Articles From the November 1995 Unification News


To Win the Culture War

UViews November:

This week's budget impasse has brought it to an unprecedented degree of impact: America is in the midst of a civil war, called the culture war. Radio pundits predicted that if it a government shutdown came, it would last but a day. This reminded me of the Washingtonians who travelled out with picnic baskets to watch the fighting at Bull Run. The inside-the-beltway crowd of 1861 were sure the conflict would conclude in one day. Unfortunately, the Richmond elite thought the same thing. The Civil War lasted four years. We will be fortunate if the culture war is over within four years.

The roots of the Culture War lie deep in human history and run a fault-line straight through the American experience. Problems surfaced with the theological and cultural division exposed through the Great Awakening: the new lights versus the old lights; Harvard University versus the Log College; the evangelicals versus the liberals. The battle then was fought over preaching styles and religious doctrine. The gap widened through the second Great Awakening period. It became a notable fissure after the Civil War. In that period, Darwinian theory made entrance into American universities and churches.

American church leaders perceived Darwinism to be a dramatic statement affecting traditional faith in God, the purpose of creation, good and evil, and the meaning of salvation. The churches split in their response, into liberal and conservative (pro-Darwin and anti-Darwin) camps.

Darwin seemed to have science on his side. Many Christians chose to accept Darwinian conclusions and adjusted Christian theology accordingly. This liberal position came to dominate the mainstream churches and seminaries.

To reject Darwin's conclusions it seemed one had to reject science. It meant that one was rejecting reason, logic, and the modern world in general. Thus, those who affirmed the Bible and the traditional Christian worldview were put in a defensive position.

The gap widened over implications for ecumenism, philanthropy, the social sciences, the role of the government, and morality. The ultimate division appeared in the 1990s: Pro-Family versus No-Family, the battle-line of the Culture War.

On the left in this war stands the movement for homosexuality, the distribution of condoms to teenagers, single-parenthood, state-support for abortions and unwed mothers, and so forth. The left's premiere representative is our president, elected in 1992.

On the right stands the "Religious Right," promoting family values and sexual purity, and opposing abortion, pornography, homosexuality, and so forth. The Religious Right swept its candidates into office in 1994.

Both left and right bemoan the rising tide of pornography, violence and sexual immorality in the media (newspapers, television, movies, art). They agree these are tough problems, although the right is far more alarmed about it than the left, which seems more concerned about spotted owl eggs than human fetuses. They disagree about the causes of the problems and, hence, the method to solve them. Neither side has any convincing answers.

The reason for the split of left and right, and the dearth of answers, is that both sides are manifestations of traditional Christianity. The Christian worldview does not restore the true relationship between mind and body, male and female, parents and children, church and state, or between races, or between religions. That is, Christianity does not have a way to achieve the ideal of love for which all people are yearning. Therefore, in the name of achieving that ideal of love, some Christians follow faith and some reason; some exalt tradition and some progress; some the individual and some the community; some the church and some the state. And they line up on the liberal or conservative sides, and fight each other.

Since traditional Christianity cannot bring an end to the Culture War, Christianity cannot create a culture of peace. And every religion has the same dilemma. Modernist and fundamentalist Muslims fight. Liberal and orthodox Jews fight. Within Buddhism, Hinduism and every religion is the same problem. We need a synthesis, a way to unite the two sides.

There have been three great syntheses in the Christian tradition. The first was the theology of St. Thomas Aquinas, which remains the foundation of Roman Catholicism. It integrates all aspects of human experience, with God as the center. Its weakness is that the the spirit world was placed above the human. Therefore, the life of celibacy was honored, and family life thought to be second best.

The second was Puritanism, developed from the theology of Martin Luther, John Calvin and a host of others. Protestantism brought human energy to focus upon this world and praised family life. Its weakness is that, having its roots in a protest movement, it cannot serve as the basis for a new authority of goodness.

The third great synthetic expression of truth to come out of the Christian tradition is Unificationism, the thought of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon. It brings the perennial wisdom of the East to bear upon the truth of God's historical work through the biblical traditions of the West. This theory is also termed Headwing Ideology and Godism. Unificationism teaches how to unite the mind and body, husband and wife, parents and children, and all aspects of life on the basis of true love, life for the sake of others. Thus Reverend Moon provided a foundation to solve the problems of the American society by clarifying the difficult issues of Christian thought.

To win the Culture War, this new religious ideology must build upon the foundational ideals of this nation: belief in the harmony of religion and science; longing for the beloved community; the sense that America has a divinely-given purpose; reverence for the conscience; voluntarism; racial tolerance; religious tolerance, and the family.

To do this, Reverend Moon had to call America back to the ideals of the founders of the nation, and empower Americans to renew American idealism and responsibility. "God is the motivation, the cause and the foundation of the independence of America," Reverend Moon stated, "America was born through the Providence of God." ("God's Hope for America," June 1, 1976, New York-Yankee Stadium) In the 1960s and 70s, America had drifted from those ideals. Through his crusades in the 1970s, Reverend Moon re-instilled a love for our country, which bore fruit in the 1980s.

Reverend Moon lifted up America's founding ideals, all of which are expressions of true love, to create the new peace movement. All the organizations he creates knit together men, women and families from formerly enemy nations, races and religions into networks of peace.

These organizations exemplify the best of what America stands for. They are fulfilling the responsibility of Christian America. They implement true love. True love must be practiced around the conference table, on the streets, in businesses, and most importantly through the home and family, which is the fount of true love. Homes and families are created through marriage. This is why Reverend and Mrs. Moon perform international, interracial and interreligious eternal marriages, centered on God. This is the Blessing.

From 1960 until 1990, the Blessing was just for Unification Church members. Beginning in 1992, the Blessing has been granted to all people of good will and respect for the ideal of true love through True Parents. The Family Federation for Unification and World Peace stands for the ideal of world peace accomplished through the perfection of marriage and family life. The foundational ideals of America will be realized for each of us, on the personal and family level, through the Blessing of marriage.

Reflections about the Messianic Mission

The Messiah is the incarnation of God, the Creator, who deserves our infinite gratitude because He bestowed upon us infinite love, life and lineage. The Messiah is the root, on earth, of humankind. Because of the fall, he appears in the middle of history, not at the beginning. But he is actually the beginning of the true history, the history of goodness. He comes at the end, but he is the beginning.

All humankind can receive true life from the Messiah. The Messiah's mission is to give us life, period. The method to receive life is through receiving his Blessing upon marriage, the institution of love.

Christianity has been awaiting the Messiah, as did Judaism 2,000 years ago. In both cases, the chosen people did not recognize the Messiah when he appeared in their midst. He appeared too humble; he was unqualified in their eyes. Therefore they did not honor, respect, or want to engraft to him. They did not value his blessing.

The Messiah came not to "earn" mankind's love. The purpose of the chosen religion was to raise people to be able to recognize the Messiah through their spiritual perception, intellectual acumen and conscientious common sense, as children naturally love their parents.

Because of the failures to receive Jesus 2,000 years ago and Reverend Sun Myung Moon today, the Messiah had to win our love "the hard way." Jesus and Reverend Moon did this by giving and giving, as a parent to children, by giving his life to demonstrate to "stiff-necked people" who had rejected true love, or were under the sway culturally of those who rejected it, that he loved them more than he loved himself. Ultimately, Jesus could not get the point across until his gave his physical body. And Reverend Moon? Prison six times, and unending persecution and suffering.

The Messiah who was rejected had to begin with nothing to give substantially. All he could give was his teachings and his love. Through this, he had to find one person to recognize him. What joy in Heaven when he found that first believer!

Then what did this first believer have to do? He or she had to follow the course of the Messiah. He had to resist the temptation to bask in the Messianic love, and instead had to "take up his own cross" and sacrificially love others at the cost of his life, by teaching and practicing the Messiah's way of life, sacrificing for the sake of others. Thus Reverend Moon always sends us out as pioneers, to fight the same battle he is fighting.

Why is this so? It is because the Messiah comes as God's incarnation in order to make us all God's incarnations, God's children. This does not happen by magic; it takes our total effort to become people of true love through him. And whatever the course mankind imposes upon the Messiah, that is the course that all mankind must follow.

The Messiah must win the recognition, respect and acceptance from the whole of mankind. To do so, he must win it from the prepared representatives of mankind, ultimately the world's leaders raised up by God. Therefore, Reverend Moon must speak to and gain the recognition of the highest leaders of society. The world's leaders, however, will not listen to just anyone off the street. They will accept only those who have foundations which they freely recognize as equivalent to their own.

For the Messiah to build this requires tremendous investment. This investment goes beyond his personal resources; it requires investment on a national level, on a world level. It means he must create institutions, and this requires money. It is the followers of Reverend Moon who must provide this money. Therefore a follower may spend his entire life raising and donating money.

Is this a wasted life on the part of the follower? No; it a life offered so that the Messiah may be victorious, so that the one man who represents all mankind may offer all mankind to God. The disciple becomes part of the Messiah's offering, part of his flesh and blood. The disciple is representing the incarnation of God to the world. In fact the disciple is part of that incarnation.

What kind of institutions would the Messiah create? His main concern would be to build institutions which promote the ideals of true love and peace, centered on God. Look at the Unificationist institutions; this is what they are doing. The agenda of these institutions would be first to bring accomplished leaders together to dialogue, to make friends, beyond race, religion and nation. This in itself is a worthy accomplishment. Second, it would be to educate these people about what matters: God, true love, the family, absolute values. Third, it would be to actually connect these people to the Messiah on the individual and family level by a bond of true love; this is the Blessing.

Fourth, it would be to call these people to bear their own crosses, and offer themselves, their institutions, their nations and their religions, sacrificially for the sake of God, history and the eternal future of humanity.

This is why the UC is the church which demands continual sacrifice of its members, centering on the fortunes of one individual, the Messiah, Reverend Sun Myung Moon. As Kierkegaard wrote, "All of mankind, the entire world and all of history, must pass through The Individual." And once we pass through The Individual, we must thereafter pass through The Family, The Tribe, The People, The Nation, The World, The Cosmos and God.

Once you grasp this, you grasp the nature of the Unification Church.

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