Articles From the June 1995 Unification News
Dissecting Doctrines Part Two
This is Part Two of my article on doctrines and their real-life consequences. Once again, please be clear that these are my opinions alone. I welcome any corrections. We'll look at some specific religions and their doctrines. Believed by many-but sometimes without being thought out very carefully. Some will be offended by this, so, my apologies.
People of all Faiths attempt to invoke the Spirit World. Most are humble and sincere people, who pray to Jesus, the Saints, or others, for aid and comfort. Some believe they can 'conjure up' material wealth. The chanting Nichiren Buddhists are famous for this, as they have explained it to me. As Janis Joplin said: "Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz."
Some people proclaim their ability to advance our lives, with impressive 'miracles.' Most people who do this are busy advancing their personal financial condition! Essentially, all the miracles that are done as public displays are simply fakes!
I'm sorry-but it's true. Desperate people wish to believe them. Yet hundreds of showy evangalists and darkened-room spiritualists have been exposed as frauds. Now they're using high-tech methods to do their astonishing tricks, such as tiny earpiece radios.
There are other examples, but I won't list them here. There is a $100,000 prize outstanding, for anyone who can provably demonstrate any kind of spiritual ability. No one has collected it . . .
So are there miracles? Of course! Done with True Heart, for healing and for God's Ideal to come closer -without greed involved- in quiet and private places. The Spirit World is real, and it can be powerful. It is not actually 'supernatural'; it is merely the other half of God's Creation. It obeys different 'laws' than the scientifically- measured Physical World.
Certain people make a big deal out of 'conjuring' the Spirit World. These are the practitioners of 'witchcraft,' from Irish Wicca to Haitian Voudou to Los Angeles Satanism. These people can look quite impressive. But they are, generally speaking, wretched people-who often meet an early and bad end. (Having grown up around Berkeley, I've observed enough to speak with some confidence.)
There are simple reasons for this. Often the male leaders are dressing things up in ceremony, but they're behaving like 'dirty old lechers.' Apparently, these 'archangels par excellence' have little trouble getting female helpers . . . For details, Umberto Eco's novel Foucalt's Pendulum describes this, as does my friend L. D. Anderson's forthcoming The Order of the Beloved.
Also, they're practicing the exact reverse of the Principle of 'paying indemnity.' They selfishly 'command' the Spirit World, thus incurring debt in general, and resentment in particular. Talk about Hell!
Our way, Rev. Moon's path, is to "sacrificially serve," connected to God's Will. Raising up our Tribes, including our ancestry. Thus we gain; both good 'spiritual elements' and gratitude. Talk about Heaven!
Some Faiths are big on 'mystical' doctrine, secrets within secrets. Others depend exclusively on 'revealed' doctrine (written or spoken). Christianity -relucantly- gave up on that after Galileo, dinosaurs and DNA.
The Great Faiths have many methods of appointing their leadership. Tibetan monks 'discover' kids who are 'reincarnations' of past leaders! Some Christian denominations vote for their next leader. Some faiths have hereditary leadership, while in others, the leaders appoint their successors. Our Church has both inherited and appointed leadership.
Opposite this, the Great Faiths have differing methods of 'excommunication.' That is, judging and deposing unfit leaders, or ordinary members. Some medieval faiths simply killed them off!
Smaller faiths can -and literally do- kick people out of the door. Simply: "Adios, buddy," and they're as good as gone. Some churches cannot remove anyone without following precise, formal guidelines. Trials, appeals, etc. There are countless variations-but the methods are widely understood.
There are also a variety of parallel practices, for the examination and acceptance of new doctrines-or rejecting them as heretical. The larger and more spread out the church, the more the 'terribly formal' types of practice become necessary!
One very hot doctrine concerns the 'Last Days,' and the nearness of a much feared 'Apocalypse.' The Great Faiths differ; even over whether such a thing could occur, much less within our lifetimes.
Many Christians, especially 'liberal' ones, look for a gradual shift into a Heavenly condition. Fundamentalists argue about the date, and the extent of the destruction that Jesus' purported coming-on-the- clouds would cause!
Christians have ceded the entire 'environmental' movement to the Leftists and Pagans because of this doctrine. After all, if the Earth is -any day now- to get blown up by Jesus, then why bother to clean it up?
The news has been filled with the deaths of once utterly obscure "cultists." Especially, about horrible suicides (or murders), supposedly done in fearful anticipation of the Apocalypse. Unfortunately, the "negos" and the news media don't seem to comprehend the Unificationist position on the Last Days. Or perhaps they're deliberately ignoring it?
It is the ordinary Protestant Christians, as well as the (these days) mainstream Pagan EcoWarriors who are loudly predicting the quick and dismal 'End of the World.' Our Principle teaches nothing like this! We tell of a "gradual shift," the old world declining as the new one arises.
Our concerns could be shared even by athiests; war, crime, AIDS, illiteracy, pollution. Our question might be: How badly will the 'fallen world' decay before the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth gains a widespread hold? Depending on humanity's response, (which is our free- will 'portion of responsibility') this remains to be seen.
Connected to the Last Days is the curious doctrine of 'The Antichrist.' Men from Emperor Nero to Mikhail Gorbachov (no women?) have been 'identified' as this devilish Antichrist. Surprisingly, it's said this horrible person is going to bring peace and unity to the world . . .
A neat trick! What God really wants -some effective Earthly help- and what happens? His helpers get branded as "agents of the devil." Good Christians are to 'just keep preaching'-and look for God to blow everything apart. (If you check the fine print, the bad guy is centered on himself, not on our Heavenly Father.)
Historically, some religious people have -allegedly- felt themselves justified in using any means to bring about the Kingdom. From 'white lies' to 'assasinations.' Hence the old words like "jesuitical," and the "heavenly deception" canard hurled at Unificationists.
To answer such accusations, I would recall Rev. Martin Luther King's words, "The ends do not justify the means. Rather, the means build the ends." Also, Rev. Moon's injunction that "we must be proud of our faith." If someone is inclined to disguise it, that person isn't much of a worthy follower!
Christians (and other faiths) have always had a love/hate relationship with sinfulness. Especially the sexual sort; with money close behind. Everyone knows how challenging it is to overcome sinfulness, whether of heart (lustfulness, etc.) or bad habits (alcohol, etc.) But we all can!
Certain doctrines muddle things by teaching that sins are supposed to be present! To "test our mettle," to "prove to God" how faithful we are. Also, so "we'll appreciate God's saving grace more." I've heard this called the "soap and soup" doctrine. Imagine your dinner, flanked by a bar of soap. Take a bite of soap-YUCK! Have a spoonful of soup- YUMMY!
Put this way, the entire idea seems absurd. Yet the Mormons take this one step further, teaching that the Fall of Man was God's Will, a brave choice by Adam. Very briefly: sins now, glory later. Sorry to say, this puts a heavy burden on the faithful Saints. (I won't get into details here.)
We agree with the Mormons on many points; ones that most Christians have missed. We can help our passed-away ancestors. God and satan have fought it out via America and communism. God does speak today, through those He chooses. Strong, traditional families are truly Godlike, as well as essential.
From the opposite side comes the New Age movement. Most of them deny the very existence evil and sin! Both in a personal and a larger sense. "Ignorance and inattention" are about as close as they get . . . So: "learn truth and your consciousness will be raised," and "focus on your Inner Self, and be at peace." Then the beatific Aquarian Age will dawn. Sounds easy, doesn't it? I wish!
Happily, they are friendly, optimistic and tolerant people. That's fine, especially now that we've won over of many of the world's more perilous entities. The New Agers come in astonishing variety, but they all seem to share the same 'anything's OK if you smile' lifestyle, and 'you are God' Hindu-extracted doctrines.
Let's take some lessons from all this. Strict doctrines of 'heresy' and 'sinfulness' are essential for a Faith to last. Otherwise, it eventually gets 'watered down' until it's no different from secular society. We've all visited such churches.
The ways of marriage and divorce are critical. Ignoring the strong and Godly family will ruin the church and the society it dwells in. Very strict standards, now derided as "puritanical," will allow sheer survival-emotional, medical, not to mention spiritual. The rewards are also great!
The method of 'succession' is important. Islam rapidly divided between 'Elders' and 'Decendants,' as did Mormonism. There are now dozens of 'sects' within these two great religions, though both were founded by inspired men. Succession squabbles have utterly ruined many newer faiths.
Both witnessing and living styles are important. Only a select few Faiths have survived without actively seeking converts. The largest and strongest Faiths are also the most aggressive (hopefully polite about it) witnessers.
Some faithful gather themselves into exclusive communities. Such as the ultra-Orthodox Jew's Kiryat Joel, New York, or the polygamous Mormon's high desert towns. Both good and bad points can be made for this. Most faithful are spread far more thinly.
Distinct culture and ceremonies are important. The quietly-growing Bahai Faith has its own scriptures, Holy Days, etc. They have survived through terrible ordeals, and come out strong and (for the most part) united. They hope to gain the equality of races and nations, and of men and women. Worthy allies in Kingdom building!
A highly committed attitude can help a new faith survive. For example, the greatest leader of the Sikh Faith appeared to sacrifice several male volunteers, one by one, with his bloody sword. When he was done, he opened his tent to reveal one slaughtered goat and many smiling men! With such determination, the Sikhs managed to survive some very bloody centuries. Hopefully, civilization has now permanently advanced beyond that point!
A faith must accommodate itself to our scientifically advancing world. All the Great Faiths have done so, to varying degrees. Those that refuse are simply bypassed by history. Some die out gracefully, but others go with great spite. Such as the violent 'militants' of the Islamic world.
Unificationism is in an excellent position here. We can successfully unite Science and Religion; doctrinally, technologically, and personally. With God and Religion remaining 'subject,' something that many will be stunned to learn!
Way back in the 16th century, British scholar Henry More speculated that the 'spiritual realm' might be found, nearby yet undetectable, in the 'fourth dimension' of space. If you'll recall your geometry, it's: 0 through 4 dimensions-point, line, square, cube, tesseract. (I'll defer to our UNews Editor and science writer Richard Lewis to explain this!)
Top scholars in Physics and Cosmology, and their Unificationist friends, have gone far in these fascinating fields. Another example; the 'Strong Anthropic Principle' is mathematically showing that our very existence is truly fortunate. So very improbable that it MUST have happened by design! Several new 'popular science' books explain this.
We should consider; which of the specific doctrines and practices mentioned (plus many others), will we 'enshrine' in formality-if any at all? Then, how strictly would these be observed, personally and organizationally? And if (we may ask) they're not followed, what would be the response, and who would do the responding?
With larger organizations, there must be some clearly understood mechanism for these things. Our early slapdash, friend-to-old friend, spur-of-the-moment days are certainly numbered.
With all that said, let's remember that, as true radicals, we are going after the roots of things. Yet sincerely endeavoring to work ourselves out of a job. As the Principle says, "no churches are needed in the Kingdom of Heaven."
(c) 1994 by Paul Carlson
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