Pastor, Faith Fusion
The question of how to attain world peace is always with us, and has been the question since the beginning of time.
Hikers recently found the body of a 5,000-year-old man preserved in ice in the mountains of Italy. Amazingly, scientists had the ability to investigate the details of his death. It was an untimely death.
He was on the run after a feast that included a greasy meal of goat’s meat and other delicacies. The fatal blow was inflicted by a well-crafted arrow shot by people in hot pursuit. Today, maybe it would be a bullet on the streets of Chicago, but the circumstances aren’t that different. So the question remains, is there hope for peace?
Called to Create Peace
This was the very question that Rev. Moon asked as a young man while praying in the mountains of Korea during the time his country suffered under the occupation of the Japanese army. He pleaded with God, “Is there any hope for humanity?” That same question is being asked today, all across America and around the world.
Where will the solution come from? Conservatives and liberals alike vie for the opportunity to solve the problem. It’s a big problem that requires a big response. Rev. Moon spoke on this topic forty years ago, on the grounds of Washington Monument, calling on America to:
“Take up the sacred task of world restoration.” … “America must unite the cultures of the West and the East, as well as the Middle East, and create one great unified culture, ultimately fulfilling the mission of establishing the Kingdom of God on Earth.”
This is a weighty call to America and the world, but we have to figure out how to substantially build that dream. We need a solution beyond the narrow framework of our own concepts.
Einstein reminded us that real solutions can only come from new thinking:
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking that we used to create them.”
Over the hundreds of years since the birth of democracy, liberals and conservatives have been engaged in a tug of war. Each promotes their own solution for a better world. Today, it’s played out on CNN, NBC and FOX News. But before any real solution can come, we need to resolve our internal conflicts over values.
Conservative/liberal rift hinders world peace!
In one sense, the partisan division we see between conservatives and liberals creates a divide that doesn’t foster new solutions because each side has only half the answer and is missing vital pieces of the equation.
From the perspective of Unification Thought, instead of approaching solutions from a one sided viewpoint, we might the two halves as a whole. Vertical values (associated with conservatism) include maintaining traditional and moral norms and preserving established institutions that have been handed down through the generations. While horizontal values (associated with liberalism) include progress, adapting to change, individual rights, initiative, freedom and growth. Unification Thought promotes the idea that both vertical and horizontal values are meant to exist in a state of harmony and balance, rather than in conflict as they are at present.
This new perspective recognizes that the conservative/liberal rift hinders world peace! I can see this is at work in the British Parliament where liberals and conservatives sit across the aisle from each other (which thankfully was designed to be more than a sword’s length wide!). They argue or ridicule each other, often shouting so loudly they can’t even hear each other. It’s quite a sight!
Rev. Moon suggested that instead there should be a circular room which would put everyone on a level playing field. Each voice, whether liberal or conservative, brings an important perspective. We need to see the whole story.
This point is best exemplified in a well-known story originating in India, the Tale of the Blind Men and the Elephant. The American poet John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887) based this poem on the fable that shows how our senses can lead to serious misinterpretations.
The Six Blind Men and an Elephant
It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind
The First approached the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
“God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!”
The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, “Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me ’tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!”
The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a snake!”
The Fourth reached out an eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
“What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain,” quoth he;
” ‘Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!”
The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: “E’en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!”
The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Than, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a rope!”
And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!
Moral of The Elephant Story
So oft in theologic wars,
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!
The problem with the Blind men is that each had their own perspective based on what they knew but none of them had the big picture. Maybe we too are fighting the wrong fight by clinging so strongly to just one idea. If we are to usher in world peace we need a perspective big enough to touch and understand the circumstances and heart of all the world’s people. We need new thinking, or a mind as big as God’s, to find the kinds of solutions that Einstein talked about.
If we lose our understanding of God, it is all too easy to become small minded. We rely on our own judgment or preferences, forgetting that perhaps we don’t have the whole picture in mind. Rev. Moon recognized the limitations of the left wing and the right wing and spoke instead about the need for what he called “head wing” thought.
Conservatism, while promoting the preservation of social norms, has historically been exclusive and elitist. Liberalism, while offering greater tolerance and inclusiveness, may ignore the idea of absolute values. Head wing thought would embrace the left and the right and move forward centering on God’s ideals.
Do absolute values exist?
Today, a lot of people think that God is irrelevant. Their hope is in technological solutions and hope those will be sufficient to build the future world. But God is very necessary to world peace because God is the source of absolute values.
People are afraid of absolute values. How can something be true for everyone? We worry about imposing our values on others and not respecting diversity. But universal truths do exist. Absolute values are the only thing that have the power to protect all people and promote universal well-being. I was struck by the power of absolute values when visiting Washington DC.
The memorials that pay homage to the founding fathers are beautiful and awe-inspiring. You can’t help but be moved by the unchanging truths they espouse. Truths such as “All men are created equal.”
This simple statement has so many implications. The statement confirms ‘Black Lives Matter’. If we really believe these words, then we can’t exclude or disregard the needs of anyone. It opens us to the vastness of God’s heart and our own humanity.
Our goal isn’t to be a liberal or a conservative, to be left wing or right wing. But to transcend these narrower concepts and seek a higher perspective, ultimately that of God.
World peace will naturally come about when each person feels God’s heart as his or her own. There will not be room for prejudice or the ability to sit by and watch someone else suffer. Inequality would just be too painful to tolerate
Going beyond left and right
Jesus was a man who embodied “head wing” thought. He was a man of the people; a liberal, challenging the status quo. He included women among his disciples and hung out with tax collectors and prostitutes. He had no respect for Sabbath laws when they conflicted with humanitarian need.
Jesus pushed the envelope because he understood God’s original blueprint for humankind. But at the same time he was extremely conservative. His standards were unwavering. He cautioned people that to even look at a woman in the wrong way was to commit adultery.
Jesus was rooted in God’s heart and his desire was to create a culture of one family under God. He knew where world peace began. Similarly, Reverend and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon established a vision to create a world family. In this ideal each person acknowledges the internal, innate human value and goodness of each human being. Each person would also value the external, material world and environment as the visible manifestation of God, and something to be taken care of.
In recognition of history’s efforts to secure peace, and God’s attempts to fulfill his original desire for humanity, Rev. Moon gathered people on the Bicentennial of the American Revolution, at the Washington Monument in Washington DC to call America to fulfill its destiny.
Before hundreds of thousands of people, he beseeched America to reach out and unite the religions of the world. America is a special nation as people from all the world have come here to build their dreams. We have a unique opportunity to create an environment where all people of the world can live in harmony. Rev Moon said:
“One World Under God is the unchanging, eternal and absolute desire of God. This goal will be realized; yet, in order to accomplish this goal, the unity of religions is the first and essential task….. When all people live an absolutely God-centered way of life, then the dwelling of God will be with humanity. It will be only a matter of time to see the Kingdom of God here on earth.”
What does it mean to be God-centered?
God is supremely selfless and supremely public-minded; it’s the opposite of being self-centered and only out for ourselves. God’s desire is to restore us to become God-like. This means that we must become completely selfless and public minded. Each of us has the potential to become a person who is able to sacrifice himself or herself for the sake of others. A culture of living for the sake of others is God’s culture and the path to peace. If you try to practice this in your family or workplace you will see the difference it makes. A shift of attitude, a change of position that may look small in the moment, can have big consequences.
We have to reach out to the God whom we have lost, and discover His thoughts, hopes, and dreams. Einstein explained the search this way:
“We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangements of the books, but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God.”
We have to search to discover God’s personality and His love. When we understand this, we will naturally become people who can create world peace. Inheriting God’s heart is the key to world peace.
Meet us at the Monument
On Saturday September 17, 2016 at 2pm we are gathering once more at the Washington Monument to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Rev Moon’s iconic speech “God’s Will and America.” He said the original gathering in 1976 was like a cornerstone for America, an opportunity to build something new. God’s hope remains the same today. I invite you to meet us at the Monument on September, 17th and find renewed hope, not only for America but for the world.