Unification Sermons and Talks

by Reverend Chung Hwan Kwak

Absolute Values, the ICF Tradition, and the Future

by Chung Hwan Kwak, Chairman ICF

PWPA and ICUS shared a joint plenary session that examined the accomplishments and goals of PWPA and ICUS. Speeches were given on April 29 at the Sheraton Walker Hill hotel in Seoul, Korea, by Reverend Chung Hwan Kwak, Chairman of ICF, Tor Ragnar Gerholm, Chairman of ICUS, and Morton A. Kaplan, President of PWPA- International. This is the text of the speech by Reverend Kwak.

Forty years ago, in 1954, when he was 34 years old, the Reverend Moon founded the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity (HSA-UWC) here in Seoul, Korea. It was a foundation for all his other activities. In 1972, he sponsored the first International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences (ICUS). In 1973, he founded PWPA in Korea. Now he has founded many projects related to all aspects of human endeavor. I have known and worked with him closely for 37 of those 40 years.

The Reverend Moon is now 74 years old. He has dedicated his life to the advancement and transformation of human culture. A firmly religious man, who believes the world must be restored to God, the Reverend Moon also has a strong faith that the scientific community has an important role to play in understanding the world and human life. Since that first ICUS meeting in 1972, the Reverend Moon has hosted and supported hundreds of international, and interdisciplinary scientific conferences. The focus of these conferences is always to apply scientific knowledge to the creation of a more peaceful world and a more advanced world civilization.

The Reverend Moon does not believe that there is a fundamental conflict between religion and science, but that they represent approaches to internal and external knowledge. The mutual interaction of religion and science can assist us in obtaining more complete knowledge than either view by itself. Apparent contradictions between religion and science are resolved through open and honest discussion among those who truly seek answers about our world.

Since the 18th century, scientific and technological advances have changed the world so much that it would not be recognizable to previous generations. Yet, for all the benefits and modern conveniences that science has provided us, it has also produced false assumptions in modern society that have led to social decay. One of these erroneous assumptions is that human society can be based on science and reason. Another is that values are relative and that society can work when there is confusion and differences of opinion about values.

When Reverend Moon founded the ICUS conferences, many scientists attending the meetings did not see the purpose of discussing absolute values. It was fashionable to hold value neutral or value relative positions. Value neutrality is good for the purposes of getting an objective result in a controlled experiment. However, good societies require good people, who know the difference between right and wrong. Now in the 1990s, a generation later, the fruit of living under those false assumptions is clearly witnessed by many.

Communism, a pseudo-scientific faith in the rational bureaucratic state, collapsed leaving a trail of blood and suffering. Also, in the West, which adopted a value neutral position, increased crime and social decay are everywhere evident. No matter how free and democratic a nation may be, it requires good people if it is to be a good country. The idea that past traditions and moral discipline could be rejected and that society could be based on individualism is destructive. Each day the leading countries of the world look more like Sodom and Gomorah. Without a return to strong family values, these countries, and the nations that follow their example, will fall apart.

The family is the fundamental social unit. The mistakes of the last generation are making this more evident. We can more easily understand the importance of values when they are missing. Our relationships are the primary shapers of human character. While reason can help us, our behavior is rooted in culture, tradition, and habit. The family provides the behavior patterns for children that remain with them throughout their lives. A nation requires good productive citizens for its prosperity and survival. Since the family is the primary source of such citizens, it is in the interest of a nation to insure the health and effectiveness of the family.

The family, as an effective social unit, is under stress. If schools teach values at odds with parents, if television gives constant messages of sex, greed and violence, if the streets are filled with aimless people and gangs, then the parents have a difficult time raising their children. However, this is not the most fundamental problem. Today we see more children raising children, single parent families, and parents do not know how to be parents. We must not only focus on the social environment; we must also examine the behavior of parents in our families.

Good parenting requires good parental role models. Such role models are the products of good social and cultural traditions. Good social and cultural traditions are, in turn, supported by good knowledge and an integrated world view. For such knowledge, we turn to teachers, who get their knowledge from university professors and experts in various fields. The conclusion is that scientists and scholars have a critical role to play in the solution to family breakdown and social crisis.

What kind of society and family traditions can we expect when university professors openly promote the use of drugs, free sex, or political maneuvering? What do students believe about the world when professors tell them that values are relative and imply that the tools of history, sociology, and psychology are superior to the moral traditions handed down by religion? We just have to look around and observe such a society in creation, a dysfunctional society of corruption, fraud, alienation, despair, and crime.

Reverend Moon is a visionary who predicted the breakdown of international communism from the early 1950s. He also predicted the tragic results of the cultural fashions of the 1960s and 1970s in the West. Over the last twenty-three years he has supported conferences and publications devoted to the relation of science to social values. You who are gathered here today represent the fruit of this effort. The world has begun to see the wisdom in such discussions. You should lead and set an example for the next generation. Although those of you gathered here come from all different cultural backgrounds, I think that most of you believe that love, family, and civic virtue are necessary for peace and social well-being. A testimony given at a recent ICUS by our chairman, Professor Gerholm, showed how he initially came to ICUS with grave doubts about the usefulness of discussion of absolute values. However, over the years it became apparent that such discussions are not only useful, but essential for the creation of a better society.

Today, twenty-two years since the first ICUS, it is time to assess how far we have come and how we will proceed. We have mourned the passing of many ICUS leaders, most recently Dr. Kenneth Mellanby, the chairman of several conferences. Others before him, like Lord Adrian, Robert Mulliken, F.A. Hayek, Herman Wold, Walter Kauffmann, and William Bartley, to mention a few. These people captured something of the ICUS vision and lived to see it make an impact on our world. In many ways it has, in others it has not.

By the year 2000 a new generation will be fully in control. What will the ICUS and PWPA have provided to the knowledge the new leaders possess? Will world civilization be better off because of ICUS and PWPA efforts? These are questions that we ponder with age, when we assess the value of our lives and institutions.

I have always believed that Reverend Moon was right in his efforts to create a dialogue between scholars and the ideas of absolute values, true love, true family, and Godism; that he will ultimately be remembered by history as a great cultural transformer. Perhaps many of you feel the same way. The confusion in values he saw clearly in 1954, society sees only dimly today. We have not yet established a modern worldview in which science and tradition compliment one another. Many problems remain for the next generation. Nevertheless, there are patterns emerging that can point the way to the future. If we apply ourselves seriously, we may see greater and more positive social change.

Our founder has begun to pass his torch on to his wife and children. I met many of you in your own regions when I accompanied Mrs. Hak Ja Han Moon on her world speaking tour last year. In his own family, and through the Unification Church, the Reverend Moon is developing a tradition that will create the virtuous, loving citizens that the world needs. So too, it is time for ICUS and PWPA members to begin thinking about how traditions of knowledge and education can be established that will outlive the founder and themselves. Can the ideas and universal values rooted in the soil of ICUS and disseminated by the membership of PWPA be transplanted to the institutions of the world, giving them new vision, hope and life? This is our challenge.

The publication of The New Encyclopedia, which is underway according to our founder's direction, is for the purpose of enabling the younger generation to study on the basis of absolute values. The development of this project will be accelerated this year.

The next ICUS conference will continue with the theme Absolute Values and the Unity of the Sciences: The Origin of Human Responsibility, and the PWPA Congress will pursue the theme The Family in the 21st Century. On behalf of Reverend Moon and the ICF Board of Directors, I want to encourage your discussions to be of earthshaking value. In the universities today there are much politicization, materialistic thought, and self-serving interests that make the genuine efforts of scholarship difficult. We have tried to create an environment for free discussion of ideas that can foster genuine social progress. Please take advantage of this opportunity to become acquainted with the viewpoints of scholars from many backgrounds, to test your own ideas, and learn new insights.

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