An Introduction to the Thought of Sun Myung Moon: Unification Thought and V.O.C. Theory

Chapter 6 - Ethics

One of the most deplorable phenomena in the contemporary world is the rapid collapse of moral sense and ethical consciousness, giving rise to all sorts of social evils, the destruction of social order, and total chaos. Quite simply, a new perspective on ethics is needed to overcome the overall confusion of our society and reestablish a proper social structure.

To fulfill this role, a new theory of ethics is required.

The society of the future will be a society of truth, art, and ethics, where the values of trueness, goodness and beauty will be realized, centered on God's love. An ethical society implies that all humankind, serving God as their Parent, will love each other as brothers and sisters and realize a society of original true love with true norms.

Thus, the purpose of this chapter on Ethics is to overcome the confusion that dominates ethics today and to present a systematic theory that can provide the ethical views needed for the society to come.

I. The Principle Foundation for Ethics

From the perspective of the Divine Principle, Ethics has a three-fold foundation: God's true love, the family four-position foundation, and the three-object purpose. God's love is the locus of the three values of truth, goodness, and beauty. The disciplines corresponding to these three values are the Theories of Education, Ethics, and Art. Hence, the foundation for Ethics can be found in God's true love. For that love to be fully actualized, the family four-position foundation is needed. Actually, God's love is distributed through the family four-position foundation in the form of divisional love, i.e., it manifests itself as parents' love, conjugal love, and children's love.

Furthermore, parents, husband and wife, and children become the three objects of God as their center. Accordingly, God-centered parental love, conjugal love, and children's love, taken together, are the love of the three objects. The overview that follows will show how love is realized in the family and explain the meaning of ethical relationships.

II. Morality and Ethics

In Unification Thought, morality refers to the norms concerning the individual. Thus, it is the norm for human behavior on the individual level; the norm of behavior for the individual's internal life according to the principle of reciprocity (give-and take action) centered on Heart; and the norm that serves to complete the individual four-position foundation. Therefore, morality is the norm that corresponds to the individual embodiment of truth, or the first blessing and the perfection of the individual.

Ethics, on the other hand, refers to the norms and rules that each member of the family has to follow. It is thus the human norm of behavior on the family level; the norm of behavior for the family according to the principle of reciprocity centered on love; and the norm that applies when the family four-position foundation is established. Therefore, ethics is the norm that corresponds to the connected body, or the second blessing and the perfection of the family. Therefore, also, morality is the subjective norm, and ethics is the objective norm.

Ethics represents the patterns in the practice of love within the family four-position foundation, where each of the four positions directs its love towards the other three. A triangular relationship that absolutely requires order is thus established. Where there is no order, there is no place for ethics. In today's family, however, order between parents and children, husband and wife, and brothers and sisters is either neglected or ignored. As a result, the family has become disordered, which is the main cause of the collapse of social order. Order in love relationships is closely related to order in sexual relationships. Therefore, ethics is simultaneously the norm for order in love and for order in sex. A theory of ethics that is capable of bringing order in the spheres of love and sex is needed to bring the family back to its original state. The Unification Thought view of morality and ethics is summarized in Table 2.

Table 2: Morality and Ethics

III. Morality, Ethics, and the Way of Heaven

A. Morality and the Way of Heaven

As explained above, ethics is the set of norms that apply to the members of the family as a connected body, while morality refers to the norms that apply to each person within the family as an individual embodiment of truth. Morality corresponds to universal law. In the universe, each individual entity maintains its own specific position, establishing a four-position foundation through inner give-and-take action, which results in a movement of rotation. Human beings, too, are to establish a perfect inner give-and-take action between the spirit mind and the physical mind of the individual based on specific positions, thus leading personal or individual behavior to conform to universal law. Morality includes virtues such as purity, honesty, righteousness, temperance, courage, wisdom, self-control, endurance, independence, self-reliance, fairness, diligence, and innocence.

B. Ethics and the Way of Heaven

Human beings are the substantial image and microcosm of the universe, encapsulating its constituent elements. A family consisting of such individuals is like a miniature form of the orderly structure of the universe. Family norms and ethics are not a matter of free choice; individuals are to follow a path in accordance with universal law.

Just like the universe as a whole, the family has a vertical and a horizontal structure. The relationship that links grandparents, parents, children, and grandchildren to each other in the family is a vertical order. The relationship between husband and wife or between brothers and sisters is a horizontal order. In this way, family ethics is a miniature form of universal law (reason-law), the "Way of Heaven." The virtues corresponding to such order are the benevolence of grandparents and parents towards their children, the filial piety of children towards their parents (vertical virtues), conjugal love among spouses, and brotherly or sisterly love among siblings (horizontal virtues).

When vertical virtues are extended from the family to the school, the social environment, and the nation, they are expressed through the teachers' sense of duty and the students' respect towards them, the protection offered by the leaders of society to its members and the respect they receive in return, and just rule by the leaders of a nation and the reciprocated loyalty of the citizens. Horizontal virtues such as reconciliation, cooperation, and service are likewise extended to social life as a whole.

VI. Order and Equality

Traditionally, people have tended to insist on equality of rights. The standard of judgment in this matter has been the understanding that a given person's insistence on his or her rights can represent an infringement upon another person's prerogatives, just as one individual's excessive use of his or her liberty results in a curtailment of other people's freedom. However, this traditional notion of equality is difficult to implement.

From the viewpoint of the Principle, true equality is equality of love and character. True equality is enjoyed by humankind under the love of a common parent, God. God's love is manifested divisionally through order in the family. Thus, equality of love is equality through order.

Equality of love through order refers to equality in the degree of completeness of love. In other words, equality is realized when there is completeness of love in everyone in a way which is suited to each person's position and individual character. Hence, from the Principle viewpoint, equality is equality of personal satisfaction, equality in the personal sense of joy, and equality in the sense of being appreciated as a person.

Let us, for example, consider the issue of equality of rights in terms of occupational positions. Since rights are inevitably given to each individual according to his or her occupational position, equality of rights is essentially impossible. Regardless of the different rights attached to any particular position, however, there is a type of equality that transcends any such distinction: equality in the sense of love, personality, and satisfaction. The same is true in the relationship between man and woman. Their equality is not one of rights, but one of personality and joy. When husband and wife exchange

God's true love, feelings of inequality or discrimination vanish and are replaced by a sense of standing on the same ground, as both share an abundance of joy. 

Table of Contents

Tparents Home

Moon Family Page

Unification Library