And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God
We are exposed as we really are before God because our lies cannot hide anything from Him. This means you cannot even trust me 100%. I have human weaknesses. That's an honest and frank statement. However, I am introducing you to a person you can trust 100%: God. My mortal body will live only one generation here on earth, but God will remain here forever. ...
(and Father continues further on)
Why am I asking you to go the road of suffering? First, it is for you; second, for your own generations to come and third, for your own nation, and for the sake of the world; maybe after that for God's and my sake. Actually, whether you do these things or not will not affect my position at all. I have my own Position in heaven and earth. Nobody can change it or alter it. So why do I keep pushing you? For your own sake, for your own children, your own country. Whoever defies my teaching is actually defying his own self, his own posterity, his own country, and the benefit of the world and God. He is not defying me at all. He is defying himself
My full title this morning is actually, Absolute Faith, Blind Faith, and Judging God's Prophets.
We all have different ways of relating to God and to our spiritual leaders. We run the whole spectrum from a horizontal to a vertical point of view. I tend to be very intellectual, and my wife tends to be very heartistic. We all reflect different aspects of God's nature.
I'm not so spiritual, and I don't have such a vertical standard of attendance. I went shopping once with Claire Cotter, to buy some personal items for Rev. Kwak. We must have gone to five or six stores looking at different types of slippers. She really struggled over which package of throat lozenges would be the best. Her way of relating to him was was so different than mine.
But I remember one time when God gave me a spiritual insight about my central figure. I had been in the Church for 5 years and my parents wanted to see me. Onni Durst had advised me not to meet them because they were going to try and kidnap me. I prayed quite hard about it and God clearly showed me how high Mrs. Durst was spiritually compared to me, and that I should listen to her. Two days later I went to see my folks and they did kidnap me. But I'll never forget that moment of spiritual clarity when I understood the vertical relationship between me and one of my spiritual leaders.
Has Father made mistakes in his life? Admittedly - yes. He has.
Then, how shall we, as religious men and women in the year 2,000 evaluate and respond to the actions and guidance of such a man?
We live in an age of reason, and scientific understanding, of democratic principles and of human rights celebrating the equality of all men. The culture and society we live in does not embrace the idea of absolute faith and absolute obedience. Rather, we feel called by our conscience and our rational minds to carefully consider the guidance we receive, to evaluate that guidance and those who give it, and to act in such a way as to protect our own integrity according to our conscience.
Before I answer my own question, I would like to provide some historical perspective.
In the Bible, God called Noah to build an Ark. I'm quite sure that Noah was not perfect. He probably made a lot of mistakes. He sure wasn't very good at PR. I suspect that God would have been a lot happier if more people had been able to believe what Noah was saying. So he had some serious shortcomings.
But somehow, someway, he fulfilled a condition of faith and received God's approval for it. In the Divine Principle, we say that he successfully achieved a Foundation of Faith.
What about the people around Noah at that time? God asked them to have Absolute Faith in Noah, and thereby inherit Noah's foundation. What do you think the difference between belief and Absolute Faith meant in Noah's time. If there were any believers around Noah - then they might have been cheerleaders, giving him a word of encouragement from time to time. I don't think there were many. However, anyone who had Absolute Faith, would have gotten on the boat. That turned out to be a big difference.
Who was qualified to judge Noah? It turns out that only God was qualified. In fact, when Ham judged Noah and shared his opinion with his brothers, God cursed him.
At the time of Moses, he too achieved a Foundation of Faith which God accepted. For 40 years he lived in Pharaoh's palace but didn't lose his integrity or his faith in God. On that foundation, God called him to his mission. But Moses was a hot headed guy. He murdered an Egyptian. Later on, God reprimanded him, and he did it in writing! But I suspect that the Jews in that culture, didn't need the 10 Commandments to know that they weren't supposed to kill Egyptians. It had been whipped into them for 400 years.
But God asked them to have faith in Moses and to unite with him. If they had, they could have made it to the Promised Land quite quickly - perhaps in 3 weeks of serious walking.
However, they didn't have faith. In fact they judged Moses as a murderer. Moses had to tend sheep for 40 years. But the Jews had serve as slaves for 40 years.
At the time of Jesus - he clearly asked the Jewish people to believe in him and follow him. They didn't and they ended up losing their nation and being scattered around the world. But one man in particular judged Jesus. Judas was quite a modern man in his day.
Compared to the rest of the Disciples, he was much more educated and much more pragmatic. From his perspective, Jesus was making PR mistakes bigtime. He was also wasting scarce money on silly things like expense oils for questionable women. That money I'm sure was earned by the sweat and blood of 12 Disciples who probably got beat and spit at more often then they received donations.
But when Judas ended up judging Jesus, not only did he lose the blessing, but he was really cursed.
So then let's talk about Father.
We have all heard questions being raised about Father from time to time.
Back in the `80s, Father was labeled as a tax evader.
Following Nan-Sook's book, some members had crises of faith, because they were struggling with the possibility that Father might have made mistakes which could disqualify him from serving as the True Parent.
More recently, some have asked if it possible that Father could have matched one of his children to someone who had had a previous relationship?
Is this true? I don't know? But the key point for me is that, if he did, I don't feel qualified to judge such a thing.
I do know that Father has said that if Adam had remained faithful, then he could have easily restored Eve. In such a case, Eve might still have become the first True Mother. So from my point of view - almost anything is possible in the realm of God's love, and I have no basis to evaluate Father's action.
I've heard concerns that Father has consulted spiritualists regarding the matching of his own children. How could someone in Father's position need to do such a thing? Well, again, I have no factual knowledge of whether or not such a thing is true. But I do know that even God consulted with the Angels in the creation of Adam and Eve. If God saw fit to avail himself of spiritual consultation, I have no problem if Father does it too.
I could go on and on, about concerns and criticisms that I have heard about Father. But you get the point.
I don't believe that we are in a position to Judge God's central figures and prophets. This is hard to accept in our modern Democratic tradition. Here in America, we learn from childhood that we are the judges of our government, including our President. We are the shareholders, and we elect the Board of Governors, and we must vigilantly evaluate and judge the behaviors of our elected leaders, and remove them when they stray off course. That's our tradition. So people like you and me, we need to learn about military strategy, so we can judge whether the President's intervention in Kosova was warranted or irresponsible. We need to become experts on technology, so that we can decide whether or not NASA is managing the Martian exploration responsibly. We need to become experts on finance and economics, to decide whether or not to support the WTO or whether or not we are compromising Social Security by pushing for a Tax Cut.
Now I don't know how well Democracy actually works in practice. There are some bad politicians that we just can't seem to get rid of. And with all the money floating around Washington, I'm not sure just how much our government officials are actually listening to folks like you and me. Still, we enjoy our Democratic identities and the feeling that we are in control.
But how do you Judge the action of the True Parents? Father has indicated that he has Blessed 60 billion couples in the Spirit World. Are we in the position to say Father - these 59 billion were appropriate Blessings, but those billion over there - Father, what were you thinking about?
I don't think we are in a position to Judge what Father does. I think we need to leave that up to God.
Several months ago, at Dan Fefferman's request, I testified before the Maryland Commission on Cults. They were trying to demonstrate that I was unable to think for myself, and so they asked me a cute question: "Do you think that Rev. Moon has ever done anything wrong?" It was a very uncomfortable question and I had to think for a minute. As the tension from my silence rose in the room, I finally said: "Well, if it were up to me, I would have never made Inchon". Everybody laughed - but actually, I want to publicly repent for that statement. From a business perspective, it may have been an unsuccessful project - and as a movie, I wasn't overly impressed. But I suspect that neither was the primary motivation for the movie. I believe that Father felt compelled to demonstrate his gratitude to General MacArthur and to the courageous men and women who liberated him and Korea during the Korean War. So I am not in a position to judge.
Recently Rev. Kwak said something that challenged my concepts about Heaven. He said that we look at Heaven as a place or a destination, and so we have a lot of concerns about how it is going to be managed or organized. From this perspective - the idea of a Heavenly Monarchy is not so comfortable for Americans.
But what he said is that Heaven is a state of heart, not a place. The reason that Heaven is empty is because people have not reached that level of heart where they can be a channel of God's unselfish love. Someone who has not reached such a level, will not feel comfortable being around others who have. They will feel judged. But for someone who has reached that level, he will spontaneously want to serve God and his fellow men. He won't be hung up by questions of position or authority - because he will contribute freely and spontaneously from his heart, not because someone has to ask him to do so. Such a concept is quite different than the one I grew up with. It is much more consistent with the ideal of one big family than of some kind of Heavenly Kingdom.
So than what about Blind Faith, Absolute Faith, and Judgement?
To me, Blind Faith means setting aside my own rational intelligence and accepting things which I know are not true. I reject such a proposition and I believe that the majority of the members of our movement would also reject such an idea.
So then, how can one have Absolute Faith in the face of leadership which is capable of making mistakes?
I think we need to understand the purpose of Absolute Faith.
I believe that Absolute Faith is a condition which God gives us out of his heart of love, to allow us to inherit something of tremendously great value, even though we may not be worthy.
God is desperate to complete the restoration of Mankind. He does so by finding one small foundation which he can claim, and then multiplying it. That is why God has always worked through central figures. He has waited and waited until someone comes along who is qualified and capable of establishing a Foundation of Faith which God can accept. That's like finding a needle in the haystack of history. There have only been a few successes.
However, once God has accepted such a foundation, then he immediately seeks to multiply it, by asking others to have Absolute Faith in the Central Figure. For those who have such faith, they can inherit the successful foundation of the Central Figure. In the case of Noah, it meant that they could have survived the Flood. In the case of Moses, they could have escaped Slavery. In the case of Jesus, through a simple condition of Faith, Christians are freed from satanic accusation in the Spirit World.
In the case of Father, he has asked us to have Absolute Faith. Is this a trick he is using to galvanize control over mankind? I don't think so. Does this mean that we should assume that Father never has and never will make a mistake? I don't think that either.
But I believe that Father's instructions to us are motivated by God's deepest most urgent love, to allow us to inherit the incredible foundation which Father has achieved, through the smallest of conditions on our part. God and Father both want everyone to be part of the Heavenly Kingdom. Father has already said that he bequeathes his entire Foundation of Spiritual Victory to us. But do we inherit it automatically?
I think Absolute Faith represents a simple condition for us to inherit that Foundation.
So can we speak out if we think that Father is making a mistake? Yes - I believe we can. If we offer it up as advice. Clearly Father listens to advice. He has changed strategies many times and has learned from failures to achieve successes later on. Absolute Faith is not Blind Faith. If we receive inspiration about how something can be improved, we should offer that up. But we have to have the right heart. If we offer up an opinion which is contaminated with judgement - then I don't think it can be received. If we offer advice with a prayerful heart - then I believe God can use it.
Don't get hung up on whether or not God agrees with your opinion. Offer it up and feel liberated that you have acted on your conscience. You or I are not in a position to evaluate True Parents. Ultimately God will be the judge, and I trust that God is absolutely motivated to elevate you and me and the rest of mankind into the highest realms of Heaven in the shortest possible time - and I can live with that.
I would like to conclude with one more reading.
Why does God require us to have obedience? It is not for the sake of God's joy but for the sake of man's joy. God puts man in the position of His ideal object and gives him the responsibility of completing the purpose of recreation. Thus, man must push away and overcome the factors of the fall. Because the fall originated from disobedience, God must order us to have absolute obedience as a necessary condition to restore this. Therefore in our religious way of life we cannot complain. We have no excuse; we must have absolute obedience.
Absolute obedience is a hardship, but the purpose of hardship is to set conditions to allow us to stand in the perfected position, and achieve God's original goal of creation. Therefore, if we undergo hardships and sacrifice, we can come to stand in the perfection sphere. We must go this way because there is no other way, and religion cannot but emphasize the necessity of the way of hardships.
In order to overcome the way of the fall, there is no way other than the way of absolute obedience. God has no choice but to require this of us. In the way of restoration, complaint is never permissible.
To follow in the path of absolute faith and obedience, we must go hopefully and joyfully. This is the way of recreation, and therefore it is the way of hope.