Unification Sermons and Talks

Reverends Fefferman

Fear of Punishment

Dan Fefferman
January 20, 1999

Children need to fear the consequences of bad actions, and so it may be OK to exaggerate them -- when you're talking to children. But when even children find out that their parents have not been entirely truthful with them, it produces a crisis of faith. In the Adam and Eve story (which of course cannot be assumed to be a literal transcript) God tells Adam and Eve they will die if the eat. But it is not true. And when Eve discovers it is not true, she loses faith in God's words and is more easily tempted by Satan. Of course I have no knowledge about the true nature of God's communication with Adam and Eve, but a wise parent would not leave his teenage children in a state of believing this fairy-tale version of what would happen to them if they engaged in sex. It's like telling a kid "if you don't wash behind you're ears, potatoes will start to grow there." By the time they're ten or so, a new explanation is in order.

Similarly when spiritual leaders resort to telling people things like "you're children will be deformed if you don't fulfill your responsibility on MFT" (as Mr. Kamiyama taught) or "you are likely to have a serious automobile accident if you don't unite with my direction" (as Rev. Woo of Washington DC taught) or "you're evil ancestors will drag you to hell if you do not go to Chung Pyung" (as Daemo Nim has taught), this is going too far, IMO. And these are not isolated examples, I am sorry to say, but represent a pattern that pervades Unification culture at the moment. Westerners see this type of leadership as superstitious fear-mongering. It inspires a few of us to work harder, but I think most of us just respond by slowing down and feeling more distant. Even those who work harder as a result of these appeals do so not out of love but out of a sense of desperation. No wonder nobody joins! If you ask me, the Unification Church needs to take a few pages from the Human Potential movement and leave the threats, guilt and fear to the Old Testament Age where it belongs.

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