Monday, July 13, 2009

The Divine Principle 4: General Introduction - Causes of failures of religion

The Rainbow set as the symbol of the Covenant ...Image via Wikipedia

The rainbow set as a symbol of the Covenant with Noah after the Great Flood

Text from Divine Principle, General Introduction, fourth set of paragraphs:

"The relationship between the essential world and the phenomenal world is similar to that between mind and body. It is the relationship between cause and result, internal and external, subjective and objective. Since man can attain perfect personality only when his mind and body become harmonized in perfect oneness, the ideal world can be realized only when the two worlds--one of essence, the other of phenomena--have been joined in perfect unity.

As it is with the relationship between mind and body, so there can also be no phenomenal world apart from the essential world and no essential world apart from the phenomenal world. Neither can there be a spiritual world apart from a physical world, nor spiritual happiness apart from true physical happiness. Religion has until now de-emphasized the value of everyday reality; it has denied the value of physical happiness in order to stress the attainment of spiritual joy. However strenuously man may try, he cannot cut himself off from reality, nor can he annihilate the desire for physical happiness that follows him always like a shadow.

In reality, the desire for physical happiness persistently takes hold of men of religion, leading them into the depths of agony. Such a contradiction exists even in the lives of spiritual leaders. Many spiritual leaders, torn by such contradictions, have met a sad end. Herein is a principal cause for the weakness and inactivity of today's religions; the weakness lies in the contradiction which has not yet been overcome.

Another factor has fated religion to decline. Modern men, whose intelligence has developed to the utmost degree, demand scientific proof for all things. However, religious doctrine, which remains unchanged, does not interpret things scientifically. That is to say, man's interpretation of internal truth (religion) and his interpretation of external truth (science) do not agree.

The ultimate purpose of religion can be fulfilled only by first believing in and then by practicing the truth. But true belief cannot come about today without knowledge and understanding. We study the Bible to confirm our belief by knowing the truth. Jesus' performance of miracles and his revelation of signs were to let the people know that he was the Messiah and enable them to believe in him. Knowledge comes from cognition, and man today cannot cognize anything which lacks logic and scientific proof. To understand something, there must first be cognition. Thus, internal truth also requires logical proof. Religion has been moving through the long course of history toward an age in which it must be explained scientifically.

Religion and science began with the missions of dispelling, respectively, the two aspects of human ignorance. In their courses, these two areas of thought and exploration came into apparently uncompromising conflict with each other. In order for man to attain the good purpose of the original mind's desire, there must come a time when there is a new expression of truth, enabling mankind to bring these two matters together under one unified theme. These two matters are religion, which has been coming closer to science, and science, which has been approaching religion.

It may be displeasing to religious believers, especially to Christians, to learn that a new expression of truth must appear. They believe that the Bible, which they now have, is perfect and absolute in itself. Truth, of course, is unique, eternal, unchangeable, and absolute. The Bible, however, is not the truth itself, but a textbook teaching the truth. Naturally, the quality of teaching and the method and extent of giving the truth must vary according to each age, for the truth is given to people of different ages, who are at different spiritual and intellectual levels. Therefore, we must not regard the textbook as absolute in every detail (cf. Part I, Ch. 3, Sec. V--129)."

HTML clipboard

Although the religions of the past have done many good things for the people of the world, they have not been able to build an ideal world as purposed by God. There are to be mentioned several reasons for this.

The Divine Principle book of Sun Myung Moon lists two main causes for the failure of religion. First there is the inability of religion to unite the internal and external world, the world of essence and that of phenomenons, the spiritual world and the physical world. A second and related cause mentioned is that there hasn't been a logical proof for religious doctrine, and religion could not explain or always unite with the findings of science. To overcome these problems, a new truth must come to solve these problems, according to the Divine Principle of Sun Myung Moon.

Here i wish to focus on what is the essence of faith. All religions that are centered on God the Creator expect that their believers have faith in God. It is through faith in God the Creator that we can advance in our spiritual development. Also the Divine Principle book is stating this, see later chapters.

Of course there are also religions that do not recognize God the Creator, or who place God the Creator along in a line of other revered deities. Religions that recognize God as the Creator do however expect each believer to have faith in God in a personal relationship.

There are many examples of central figures of faith who lived in the past in a time that science was not yet developed as much as in the present time. These religious individuals stand today as models for us to follow. For example in the Judeo-Christian realm there are such men as Noah, Abraham, Jacob, David, Elijah, Jesus, Francis of Assisi. All these central figures of faith, all being men of stature on different levels in their own frame of time, have taught us the meaning of faith.

What is faith? Can faith be acquired by understanding and knowledge first of all? Faith always comes from having a personal relationship to God. Noah built the ark because he obeyed God's will. Noah did not know that it was going to rain for a long time. It were not knowledge and understanding that formed his faith. In fact, from the viewpoint of knowledge, many people around him who based their judgment on what were reasonable from a human point of view, did persecute Noah. All people who received a central mission in God's world have gone through similar persecution from people who could not understand with their logical mind.

Although true scientific findings will always be in accordance with true religious principles (which are not the same as religious dogmas) we never come to a close relationship with God through our understanding firstly. A person of faith reaches heights of spirituality through his faith in God, that is faith in doing God's will as revealed to him or her personally. From doing God's will, from having faith, understanding can be built up about the phenomenal world in accordance with scientific discoveries.

Such kind of faith is based on God's love for that person and on that person's love for God. A person of faith wants to do God's will out of love, not because he or she understands or can logically deduct that this somehow will work out the best.

Always in our lives of faith we are placed again and again in situations in which we cannot see our future, we cannot reason it ahead of time, we just feel compelled to do what we know God wants us to do. It is only later, after having done God's will, that we understand that God's will was really the best for us, and was in accordance with external developments which occured.

When Jacob left his home being threatened by his brother Esau, Jacob could not know what his future would be. It was his faith in God while working for his uncle Laban for a few decades that taught him that it was good to obey God's will. He could not know this in advance as he did not know how God was going to work with him. He could not foresee that God would make him the ancestor of a people of Israel whom God would make into a tribe and a nation as the center of God's Providence.

The main problem therefore that has befallen on religions of the past is that many of its central figures have not lived a true life of faith, but instead lived acoording to dead dogmas. This problem cannot be solved entirely by the uniting of religion and science. It is my conviction that when people really are doing God's will, God will reveal truth to them that is in accordance with true scientific findings. The unity of good religion and good science will come about as a logical result from the lives of people living in faith in the only God the Creator.

The former blog in these Divine Principle series

The next blog in these Divine Principle series

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Stumble Upon Toolbar

No comments:

Post a Comment