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

Genuine Monotheism and Inter-X Movements: H.R. Niebuhrian Analysis of the Unification Movement by Yoshihiko Masuda

I am the Lord thy God,... Thou shalt have no other gods before me. -- (Exodus 20:2-3)


In this paper I would like to assert that genuine monotheism is an important classical spiritual heritage which has rarely been practiced in its true sense and that the Reverend Sun Myung Moon's Unification Movement (hereafter UM), which consists of numerous inter-x movements, is inspired by such genuine or absolute monotheism. In other words, I believe that genuine monotheism is one of the most important characteristics of the U M members' worldview, which is sometimes called "Godism" or "Unificationism." Therefore, in this paper we will examine the significance and implications of genuine monotheism by taking up the case of the UM. I hope this paper will be of help in illuminating the main characteristics of the UM and the major implications of genuine monotheism, as well as its significance especially in our inter-religious dialogue.

Godism and Niebuhr's Radical Monotheism

For many years Reverend Moon has emphasized the necessity of "Godism" as our ultimate value system or Weltanschauung to build a global societal community of love, peace and justice. What does he mean by "Godism"? I believe that what he means by it can be best described as genuine or absolute monotheism in theological terms. What I mean by genuine monotheism is not different from what H. Richard Niebuhr called radical monotheism) In other words, Reverend Moon's Godism is almost completely agreeable to H. Richard Niebuhr's radical monotheism.

According to Niebuhr, radical monotheism as value dependence and as loyalty to One beyond all the many is in constant conflict with the two dominant forms of faith, namely, henotheism (loyalty to one god among many) and polytheism (faith in many gods). I agree with his argument that although people generally assume themselves to be monotheists in the West, they are, in reality, polytheists and henotheists in most of their daily practices. In other words, they trust not so much in God the Creator as in many "gods" such as money, status, power, fame, virility, diploma, and so forth. Furthermore, he is very critical of henotheism in Christianity, which "tends to take one of two forms, the church-centered or Christ-centered form."2 In the former, the church becomes the absolute; in the latter, Jesus Christ, the mediator between God and sinners, almost monopolizes the status of God. In the former, theology (i.e., study about God) changes into ecclesiology (i.e., study about the church); in the latter, into "Jesus-ology" (i.e., study about Jesus Christ).

Consequently, his concluding remarks on radical monotheism are as follows:

Radical monotheism dethrones all absolutes short of the principle of being itself. At the same time it reverences every relative existent. Its two great mottoes are: "I am the Lord thy God; thou shalt have no other gods before me" and "Whatever is, is good."3

Moreover, largely as a result of his radically monotheistic faith, Niebuhr came to his keen awareness that "the great source of evil in life is the absolutizing of the relative."4 Therefore, he insisted on worshipping nothing but the genuine God the eternal, and strongly warned us against making false gods. These characteristics of radical monotheism are none other than those of Godism. Consequently, the U M as a movement of Godism/genuine monotheism also reflects these characteristics of radical monotheism and its implications.

The UM: Inter-x Movements

There are various terms that characterize the UM. I believe agape or self-sacrificial love is one of the most fitting words that characterize the UM. I have seen numerous practices of self-sacrificial love by its members in the UM, and undoubtedly their practice of agape has been inspired by their understanding of God as a parental being of self-sacrificial love through the teaching and practice of Reverend and Mrs. Moon. I will not, however, go into detail about the relationship between "Godism" and agape, because my focus in this paper is another term that characterizes the UM.

Inter-x movement is the term I would like to discuss as one of the most illuminating terms that stand for the UM. In other words, one of the most important implications of genuine monotheism is that it creates and facilitates various inter-x movements. Consequently, we can present the characteristics of the UM as being manifested in the following eleven inter-x movements: 1) international movement, 2) interracial movement, 3) intercultural movement, 4) intersexual movement, 5) inter-realm movement, 6) inter-dimensional movement, 7) intergenerational movement, 8) interdisciplinary movement, 9) interclass movement, 10) interdenominational movement, and 11) inter-religious (interfaith) movement.5

Readers may not recognize some of these eleven words that begin with "inter" because I coined some of them to describe the UM. The "inter-x " generally means between or among Xs or concerned with the relations between or among Xs. This is not an exhaustive list of the inter-x movements that characterize the UM, and I admit there is some convergence of meaning among them.

If someone asks why it is that the UM has so many inter-x movements as its characteristics, I will answer that it is because its genuine monotheism keeps its members from absolutizing the relative. If we absolutized one nation, there would be no international movement; if we absolutized one race, there would be no interracial movement; if we absolutized one culture, there would be no intercultural movement; if we absolutized one gender, there would be no intersexual movement; if we absolutized one realm, there would be no inter-realm movement;... and if we absolutized one religious tradition, there would be no inter-religious movement. Now let me briefly elaborate these eleven inter-x movements.

l. The UM is an international movement. It is not simple to measure the level of "internationalization" of the movements, but many of those who had an opportunity to closely observe the UM were struck by its internationalization. In my view, partly due to its theology and partly due to the rapid globalization of the world, the UM has probably become the most international movement among the social movements that ever existed on earth. Its participants are offered numerous opportunities to encounter and to work with persons of different nationalities. Reverend Moon encourages its members to work in at least three different countries during their life on earth. He mobilized the International One World Crusade teams, which consisted of members of various nationalities who travelled to multiple nations. When foreign missionaries were sent to over 70 nations in 1975, a Japanese, an American and a German were dispatched as an international foreign missionary team to each country. Many of the organizations and projects inspired by Reverend Moon are distinctively international in scope and naturally carry the word "international" (or "World") in their names; some of them are International Cultural Foundation, International Religious Foundation, International Relief and Friendship Foundation, International Federation for Victory Over Communism, International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences, and so on.

Narrow nationalism ends in absolutizing a nation, which hinders the emergence of international movements. Genuine monotheism, however, keeps its believers from worshipping their own nation as the absolute, recognizes the relevant value of all nations, and facilitates the emergence of fair international intercourse.

2 The UM is an interracial movement. The "interracialness" of the UM is closely related to its "internationalization." Because the UM is very international, it provides its members with various opportunities to contact and to work with persons of different races. Moreover, Reverend Moon always emphasizes that God is color blind; God loves his children irrespective of their color. Consequently, the UM has been engaged in activities to eliminate racial prejudice in order to bring about racial harmony (e.g., Minority Alliance International). Probably the ultimate barometer of "interracialness" is the rate of the interracial marriages among its members. In the UM, interracial marriages are encouraged and the international scope of the UM offers its members real possibilities of such interracial marriages, which are in fact rapidly increasing. As a result of these interracial marriages, the UM is creating many increasingly interracial congregations and local communities all over the world.

Racism is one of the phenomena of the "absolutizing of the relative." When the absolute value is attached to the color of the white race or black race, white racism or black racism comes into existence. For absolute monotheists, whatever color the skin may be, it is always good because it is created by God. Thus, genuine monotheism reminds its believers of the relativity of their color and facilitates interracial activities and good will that transcends the racial barriers.

3. The UM is an intercultural movement. The intercultural aspect of the UM is closely connected with its international or interracial aspects. As a result of its international and interracial aspects, the members of the UM have many opportunities to encounter and to live in various different cultures. The most conspicuous intercultural aspect of the UM is its effort to harmonize Oriental and Occidental cultures since it originated in Korea from the Judeo-Christian tradition. In addition to harmonizing Eastern and Western cultures, in the UM there is an aspect of harmonizing the cultures of the First World and the Third World, because Reverend and Mrs. Moon come from the Third World and have been working in the United States and Europe during the greater part of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s in order to transform the First World culture. Thus, Godism or absolute monotheism leads its believers to the awareness of the relative value of their own traditional culture, facilitates intercultural exchanges, and contributes to the emergence of a new harmonious global culture in the long run.

4. The UM is an intersexual movement. The UM is neither a men's nor a women's movement; it is a movement of, for, and by, both men and women. In recent years, there emerged radical feminists, who have attacked traditional Christianity on its patriarchism and misogyny; their contention is that "if God is male, then the male is God."6 In contrast, because Unification Theology clearly teaches that God has both masculine and feminine characteristics, it helps its believers to avoid the absolutizing of one sex and to appreciate the value of the other sex as complementary.

Besides, the absolutely monotheistic element of Godism makes clear the relativeness of gender. Unification Theology emphasizes that a man or a woman manifests only the partial nature of God and only unity of the man and woman can represent the complete image of God. Reverend Moon also repeatedly speaks that a man is created for the sake of a woman and that a woman, for the sake of a man. Therefore, we can say that the UM is a movement in an attempt to bring about genuine unity between men and women. Moreover, because Unification Theology teaches that Jesus could have manifested God's love more fully, if he had established a family by getting married with a woman prepared by God the imitation of Christ means for its believers not living a life of celibacy but preparing for and living a life of God-centered monogamous marriage. Consequently, premarital and extra-marital sex are strictly prohibited in the UM, but in their daily life male members and female members are not isolated or segregated but integrated as brothers and sisters and spiritual parents and children as a part of preparation for a married life.

5. The UM is an inter-realm movement. It is important to make a distinction between the U M and the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity (popularly called the Unification Church). The Unification Church remains within the realm of religion, but its members' activities are not confined (and legally are not limited) to the realm of religion. Its absolute monotheism leads its believers to the clear awareness that God is the sovereign not only in the realm of religion but also in the realms of politics, economy, education, arts, entertainment, and all others. Godism or absolute monotheism does not allow its believers to absolutize the realm of religion as the only sacred realm that deserves their exclusive attention; therefore, it discourages them from withdrawing and trying to stay only within the boundary of the religious realm. According to Godism, men and women of God should be vigorously involved in the activities in the realms of politics, economy, education, journalism, art, entertainment, and all others as well as in the realm of religion. Absolute monotheism makes it clear that God is not confined inside the chapels, and that dividing the world into the sacred realm of religion and the secular realm of all other non-religions will become false and harmful dichotomizing if the pious are discouraged from working in the so-called secular realms.

Therefore, the UM as a movement of absolute monotheism is not confined to the realm of religion; its members are engaged in various activities in the numerous realms of the world: manufacturing and marketing various products (e.g., Ginseng products, machines), publishing newspapers, magazines, and journals (e.g., The Washington Times, The World and I, Dialogue and Alliance), organizing academic associations and conferences (e.g., Professors World Peace Academy, International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences, etc.), producing movies ("Inchon"), fishing in the ocean, working for political campaigns, and sponsoring various arts and entertainment projects (e.g., Little Angels, New York City Symphony Orchestra, etc.). Consequently, it would not be wrong to say that the members of the UM are working, or intend to work, in all the realms to sanctify or to sacralize them. Because of these reasons, we can call the UM an inter-realm movement.

6. The UM is an inter-dimensional (inter-tense) movement. According to Unification Theology, God is a God of past, present, and future and transcends the tense or time; there exists only one God throughout history and throughout the physical and spiritual worlds. Therefore, God can never be satisfied unless he saves or restores not only the people in the present (i.e., those living in the physical world) but also those in the past (i.e., those living in the spirit world) and those in the future. As a result of this absolutely monotheistic viewpoint, Unification Theology emphasizes the interconnectedness between the past, present, and future, or between the spirit world and the physical world. In other words, it advocates the salvation of the dead and those yet to be born as well as those living on earth. Therefore, the UM members are deeply aware that the saints and sages in the past have sacrificed themselves for this present age and that we must liberate both those who have passed away and those who are yet to be born (i.e., our descendants) by fulfilling God's will at this present age.

According to Unification Theology, those who have passed away exist as spiritual beings in the spirit world, which can exercise a certain influence on the physical world and vice versa. Consequently, the UM members always pray fervently, sometimes with fasting, in order to mobilize the spirit world, that is, to ask God to order the spirit persons to help those on earth. The UM members believe that by completing God's will on earth at this present time under the help of the spirit world we can restore not only those on earth but also those in the spirit world. Therefore, the UM is an inter-dimensional (inter-tense) movement and believes in complete universal salvation -- salvation of both the dead (i.e., those in the spirit world) and the living (i.e., those in the physical world).

7. The UM is an intergenerational movement. Since God is a God of both the young and the old, a movement of God should attract and take care of both the young and the old. Although this is not fully realized in the United States yet, in Korea and in Japan a large number of the people of the old generation have been involved in the UM, especially since the Home Church movement began.7 In the Home Church movement, each member selects 360 homes as his or her own parish and serves them in order to create a God-centered community of love and peace. Containing various kinds of people from all generations, Home Church community symbolizes a microcosm of the world. Through Home Church activities, members have many opportunities to meet and to interact with people of all generations from young children, teenagers, young adults, middle-aged persons, to those who live in retirement.

More recently, Reverend Moon declared the Tribal Messiahship of all the blessed members in 1989 and they are now expected to restore at least 160 families, ideally those within their own clan (tribe) including their own parents in their own hometown. A tribe of 160 families to be restored naturally includes all generations. Thus, the ideal of the UM is to establish many God-centered homes where three or more generations live together peacefully and harmoniously, as Reverend and Mrs. Moon have presented us an ideal model at their home in Irvington, New York, by living together with Mrs. Moon's mother (till her death) as well as with their children and grandchildren under one roof. For these reasons we can call the UM an intergenerational movement.

8. The UM is an interdisciplinary movement. Its being an interdisciplinary movement is closely connected with its being an inter-realm movement. It has sponsored various conferences that are related with numerous academic disciplines. Among these academic conferences, the oldest and the largest one is the International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences (ICUS). The ICUS invites not only scholars from various natural sciences but also those from various social sciences. Reverend Moon, the founder of the ICUS, is keenly aware that we must solve both spiritual and physical (material) problems to build a better world. Apparently any single discipline cannot give a complete answer to the complicated human problems. In recent years, more and more scholars have come to realize the absolute necessity of exchanging ideas with scholars of other disciplines. According to the evaluation of many of the participants in the ICUS, it is the most truly interdisciplinary conference they have ever attended. In addition to the ICUS, the UM contributed to the founding of the Professors World Peace Academy, an interdisciplinary association of professors, and the Washington Institute for Values in Public Policy, an interdisciplinary research institution. As a harvest of these interdisciplinary researches and conferences, the UM is sponsoring a project of publishing a God-centered interdisciplinary encyclopedia that will enlighten and harmonize our knowledge in all disciplines. For these reasons we can call the UM an interdisciplinary movement.

9. The UM is an interclass movement. The Unificationists' awareness of God as a loving parent of all human beings leads them to a conclusion that "God intends to give everyone an equal environment and equal conditions of life, just as human parents would to their children."8 Therefore, they have deep concern for unifying dichotomized economic classes into one. At the Tenth ICUS, Reverend Moon spoke of the human society as follows:

There are many confrontations and struggles in human society today. Confrontations exist between what might be called the upper and lower classes of races, nations, and societies, but the most serious problem of all is the confrontation between the upper and lower classes formed by the difference between wealth and poverty....

A central medium which enables the upper and the lower classes to unite in the middle is necessary. This is none other than religion.

Originally, religion is supposed to accomplish this function. Religion's purpose is the salvation of the world rather than just the salvation of individuals or families. In order to unite the upper, the middle and the lower classes, new religion, which serves as a nucleus for unity, is necessary.

Then what is the Unification Church? It is the new religion destined to carry out this historic mission.9

Thus, unlike many of the believers in Latin American liberation theology or in Marxist movements, the UM members do not idealize or romanticize the lower class or any of the economic classes. Without absolutizing the wealth and without demonizing it, but relativizing it, the UM members are striving for harmony and unity among all the classes and for the ultimate emergence of one class.

10. The UM is an interdenominational movement. Generally speaking, religious groups of Christian origin are referred to as denominations. Although there are still many people who would not accept the Unification Church as a Christian church, there is no doubt that it originated from the Christian tradition. The official name of the Unification Church is the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity. As this name indicates, the UM members have been working to bring about interdenominational understanding and cooperation and believe that all Christians should be one in love since God is one. Consequently, the U M has sponsored numerous interdenominational conferences such as the New Ecumenical Research Association (New ERA) Conferences and the Interdenominational Conferences for Clergy (ICC) to facilitate mutual understanding across the denominational lines. Furthermore, it has also contributed to the interdenominational social service programs through the National Council for the Church and Social Action (NCCSA) and others. Because of these reasons, we can call the U M an interdenominational movement.

11. Finally, the UM is an inter-religious (interfaith) movement. The UM has sponsored many inter-religious/interfaith conferences and projects. Some of these are the Conference on God: The Contemporary Discussion, The Youth Seminar on World Religions, The Assembly of the World's Religions, The Council for the World's Religions, and The Religious Youth Service. In the Conference on God, many renowned religious scholars from various religious traditions gathered together to understand God. In the Youth Seminar on World Religions, young leaders of various religious traditions and from different nations formed a travelling team and visited the holy places of the major world religions. The Council for the World's Religions promotes dialogues and cooperation within and among major religious traditions. The Religious Youth Service organizes a number of service projects and serves local communities in need throughout the world by mobilizing hundreds of faithful young men and women from various religious backgrounds. These inter-religious conferences and projects have contributed to the promotion of inter-religious understanding and cooperation. Because of these inter-religious conferences and projects promoted by the UM, we can call the UM an inter-religious movement.

Monotheism and Interrelational Unificationism

I believe that these eleven examples of inter-x movements are some of the most important implications of the Unificationist view of God. Unificationists regard God as a common parent who yearns to see us united and loving one another. Moreover, for them, God is a subjective entity that encourages giving and receiving action between or among God's created beings (objects) for the purpose of bringing about unity. Thus, in Divine Principle, God is viewed as the originator and facilitator of these God-centered interactions.

Unificationism that inspires and facilitates each of these eleven inter-x movements may be described as 1) international unificationism, 2) interracial unificationism, 3) intercultural unificationism, 4) intersexual unificationism, 5) inter-realm unificationism, 6) inter-dimensional unificationism 7) intergenerational unificationism, 8) interdisciplinary unificationism, 9) interclass unificationism, 10) interdenominational unificationism, and 11) inter-religious (inter-faith) unificationism, respectively.

It is important to note that there are two types of interrelational unificationism that guide these inter-x movements. The first type is identity-maintaining (static) unificationism and the second type is developmental (dynamic) unificationism.10 The first type creates, not new identity, but harmony among existing beings. On the other hand, the second type creates new identity. Consequently, in my view, among these eleven cases of interrelational unificationism, those of 4) intersexual, 5) inter-realm, 6) inter-dimensional, 7) intergenerational, and 8) interdisciplinary exclusively refer to the first type: identity-maintaining unificationism. In other words, the U M members are striving for harmony between or among different sexes, realms, dimensions, generations, and disciplines. On the other hand, the rest of the eleven cases, namely, 1) international, 2) interracial, 3) intercultural, 9) interclass, 10) interdenominational, and 11) inter-religious refer to both types of unificationism: identity-maintaining (static) and developmental (dynamic). Put differently, they are seeking not only for harmony among different nations, races, cultures, classes, denominations, and religions, but also ultimately for a dynamic emergence of a new identity: a new nation, a new race, a new culture, a new class, and a new religion.

As mentioned above, I believe that the absolutely monotheistic aspect of the Unificationist view of God is the central facilitator of these cases of interrelational unificationism. Genuine monotheism can be greatly instrumental in the emergence of harmony and unity in the created world, partly because it keeps its believers from idolatry -- the absolutizing of the relative -- and partly because it enables them to find relevant value in every existence. For the genuine or absolute monotheists, idolatry -- attachment of the absolute value to a relative being -- is the major cause of conflict and disunity in this world, and absolute monotheism prevents us from this idolatry.

Monotheism and Religious Exclusivism

I placed the explanation of the inter-religious movement at the end of the eleven inter-x movements because I wanted to make it clear that the UM has a consistent pattern of the inter-x movements and that its commitment to the inter-religious dialogue and cooperation is not mere lip service, but a manifestation of its absolute monotheism. In other words, when we absolutize a relative being, there is no emerging of the inter-x movements.

Consequently, I disagree with British sociologist Bryan Wilson's assertion that Christianity inherited monotheism from Judaism and with it the associated attitudes of exclusivism.11 He appears to be firmly convinced of the connection between monotheism and exclusivism of religions; he flatly states, for example, that "monotheism justified exclusivity"12 Nonetheless, my contention, as well as H. Richard Niebuhr's, is that the majority of Christians have never practiced genuine monotheism. Therefore, I contend that the exclusivism of Christianity is not the result of its monotheism, but on the contrary, the result of its non-practice of genuine monotheism. Certainly, there is no question that exclusivism has been one of the characteristics of the traditional Christianity throughout history. But it is largely a result of henotheism in Christianity, which tends to take, as pointed out by Niebuhr, either the church-centered form or the Christ-centered form. The former created a "high church" tradition, which has absolutized an institutional church, and the latter created a "high Christology" tradition, which has absolutized Jesus of Nazareth. These two "high" traditions in Christianity are not compatible with genuine (radical) monotheism and I believe they are in great part responsible for the rise of exclusivism in Christianity.

The Case History of the Unitarian Church

We can see in the history of the Unitarian Church in the United States a negative relation between monotheism and exclusivism as well as a positive relation between high Christology and exclusivism. The Unitarian Church came into existence in New England in the early nineteenth century by separating from the Congregational Church largely as a result of its rejection of the divinity of Jesus. The rejection of "high Christology" and thus of trinitarianism also led to its rejection of "high church" doctrines. As a consequence of these rejections, it became a more monotheistic group than the traditional trinitarian churches at the time of the separation; but it has also gradually become one of the most inter-religious or the least exclusivist groups in the long run. In 1961, the Unitarian Association merged with the Universalists to form the Unitarian Universalist Association. Accordingly, the history of the Unitarian Church disproves the theory that monotheism is the primary cause of exclusivism.13

The history of the Unitarian Church also suggests that absolute monotheism and immanence of God are not far apart after all. As H. Richard Niebuhr noted, radical monotheism "reverences every relative existence," and "Whatever is, is good."14 This is because it regards God as responsible for all existence as the Creator of all beings. In other words, radical monotheism enables its believers to see the hand, power, or image of God behind every relative existence, that is, every created being. This is a clear contrast to the church-centered henotheism which is likely to confine God inside chapels and the Jesus-centered henotheism which tends to limit God's presence within the Christians who believe in Jesus of Nazareth. In contrast to these henotheists, it is easy for the absolute monotheists to see the guidance of God behind every religion and to reach out for inter-religious dialogues.

Monotheism and a Cult of the Human Person

Along this line, I am intrigued by the thought that absolute monotheism and "a cult of the human person" predicted by Emile Durkheim might be synthesized.15 According to Durkheim, primitive societies are permeated by the conscience collective, which has a function of constraining and uniting its people into one coherent group. As societies developed into the modern age, the conscience collective was, however, destined to shrink and to wither away. Consequently, he foresaw that in such a future society a just social order would be maintained primarily by its citizens' mutual respect for the innate worth and sacredness of each human person. He referred to this semi-worshipping of individual human values as "a cult of the human person" and reached a conclusion that, far from being detrimental to social solidarity, this cult of the human person "is the only system of beliefs which can ensure the moral unity of the country."16

Because absolute monotheism rejects "high Christology" and "high church" doctrines, it tends to support "relatively high anthropology." In other words, absolute monotheism enables us to see the image of God within every human being irrespective of his or her religious affiliation. Therefore, it seems possible to say that absolute monotheism shares with Durkheim the view that in the future each individual will be treated as a sacred being. It will not be reconcilable, however, with the cult of the human person, if the latter insists on locating the sacred only inside human beings and denies its presence outside them, in other words, if the latter absolutizes the individual human being.

Western and Eastern Traditions

Finally, applying the perspective of genuine monotheism, I would like to discuss the relations between the Western and Eastern religious traditions. It is possible to see that the Western religious traditions-Judaism, Christianity, and Islam -- have tried to teach us the importance of absolute monotheism, that is, "our attachment to the absolute," whereas the Eastern or Asian religious traditions have tried to teach us the importance of "our detachment from the relative." In this way, we can see that Oriental and Occidental traditions are not contradictory or not just compatible but perfectly complementary. W e must admit that the Western religious traditions have sometimes inadvertently encouraged our attachment to the relative beings because of their strong emphasis on the attachment to the absolute. On the other hand, as Robert Bellah notes, the Eastern religious traditions are generally free from illusions because of their emphasis that all things are in a state of flux.17 In other words, the Eastern traditions emphasized the importance of our detachment from the relative. We can see any emphasis on our detachment from the relative as a practical way toward our spiritual search for, and ultimate attachment to, the absolute.


In this paper, I have discussed the significance and implications of genuine monotheism largely by applying H.R. Niebuhr's insights to the analysis of the UM. This paper asserted that genuine monotheism can be greatly instrumental in promoting various interrelational unificationisms and inter-x movements. Criticizing Wilson's view that monotheism is the major cause of religious exclusivism in the West, this paper presented the case of the Unitarian Church as evidence to the contrary. We also wondered about the relations between genuine monotheism and "a cult of the human person" predicted by Durkheim. Finally, we discussed the Western and Eastern religious approaches from the perspective of genuine monotheism and discerned that they are complementary. I hope our recovering or understanding of genuine monotheism will be helpful in invigorating various inter-x movements and facilitating the emergence of harmony and unity in this world because the inter-x movements are prerequisite to such harmony and unity.


1. For the meaning of radical monotheism, see H. Richard Niebuhr, Radical Monotheism and Western Culture (New York: Harper and Row, 1960; Harper Torchbooks, 1970).

2. Ibid., 58.

3. Ibid., 37.

4.J R Rjchard_Niebuhr, The Meaning of Revelation (New York: Macmillan, 1941), viii.

5. For an understanding of the UM, see David G. Bromley and Anson Shupe, Jr., "Moonies" in America (Beverly Hills: Sage, 1979); M. Darrol Bryant and Herbert W. Richardson, eds. A Time for Consideration: A Scholarly Appraisal of the Unification Church (New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 1978); Mose Durst, To Bigotry, No Sanction: Reverend Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church (Chicago: Regnery Gateway, 1984); [Hyo Won Eu], Divine Principle, 5th Ed. (New York: Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity, 1977); Joseph Fichter, The Holy Family of Father Moon (Kansas City: Leaven Press, 1985); Young Oon Kim, Unification Theology (New York: Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity, 1980); Sebastian A. Matczak, Unificationism: A New Philosophy and Worldview (New York: Learned, 1982); Sun Myung Moon, God's Will and the World (New York: Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity, 1985) Richard Quebedeaux, ed. Lifestyle: Conversations with Members of the Unification Church (New York: Rose of Sharon, 1982); Herbert Richardson, ed., Ten Theologians Respond to the Unification Church (New York: Rose of Sharon, 1981); Frederick Sontag, Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church (Nashville: Abingdon, 1977); and Yoshihiko Masuda, "Moral Vision and Practice in the Unification Movement," Ph.D. dissertation, University of Southern California, 1987.

6. Mary Daly, Feminist Postchristian Introduction to The Church and the Second Sex (New York: Harper and Row; Harper Colophon Books, 1975), 38.

7. For the assessment of the Home Church movement, see Joseph Fichter, "Home Church: Alternative Parish," in his Alternative to American Mainline Churches (New York: Rose of Sharon, 1983), 179-99; and Fichter, Holy Family, 111 30.

8. [Eu], Divine Principle, 443.

9. Sun Myung Moon, Science and Absolute Values (New York: ICF Press, 1982), 97-99.

10. For further discussion of identity-maintaining unificationism and developmental unificationism, see [Sang Hun Lee], Explaining Unification Thought (New York: Unification Thought Institute, 1981) 31-34, 92; and [Sang Hun Lee], Essentials of Unification Thought (Tokyo: Unification Thought Institute, 1992), 29-34.

11. Bryan Wilson, Religion in Sociological Perspective (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982), 61.

12. Ibid.

13. For the history of the Unitarian Church, see William E. Channing, Unitarian Christianity and Other Essays (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1957); David B. Parke, The Epic of Unitarianism (Boston: Beacon Press, 1957); Stow Persons, Free Religion (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1947; Beacon Paperback, 1963); Prescott B. Wintersteen, Christology in American Unitarianism (Boston: Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship, 1977); Conrad Wright, The Beginnings of Unitarianism in America (Boston: Beacon Press, 1966).

14. See Niebuhr, Radical Monotheism, 37.

15. For Durkheim's views on the cult of the individual/human person, see Emile Durkheim, The Division of Labor in Society, trans. George Simpson (New York: Macmillan, 1933; Free Press, 1964), 172, 407-8; Emile Durkheim, Suicide: A Study in Sociology, trans. John A. Spaulding and George Simpson (New York: Free Press, 1951), 336; and Emile Durkheim, "Individuals and the Intellectuals," in Emile Durkheim: On Morality and Society, ed. Robert Bellah; trans, M. Traugott (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1973), 43-57. It is important to note the difference between his negative evaluation of the cult of the individual in his Division of Labor and positive evaluation of the cult of the human person in his later work. My view on the relations between monotheistic religions and the cult of the human person is contrary to Frances Westley's. She totally denies any compatibility between the two. See Frances Westley, '"The Cult of Man': Durkheim's Predictions and New Religious Movements." Sociological Analysis 39 (Summer 1978): 135-45; and Frances Westley, 77ze Complex Forms of the Religious Life: A Durkheimian View of New Religious Movements (Chico, CA: Scholar's Press, 1983).

16. Durkheim, "Individuals and the Intellectuals," 50.

17. Robert Bellah says "Eastern religions are strong... in sensitivity to the illusions and transitoriness of the world." See Sam Keen and Robert Bellah, "The Sacred and the Political in American Life," Psychology Today (January 1976): 64. 

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