Articles From the June 1994 Unification News
Miracles and Tribulations at the Turn of the Age: Where we are Situated in World History
By Dr. Andrew Wilson-NYC
The passings of President Richard Nixon and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis remind us of the unprecedented speed at which the world is changing in this last decade before the millennium. World events have toppled old institutions, caused nations to vanish and maps to be redrawn. President George Bush proudly proclaimed a "New World Order," yet the world is convulsing in disorder from Bosnia to Rwanda. How is one to interpret these onrushing changes? What do they have to do with the dawning of the millennium and the Completed Testament Age?
On the one hand, we have witnessed miracles. Communism is dead. The Soviet Union is no more. The threat of nuclear holocaust has vanished. People all over the world have been liberated from the heavy hand of Communism and superpower rivalry. In China, the largest nation of the world, Communism is giving way to a vibrant capitalist economy. These miracles continue today with the ending of apartheid in South Africa and the dawning of peace between Israel and the Palestinans. In events such as these many have detected the hand of God's providence.
On the other hand, in the last few years we have seen warfare and slaughter running rampant in the Balkans, Somalia and Rwanda, and conflicts smoldering in Armenia, Georgia, Sri Lanka, Kashmir, Cambodia, and Mexico. Intercommunal violence flares in India and Los Angeles. Terrorists bomb New York City.
In the face of these challenges to peace and order, we look in vain for leaders. The United Nations, formerly bolstered by hopes that with the end of the Cold War it could take a major role as a peacemaking organization, has seen its prestige badly tarnished by its mishandling of Somalia and Bosnia. National governments fare little better, with exceptionally weak and uncertain leadership in the United States, Japan, Great Britain, and Russia.
We would have expected the United States, as the only remaining superpower, to exercise leadership, but instead we have seen it humiliated by petty tyrants in Somalia and Haiti. In dealing with China and Japan it has enunciated positions founded on allegedly high principle, only to back down in the face of each determined adversary. President Clinton seems to be operating out of political expediency and crisis management rather than from any sense of purpose of vision about what the United States' vital interests ought to be. Lacking any direction, he has in effect abandoned the United States' leadership role in international affairs to the UN, allowing the UN even to determine its foreign policy in Somalia and Bosnia.
Meanwhile, there is a growing sense of despair over urban decay, rising crime, and racism that has infected American domestic life. Government corruption and scandal is rampant in an administration that pledged itself to ethical reform. The media, which promotes sex and violence and is habitually slanted towards a liberal and secular ethic, is becoming widely mistrusted. Yet traditional religion is in retreat, and the country is plunging downward towards becoming, in the words of a well-known radio commentator, "a third-world nation."
One can easily sink into despair about the future, but it is important to remember the miraculous gains that have greeted our world over the last few years. For billions of people, the situation today is immeasurably better than even five years ago. How then can we understand these two simultaneous trends? The key to discerning the present trend of history is to recognize today as the passing of the New Testament Age and the beginning of the Completed Testament Age. These ages do not cease and begin in a flash; they rather wane and rise slowly, like the passing of the seasons. Certain events in the world are part of the old age's passing, while other events occur within the providence of the new age. Understanding this distinction can put world events into proper perspective.
Miracles at the Close of the Age
The New Testament Age concludes when the brothers Cain and Abel unite to make a foundation for the True Parents. According to Hak Jan Han in her speech, "True Parents and the Completed Testament Age," there have been two attempts to make this foundation: first at the end of World War II with the defeat of Nazi Germany and imperial Japan, and second with the end of the Cold War and the defeat of Communism. These two events were guided by the hand of God's providence to consummate the New Testament Age.
Clearly the events surrounding the end of the Cold War were especially miraculous, and can be understood as providential. The foundation of indemnity paid by Christianity and the True Parents could be reaped, and the victory of freedom assured. They marked the completion of the New Testament Age. But in addition, the miraculous end of apartheid in South Africa and the Israeli-Palestinian peace accords should be accounted as part of this New Testament Age providence.
We should understand that the World Wars of this century were at their heart a judgment against the ideological perversions of the West that had to be removed in order to prepare for God's ideal of world peace. The First World War had to do with ending the pretensions of monarchy. It set up the democratic ideal as the only legitimate basis for government. Even the Soviet Union in 1917 proclaimed itself a "democratic republic" and its leaders claimed to be doing the will of the people.
The Second World War was about ending the pretension of racism. Nazi Germany and Japan each had pretensions of racial superiority, with which they justified world conquest, the genocide of the Jews, and war crimes against the Koreans and Chinese. The Allied victory was a victory for the Christian ideal that all peoples and nations have equal rights, as a result of the equality of all people before God. This principle applied to the winners as well as the losers. Its inexorable logic compelled them eventually to abandon their colonies which they had held by virtue of the racist idea of "white man's burden." By the mid 1960s, all African and Asian states were independent. Thus the principles established by the victory of the Allied Powers took time to bear full fruit.
In this analysis, the end of apartheid in South Africa is just the delayed demise of a racist ideology whose doom was sealed before it even began, by the triumph of the Christian democracies in World War II. Perhaps apartheid was able to linger for over 40 years because the Allies failed to receive the Lord of the Second Advent in 1945 and the providence that would have ended the New Testament Age was delayed for 40 years. (Practically speaking, the ANC's pro-Communist orientation gave the proponents of apartheid a certain legitimacy which helped their regime to linger.) But finally, with the installation of the True Parents, all the unpaid accounts of the New Testament Age had to be paid off, the insult of apartheid among them.
Is there any historical significance to the year 1948, three years after the Christians' failure to receive the Lord? 1948 was the year when apartheid was instituted in South Africa. 1948 was the year when the hopes surrounding the end of World War II went sour. The Berlin Blockade and the fall of China to Communism marked the clear beginning of Cold War hostilities. Furthermore, Great Britain, which was supposed to play the role of the Eve nation if Christianity had welcomed the Lord, suddenly lost its world empire, spilling much blood in the process. Great Britain left India, leaving millions to perish in the Hindu-Muslim conflicts that accompanied the partition of that country into Indian and Pakistan. Great Britain lost power in South Africa, leading to the Afrikaner-based apartheid regime. And Great Britain left the Middle East, leaving Jews and Arabs to struggle in a war which resulted in the birth of Israel and the beginning of decades of Arab-Jewish hostilities.
Let us consider, then, that since the Mideast conflict had its genesis in 1948 and the worldwide disorder consequent to Christianity's failure to receive the Lord, its persistence over the last 40-some years may be another phenomena of the wilderness course. Like apartheid, its resolution is another of the unfinished tasks accompanying the end of the New Testament Age.
The heavenly destiny of the Jewish people was to be liberated from 2000 years of suffering and anti-Semitism and to stand as a free people under God's blessing. From that place at the end of World War II, they could have welcomed the Lord. (There were great messianic hopes in Israel in those days.) Despite that providence, Israel has had to suffer in the shadow of Arab hostilities during the very time that the Lord of the Second Advent was walking his wilderness course. Just as on the world-wide level, humanity had to suffer through a new Cain-Abel conflict in the Cold War, so the Jews suffered their own parallel Cain-Abel conflict on the national level in the form of the Palestinian conflict.
According to the Principle, in preparation to meeting the Lord the Jews should first resolve their quarrel with the Palestinians. They should take care to solve their national level Cain-Abel conflict just as the world-wide Cain-Abel conflict between the communist and democratic worlds has been resolved. The providence at close of the New Testament Age thus offers a time of great hope, when Israel's suffering should come to an end.
What is the import of the defeat of Communism and the end of what the Principle calls "World War III"? What false ideal has been newly exposed, analogous to the downfall of racism at the end of World War II? For the Reverend Moon, the chief offense of Communism was its proclamation that humans could realize an ideal society apart from God. Its denial of God was the root of its denial of human rights and all other crimes. We might expect that an analogous error in the victorious nations of the West might also need to be uncovered and expunged. Possibly this error is the ideal of secularism, which holds that modern political society functions best when religious questions are denied and relegated to the private sphere. Secularism arose as an answer to religious conflict in 17th and 18th century Europe, and it has held the high ground as the only universal ideal that could harmonize the profusion of contending religious sects, Protestant and Catholic. Like Communism, it claimed to be a truly internationalist ideal. It fed upon the failure of Christians to practice the universal love proclaimed by their Founder.
Secularism has been tried in the West, with the result that we are beset by moral confusion and antisocial behavior. Thought the secularists confidently expected religion to fade away, it has not. Secularism does not fit with the human need for fundamental spiritual values. Therefore, many people cry out for a revival of religion, but do not see from whence it will come. Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism have flared briefly, but without any lasting impact. Even where their revivals are substantial, they do not make progress to surmount the problem of religious conflict, which has always tarnished religion in the past. This brings us to the dawn of the Completed Testament Age. Tribulations at the Dawn of the New Age
One remarkable feature of the present confusion in so much of world affairs is a lack of guiding ideology. In contrast to the end of apartheid and downfall of Communism, which were laudable goals that could be agreed upon by thoughtful people, there seems to be no clear solution to many of the recent ills that have overtaken our world. Policy-makers throw up their hands over situations like Bosnia or Haiti, where forceful intervention could lead to a quagmire with little prospect for a successful exit. Likewise, the problems of our inner cities defy solution. Crime bills and gun control legislation smack more of posturing and feel-good politics than sober plans that would offer substantial solutions to the problem of crime.
This lack of vision is accompanied by the decline of the very institutions which were supposed to provide it, notably the United Nations, the mainline Christian churches, civil rights organizations, the media, and the universities. They are infected by ideology, beset by indecision, riven by schism, or corrupted by narrow self-interest. None can generate the widespread moral support and sacrificial action that could generate genuine reforms.
Indeed, these are marks of a leaderless time, when the true leader who is arising to lead history is still hidden from most of the world. We know in faith that the dawn of the Completed Testament Age is a time of confusion because the entire mantle of leadership has already been transferred to the Lord of the Second Advent. But the established institutions are yet to recognize the fact. They stubbornly continue to carry on according to the canons of the New Testament Age, which no longer work.
For example, American society is ill-served by two competing ideologies, neither which is sufficient to solving the problems of racial and ethnic division. It is being rent asunder by a "culture war" between these two competing views. One is the traditional Christian ideal that emphasizes a common morality and urges all ethnic groups to conform to the standards of American (i.e. White Anglo-Saxon Christian) culture. The other is the secular vision of multiculturalism, which encourages the diversity of each ethnic group; America being an amalgam of distinct groups living in a "rainbow" of cultures.
The Christian ideal defends traditional morality and teaches human responsibility. But the weakness of the Christian ideal is that it offends and denigrates non-Whites and non-Christians. To the extent that it ignores their cultures and contributions to society, it robs them of some of their heritage. To Jews, Muslims, and other non- Christians, memories of persecution and discrimination at the hands of Christians are still alive. Thus the Christian ideal violates the sensitive conscience concerned with fairness.
The weakness of the multicultural ideal is that it encourages racial exclusivism as people place their ethnic identity ahead of their common status as American citizens. This has exacerbated racial divisions in many urban communities. Furthermore, by denying Christianity, it teaches secular values that deny the moral standards necessary for humans to successfully realize the purpose of life. This is deeply offensive to the sensitive conscience concerned with moral righteousness and spirituality.
These problems are magnified in the world at large, where the problems of ethnic violence and religious conflicts defy solution. Again, there are two common approaches: the religious conservatives and fundamentalists want to establish monolithic states with firm moral standards based on one dominant religion (e.g. the Islamic Shariah), and the secularists want a pluralistic society with Western secular values. People line up on one side or the other, but neither has a true answer.
Only the True Parents have shown the way that can overcome this dilemma and satisfy peoples' consciences that are attuned to both fairness and moral righteousness. It begins with a vision of the one family of humankind, centered on God and absolute values. It is created through a mind aspiring to the absolute standard of love which knows no enemies, and developed through individual responsibility and moral action. It continues with a program to substantially overcome social resentments and build lasting bridges between warring tribes, nationalities, and religions. Showing no favoritism and respect for all, it invites people of good will from ever religion, race, and nationality to participate and to lend the deep resources of their traditions to the effort. It is sealed by the Blessing, which joins people together in bonds of eternal love that are stronger than the centrifugal forces of race and ethnicity.
This is the only program that is adequate to the challenge of building peace in a world rent by ethnic and religious conflict. The God- centered family provides a model for unity in diversity; appreciating differences of religion, race and nationality, family members are nevertheless united in love. The model of the family can overcome the tendency to uniformity of religious belief (fundamentalist orthodoxy) because love can reconcile and unite differences. All that is required is the absolute vertical center of True Parents. To demonstrate this ideal our True Parents have fostered inter-religious harmony that absolutely respects religious differences. Likewise, every pronouncement of our True Parents on political and social issues show that they are completely free from favoritism toward any race or nationality. Everywhere and in every instance their purpose is the same: to the establishment of world peace and prosperity through the way of true love.
Here is a new kind of universal vision, not communist or secular, but one that is firmly grounded in spiritual and moral values. It deftly overcomes the modern dilemma posed by the secularist and fundamentalist options. As soon as this program becomes better known, we can anticipate that many people will enthusiastically support it as a "third way" that is moral but not exclusivist, universal but not secularist. Here is the new vision which the world is waiting for to guide it out of its current impasse. It needs only to be recognized.
Therefore, to a people living in darkness, we have the serious responsibility to shine the light of the Completed Testament Age, so that our benighted institutions and their leaders can understand the way to save this confused nation and world. Then the time of tribulations will pass away and the light of peace will dawn. It is finally up to us to bring this about.
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