NLWA 2012 Opening Speech (International President)
January 22, 2012- “God of Night and God of Day”
Openning Address to NLWA 2012 by International President- An especially insightful description of the meaning behind his "hoodie."
The following is the speech of International President Rev. Hyung Jin Moon to national leaders at the International Leadership Conference (ILC) opening plenary at the Cheon-Bok-Gung on January 22, 2012, the day before True God’s Day.
I hope you like my sweatshirt. You may have seen this symbol somewhere.
Because we are now chasing Father wherever he goes around the world, we basically live out of our car. We’re always packed, we’re always ready to go, whether on the boat, on the bay – wherever. It’s a very amazing experience.
A couple of days ago, Father asked me to explain the markings on this sweater. As you know, this is the symbol of the Principle. And when we manifest the Principle – give-and-take action, the Four Position Foundation, the three blessings – the purpose of creation is all here. On the right arm you will see a character that says Cheon-bu, which means True Father. On the left arm you will see a character that says Cheon-mo, which means True Mother.
And on the back you will see all sorts of characters written vertically. They are probably my favorite characters. The first one is the character True Father gave me, which he said was his most favorite Chinese character. It means “sincerity,” “devotion.” It means actualizing your speech or your words. The second means “love.” That is True Mother’s character. The third is “filial piety.” The fourth is “attending, serving.” The other one is “courage.” The other one is “faith,” and the other one is “eternity.”
When we are attending True Parents and True Parents’ staff are around them, running around here and there, whether on the boat or on the way to different countries, I found that having these kinds of reminders help me re-center myself. Especially when I was in North Korea, where we can’t speak freely, where society is not free. We always had people monitoring us, which was very strange. But I derived a lot of strength just from looking at something as simple as the Tongil symbol. It gave me so much strength when I was in a land where I couldn’t speak. True Parents, Cheon-bu-mo-nim.
The Kingdom of Heaven Is Where God Is
We’re very grateful that we’re able to be with True Parents and learn from many new experiences. I really feel that being with True Parents teaches me something very important about the biblical text. When we look at the biblical presence of Christ, I see True Father. We usually imagine Christ to be of the medieval age, which is much softer, very peaceful. But if you look at Scripture, you see that Christ is very active. Of course, historically, Christ is always called a revolutionary. He’s extremely flamboyant. He’s very against the status quo, whether it is deism or Roman powers – truly a revolutionary figure.
I find in attending Father and having the work of being with him wherever he goes, that this is how the apostles must have felt when they were chasing around Jesus. As you know, Jesus would suddenly say, “Today we’re going to Galilee,” or “Today we will go to Jordan,” or “Today we’re going to go to Jerusalem.” There’s no convenient, weekly plan, there’s no nice “I know what I’m going to do on Saturday and Sunday and probably Monday.”
I have no idea what I will be doing tomorrow. It all depends on how Father moves, where he moves. If he flies out to New Zealand, then we’re off to New Zealand. If he goes to Siberia, we’re also off to Siberia. It’s not always peaches and coconuts. In looking at the scripture, you can see Christ also standing on the front line of the Providence, which is moving rapidly. He’s constantly on the spot, the living presence of the Providence.
As you know, when Christ is asked, “Where is the Kingdom of Heaven? Where is the Kingdom of God?” we have some translations that say “God is within you.” Another translation could be, “The Kingdom of Heaven is about you,” or “We are in the midst of the Kingdom of Heaven.” I think that translation is quite interesting because it answers the question, “Where is the Kingdom of Heaven?” The Kingdom of Heaven is where Christ is. It’s very simple. That’s where the Kingdom of Heaven is.
The Kingdom of Heaven is where God is, where Christ is. So if Christ is in our hearts, then that’s where the Kingdom of Heaven resides. If he’s in our thoughts and words, then those things can be of the Kingdom.
For me, one of the biggest challenges when we are tailing True Parents and following them is the spiritual practice. Father doesn’t stop practicing. He doesn’t stop craving God and loving God and serving God and attending God. Just yesterday he asked me to speak at hoon-dok-hwe. I was talking about hoon-dok-hwe and about the many months we’ve been following True Parents now. I came to sort of a personal experience with Father. We were in America, in Cheon-Ah-Gung, the headquarters in Las Vegas. He was doing hoon-dok-hwe and it was a long one. I think it was maybe eight hours long. Actually, that’s kind of short for Father. I remember looking at him and he was so happy, so incredibly happy.
When I looked at his eyes, I could see the eyes were smiling. The eyelashes – Father has very beautiful eyelashes – were smiling. He was so happy. This is eight hours into talking. Of course everybody’s back and legs were killing them. Everybody had to go to the bathroom, take a break, but Father was so happy. This really affected me because when I saw him that day, I realized, the Kingdom of Heaven is where Christ is.
Father did hoon-dok-hwe for 23.5 hours a couple of months ago. 23.5 hours. 4:30 in the morning to 4:00 o’clock the next morning. That was a challenge, a huge challenge. But if we take away the physical pain, the physical hunger, the physical discomfort of having to use the restroom, holding it for that long, then being near the Lord has been the desire of all Christians in history. Being at the footstool of the Lord, praising him and worshipping his holy name, for eternity. Not just for eight hours or 23 hours. Eternity.
When you look at the Islamic tradition, of course you can’t see the face of God, but when Muhammad sees God in the tradition, he’s totally prostrated before him and totally honored to be in the presence of God. If you look at the Pure Land sect of Buddhism, which has of course influenced all forms of Buddhism here in East Asia – such as Zen Buddhism and all sorts of Buddhism in Japan – when you die and are reborn in the Western paradise, then the Buddha will take you and bring you to the land where there’s jewels, pagodas, golden streets, whatever. And at the middle of the city is the Buddha, just speaking. And you listen and hear the words – in the Buddhist tradition of the dharma – and you are feeling joy at the different things. That’s hoon-dok-hwe. Being in the presence of the Lord.
Seeing with Spiritual Eyes
If you think about it, Father is giving us a glimpse into the Kingdom of Heaven when he speaks to us, when he is with us at hoon-dok-hwe. I’m not saying it’s easy to be in hoon-dok-hwe. If you’re in a 23-hour hoon-dok-hwe, the next day is 12 hours, and that is so difficult, especially on your back. If you’re sitting like an Asian person on the floor, you’re dead. You’re not going to have any blood circulation in your legs. It’s not easy. It’s actually very, very difficult. Mentally, extremely difficult. Physically, there’s so much pain.
But if you take that away and say this is spirit world, where we have none of that physical pain, where else would you rather be? You have all eternity. Where else would you rather be than at the center, with the Lord of all, the Lord of the spirit world? Would you rather be somewhere else? Every Christian, Muslim, Buddhist who is yearning to see the next life – is there any other place you would rather be?
If I emotionally disconnect from my pain and I focus my mind away from the pain, then I can feel very at peace. It’s not a temporary peace, but a fundamental peace, knowing that I am standing justified before the Lord. Not necessarily because of what I’ve done or because I’m great – there’s none of that. But because of grace and because of love I’m given that opportunity. So there’s a fundamental, maybe what you would call an essential peace in your heart. And also an essential joy that springs from the essence of your being.
That being said, of course, the mind does wander, and when you’re in hoon-dok-hwe for long hours, it starts complaining, tempts you to want to focus on that discomfort. But next time you are able to attend hoon-dok-hwe, go in there with a different perspective. Go in there with a mind of training, no matter how long it goes.
I remember during one hoon-dok-hwe, the first three hours were very clear. The fourth hour, there was a little pain, at the sixth, a little more pain. This was in Las Vegas. I was sitting right next to Father, right next to his right hand, which is his good hand. Eight hours later, the pain is coming up to my shoulders, my spine, all over. Ten hours, my head is dizzy. Eleven hours I said, “Forget this.” I realized I was praying, “Father, please finish quickly.” That was my prayer. Truly a sinner.
But then, I let it go. In my heart I prayed, “Father, go as long as you want.” As time passed, let’s say 11.5 hours, I thought, “Oh, 11.5 hours, that’s it? Come on, Father, more, more.” It was very interesting because he finished very quickly after that.
Of course, the next day was again another challenge, but seeing Father’s presence is truly hard to explain totally. I can only say that there are so many emotions and so many different types of challenges that may arise, but overriding those things there’s an immense sense of fundamental peace, fundamental gratitude and fundamental joy.
Celebrating the Birth of True Parents
As you all know, last year we started to testify strongly about True Parents. Up until now, we have been doing more internal God’s Day celebrations and more internal birthday celebrations. But as you know, from last year we did the Cheon-Bok festival, a festival at which we’re openly celebrating True Parents’ birthday, openly setting up the churches. We started at the headquarters last year, putting up banners that announced to the citizens that this is True Parents’ birthday.
I’ve studied religions, lived in various countries, and of course, many of you have had a lot of international experience. As you’ve seen, most of the cultures, when the birth time of Christ or Buddha or Confucius, et cetera, approaches, there is a whole new cultural world that emerges. When December hits, Korea changes. There are white trees and stars and snowflakes, and the common things we see during Christmas. This is a festival celebrating the birth of Christ.
If you’re here in April, you will see lotus lanterns everywhere; you’ll see preparations for a parade celebrating the birth of the Buddha. The birth of Christ is not only a historical occasion but also a divine occasion. It is not only something that is temporally located in time and space, but it is fundamental to God’s being in time and space.
So when we celebrate True Parents’ birth, as we did last year, we did not ask True Parents to pay for it and shower upon us loads of resources. No, none of that. We did it within our own responsibility, for the glory of True Parents, and it was wonderful.
The celebrations consisted of many different celebrations. All the religions were invited to celebrate and to honor True Parents. That was the key. They came not just to participate and watch but also to celebrate and give congratulations to True Parents. Last year was the first.
This year will be bigger. You may have heard about the parade. This is the first time we’re doing a parade on the birthday of True Parents. This is not an internal parade where we’re walking through our church. This is on the streets. We had to fight with the government, because they didn’t want to give us permission to walk right past the Blue House, the White House of Korea. Also on Kwan-A-Mun, the main street in Seoul, there are big hotels and the Carnegie Hall of Seoul. There’s a big statue that they just erected of King Sejong, who democratized language by creating Han-gul, taking it away from the Chinese character-based aristocratic system and making a Korean alphabet system based on respiratory phonetics, et cetera. They have a statue there in the middle of Seoul.
So of course, if we march in Seoul, we want to go right through the center so that everybody will know that every year, children of God come to the fatherland and celebrate one thing: God’s entrance, God’s fundamental presence in the world. That’s huge.
This time, we had to fight a little bit, and because of the grace of God and True Parents, we were able to get the permission. I don’t think they’ve given permission to any other religion. It’s amazing to have gotten permission to march from Kwan-A-Mun all the way through the city and celebrate True Parents’ birthday and who they are.
God of Night and God of Day
If you study theology, you know that one of the most important theological questions is, “Who is Christ?” It’s so fundamental to theology, so critical. What is the nature of Christ? Who is Christ? This is the whole discipline of Christology, which tries to determine the nature of Christ. How much of Christ is divine, how much of Christ is man? Is it 50-50? 70-30? 80-20? You may think this is wackiness but it’s very, very important because it fundamentally will change not only the world but also our relation to Christ.
You may have heard that True Father has lately been giving incredible teachings, which I see as progressive revelations. Very mysterious teachings. When people hear them at first, they are perplexed. They’re thinking, “I can’t understand this.” For example, the teaching Father is recently giving in his speeches is that of “God of Night and God of Day.”
Just a couple of days ago we had one of the top leaders here in Korea ask Father, “I don’t understand this. God of Night and God of Day? Are there two Gods? I thought it was one God. Is this two Gods?” And Father simply said, “It’s in here,” pointing to the speech.
When I first heard the teaching of God of Night and God of Day, I thought it was very mysterious. God of Night and God of Day. That’s something extremely subtle and profound and mysterious. I didn’t get it. I’m dealing with this monotheistic and then ditheistic paradigm – we’re not saying there are two Gods, are we? Or maybe we’re talking about the dual characteristics. Maybe that’s it.
At one point I thought I had it. God of Night is God that we can’t see, and God of Day is God we can see, which is True Father. Okay, I got it. But when I listened to Father, that didn’t feel exactly right. Maybe I didn’t have it.
I didn’t understand this until around last week, when Father was giving his final speech on the tour, which started in Seoul and also ended in Seoul. The speeches were readings from text and during the last three days, True Mother helped Father read from the text. But the reason the last day was the grand finale was not because there was more confetti, more sparkling things flying through the air – it was because of one statement Father said during the speech, which really illuminated this whole God of Day/God of Night conundrum I was having in my mind.
Father said, “I am fundamentally different from all of you.” The True Family was there, and all of us. He said, “I am managed by God of Night. You are all managed by God of Day.”
If you’re nodding off into dreamland, you’re not going to hear that. But when he said that, it was a huge, huge, huge theological statement. Because in theology, this is the whole messianic identity issue: does Christ know who he is? Does he know that he is God, in Christian theology? When does he get an awareness of that? Does he know as soon as he’s born? Does it come to him later when he’s 16, 18, 30, whatever? When does his messianic identity come into clarity? Or when is it revealed to the world? This is a huge issue.
Of course, one of the main controversies of the early church is centered on this issue: what is the nature of Christ? In the Council of Chalcedon, 451 AD, this is one of the main issues. Every council – Nicaea, Constantinople, etc., this is being discussed – what is the nature of Christ? Who was Jesus? Is he 50-50? Some say, okay, he’s not fully man, he’s divine, he’s half-man, half-God. In Hinduism, for example, anybody who does breathing and prayer can come into presence with God. That puts Christ on par with any other ascetic practitioner and/or spiritual practitioner. So this is a fundamental issue to the Christian faith.
Judaism and Islam are very strong on this issue. They say very clearly the creation cannot be the creator. So you have a very strong polemic against the common Christian view that God is man and that Christ was God. In Islam and in Judaism, you have a total rejection of that. Sent by God? Yes. God? No. See what I mean?
Now, how you see this will impact not only the way you see Christ but how you will relate to him. Completely. How you will mold your life around him, or not. This issue, which is so theologically rich and also so theologically important is, I think, one of the main issues of the God of Night and God of Day teaching.
Father said, “God of Night is male. God of Day is female.” I was thinking, oh, maybe this is a masculine-feminine-, dual-characteristics kind of thing. And then he said, “I am managed by the God of Night. You all, the world, are managed by God of Day.”
True Father is also mysterious in his teachings of the “True Family, True Lineage” text, which is one of the eight sacred texts that Father has canonized. Many people actually find it very confusing and can’t understand it completely.
But one of the key teachings in that text is that True Father himself comes from God’s seed. He comes from the seed of God. Now this is of course one of the biggest proclamations in that text, that Father comes from the seed of God. Fundamentally for me – and I gave this report to Father yesterday at hoon-dok-hwe – when I heard Father say, “I am managed by God of Night and you” – meaning us – “are from God of Day,” I found much more clarity in the mind.
Adam, Christ and True Father: The Essence of God
For me, God of Night is – and I said this very clearly in front of Father yesterday – what theologians have referred to as the godhead. That’s what Aquinas is talking about, it’s what Alfred Whitehead is talking about. The godhead is different from Christology. Usually in Christian theology, we’re talking about Trinitarian theology, so we’re actually looking at the essential being of God. What is the essential makeup of God?
Now, Christology is different from that in the sense that Christ is a living person, so we’re now looking at Christ as a living person and looking at Christ and saying, okay, how much of Christ is man, how much of Christ is God? Somewhat related because Christ is also the second person of the Trinity in normal formulations of Trinitarian thought, right? Actually, these are very different disciplines.
You’re peering, one, into the godhead, which is transcendent of time and space. That means that it was eternal, present before the creation of the universe and time and space of anything, right? And then you’re looking at another, which is historically located in the person of Christ. You’re saying, within Christ, how much is God, how much is man? Very different disciplines but very important in understanding the nature of Christ.
When I heard Father say that, I realized that Father is talking about the godhead when he’s talking about God of Night. This is what theologians usually call the godhead. We’re talking about God that exists before creation, that is eternal.
I hate to anthropomorphize God – of course we say he’s a personal God, so in that sense he has personal characteristics, but of course any metaphor has limitations. But if you say, for example, a being comes from the godhead or a being is created by the godhead or God, these are two hugely different things. Hugely different things. It may be somewhat parallel to the difference between, for example, bearing a child and making a pottery pot with your hands. Hugely different things. If you told your child, “Your being born is not really different from my making a pot,” there may be rebellion in your house. It’s very different things, right?
You may create a metaphor – God of Night is sort of the unseen face of God. Maybe we can’t see it clearly. It’s hidden in God of Night, before creation, in the darkness before creation. And then God of Day is sort of God’s hands into the world: creates time and space and now the hands are creating mountains and the hands are creating rivers. Hands have creative power too, through which birth, creation, animals, all these kind of things come to being. But it’s very different from saying we come from the hands than saying we come from the essence of God. Hugely different.
So I felt that when Father was talking about God of Night, he was talking about the godhead from which Christ comes. It’s so important that Christ comes from the godhead, and not from the sort of hands of creation of God. Why? Because all of your lives are connected to it. All of your lives are deeply connected to it because if Father is coming from the hands of creation and thus, post-Fall, is part of the fallen lineage, then he cannot clear or purify and bring that lineage to a true lineage. Do you see?
This is very important. And what’s the whole lineage thing connected to in our movement? The Blessing. All of our lives are connected to it. The Blessing is a transference from the fallen lineage to a true lineage. But if Father is a descendant of the Fall, then how is that possible? If Christ is a descendant of the Fall, he also has a fallen nature. How are you going to purify it? That’s the huge difference.
That’s why Father’s saying he comes from the God of Night or the godhead shows he brings the pure lineage. That shows Christ also brought the true lineage. This is so critical.
A misunderstanding of this simple but profound revelation that Father is giving will totally lead to different paths. One path: we understand our value as Blessed Families, as Central Blessed Families, we understand our blessing of marriage at a profound level and our relationship to Christ and to God. The other path: all that is meaningless. Your lives would be totally meaningless, your blessings totally meaningless. That’s a little bit of a difference, wouldn’t you say?
True Parents Come from the Logos
This is why understanding this new revelation is so important. Christ comes from the godhead. He comes from the essence of God. In Unification Thought, we always talked about this as like the seed, or the Logos. Also relating that with the first chapter of John 1, where it says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God and the Word became flesh.”
From the Logos comes the seed, which is the first time Adam, second time, Christ, and third time, True Father. Huge, huge, huge. Beyond-the-universe huge. Let’s say we have an un-nuanced view of the Trinity, and let’s say within the godhead, sticking with Christian theology, we’ll say, “Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” And the second person of the Trinity is Christ. But the second person is also the Father and also the Holy Spirit. Then if the second person comes into history as Christ, then does the second person also come into history as True Father? The second person also came into history as Adam?
This is exciting stuff, people. This is very, very important. Why? Because in the spirit world, we know that Christ has a different spiritual body than Adam does, and also of True Father. So it’s not as if the second person is just recycling back in, because there would be no separate spiritual bodies in the spirit world. How do you explain this?
In that Unification Thought comes in, understanding the whole idea of the Logos and the seed of God – because any seed has full 100 percent potential to be the tree. But it has to have also the nurturing and what we would call the five percent responsibility. Different phases of the seeds would grow. Jesus is actually a different being than Father, right? I’m not saying Christ is somehow fake, or that he got reabsorbed, because we see him in the spirit, right? Hear the spiritual messages and we know he’s working in the spirit world.
But from the Logos comes the seed, and Adam, of course, was a seed that did not mature to greatness or could not fulfill his mission. Christ was one who went further than Adam but could not fulfill the mission of bringing God’s seed to the world.
Our True Parents are the ones who come from the Logos. True Father comes from the Logos, and through the perfection of True Mother with True Father, the unity there and the victory of True Parents, they are able to fulfill the mission and, metaphorically speaking, the seed can come into the fullest maturation. Three different spiritual beings, but all from the godhead. Different from the God of Day, which creates in time and space.
This teaching is phenomenal. This teaching illuminates Christology. Although at first it sounds very ditheistic, it is very, very rich theologically. It’s one of the central teachings. This is like Christ revealing himself. This is huge, people. It’s humongous. Not only is Christ having awareness of his Christology, of his identity – he’s revealing it clearly. That’s huge.
Is the Messiah God?
Of course, one of the points of confusion will be, in the Principle we clearly say that the Messiah is not God, right? If you look at the Principle text, we will stand, at least on the surface, more with Muslims and with Jews on that issue. So the Messiah, Christ, is not God, as Christians believe. Christ is a man, right? We’ve taught this in Principle ever since its inception.
This is, of course, one of the points of confusion: How can Father be the substantial God when in the Principle we say that the Messiah is not God? Please tell me you’ve thought about this a little bit, national presidents. This is of paramount importance, you understand. It is very important. So how is Father God, when the Principle clearly says he’s not? I think that would be somewhat of a conundrum. Depends on your Christology. Now in a certain form of Christology we have the concept of 50-50, half man, half God.
I think the clearest form of Christology is this: Christ is 100 percent man and he’s 100 percent God. Not 50-50, not 80-20. It’s 100-100. When you see him, yes, in one aspect he’s not God, he’s 100 percent man. That’s true. But when you look from another perspective, he’s not only man, he’s also God, right? If you have a Christological awareness with the 100-100 system, then you can get a grasp of this ostensible paradox which is something very profound.
This is of course a huge development in our movement, because I think most lay members do not have an understanding of True Father in the way that he’s describing now. It’s such a new and revolutionary teaching that seemingly, ostensibly contradicts the Principle. So if you’re not really thinking hard, you’re going to say, “Oh, this is a contradiction.” No, it’s not actually.
At first, people may think this teaching is very strange. No, this is huge, in terms of progressive revelation and in terms of messianic awareness. This is humongous. Absolutely historic. It is changing the history, literally. All the cosmic conditions that would have led one way into one future path are being totally reformulated and all the cosmic conditions are leading to a different direction, which actually brings us closer to Christianity and separates the huge chasm we had with our Christian brethren.
If you have a nuanced Christological vision and view when you are in the presence of True Father, you will experience a different reality because you are using all the senses of heartistic emotion, intellect and will, centered on Principle and centered on Father’s word, to engage with his being. You see? That is a totally different experience.
If you see your children as constant problems then you’ll have one experience with your children. But if you experience your children understanding that any type of challenges we face will make us closer together, this is a process of growing. And with your spouse. Just by a simple shift, you will experience a different reality, right? It’s not that your spouse is suddenly a different person and all of a sudden, she looks 10 times more amazing and beautiful; it’s because you shifted your constant nagging perspective about your spouse. Amazing. You will actually have a totally different experience, completely, and your life will be changed.
This is the same thing. I would say it’s even bigger because your whole internal life is in question as well. Huge.
If we understand who Christ is, who True Father is, and that True Mother, although she comes from the God of Day as Father said, is perfected and victorious through all the trials and tribulations that True Mother must go through and is perfected into God as God’s wife through True Father, the Christ, then we have the immense victory, cosmic victory. Incredible. No person on earth could have done it except for True Mother. Then we can understand the value of True Mother. Nobody could have walked that course.
The Testimony of Lan Young Moon
I’ve been following around Father now since March. I’ve never been sick for a month in my whole life. I was ill for a month straight, with multiple ailments. I’m trying to point out that following Father around is so extremely challenging. He is physically transcendent of human limitations. I’ve been around a lot of religious leaders. I’ve never been with a religious leader who speaks 23.5 hours like that. Never.
And not only physically. There’s also a lot of mental, psychological, spiritual temptation to see Father just with your physical eyes and not with your trained spiritual eyes. As you know, Father is not one emotion all the time. He’s extremely unpredictable. If you have a schedule, cancel it because it’s not going to be in existence if you’re tailing the Lord. You have to just release all your desires; just completely throw it away because what is of paramount importance is being with the Lord.
I remember Lan Young Moon, the Women’s Federation for World Peace president, gave a testimony. She said when her mother was about to pass away, she was with True Parents in Alaska. She told True Father, I must go to Korea to attend my mother because the doctors are saying she will probably pass away today or tomorrow. He said, “Let the dead bury the dead.” Jesus said the same thing.
Do you understand how immensely shocking that is? It’s probably less shocking for us. If you’re a Jew 2,000 years ago in Jerusalem, not burying your loved one is like spitting in their face. You understand that, right? The Mosaic law that regulate the daily life, routine and choice of Jews is very serious. If you look at it, you’ll see how detailed it is. And Sharia law is also very detailed for Muslims. It’s shocking for somebody like Jesus, who was basically a nobody from society’s viewpoint, a beggar walking around in sandals with not that many disciples, a revolutionary wacko, to say, “Let the dead bury the dead.”
And then what does he do? It’s not as if he goes off and shows them the Kingdom of Heaven, and he flies up and shows them palaces. No. They just hang out with him. Nothing special. “Let the dead bury the dead.” Okay, so it must be something very important I have to do here near the Lord. Yes, sit down, have a piece of fish. That’s it.
That’s what Lan Young Moon was thinking: “Oh, maybe True Father has some profound, mysterious, cosmic teaching to give me.” He said, “Go fishing.”
If you look at that with your physical eyes, then you will think, “Oh, that’s terrible. How can a loving God do that?” You’ll think that, but you’ll have sinned as well. The loving God gives life and takes it away.
The difficulty here was that in Lan Young Moon’s perspective, there was nothing special that happened. She was expecting something that had to be of greater amplitude or significance than the passing of a parent, something immense. But it was just sitting down and eating a piece of fish. She was saying how angry she became. “Father, my mother is dying. I can never see her again. I never saw her last breath because of you; you told me to eat a piece of fish!” She said she got angry, which is I think the normal human emotional reaction.
I’m not going to say you committed a sin. I’m not the judge. But when I listened to her testimony, she said, “I had to repent. I realized that I committed a sin.”
What does it mean to be in the presence of the Lord? How many excuses do we want to make to not be there, when we say we want to be there? I have this challenge on a daily basis. How vigorous are we in our self-reflectivity, reflecting on ourselves with as much objectivity as possible? When you examine your emotions, your mind states, you realize that being around Father is not easy. It’s not like a calm lake in your mind. No. It’s like the ocean, always surging.
Fishing and a Life of Faith
Father knows that I do not like fishing at all. I’m a vegetarian for six years, and I really don’t like catching fish. My kids love it, but I’m not into fishing. But I have to go fishing all the time because I’m chasing Father around. But I realized one thing on the boat. I realized you have to make two choices. Number one, you stay vertically centered as the thing is rocking; otherwise you’re going to get sick. Or number two, you surrender and have to lay down.
That’s like a life of faith. There’s always the rocking of the boat on the ocean. It’s not like sitting next to a beautiful stream in the mountain where nothing’s moving under you, where you sit and listen to the stream, and I can listen to the birds, and I can see the warm moss with the sunlight on it, with a mushroom under the pine tree. I can see that. It’s not moving around like a crazy thing.
When you’re on the ocean, it does not stay still. It never ceases to move. Even on a very calm day, it’s still moving. There are the after-effects when you come back onto normal ground and you still feel like rocking. I’m sure any of you who have been serious ocean fishing have felt that. The ocean doesn’t stay still. This makes me angry, and I feel like yelling at the ocean, “Stay still!” It doesn’t listen to me. I’m not the Lord.
But I thought that “yes, this is like our faith life.” Why does Father like fishing so much? Why doesn’t he like meditating near a stream, a nice mountain, with no bears or whatever? He likes the ocean. That thing is constantly moving. You’re not 100 percent all the time but you’re always trying to balance and keep a center and not get seasick in your life of faith. Or you can surrender to God and let God take you wherever the boat will go. You may have to do both actually. I’ve done both on the boat.
I truly feel, national leaders, that it is important that we have a very rich understanding of who True Father is. Who is Christ? This is the most fundamental theological question. It’s related to who God is. For us to have a perspective of Christ that is profound and can point to his essence, his being, and thus the importance of True Father being on earth, is of utmost importance.
Many of the congregants in your countries with these new, seemingly mysterious teachings may be confused. This is actually a great opportunity to clarify and help uplift and glorify God and the son whom he has sent.
It’s my hope that when you come this time, you’re coming in with that heart you have when you’re participating in the birthday celebrations, when you’re walking in the parade. It’s going to be wonderful. We’re going to be declaring what we believe. We’re not shy about it, not hiding it any more. Declare what we believe. Why are we hiding? Declare who True Parents are. No shame about it because it’s true.
Atheism, Theism and Relativism
We have incredible events this time. We have festivities, we have a parade. If you look at the schedule, we have all sorts of interreligious offerings to True Parents in terms of ceremonies and different celebratory performances. Also, we have what I feel is very exciting – at the CARP World Assembly we’re going to be focusing on the theism and atheism debate, which is awesome. You guys have got to start reading some of this stuff. It’s good. Very good. So important. Especially if you’re near a communist country, it’s critical, so critical.
I’ve studied many religions, but I can say studying Buddhism helped me immensely in many different ways. I would say that studying Buddhism’s many forms of meditative practice helped me to control the mind to a better degree than before. But it did not help me in my relationship with God, or my understanding of God – let’s say my assurance of God. Because that aspect is not essential to the Buddhist path.
There are Western Buddhists who say Buddhism is atheistic. No, if you look at Buddhism, it never denies God or gods, but it says that it’s not the real focus; we’re going to focus on wisdom, morality, compassion. This helped me immensely on a personal level, on a training level. I was always a martial artist, so I always loved the training aspect of meditation. That was immense. But it didn’t help me, honestly, in my understanding of God, which, of course, is fundamental to existence. Philosophically it’s fundamental to existence. The question of whether there is a God or not a God is fundamental to your existence. We just don’t want to think about it.
I don’t want to go into it because it can become very long, but if we are all simply a product of evolutionary processes, then our morality has no real value. It’s just simple relativism. One tribe says, “Love your neighbor,” another tribe says, “Eat your neighbor” – just different cultures and different perspectives. That’s relativism.
Of course, what relativism doesn’t realize is that it relativizes itself because the position of relativism is an absolute position. Of course, then philosophically relativizes itself.
So if you look at the theist-atheist debate, you’re going to come to a more nuanced and a stronger logical grasp of why it is God exists, why it is much more plausible that He exists than that He does not exist. This is the whole debate, and it’s fantastic. For me, I didn’t think about this until I really started wrestling with theistic philosophy, particularly the work of William Lane Craig, which I love. He has an excellent mind. He’s maybe not the best New Testament scholar, but he has a PhD in New Testament studies and he’s a philosopher from Germany. He has a pinpoint sharp mind.
I’m sorry to say we were not at the forefront of developing theistic philosophy. The Christians were at the forefront. Alvin Plantinga at Notre Dame, William Lane Craig at Talbot University – the level of mind is fantastic. No one can say theists are stupid.
So what we’re doing is focusing on the arguments for God’s existence, because if you don’t believe in God, then what’s the value of the Principle, right? What’s this whole business of Adam and Eve and Jesus and Noah and Moses and the Ark and animals – it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t believe in God.
So one of the first questions for me as a second-generation having heard the Principle growing up was, “Does God exist?” What value do any of these things have to me, whether it be Blessing or Adam and Eve or the Fall? This has nothing to do with me if God doesn’t exist. Do you see how hugely essential this is?
In the West, particularly Europe and America, what they call the new atheism is a very aggressive atheism. It’s sort of communism cloaked in a new manner. New York Times bestseller lists [includes] authors who are new atheists – Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris – who are coming from not only medical perspectives but evolutionary biology. Very intelligent people but horrible philosophers. Brilliant scientists but terrible logicians.
And they’re going into this stuff, and because it attacks the layman’s mind, people buy in very quickly. If young people buy into communism, it can change a whole generation. Same thing, if they’re buying into new atheism, which of course people in the West are, especially on the university campuses, saying, “I don’t think there’s God; there’s not enough good reasons, proofs.” That’s what we’re tackling.
We’re going in with five main arguments, which, when you delve into it, are huge arguments, which are using the best of logic, the best of philosophy, the best, of course, science. Science is absolutely critical to the arguments. And so our young people will be debating.
At this point they’re training, so please don’t misunderstand when you see them. There are actually two of them; one is an atheist position, one is a theistic position. They’re both Unificationists. It’s not as if one is an actual atheist. We’re still learning the concepts. We’re also learning how to debate, so we’re still training.
Our Korean team has been training, wrestling with the concepts and counter-arguments. Remember how we used to train for VOC (Victory Over Communism)? We would do the communist side. This is important for training when you go into debate, to know the other side.
And then we want to go out onto the campuses and argue it with real atheists, invite the biology professor, invite the Who’s Who and do it with bravery. Stand up for what you believe. You believe in God? Tell me why. Our young people who have been trained in this can tell you why.
And then Principle makes a lot more sense. It’s going to have a lot more meaning to me because I have much greater certainty in the existence of a personal God, and the argumentation is all there. It’s going to make a lot more sense to me when I read the Principle, when I try to live with the Principle. So we have that kind of exciting thing too, and we hope you guys enjoy that. Don’t attack the poor child who is in the atheist position, okay? Don’t corner him or her when they go back home. I know you’re all good people; you wouldn’t do such a thing.
We have incredible festivities. It’s a time to be proud of who you are as Unificationists. We believe True Father, True Parents. We believe that Christ is here. We believe that of course he is announced, that the fatherland is here, that we must bring unity to the North and the South. We were just in North Korea a couple of times. Really immense experience, life-changing experience. Unforgettable. At times very grateful, but also sorrowful. I don’t want to go into details, but just really, the world needs hope. It really needs a savior.
So this whole week, brothers and sisters, is where we’re celebrating the Savior. I welcome you to Korea and I invite you to participate in the wonderful celebrations. Be joyful, be proud, be filled with praise and thanksgiving. We’re in the presence of the Lord and we’re going to do mighty things, proclaiming his name, sharing True Parents with the world. God bless you, brothers and sisters.
Dearest, most beloved Heavenly Father, our most beloved True Parents, we thank You so much that we’re gathered here. We can see all our wonderful brothers and sisters from all over the nations, Father. Nations have come on bended knees before Your throne. Father, we pray that this day You may bless these children, Father, that You may bless us so we can go out and proclaim the great news. We can see with new eyes the resurrected perspective. Father, we can see and experience Christ in his full glory right in front of our eyes.
Father, we pray that we can deeply peer into the mysteries of Your progressive revelations through True Father, that we can see the richness of what it is You are telling this world. Father, we pray that this can not only transform our own lives but also transform every single person we touch.
Father, we pray that You will give us the wisdom, You will give us unending hope, You always will give us constant ability to be self-reflective and honest about ourselves, to be also able to repent before You of our sin. And Father, that we may come through not as darkened souls, but we may come through understanding the grace of Your forgiveness and love coming into the light of Your grace.
Father, we pray that that light may spread to the world, Father, that that hope and that unity that comes through understanding, that peace that comes through understanding True Parents, Father, will be magnified throughout this cosmos, Father, that all the spirit world will be mobilized to work with us, and that even small things will cascade to great miracles.
Father, we pray this time that we will be able to focus on the true nature of Christ, of the chosen one, the True Parents, that we may at this time proclaim them through the streets of the capital of the fatherland, that we may do it as spiritual pilgrims who have come seeking the highest, seeking the divine, seeking Christ himself.
We pray that You give us the spirit of the Holy Ghost, and Father, that we may move together as one heart and one mind to glorify You and True Parents. Thank you so much. We pray all these things in our names as central blessed families, Aju.