Explorations in Unificationism edited by Theodore T. Shimmyo and David A. Carlson
Christian theology has had to continuously transform its complexion (not to mention expanding its horizons) in order to retain its relevance to the ever-changing social, cultural, and scientific contexts in which it has always sought to play a guiding role. Liberal theology, neoorthodox theology, existential theology, process theology and liberation theology (to offer a small sampling of different perspectives) have all emerged during the twentieth century, each offering its individual perspective in the hope that it may thus illuminate a path through the increasing uncertainty of our modern age and show people the way to enlightenment and hope. The encounter between theology and a rapidly-developing science has created a very dramatic, sometimes surprising, history and is still opening new areas of understanding. Overall there have been times of cacophony and times of harmony. The dialogue with other religious traditions has turned out to be one of the most challenging of all as Wilfred Cantwell Smith predicted back in 1962 when quoting Canon Warren to the effect that: "...the impact of agnostic science will turn out to have been as child's play compared to the challenge to Christian theology of the faith of other men."1
Theology, to remain meaningful, must continue to be open to, and to dialogue with, new and fresh perspectives from whatever source they come. Otherwise, as has been demonstrated by past experience, it can become stagnant and irrelevant, unable to influence and persuade people of intelligence.
One of the newest theological approaches to arrive on the scene is that of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon. This perspective, systematized theologically in Divine Principle2 and elaborated in the hundreds of speeches and sermons given by Reverend Moon since 1956,3 has much to commend it. It has very evident strengths. One of these strengths is the fact that, while it drinks deeply of the wisdom of the thought and philosophy of the East, it is also fully and refreshingly resonant with traditional Western thought. In fact, it is serving more and more as an effective bridge between East and West.
Anyone observing the Unification Movement over the course of the past several years could not help but notice how substantial this bridge is becoming. Not only between East and West, but more recently between North and South as well. Unificationism continues to expand virtually into every sphere of culture and society all over the world. In Seoul, Korea in August, 1992 the first World Culture and Sports Festival was held bringing together into a global forum scientists, diplomats, philosophers, economists, theologians, politicians, educators and other scholars, all men and women of significant social and cultural influence. Unification Thought, the philosophical expression of Unificationism, was given sustained and serious consideration in scholarly discussions at the Nineteenth International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences. At this same time the inaugural program of the Women's Federation for World Peace was presented, proclaiming the basic ideas of the Divine Principle and the important role women have to play on the world stage as we look toward the twenty-first century. Perhaps the most meaningful event for many of these participants was the holy wedding of 30,000 couples in Seoul's Olympic Stadium, exemplifying the core belief of Unificationism that the God-centered family is the cornerstone of a healthy and prosperous society and culture.
Again, in Korea in August, 1995 the second World Culture and Sports Festival was held, on an even greater scale than the first. This time, however, an unprecedented 360,000 couples4 were united in an impressive matrimonial ceremony in Seoul's Olympic Stadium, linked by modern satellite technology with more than one-hundred other countries.
Over the past several years there have been a very great number of conferences, seminars and projects, too numerous to list here,5 either inspired by, or under the auspices of the Unification Movement or its various organizations. One of the most recent of these conferences is the elegant series of International Women's Friendship Conferences, each a beautiful and inspiring ceremony bringing together women (and now, even men and couples) from Japan and the United States. Marking the fiftieth anniversary of the end of the War, this gathering of women has generated tremendous healing on both sides. These conferences have been addressed by such notable personalities as President George Bush, Apollo 13 Astronaut Jim Lovell, actor Charlton Heston, and Maureen Reagan and have received universal acclaim from those participating. It is significant to note, however, that the single underlying thread running throughout all of these diverse activities is that they originate from the inspired vision and teaching of the Reverend and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon, and they have been organized and managed/directed by people who are attempting to translate that inspiration into positive action. By the time of this writing countless numbers of people, from all walks of life, nationalities and vocations, have been introduced to the ideas of Unificationism. In the Commonwealth of Independent States (former Soviet Union), over the past several years tens of thousands of students, teachers, and government officials have heard presentations on Unificationism. Unification ideas have been officially integrated into the school curriculum in high schools and universities throughout the C.I.S.
Throughout much of the period from 1993 until 1996, Mrs. Hak Ja Han Moon was proclaiming the core of Unificationism to audiences worldwide, including the United Nations, Moscow, and Beijing. During 1995, Reverend and Mrs. Moon, together, presented their message, "The True Family and I," across the United States, throughout South America (where they had personal audiences with several national presidents) and to sixteen nations around the world, speaking to tens (perhaps hundreds) of thousands of people. The Unification message is being heard globally. Late 1995 and early 1996 saw an emphasis on bringing unity between North and South America culminating in a series of conferences attended by 3,600 South American Baptist ministers. On April 16, 1996, Reverend Moon spoke in Washington D.C. to 3,000 religious and political leaders. That meeting was blessed by an invocation given by the eminent North American Baptist minister, Reverend Jerry Falwell. There is currently a series of seminars occurring in Washington D.C. attended by ministers, all of whom are listening intently to the message of the Reverend and Mrs. Moon. From July, 1996, Mrs. Moon once again carried her message to America and the world on national and international speaking tours. Last, but not least, the Family Federation for World Peace was inaugurated in August, 1996 in Washington, D. C. The title "Family Federation for World Peace and Unification" was declared in April, 1997 as the new title for the Unification Movement. The global impact of Unificationism is becoming more pronounced with each passing month and Unification theology is clearly producing the fruits of its relevance to our modern situation. It is hoped that soon people all over the world, including the United States, will be able to respond to this new and hopeful message. Unification theology itself has an unusual systematic quality. In the words of one theologian, "the Divine Principle may be the most important theological treatise of the twentieth century...The work of Karl Barth is comparable to it in terms of systematic power."6 Unification theology, as mentioned, is a fresh perspective in theological thinking. Several editions of Divine Principle were published prior to the 1973 edition which has been declared as authoritative by Reverend Moon. Its full canonization is yet to come, however.7 Divine Principle discusses the nature of God and the original ideal for creation, the origin of crime and conflict which have resulted in a world of suffering and inequity and the long, often painful process of restoration back to the original ideal for the creation. But the scope of application one finds in Unification theology is unusually broad, being able to cover a wide variety of questions and issues. At the same time it leaves room for considerable flexibility of discussion on specific details vis-à-vis particular issues. In order to express this broad scope and flexibility of Unification theology, some scholars have suggested using the term, "Unificationism." The present volume, Explorations in Unificationism, the editors being cognizant of this character of Unification teaching, contains the term as a part of its title.
The present volume comes to the reader in the hope that through these essays she or he may catch at least a glimpse, and hopefully an inspired vision, of the far-reaching implications of Unificationism and its applications. Herein one will find a collection of articles written by "Unification scholars" who, while being members of the Unification Movement, have received academic training in the West and have studied at some length in their areas of specialization. Many are graduates of the Unification Theological Seminary. Most have completed higher degrees at prominent universities, both in the United States and abroad. All are in the process of exploring and expanding the intellectual context of Unificationism in its relationship to the world of thought and action.
The essays vary considerably, but they share one thing in common: they are all explorations in Unificationism or Unification thinking. Each author has attempted to relate Unification thinking to his/her respective academic area in order to develop and express it in terms of the conceptual horizons of biblical studies, theology, inter-religious dialogue and encounter, philosophy, science and social science. Although the essence of Unificationism (which some might briefly define as "true love") remains unchanged, the way in which it is expressed and applied to contemporary societies can (and should) change.
Let us turn to consider the individual essays. The first section concerns the Bible and theology. Divine Principle is based on the Bible, which has been a major source of wisdom and guidance to Western civilization for centuries, biblical values playing an essential role in shaping Western civilization itself. Reverend Moon has studied the Bible deeply and his teaching, the Divine Principle, is an in-depth interpretation of the providence of God as he sees it revealed in the Bible and in world events. Even the most casual reading of Divine Principle is sufficient to show how extensively it draws upon biblical themes, traditions, and values. In addition to drawing upon the Bible, Divine Principle also resembles Christian systematic theology in addressing such issues as God, creation, fall, Christology, salvation, and eschatology in a coherent manner. Despite its theological uniqueness, therefore, Unificationism deserves close and honest scrutiny in the context of Christian theology. Thus, Section One presents essays exploring biblical and theological themes and issues.
Whitney Shiner writes about "A Unificationist View of Scripture" and biblical interpretation in his essay. He argues that insights into the proper interpretation of scripture might be derived from Unification theology itself. He suggests that the four position foundation might be taken as the primary model for communication of God to a human being through scripture. Important factors for this model are the grace of God, the reader's level of spiritual development, the attitude brought to the text by the reader and the very act, itself, of reading the text.
One of the central issues in theology is Christology and Theodore Shimmyo's essay, "Unification Christology: A Fulfillment of Niceno-Chalcedonian Orthodoxy," argues that, given the Unification notion of the purpose of creation, Unification Christology employs the approach from above so "thoroughgoingly" that it also uses the approach from below "thoroughgoingly." The outcome of such an endeavor is the Unification view of Christ as a real man with perfect divinity. He argues that Unification Christology is a fulfillment of traditional Niceno-Chalcedonian Christology and that, because it also has a "unique" ability to reconcile traditional and non-traditional Christologies, it is a viable "alternative Christology" for today.
Dietrich Seidel offers an essay entitled "Understanding Marriage from a Dialectical Perspective: A Comparative Study of Schleiermacher and Unification Thought." He attempts to show the ontological foundations for a theology of marriage by investigating the dialectical nature of reality and its application to a God-centered perception of marriage. He argues that the principle of a dialectical interaction of polar positions applies not only to a general understanding of man and creation, but it also sheds light on the question of how human beings relate to God, in particular with regard to the order of marriage. He offers a comparative study between Schleiermacher's view and the Unification position that allows the reader to clarify basic philosophical and theological concepts as related to an ideal conception of marriage.
Tyler Hendricks examines more contemporary eschatological thinking in his essay, "Tough-Minded Eschatology in Charles Finney and Sun Myung Moon." He examines the eschatological movements of these two evangelists and compares them in terms of the social changes which can take place in eschatological thinking. Both movements espouse a "tough-minded" eschatology. The Finney movement failed to sustain its tough-minded view and, although the Unification Movement has so far succeeded in sustaining a tough-minded view, it will have to overcome certain problems if it is to continue to do so.
Theology, for several centuries, was concerned primarily with the Christian context of life and thought as distinct from other contexts. Now, in many cases, it has broadened its scope to the "theology of religions" and is considering the reality of religions other than Christianity. This broadening has taken place in response to a relatively new situation which is reflected in the question posed by Wilfred Cantwell Smith: "We explain the fact that the Milky Way is there by the doctrine of creation, but how do we explain the fact that the Bhagavad Gita is there?"8 Many Christians now realize that theology, to be truly meaningful in this modern age, must operate in a context broader than Christianity. Exclusivism, a perspective wherein one considers one particular perspective (for example, Christianity, setting aside for the time being the fact that even Christianity has many different perspectives) as being the whole truth, and all other, different, perspectives, as being virtually devoid of truth is no longer viable. The Unification Movement is exceptionally active in its encounter and dialogue with men and women of other faith communities and Section Two presents essays exploring inter-religious themes and issues.
David Carlson, in his essay "Emptiness and Heart: Two Ways of God?," addresses the encounter between Buddhism and Unificationism. Traditionally the Buddhist and Christian views of ultimate reality have been seen as quite disparate. Seeking an image of ultimate reality which might allow greater flexibility in dialogue, he proposes a view derived from Unification themes, particularly the notion of Shim Jung (heart).
Anthony Guerra, in his essay on "Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Unificationism: Sibling Rivalry or Harmony?," considers the implications of understanding God and images of God implied in the view of scripture, religious events and community of each.
Frank Kaufmann seeks to contextualize the Unification proposal for inter-religious relations among theories within the interfaith movement at large in his essay, "Reflections of a Unificationist on Inter-Religious Relations." He examines the notions of conflict and peace and presents a program for the establishment of harmonious relations based on God's original ideal of true love.
Since the time of the ancient Greek philosophers, reflective thinkers have attempted to understand the world and provide rational answers to the questions we all ask about ourselves and the universe. Past schools of philosophy, both East and West, have provided great insight and understanding and have had an incalculable influence on cultures and civilizations. There was in the West, until the Enlightenment, a close relationship between philosophy and theology (consider, for example, the systems of Augustine and Aquinas). When Unification concepts are utilized in providing answers to traditional philosophical questions and issues, once again creating a close relationship between philosophy and theology, the result makes for some challenging new insights. Unification theology, systematized philosophically as Unification Thought,9 can engage in productive critical dialogue with the great philosophical schools of the past. Furthermore, as past I.C.U.S. committees have demonstrated it can comfortably and reasonably hold its own. Section Three presents essays which explore themes and issues in the area of philosophy.
Theodore Shimmyo, in his essay on "Individuality and Relationship: A Unificationist View," offers a philosophical exploration of a key issue not only in the Western philosophical tradition but in Unificationism as well. He argues that Unificationism affirms the genuine relationships of particular individuals by blurring the traditional sharp distinction between "universals" and "particulars," i.e., by saying that "universals" are particular and "particulars" universal in certain important senses which involve an effective "theory of collation" based on a doctrine of God's "Heart" and "dual characteristics." He argues that Unificationism, in this regard, has a stronger case than other, similar, views such as Aristotle's "amended realism," Kant's and Rahner's "transcendental method," and Whitehead's "philosophy of organism."
Paul Perry compares the ontological system of Unificationism with that of Hegel in his essay "Reason and Heart: A Comparison between Hegel's Philosophy and Unification Thought." Through a close examination he argues that Unification ontology can correct and, in some cases, even enhance the Hegelian perspective.
Elizabeth Colford, in her essay "Towards a Unification Theory of Art and Beauty," looks at the realm of art and its concept of beauty with a view towards developing a new perspective on aesthetics. She seeks to identify those sources of artistic inspiration which lead to artistic creation and, in the process, to identify the very purpose and bases of artistic activity. She contends that the purpose of true art is to stimulate the restoration of the spiritual senses in all persons and to impart joy to both artist and beholder in order for individuals to know God and the eternal world during their physical life.
One of the virtues of Unificationism is that it is not at all hesitant to engage in a dialogue with science. One of the objectives of the Unificationist Movement is the unity between science and religion. Past efforts to achieve some kind of understanding between these areas of endeavor have not been overly successful. In some cases it has even been looked upon as a kind of warfare. Since 1972 the International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences, founded by Reverend Moon, has been an important forum for scientific discussion between scholars representing the various different fields of science. This prestigious series of conferences has, over the years, drawn some of the world's top scientists, including Nobel laureates, together to share and reflect on issues beyond the boundaries of their individual scientific specializations. These conferences focus on the theme of "science and absolute values." Unlike the past, often strained, relationship between science and religion/theology, Unificationism actively seeks to create a harmony. Aware that "science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind,"10 I.C.U.S., and Reverend Moon, as especially evident in his founder's addresses, seek to instill in scientists, and therefore in their scientific work, an abiding sense of absolute values. In this way, values can guide and inform the spectacular achievements of modern science. It is the view of Unificationism that science and religion must be united in order to bring about the creation of an ideal world. Section Four presents essays which explore themes and issues in the religion/science interface.
Alison Byer offers, in her essay on "Science and Unification Thought," certain applications of Unification Thought to the field of physics. She suggests that Unification Thought can serve as a resource in formulating a model to be used in explaining the universe in which we live. Reflecting on the ideas of parallel universes, the transformation of virtual particles into real particles, the big bang theory, the nature of time and the possible existence of the spirit world, she suggests insights as to the developments which might be possible in theoretical physics.
Jennifer Tanabe, in her essay on "Psychology and Unification Thought," argues that Unification Thought, by providing a sound philosophical ground, can solve some of the past impasses in the use of psychological models. In this way, it can bring a new sense of unity, and direction, to current psychology.
The primary thrust of the Unification Movement has always been more action-oriented than theoretical in nature. Social action has always been a priority. The Unification Movement has engaged in several evangelical campaigns and members are busy with hometown providence. Its work, in the former Soviet Union, throughout America, and currently in South America, has been focused on social action. Campus ministry, National Council for the Church and Social Action, CAUSA, World Medical Health Foundation, Minority Alliance International and many other social projects exemplify the nature of the Unification Movement. Section Five presents essays exploring themes and issues regarding society and social change.
Thomas Walsh, in his essay "Labor, Language and Family: Unificationist Reflections on the Practical Conditions of Social and Moral Existence," examines the roles of labor, language and family in terms of their efficacy in actually bringing about the social change necessary to create a better society. He critiques the effectiveness of labor and language in accomplishing the task and argues that the family can be the most effective agent of real social change. The family ideal as elaborated in Unificationism is heralded as a much-needed corrective to the current social situation.
Yoshihiko Masuda writes on "Genuine Monotheism and Inter-X Movements: H.R. Niebuhrian Analysis of the Unification Movement," and provides some insights into the nature of the Unification Movement itself. He suggests why he believes it can succeed in bringing about social change.
Michael Mickler closes this section with his essay, "Writing History and Making History: Practical Applications of Unification Thought's Theory of History." He reflects on basic notions in the philosophy of history to examine the historiographical and behavioral applications of Unification Thought's theory of history and outlines some of the important premises which should guide Unification historical reflection.
To create a new society and world requires action as well as a new way of understanding the world and in the concluding essay, "Mapping Knowledge: The Unification Encyclopedia Project," Andrew Wilson introduces one of the many projects of the Unification Movement, the development of a new encyclopedia. This project has as one of its goals the establishment of a value-based perspective in knowledge. It plans to introduce certain areas which are inadequately dealt with in traditional Enlightenment-based encyclopedias.
It should be apparent to the reader that the essays presented herein only touch the proverbial tip of the iceberg. However, if they succeed in stimulating further thought, and scholarship, in the various areas that constitute human culture and endeavor, and further activity towards realizing the ideal of God, then the purpose of this book will have been amply served.
We would like to express our gratitude to all the contributors to this volume, to Kerry and Carol Pobanz, and Susan Schroeder for their help in the initial proof-reading and typing of the text, to Tom Bowers for the use of hiss computer facilities, and especially to President Dr. David S. C. Kim, without the support of who m this book would never have appeared.
1. Wilfred Cantwell Smith, The Faith of Other Men (New York: Harper and Row Torchbooks, 1972), p. 121.
2. Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity, Divine Principle (New York: HSA-UWC, 1973).
3. See, for example, the published series of his collected sermons: Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity, Sermons of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, volumes 1-180 (New York: HSA-UWC Publications, 1994).
4. As of this writing there is being planned for 1997 an even larger joint wedding. The number of couples projected is 3,600,000 (7,200,000 individuals) with representatives from virtually every nation in the world. Once again, this will be accomplished by means of satellite link-up. The main ceremony for this wedding is to be held in Washington, D.C.
5. For partial listings, as well as more in-depth information about these different activities, various Unification Church publications, and literature, may be consulted.
6. Herbert Richardson, "A Lecture to Students at the Unification Theological Seminary in Barrytown, New York," in M. Darrol Bryant and H.W. Richardson, eds., A Time for Consideration: A Scholarly Appraisal of the Unification Church (New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 1978), p. 292.
7. There is a revised edition of Divine Principle which hopefully smoothes out many of the "linguistic" rough edges and thus make the central teaching of the Unification Church more amenable to the general public. See Exposition of the Divine Principle, New York: HSA-UWC, 1996.
8. Smith, 133.
9. Unification Thought Institute of Japan, Essentials of Unification Thought: The Head-Wing Thought (Japan: Unification Thought Institute of Japan), 1992.
10. Albert Einstein, Out of My Later Years (London: The London Times, 1919; reprinted, Secaucus, New Jersey: The Citadel Press, 1974), p. 26.