Explorations in Unificationism edited by Theodore T. Shimmyo and David A. Carlson

Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Unificationism: Sibling Rivalry or Harmony?1 by Anthony J. Guerra

This paper attempts to comprehend some of the implications for the concepts of God and the human person/community which are to be drawn from the fact and manner of the inter-relationships among Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Unificationism. Although I will deal at points with the material content of the scriptures of these four religious traditions,2 it is the working hypothesis of this paper that at its emergence Christianity's conscious self-relating to Judaism, and Islam's conscious self-relating to Judaism and Christianity, and also Unificationism's conscious self-relating to all three traditions says something of paramount significance about the God to which these religious communities refer, and this is beyond what may be explicit in any one of these religions.

The present awareness of the multiplicity of religions proclaiming the One True God compels the rational person to ask, is their referent ultimately the same or not? For monotheistic believers who are in dialogue with monotheistic believers of other religions, there are only two options -- other than a renunciation of faith and a retreat to atheism or polytheism -- namely that either the same God is the object of worship in the several monotheistic religions, or only one such religion is genuine and the others are bogus and worship false gods. Furthermore, even given assent to the idea of a mutual referent for God, one may be conscious, often painfully so, of the extent to which the practices of adherents to various faiths affirm or contradict the same idea. The sorrowful history of conflict among people of different religions, which may be epitomized in the massacre of Muslim Palestinian civilians by Lebanese Christian militiamen with the tacit approval of the Israeli authorities,3 suggests that the religions mentioned here have created three communities that at the least exacerbate the antagonism among them.4 Herein may be a critical reason for examining the question of how a new religion consciously relates itself to already existing religions and vice versa, for these initial articulations may indeed set the course of the dialogue for centuries to follow.

Unificationism has proclaimed in its incipient stage that it is a younger brother to the other and more mature religions already mentioned. The Unification notion of a sibling relationship existing among religions derives from its avowal that God is the ultimate source of all religions.

A few years ago, I wrote a paper entitled "The Three Brothers: Toward a Unification Theology of Revelation," in which I attempted to articulate the Unification self-understanding of its relationship to Judaism and Christianity5 The title "Three Brothers" was in fact borrowed from a speech by the Reverend Moon wherein he addressed a predominantly Christian and Jewish audience.6 With the publication of Introduction to the Principle: An Islamic Perspective7 which emerged from Unification missionaries' encounters with Islam I have felt compelled to ask the theological question: is Islam also a sibling to Judaism, Christianity and Unificationism from the Unificationist perspective?

It has become obvious to me over the last several years that there are two distinct but not totally unrelated modes by which Unificationism relates to other religions. The first is quite typical of any new religion -- reminiscent of the early Christians' witness in synagogues8 and Muhammad among the Jews and Arabic peoples,9 namely converting individuals and assimilating them into its own community of faith and practice.

There is a second mode of Unificationism's relating to other religions. This takes place at the level of Unificationism's acknowledging the other religions as independent and God-ordained entities with which it wishes to cooperate for goals transcending the organizational motives of all, including Unificationism. It is primarily in this second mode that the metaphor of 'brothers' and 'siblings' to describe the relationship among religions is apropos, and it is in this non-missionary sense that I intend to use it in this paper.

The work Introduction to the Principle: An Islamic Perspective, cited above, is significant because it proclaims the essential kerygma of Unificationism, and in the mission field it performs the same function as does Divine Principle10 or Outline of the Principle: Level 4X' namely as a guide to teaching the essentials of the Unification beliefs. The critical difference among these three texts is that the latter two avail themselves of copious quotations from the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, whereas the Introduction to the Principle substitutes for these scriptures the authority of the Qur'an:

This work tries to show the roots and preparation in the Qur'an for the twentieth century revelation of God, given to a contemporary man of God. The revelation is called "The Principle."12

Now of course, for students of Scripture, it is no surprise to find that one scripture invokes the authority of an older scripture -- the New Testament makes abundant use of the Hebrew Bible and engages in extensive exegesis of the latter as well as proof-texting to affirm its proclamation. The point to which I wish to draw attention is not that the Unification sources do what has been done already, but rather that these sources seem to be assigning equivalent functions and thus authority to, on the one hand the Old and New Testaments, and on the other hand, the Qur'an. I take this attitude toward these scriptures as an important indicator that Unificationism would recognize a sibling status for Islam similar to that of Judaism and Christianity.

Further, it seems to me that an essential aspect of Unificationism's understanding of God and human community can only be grasped by comprehending its vision of the interrelatedness of religions. Although Unificationism stands alongside the older religions as yet another religion, I believe that in its self-understanding it is attempting to fulfill the mission of the younger sibling religion who helps to resolve inter-religious hostilities.13 Therefore rather than undertake the task of rummaging through one or another version of the Divine Principle for the purpose of reconstructing its theoretical notions of God and the human person, I will examine how Unificationism's understanding of the relatedness of the four religions mentioned above elucidates its notions of God and the human person/community I shall pursue this question of interrelatedness in the three areas of scripture, primordial and paradigmatic religious event, and community.

Four Scriptures

Unificationism asserts that the world's scriptures perform the function of guiding humankind to achieve God's will and in so doing also to actualize its greatest potential. This providential telos of all sacred scriptures is identical with the will of God the Creator, i.e., the God who acts redemptively in history is the same God with the same purposes as the God who created "in the beginning." Unification theology describes this will of God under the rubric of the "Three Blessings," which were bestowed as opportunities or possibilities which could be realized only with a faithful human response.14 Firstly, human beings were to achieve as individuals a perfect love relationship with God. Secondly, these perfected lovers of God were to enter into a marital relationship and create a God-centered family which would multiply into a society, nation and harmonious world family. Thirdly, humankind was to rule with love and care the created order. In other words, all aspects of human life, spiritual and material, individual and collective, are sanctioned by God and are to be enjoyed by a humankind which has been disciplined in the love of God. The Divine Principle asserts that God created the first human pair -- following Genesis calling them Adam and Eve15 -- to fulfill these three blessings. Although they failed to achieve this purpose, God has acted in history in order to at some time see these purposes realized by humankind. From the Unification perspective, all prophetic and messianic missions serve directly or indirectly the purpose of helping humankind fulfill these three blessings. This providential telos of realizing the Three Blessings constitutes, "from God's point of view," the purpose and function of scripture within each community of faith and practice.

It is in view of this providential orientation that the Hebrew Bible, New Testament, Qur'an, and Divine Principle are given a special status in Unification theology. The Hebrew Bible molded the consciousness of the Israelites from whom Jesus, the "Second Adam" who intended to accomplish the original will of God for humankind, emerged. The New Testament recorded the words of Jesus and those believers who united with him to establish the foundation of the Christian church. The Qur'an is the revelation given by God to Muhammad, who is "the outstanding prophet to follow Jesus and precede the coming of the Third Adam."16 Finally, the Divine Principle derives from the Lord of the Second Advent or Third Adam, and guides believers in the task of establishing the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.

The position of yet another scripture naturally raises the question of the permanence or transitoriness of the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament and the Qur'an. Christianity had to confront Marcion who sought to discredit the Old Testament and to eliminate it from the Christian canon.17 Marcion's identification of the Old Testament with the Creator God who is the source of evil was repudiated by the Christian church and the Old Testament was preserved in the canon. Throughout the Middle Ages, similar attempts to deny the scriptural status of the Old Testament for Christians by recurring forms of Manichaeism were repelled by the Church. This decision by the Church was crucial, for by it Christianity affirmed that the Christian God and the Jewish God is the same God.

Similarly, Muhammad acknowledged earlier scriptures, including particularly the Pentateuch and the Gospels. He believed these scriptures to be written revelations which were to be accepted, since they confirm one another, and the "Qur'an in particular not only confirms earlier scripture, but, as the final revelation, clears up all uncertainties and is the repository of perfect truth."18

Likewise, I believe that the Unification movement, claiming a new revelation, the Divine Principle, will oppose similar challenges to the scriptural status of the Hebrew Bible and New Testament as well as of the Qur'an, should they arise. Both the missionary and dialogical modes referred to above are evident in Unification scripture, as is apparent from the following passage from the Divine Principle.

God has given a partial mission to numerous individuals in order to accomplish rapidly the purpose of the providence of restoration, with each relating vertically to Him... Finally, at the consummation of human history, all will come to realize that their respective missions were allotted to them by God with an identical purpose: the accomplishment of the providence of restoration. By establishing horizontal relationships with each other, they will be unified in their efforts to accomplish the whole purpose of the providence of restoration through the new Words of truth God will give at the proper time. Then, all men of spiritual communication will cease their stubborn insistence that their way alone is God's will, and will gain the right understanding of their providential missions.19

The Unification affirmation of the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament and the Qur'an is critical, and only by it can the claim be sustained that the same God is the God of Jews, Christians, Muslims and Unificationists. This claim is the sine qua non of the assertion that Jew, Christian, Muslim and Unificationist are related as "eldest, elder, younger and youngest brothers."

There is a dimension of the metaphor of "brothers" or "siblings" which should not be ignored in considering its appositeness for depicting the interrelationship among religions. Although a common parent or origin is implied by the term "siblings," the individuality of each is also acknowledged. Brothers can be and often are radically different from one another. The metaphor militates against a notion of an undifferentiated unity as a model for the relationship among religions.

It has been suggested that the sibling metaphor is too sentimental and implies loving relationships which do not exist. It may be worthy of note that the first biblical mention of brothers -- Cain and Abel -- provides an example of fratricide. Current crime statistics reveal that a staggering percentage of violent acts are committed by one family member against another. One of the strengths of the sibling analogy is that it may as easily trigger memories of rivalry as of harmony. Yet, the instinctual human sense of outrage against such familial violence underscores the proper relationship which is to be affirmed.

A second objection to the sibling metaphor is that it is not appropriate to apply terms descriptive of individuals to religions. The generic question here is really concerned with the legitimacy of analogical language or thinking. Analogy asserts a proportional relationship between two or more subjects rather than an identity. The specific use of the sibling metaphor for the relationship among religions inherits the advantages and shortcomings of analogical thinking. It is certainly more popular in Protestant ecumenical thought to employ discursive models as, e.g., "diversified unity." I prefer the personal and more accessible language of siblings because I believe the problem of the relationship among religions (and nations as well) can only be resolved when the individual representatives of these bodies affirm their vertical and horizontal bonds of connectedness. Finally, a word concerning the "parent-child" metaphor that has long been used to describe the relationship between Judaism and Christianity. I think this familial metaphor is less helpful than that of elder and younger siblings. The major problem with the parent-child analogy is that it stresses historical priority and suggests that the "true" origin of the "child" religion is in the older religion. The sibling metaphor may accommodate both the fact that an elder religion shapes substantially a younger one but also that all religions may have a transcendent origin.

Further, Western historical critics have a propensity to reduce the scripture of Islam to a mere amalgam of Syrian Christian, Jewish and indigenous Arabic religious elements. Thus they fail to comprehend the unique Qur'anic perspective, even while evaluating Islam sympathetically as in the oft repeated characterization of Islam as maintaining the absolute and unconditional monotheism of the Hebrew prophets while adding the universalism of Christianity. The sibling metaphor does not suggest such a reductionistic analysis. The scripture of each religion interprets through the unique perspective of its own revelatory moment the scriptures of earlier religions. Similarly, although the New Testament takes up many Old Testament symbols, their meanings are radically altered. Christianity preserved the Hebrew Bible, but it largely either ignored or opposed the Jewish community's interpretation of texts in the Hebrew Bible. Indeed the change in interpretation which the New Testament makes of the Old Testament is expressive of the radical change of perspective which warrants the assertion of a new religion or moment of revelation. Although symbols, concepts and events are preserved from the Old Testament, the New Testament represents a change of perspective, a paradigm shift. I furthermore believe that this same assertion should be made with respect to the Divine Principle.

It is a gross misunderstanding of the magnitude of the changes of perspectives from the Hebrew Bible to the New Testament and from the two of them to the Qur'an and then again from all three scriptures to the Divine Principle to think that the differences between the scriptures are adequately accounted for by enumerating the points of conceptual innovations emerging in the successive stages of revelation. Such a view ignores the critical point, which is that the innovation is one of perspective in the criteria by which a community posits meaning and makes decisions for itself. The next section will elaborate how one might proceed in the attempt to characterize the fundamental orientation of each religion.

Primordial and Paradigmatic Religious Events

We have spoken thus far of the perspectives (basic orientations of heart and mind) of Jews, Christians, Muslims and Unificationists toward their own scriptures. Each of these religions should be understood in its own right as being born from a profound religious or revelatory experience of a founding figure. Further, it is important to note how Christianity, Islam and Unificationism has each looked back upon its predecessor religion(s) and has given new meaning to the symbols which it inherited from its older brother(s).20 Thus this section involves two modes of reflection which are intimately related to each other: first, the identifying of the central religious experiences constitutive of the religions in question, and second, some preliminary thinking on the profound transformation of meanings which have occurred concerning those symbols shared by the religions under discussion.

Each religion is founded upon a primordial revelation, that primal or formative religious event which shapes each community's perspective and their interpretations of scriptures. This primordial revelation or religious event is determinative for the Hebrew Bible, New Testament, Qur'an and Divine Principle, and is also the root of the four communities under discussion. For Israel, the figure of Moses struggling against the Egyptians, the oppressors of his people, and leading them out of captivity and toward their promised land, is the quintessential expression of the power of God who liberates in history. Before entering the land, Moses is given the Law, to which the people's obedience affirms their covenantal relationship with God (Deut. 30:11-20). The Israelites' election constitutes a special relationship with God which is to inform their most mundane and routine matters of life, including that of possession of the land The Moses event is of unparalleled significance in molding the Jewish religious consciousness such that no candidate can qualify as Messiah for the Jews unless he liberates them from their earthly tribulations.21

The primordial religious event for Christianity is the Christ event. The Kerygma arises from the Messiah directly or from those anticipating him or following him. For Christians, Jesus functions as the criterion by which notions of God and the human are constantly re-evaluated.22

For the Christian, Christ is not only the source of the New Testament, but the event which consciously or unconsciously calls forth a total transvaluation of the symbols of the Old Testament. In light of the Christ event, Adam's role is re-evaluated so that he is not only an individual sinner, but also the corporate sinner, the symbol of an entire human race in need of redemption. In the Jewish understanding, Adam represents simply the first of the race rather than the prototype of the human who determines the conditions of human nature and history.23 The correlation made between Adam and Jesus resulted in the affirmation of far wider claims for the significance of Adam in the Christian tradition. Christ stands opposed to Adam for Irenaeus, who, building on Paul, elaborated point by point Christ's reversals of Adam's failures. As a type of humanity, Adam's transgressions have consequences for the entire human race, and his sinful nature is transmitted to all his descendants. Thus Adam gains a cosmic significance in the Christian tradition which is absent in the canonical Jewish tradition. This rebirth of the symbol of Adam is effected through the change of perspective wrought by the Christ event.

In the Qur'an, the category of "prophet" is pre-eminent and it subsumes the figures of Adam and Jesus. Although the term Messiah is found in the Qur'an (e.g. Sura 3:40), the significance of Jesus for Muslims is in his role as one in a line of prophets which is culminated in the person of Muhammad, who is known as the last or the "seal of the prophets." The Christ event is now re-interpreted according to the new standard of the final prophet. Jesus does not die on the cross but is rescued by Allah just as Allah has saved Muhammad from his would-be murderers in Mecca so that he can flee to Medina to establish his community. Allah is a victorious God and his special prophets cannot be defeated. It is this perspective of Islam that explains the reinterpretation of the crucifixion of Jesus and not the often suggested Christian gnostic influence upon Muhammad.24 The prophet is not important for who he is, but rather for the Word of God which he brings, for that Word, written in the Qur'an, is absolutely binding on the believing Muslim. The position of the written revelation of God in Islam is so overridingly important that Wilfred Cantwell Smith has suggested that the proper parallel to Jesus in Christianity is not Muhammad but rather the Qur'an25 Consistent with this Islamic emphasis, the highly significant doctrine of the Last Judgment in the Qur'an proposes that a final reckoning will take place in which all those who have ever lived will receive rewards or punishments in accord with the degree of his or her obedience to the will of God. For Islam, submission to the will of God is not merely a matter of intellectual assent to doctrinal formulations, but the moral practice of a theocentric way of life. Adam as the first prophet was a Muslim because he lived a life of submission to the will of God and in the same way, Jesus was a prophet who was obedient to that same Qur'anic word. The Word of God which Muhammad received in spiritual experiences in Mecca and Medina and which he proclaimed to his Arabian kinspeople, stands absolute for Islam.

Likewise in the Divine Principle, the images of Christ and Adam undergo a new transformation. Just as in the Christian interpretation where the image of Christ reforms the image of Adam, and as in the Islamic interpretation where the image of the prophet determines the view of both Jesus and Adam, so in Unificationism it is the image of the True Parents, the Lord of the Second Advent and his Bride, which transforms the symbols of Christ and Adam and Muhammad. The event of the Second Coming is the marriage of a perfectly God-centered man and woman who are the only adequate mediators of the full love of God. Man and woman are the two fundamental modes of human existence, and the messianic agency must embrace both these ways; the Messiah must be both a man and a woman. God cannot communicate the fullness of grace to God's children unless there is a son and a daughter as mediators. The Unification claim is radical and absolute, and it is within this affirmation of faith that the mission of Jesus as well as the original purpose of Adam and Eve is interpreted. Put in terms of the providential telos of the Three Blessings, mentioned above, Jesus as an individual accomplished the First Blessing. The Second Blessing, which entails the establishment of a God-centered family as the basis for wider levels of social harmony and love, as well as well-being, were not fulfilled by the Christ event. The True Parents, in Unification theology, make possible the realization of these last two Blessings. Further, Muhammad is interpreted in Unificationism as "the outstanding prophet" after Jesus to prepare the way for the True Parents or the Third Adam and Eve.

The primacy of the image of True Parents for the Messiah as well as God in Unificationism, vis-a-vis that of the Lord and King for Christianity and Judaism and of the prophet in Islam, constitutes another aspect of the change in the orientation of heart and mind. The qualifying term of the expression True Parents, however, preserves the attribute of judgment. Such judgment is now set within the relationship between Messiah and disciple as that of parent and child. Further, the notion of parent and child relationship provides for a developmental view of spiritual life wherein the believer progresses in relationship to the parent from a state of total dependency to full adult autonomy. Neither the autonomous adult nor his parents, however, break the bonds of love and concern for the other. The adult seeks to actualize his or her creative potential with an abiding sense of gratitude for the gift of life and love given by God and mediated through his or her parents.

An adult is defined socially by assuming responsible roles which fulfill the values and expectations of the parents and the wider society. Likewise, the "Messiah" as True Parents provide values and standards of adult responsibility which the disciple should grow to fulfill. This adult behavior is actualized in the community which incarnates the values of its founding "parents."

Four Communities

Although the primordial religious or revelatory events discussed above involved individual founding figures, the impact of these events was to extend in relatively short periods of time to large numbers of diverse peoples. There emerged the tribes and nation of Israel, the early Christian church, the Islamic ummah and the community of the Divine Principle.

The historical books of the Hebrew Bible record the establishment of the kingdom of Israel which emerged as a political power in the ancient world.26 Only from the viewpoint of the providential telos to achieve individual, social and cosmic unity with God both spiritually and physically, is the historical political entity of the kingdom of Israel known as revelation. God promises27 Abraham that his seed shall be multiplied as "the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is on the seashore" (Gen. 22:17). Moses leads the people out of the slavery in Egypt, and David's kingdom foreshadows the (permanent) Kingdom of God on earth which was to be realized when Israel became "a nation of priests" to all the nations. Diaspora Judaism never forgot God's promises to its forefathers which validates the claim that God is the lord of the community who has both the will and the ability to save it and glorify it for his name's sake.

Likewise in the New Testament, the book of Acts and the Pauline corpus record the formation of the Christian community. Centering on the resurrected Jesus, the apostles represent the life and spirit of Jesus to people and build the early Christian community. Thus while Stephen is stoned to death, he prays that his executioners be forgiven (Acts 7:5960) and Paul refers to his own suffering as that which certifies him as an apostle of Jesus Christ (II Cor. 4:8-11; 6:4-5). The disciples build a community that will endure the bitter persecution of the Roman Empire but like Jesus rises above resentment and emerges as a victorious saving agent.28

About the age of 40, Muhammad receives messages from God to proclaim to the people of Mecca. Muhammad calls the Meccans to worship One God with gratitude for his goodness to them.29 He endures bitter rejection and persecution from his kinspeople, and yet a small number of them become loyal to him. After 12 years, Muhammad and seventy of his followers migrate to Medina, and most of the Arabs of Medina agree to recognize him as a prophet. When eventually he becomes strong enough to subdue the Meccans, he, like Jesus, forgives their prior persecution and shows such magnanimity that they willingly join the new Islamic community. With this policy, Islam spreads rapidly and unifies the Arab peoples into one ummah. Before his death, Muhammad becomes the spiritual and political leader of most of Arabia.

At sixteen years of age, Sun Myung Moon encounters in visions Jesus who asks him to fulfill the mission of the Lord of the Second Advent. Following this encounter, Sun Myung Moon enters a nine year period of prayer, fasting and spiritual questing during which time he receives the content of the Divine Principle. Subsequently, he suffers to

the point of near death under several governmental authorities including those of Japan, South Korea and the Communist North where he endures nearly three years in a concentration camp. Upon his return to South Korea, he establishes the Unification movement. In 1960, Sun Myung Moon marries Hak Ja Han and this union becomes the spiritual center of the Unification movement. The Unification community originates with the Lord of the Second Advent and his Bride, who as the True Parents initiate this community by directly seeing their disciples as their own children. In turn, these children should grow to emulate their parents and live according to the pattern of the messianic couple. Thus the basic social unit of the Kingdom of God on earth and in heaven is a community of families. The providential telos of God's revelation in the form of scripture (the Divine Principle) and in the form of messianic parents leads to the formation of a Divine Principle community. Without the response of this community, the Messiah cannot fulfill his mission, and the quality and extent of this community decides the growth of the Kingdom of God in time and space.

The question which confronts this new community is how to relate to other communities of faith and more specifically to the Jews, the Christians and the Muslims. To say, however, that members of the community of the youngest brother should serve and love as individuals the Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities is only a partial answer. Christianity has already generated a worldwide civilization. Islam too has become a religion embracing all the races of humankind as it has spread from Arabia to Africa, Asia and North America. As at its inception, Islam remains a community which embraces the full range of human endeavors in its theocratic purview. Further, the new state of Israel is essentially a nation of a trans-national consciousness having been constituted from Jews of Europe, America and the Middle East.30 With the creation of Israel, Judaism is no longer a minority religion; it has gained an independent locus for the expression of its religious culture which allows it to stand in the position of an equal brother to Islam and Christianity. If the Unification community is to relate substantially to these communities, it must also establish a worldwide culture reflecting the Unification theological perspective.31 From this point of view, the political, educational, economic and cultural activities of Unificationists are in no way incidental; they are essential to its mission in its self-understanding.

Yet this community in the making, no matter how universalized its consciousness, finds itself standing vis-a-vis the other communities of faith with different directions and stances. The Divine Principle provides the Unification community with a perspective which appreciates Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The Unification community is to relate to the communities of Christians, Muslims and Jews as its elder brothers because it believes that God is the Parent of all people, and of greatest import here is that God has expressed His will to Jews, Christians and Muslims as well as to Unificationists to fulfill the providential task (see section 1 above). Unificationism affirms with Judaism that the Kingdom of God is to be established on earth, and that God's will for salvation is to include a just social and political order (aspects of the Second Blessing), and affirms with Christianity that Jesus offers forgiveness to individual sinners whereby they are reconciled to God (essential to the First Blessing), and affirms with Islam that to submit to the Will of God is the task of each individual as well as of all nations (expressions of the First and Second Blessings). Thus, the word of the Divine Principle offers Unificationists a vantage point from which they can respect their elder brothers.

Based upon the assurance that God is a True Parent who loves all human beings as children of God and that the nature of parental love is constant and eternal, Unificationism affirms the doctrine of universal salvation. The desire of God the Parent is that all God's children will live together harmoniously. This attitude of the Heart of God is incarnated in the Unification movement. Hence Unificationists seek to stimulate the bonds of love and cooperation between Judaism, Christianity, Islam and themselves which will comfort the Heart of their God.

The exact nature of the world resulting from their cooperation cannot be known in advance. Yet the goodness of the work of the four brothers loving each other and striving as best they can to achieve God's will is guaranteed by the scriptures of their common God. To claim a sibling relationship among the four religions discussed in this paper is to affirm that their source is One and the same God. Such an assertion can easily be trivialized in the eyes of the world if these religions do not behave in the here and now in a manner consonant with this affirmation. I have employed in this paper the metaphor of "brothers" or "siblings" sometimes in a descriptive mode, but more often in a prescriptive or anticipatory mode, for the inter-relationships among Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Unificationism. I suggest that this metaphor allows and even requires the recognition of the uniqueness of each tradition, and at the same time holds out the promise that each can better know God by better understanding its siblings.


1. This paper was originally presented at the conference "God: The Contemporary Discussion," held in Dorado Beach, Puerto Rico, December 30, 1983 -- January 4, 1984.

2. I am aware that within any one of these four religions, numerous traditions are to be found. I presume here, however, that whatever the diversity within the spectrum of each of these four traditions, that they each constitute a type of "unity" or religious consciousness which is distinguishable from the other three.

3. See New York Times, September 19, 1982, 1:6; also September 21, 1:3.

4. The factors relevant to the event mentioned here are undoubtedly diverse, including prominent geo-political and economic ones, and I would disagree with those ideologues who are wont to blame religion as the sole or even primary cause of most wars. It is, nevertheless, undeniable that religion is indeed one contributing factor amongst others to the actions and responses of peoples and nations, and on this account is rightly held to be responsible.

5. See "The Encounter of the Three Brothers: Toward a Unification Theology of Revelation," which was delivered at the 1981 New ERA Winter Conference in Puerto Rico and is published in Unification Thought Quarterly (7', July, 1984), pp. 47-50.

6. Sun Myung Moon, "America and God's Will," Speech given September 18, 1976 (New York: HSA-UWC, 1978).

7. Introduction to the Principle: An Islamic Perspective (New York: HSA-UWC, 1980).

8. See for example Raymond E. Brown, The Community of the Beloved Disciple (New York: Paulist Press, 1979).

9. See for example H.A.R. Gibb, Mohammedanism: An Historical Survey (London: Oxford University, 1979), pp. 17-20; and W. Montgomery Watt, Bell's Introduction to the Qur'an (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University, 1970), pp. 11-14.

10. Divine Principle (Washington: HSA-UWC, 1973).

11. Introduction to the Principle: Level 4 (New York: HSA-UWC, 1980).

12. Introduction to the Principle: An Islamic Perspective, p. 3.

13. Divine Principle emphasizes the importance of the reconciling role of the younger brother in its biblical exegesis; see for example Divine Principle, pp. 276-283, where Jacob's offering of his hard-earned possessions and even his loved ones to his embittered elder brother Esau becomes paradigmatic for the role of younger brother in the Unification theology of history.

14. See Divine Principle, pp, 41 -46, 55-61.

15. For Unification theology, the critical point is that there was a first man and a first woman. The question of their names is of no consequence. It is also allowable that there existed many non-human hominids prior to and contemporaneous with this first couple and who resembled them in many external respects. Unification theology defines human beings by their capacity to have a love relationship with God, one which is best described by the metaphor of parent and child. Adam and Eve represent the first beings who fulfill the theological definition of human persons. Incidentally, it would seem that most recent scientific theory, the "Mitochondrial Eve," is compatible with the concept of monogenesis.

16. Introduction to the Principle: An Islamic Perspective, p. 60. See also, p. 3 quoted above, wherein the Qur'an is ascribed the purpose of "preparation for the twentieth century revelation of God."

17. Strictly speaking, a Christian canon did not exist until the late second century or possibly as late as the fourth century, but in any case, after Marcion. Indeed, Marcion was a prime motivating factor in the early Catholics' move towards a canon. See Hans von Campenhausen, The Formation of the Christian Bible, trans. J.A. Baker (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1972).

18. H.A.R. Gibb, p. 40.

19. Divine Principle, p, 179.

20. The same assertion could be made for Israelite religion also by examining its appropriation and re-interpretation of ancient Near Eastern religious traditions.

21. A. Roy Eckardt says that Christians have never confronted squarely the fact that the prophecies of the Old Testament which they adduce as predictions of the advent of Jesus Christ refer to a victorious social reformer and political leader [Elder and Younger Brothers: The Encounter of Jews and Christians, (New York: Schocken, 1967), pp. 129-137].

22. It is for this reason that the most fundamental question of Christian theology is the relationship between the historical Jesus and the Christ of faith.

23. I am aware that there were apocalyptic Jewish interpretations in the Hellenistic period from which Christianity learned much but I am defining the dominant perspective of Judaism.

24. The fact that the Qur'an has no reservations in presenting Jesus' eating (Sura V:75) and in other fleshly acts (111:45-55) militates against the gnostic hypothesis.

25. Wilfred Cantwell Smith, "Is the Qur'an the Word of God?" in Religious Diversity, ed. by Willard G. Oxtoby (New York: Scribners, 1967), pp. 39-62.

26. In this paper I speak of both the Israel of the Hebrew Bible and also of the contemporary state of Israel. In the Unification view, God has continued to work through the Jews in the last two thousand years so that a new state of Israel could be created, and this state plays an essential role in the completion of the providential task in the present time -- hence the notion of four brothers which undergirds the thinking of this paper.

27. I have decided to use the historical present tense here to emphasize the significance of the continued re-presentation of these events for their respective communities.

28. Most Protestant traditions, of course, understand the conversion of Constantine and the establishment of the Roman State Church as initiating the decline and corruption of true Christianity. It is, nevertheless, the case, had Diocletian and Galerius been successful in totally suppressing Christianity, there would have been no church for the sixteenth-century Protestants to reform!

29. Watt, p. 13. He adds that Muhammad implored the people to express gratitude for both their individual as well as collective well-being.

30. Recently a significant emigration of black Jews from Ethiopia has also added to the racial diversity of Israel.

31. The concept of the Four Position Foundation provides the basis for understanding the need for this development. Centering on a common source of purpose, a subject element and an object element have give and take and create a new synthesis. The subject element and the object element, however, must be of comparable status in order to enter into this relationship. See Divine Principle, pp. 28-34. 

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