfulfilling about childrearing. I think that each individual, whether a man or a woman, has a certain character and a certain personality to fulfill, be they male or female. I think that how a male or a female ultimately fulfills himself or herself depends not on his sex, but on his personality. I see this being more freely accomplished in the Unification Church because we're free to want to be a child-raiser and to take care of a home if that's what fulfills the individual. And we're free to do something else, if that's what is needed for fulfillment.

Tirza Shilgi: I have a feeling that one of the essential points is not exactly what the people would do with the kitchen work, but how it is that we will be able to achieve harmony between two people in the same way that things in nature, for example, exist in harmony. I think in different cases we need to do things a different way. There's something very interesting about the Church in Japan, for example. Our women in the Church are far more outgoing and active than the normal Japanese women. They're very shy, and our Church women are far more aggressive than the Japanese women. What I feel is that harmony means bringing things where they are trying to lead themselves. If it requires a woman to become more outgoing, then that's what she should do. And if in another case there's something else which is needed, then that should be done. I think that everything is guiding itself to the point of original harmony that was supposed to be there. And it would take different ways in different countries, and different aspects in individual cases.

Dr. Kuykendall: Can I ask a sociological question? Are there more females than males in the Church in the Orient?

Tirza Shilgi: I think it's pretty equal all around the world.

Dr. Kuykendall: Many Protestant churches in Japan have more females than males. The usual characteristics have been that the females in the churches in the Orient are more liberal than their cultural counterparts.

Christa Dabeck: I think that in the beginning of our Church, there were more women in the Oriental countries, but now, it's balanced.

I agree with what Linda says: the main thing is to become a person, and to achieve individual maturity. This is really what is stressed in Unification theology. I would say that there doesn't exist a picture of how a woman should be, or how a man should be. And the second point I want to make is about the practical matters. I think that we can be more flexible in fulfilling different functions because of our mutual relations. Life in the Unification Church is meant to develop the capacities of men and women for mature love -- that is what we are working for.


All bracketed references are to the Divine Principle, (New York: The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity, 1973, 2nd ed.) unless otherwise noted.

1 pp. 66, 69. Thus the fruit of the tree in Eden was not real fruit; how could the eating of food cause original sin to be transmitted to later generations? Likewise, the two trees of the garden are not really trees, but symbolize Adam and Eve.

2 p. 77. The reference is to Genesis 19:1-11.

3 The Divine Principle Study Guide, Part/ (Tarrytown, N.Y.: The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity, 1973), p. 82

4 Study Guide, I, p. 83.

5 I am indebted to Cathryn Cornish, Registrar at the Unification Theological Seminary at Barrytown, N.Y., for this interpretation.

6 Study Guide, I pp. 82-83.

7 Study Guide, p. 84.

8 I am indebted to Cathryn Cornish for this interpretation.

9 pp. 368-369. Most Unification Church members believe that the Lord of the Second Advent will be Rev. Moon.

10 On the Apparel of Women, I, 1.

11 The Critic, March 28, 1896, cited in Aileen Kraditor, Ideas of the Woman Suffrage Movement (Garden City: Doubleday, 1971), p. 78, n. 11.

12 Augustine believed that Adam and Eve would have had sinless intercourse in the Garden of Eden had they not fallen. The City of God, XIV, 23-24.

13 p.94 and Study Guide, I, p.129.

14 On Marriage and Concupiscence, I, 37.

15 The City of God, XXII, 17.

16 The Second Sex, trans. H. M. Parshley (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1971, 7th printing), pp. 33,48,51 and passim.

17 pp. 309-310. The reference is to Exodus 13:21

18 Some Unification Church members stress that the position of "subject" and "object" can change and hence is not irrevocably tied to the distinctions of "male" and "female," respectively. I have not found any verification of that interpretation in Divine Principle, however.

19 Study Guide, I, p. 199.

20 Francis L. K. Hsu, Under the Ancestor's Shadows: Chinese Culture and Personality (New York: Columbia University Press, 1948), p. 206.

2l Ibid., pp. 103-104, 242.

22 Some of the more enlightened members of the Unification Church are willing to admit that certain attitudes in the Divine Principle concerning the identification of women with the family unit are not in keeping with contemporary American values and urge Unification women not to "take a giant step backward," as one of them expressed it.

23 Study Guide, I, p. 65.

24 The Estate of Marriage, I.

25 In Genesis 3, Adam is given dominion over Eve as part of her punishment for sinning -- and Christians might well assume that with the coming of Jesus, the effects of original sin had been largely undone, including the male domination of the female.

26 See Elizabeth Clark and Herbert Richardson, eds., Women and Religion: A Feminist Sourcebook of Christian Thought (New York: Harper and Row, 1977), pp. 191-205 for a discussion of Noyes' views concerning women and some representative texts from his writings on the subject. 

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