The Words of Reverend Chung Hwan Kwak

Assembly 2004 First Plenary, Keynote Address - The 10th World Culture and Sports Festival

Chung Hwan Kwak
July 24, 2004
Seoul, Korea

Distinguished delegates from 120 nations. Leaders from the religions, the nations, civil society, academia, the arts and sports. Ladies and gentlemen. On behalf of the Founders of the World Culture and Sports Festival, Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon, welcome to Assembly 2004, sponsored by the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace and the recently-launched Interreligious and International Peace Council.

The 10th World Culture and Sports Festival marks a significant milestone in the history of this global festival dedicated to peace. The WCSF was founded in 1988 at the time of the Seoul Summer Olympics, and was first convened four years later in 1992. The core purpose of WCSF is the establishment of a "world culture of heart." That is, its purpose is to contribute to a global transformation of the minds, hearts and behaviors of people of all races, religions and nationalities, and to create a world in which human relationships are characterized by true love, harmony, and co-prosperity.

When the Olympics came to Korea in 1988, Rev. Moon affirmed the Olympic ideal of promoting world peace through athletic competition among people of diverse nations. As people of diverse backgrounds interact centering on sports, they can draw closer together and overcome barriers.

However, Rev. Moon wanted to expand this ideal in several important ways. First of all, he identified God as the center point of the human family. By centering on God, all people are better able to transcend or go beyond their own limited perspectives, and see others as their brothers and sisters under God. By humbling ourselves before Godís infinite goodness, knowledge and power, each one of us is also better able to recognize the limitations in our own character, perspective, and worldly attachments.

Secondly, he understood that true global peace has its foundation in the family. Peace in the family has its foundation in a God-centered marriage. A man and woman in marriage represent the coming together in love of the masculine and feminine dimensions of the cosmos. In turn, the loving, creative harmony between husband and wife naturally gives rise to parenthood and parental love. Knowing the central and sacred value of marriage and family, he integrated into the WCSF a public marriage Blessing ceremony: the World Peace Blessing.

Thirdly, he brought together leaders from all fields, including religion, government, civil society, academia, and the arts to meet and collaborate in seeking constructive solutions to critical global problems. This component of the WCSF has come to be carried out through the IIFWP Assemblies.

This Assembly for world peace is the 6th in a series that began with the Inaugural Assembly in 1999. In six short years, the IIFWP Assembly series has become a premier international and interreligious gathering dedicated to peace. At this yearís Assembly we will consider the theme, "Establishing a World Culture of Heart: Innovative Approaches to Peace in a Changing World."

The best way to understand this theme is to consider and reflect on the spiritual and historical foundations of the IIFWP. As human beings who live in this historical world, we each know that we always are standing at some specific and limited point in time and place. And so, it is helpful for us to have a map that helps identify our location. You may think of these words that follow as a kind of providential map that will allow us to locate our position in the cosmic order.

The ultimate standard and point of orientation of our being in this world, like a north star, is God. The context for our existence is the cosmos and world He has created. God is the source and foundation for all that exists. Our concept of God is of profound significance for our entire worldview, including the way we view all people and all materials things in the world around us. A narrow, partial or limited view of God, leads to a narrow, partial or limited worldview. The important point is not only THAT we believe in God, but rather HOW we believe in God. Our understanding of God is absolutely essential.

In light of this point, our understanding of the primary characteristics or attributes of God is also of great significance. It makes all the difference if we associate God primarily with such attributes as power, control, and judgment, as distinct from attributes of love, parental care, and compassion. It makes all the difference if we view God as satisfied, remote and distant, or as near, seeking love and relationships, and therefore deeply affected by the selfishness, suffering and evil in our world. Also, it makes all the difference whether we understand God primarily as a being who wants to receive or a being who wants to give.

Rev. Moon has always taught that Godís essence is true love. As he puts it, "God always gives and forgets, gives and forgets....." In creating the world, God had infinite hope for the successful growth and development of Adam and Eve. Through them, He longed to multiply His true love and the joy it could produce. The chief characteristic of true love is unselfishness and living for the sake of others. This is Godís essence.

True love, however, is not random and unstructured. It has a precise order and structure to it, just as the universe has order and structure underlying its beauty and function. The order of true love is linked to the harmony of man and woman in marriage, and parents and children in the family. God envisioned the family as the repository of the most precious gift he could offer, namely, true love. This was Godís gift to Adam and Eve. It is precisely this gift of true love that Adam and Eve were to have inherited by fulfilling their own portion of responsibility. That is, they would have inherited true love if they had each followed their conscience and practiced faithful obedience to Godís guidance as they grew to maturity.

The tragedy of the Fall was brought about by the failure of Adam and Eve to observe the laws of love. In this way they undermined the order and structure of true love.

Among Rev. Moonís most profound, spiritual discoveries about God, is the realization that Godís heart is one that aches with disappointment and loneliness over the loss of His children, and the core and essence of His creation, true love, which were subverted and lost by the Fall.

Human society was built on the foundation of impure love within the family of our ancestors. Selfishness became dominant in human relationships. As such, family love was not only easily corrupted by infidelity and abuse, but family love often contributed to racism, ethnocentrism, and nationalism. As various families multiplied into tribes, nations and civilizations, selfishness manifested itself in injustice, inequality, preferential love, and imbalances of power and wealth on a global scale.

For this reason, the purpose of Godís providence is to restore the family.

This process begins with religion.

Religion came into being as a needed tool to repair the corrupted heart of human beings. Imperfect love within the family reproduces itself, and creates a culture of selfishness that multiplies and expands from the family, to the tribe, the society, the nation and the world. Religions exist to guide each of us to follow our original mind and to learn the way of true love. Religions are there to lead us to God, our true center, so that we may eventually restore our true character of goodness.

Knowing this, Rev. Moon has always emphasized the central importance of religion and the need for mutual respect and cooperation among religions. Religion is a school of repair and restoration. Religions are not our ultimate destiny. They are not eternal institutions. Rather, they are instruments to lead us to a full, clear relationship with God, untainted by sin, selfishness or impurity; to a state where we would exist without any shadow and with nothing to hide before God, humanity, and the entire spiritual world.

According to Godís ideal, human beings would graduate from religion in much the same way as we graduate from a university. That is, we would dedicate ourselves to our courses and pass our exams and receive our diploma, moving on to a full, loving, intoxicating relationship with God, our Father.

Our graduation from religion occurs not through perfection of knowledge or ritual, but as we perfect our character. In the eternal spiritual world we are not appreciated for our religious background or knowledge of doctrine, but for the quality of our character, and especially our heart.

This graduation then provides the basis for our entering into marriage, where we practice living for the sake of others on the most personal and intimate of levels, in the relationship of a husband and wife. Through conjugal love a deep and permanent union is formed, and, as we know, children are born. The family is none other than the school of love, the place where love is experienced and learned by spouses, children, parents and siblings.

In this sense, the family, according to Godís original purpose of creation, is a higher expression of Godís ideal than religion itself. It is closer to Godís original ideal. For God did not originally prescribe a series of rituals, scriptures or houses of worship. He originally created a man and woman in the beauty of creation. He created a couple that was to come to embody Godís ideal of love and produce children and multiply true love.

This helps us understand Rev. Moonís own methodology as he works to establish a world culture of heart. For, he initially created a religious organization, one which affirmed the value of the mission and purpose of all religions and which aimed at bringing religions into cooperative and respectful relationship with one another. He understood that not only faithful adherence to truth, but also interreligious respect and cooperation are necessary if each religion, and each one of us, is to effectively fulfill our mission. For this reason, he initiated the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity in 1954. In fact, just a little over two months ago, on May 1, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of its founding.

However, in 1996, Rev. Moon officially closed the HSAUWC and replaced it with the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, with a mission centering on Godís ideal of the family as the core institution for the realization of true love. The Family Federation era represented a shift in providential focus from religion to family, underscoring the truth that the God-centered family is the essence, mission and end toward which religion moves.

The family is the primary building block and instrument of peace. In the family we harmonize male and female, parent and child, elder and younger, past and future, individual and society, law and love. All the basic requirements for peace have their basis in the family of true love. The family is a micro-society, a micro-government, a micro-religion, a micro-school, and a micro-economic system.

Father Moon also looked through the family ideal to a vision of universal peace, and the realization of the Kingdom of God. Thus, in 1999, on the foundation of decades of effort in promoting peace through a wide range of organizations and federations, Rev. Moon initiated the IIFWP, as the premier global institution to promote world peace. Building on the foundations of religion and the family, its goal is a world of universal harmony among all people, who would dwell together in a unified kingdom as citizens of one world of true love and co-prosperity under God. This is the ideal of the Peace Kingdom.

When Father Moon established the IIFWP, he provided its motto: The Hope of All Ages is a Unified World of Peace. As he expressed it in his speech at the United Nations in August of 2000, one of the core objectives of the IIFWP mission has been to promote the establishment of an interreligious council within the United Nations. He also strongly urged the United Nations to appreciate more fully the significance of marriage and family. Both religion and the family are essential to the establishment of world peace.

Rev. Moon understands that it is not easy for either the United Nations or many of its member states to change traditions and practices that have evolved over decades and centuries. He realizes that it will take time for the UN to implement innovative proposals.

For this reason, and because the world is in such urgent need for an institution that provides leadership, vision and sacrificial commitment, he launched the Interreligious and International Peace Council on October 3, 2003. As he put it, the IIPC is to be a "Peace UN," an institution of global governance based on true love and rooted in a world culture of heart.

Our theme at this Assembly not only considers the "world culture of heart," but also "innovative approaches to peace in a changing world." Innovation, we all know, is both necessary and inevitable. We are living at a time of transformation, most visibly in the realms of technology, communications and business. Globalization, for example, is a dramatic innovation, as is the rise of NGOs, as well as new expressions of spirituality. This trend will not subside, but will only intensify. Old structures and systems will be challenged relentlessly.

The IIFWP has launched the IIPC as an innovative approach to peace, a council of responsible governance and service that seeks to integrate dimensions of the human social order that have been historically divided; for example, the spiritual and the secular, the governmental and non-governmental, international business and humanitarian idealism, left-wing ideals of justice and right wing ideals of freedom, traditional values and modern technology, scientific rationality and spiritual wisdom, private morality and public ethics.

Some of you may consider such a goal as either illogical or impossible, or both. However, this list is not intended to ignore logic or reality. These alternatives are not irreconcilable. To borrow a term from Western logic, they are themselves false dichotomies. Within the logic of love, and most importantly the logic of family love, we can find the way for reconciliation.

I hope that during this conference you will come to better appreciate the genius of Father Moon and his profound contribution to peace. He is no ordinary man, and the movement he has given birth to and raised up over the past 85 years is no "flash in the pan."

Historical changes often emerge in surprising ways. Some of the worldís greatest changes have occurred through the invention of a lonely scientist working in a lab, or a searcher alone in the desert seeking truth. It has not been easy for the world to recognize Rev. Moonís contribution to history. But, as I said earlier, what he has taught and accomplished represents an innovation and a contribution that is what the world needs at this time. We are fortunate to be among those who have met him and have heard so directly what he teaches. If we apply these teachings and create institutions that give full expression to them, we will indeed transform the world. We can create a world culture of heart. We can change this world. It begins with each of us. It expands to each of our families, to our places of work, of worship and citizenship.

Please take the opportunity that lies before us with utmost seriousness and hope. Let us create a place here where Godís love, wisdom and heart can fuse with His sons and daughters, as we seek Him and seek humbly to express all the goodness and creativity that He longs for us to inherit and enjoy.

I hope that we will each help one another become new and truer people of goodness and true love.

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