Chapter 1 - The Meaning Of Religion And Its Mission
Section 2. The Need For Religion
1. The Reason Religion Is Needed
Each one of you is also a person of religion. There are many different kinds of religions. Our Unification Church is considered one denomination among them. We can see that for many religions, according to their cultural and environmental situations, many historical reformations came about.
Then why do we need such religions? Among all the things of creation, only man needs religion. This thing called religion, what does it call subject as it goes on its way? It is not a way centered on man alone. Centered on God, religion is what is realized by the relationship between God and man.
Then did man start religion, or if there is a God, did God start religion first? There are many different opinions about that. Which is it? It is God. Originally if there had been no fall religion would not have been necessary. Then who fell? If we consider the problem of what the being is which initiated the bringing of religion, the conclusion points to man. Then did fallen man try to go before God? When we consider that man did that to try to form a relationship with God, we find the words that it is not man but God who started first.
When we took at it this way, on the whole, what is the main reason for religion coming into existence? Of course, it is possible that having fallen, man could present such a cause, but we cannot help but see that the basic motivation presented by God is the initiating motivation. (92-296)
Because man fell religion is necessary and the Savior is necessary. If man had not fallen, then Jesus, or a Savior or religion would not have been necessary. Mankind would have at once become one with God and lived centered on the eternal God's love here on this earth, and the sons and daughters born of that kind of mother and father, their descendants and that country would all have come into the Kingdom of Heaven. Because after having lived like that on earth they would have gone to heaven, they would have gone from the Kingdom of Heaven on earth into the Kingdom of Heaven in heaven. Hell came into existence because of the fall, and Jesus, the Savior and things like religion came into existence. (53-296)
1) Religion Is Necessary to All Humankind
Then is religion necessary for all humankind? Or is it just necessary for some special people? What do you think? There are some people who say that it will be all right to go to church later when they are old and about to die and then they will believe in Jesus and go to heaven. Such people can never go to heaven.
Because God has come through thousands of years as the God of unity, a person who cannot unite with God's elements of goodness, can, not go into the united world of heaven. It is natural law that this world cannot be contacted through any special means or methods. Therefore, God resolved the sorrows of the world of humankind and established religion as a means to save humankind.
Then what kind of person needs religion? Today some university professors and some intellectuals say that religion is something weak people believe in. If we analyze those people from the standpoint of the original nature, they are not even human beings. They are usually evil people who oppose the elements of unity. As long as such people exist world peace is not possible.
Religion is not necessary for only a special small group of people; it is necessary for everyone. And it is not just necessary for the people of today, it was necessary for people in the past as well. They just died without knowing this content. And the people of the future will need to know this and religion will be necessary for them too. (18-3 20)
2) The Purpose of Religion
What is the purpose for establishing religion? It is to get rid of all the wild olive shoots of the world. Until now we didn't know this. Religion didn't know this. Then what is the mission of religious people? Transforming all the wild olive shoots into true olive shoots is the responsibility of the many religions and the religious people.
What is this asking us to do? Since we fell away from God and became sinners, for the first time we should become good people and return to God. It is a movement to return to God. Then what is the purpose of religion? It is to save humankind and to return to God. Then what is the individual purpose of the life of faith of religious people?
Until now religious people thought, "Ah, since I believe in a religion, I will be saved and I will be fine." Well, the proper way for a person of faith to think is: I believe in a religion in order to save the people of the world and to bring them back to God. What kind of people are true religious people, true people of faith? They are the people who think, "I believe in this religion in order to bring my nation back to God, in order to bring the world back to God. It's not to save my own sons and daughters and my descendants first. Rather, let's save the nation and the world first."
It's resolving this first before seeking my own sons and daughters. If the nation is saved, my family and my sons and daughters are saved together. If the world is saved, my country is saved at the same time. Then a true religion is one which seeks to save humankind. The person who saves humankind and brings humankind back to God is a true religious person. In saving this world, would God want to save America first or the whole world first? [The world first!] (80-201)
Then how can we distinguish a true religion? In Christianity, if you are Presbyterian you say the Presbyterian Church is right; if you are Methodist, you say the Methodist Church is right. In this way the 400 denominations of Christianity are fighting with each other and the Catholic Church says it is right. . . So in the religious wars around 500,000 people were slaughtered. Each of them says they are right and fights the others; then which one do you think is true?
And furthermore, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Islam all think they are the best, but do you know which one is the true religion? What is a true religion? It must advocate returning to the original world. God's providence of salvation. What is salvation? Saving a person who is ill is returning to the state prior to becoming ill. Until now no one knew what the purpose of salvation was. There has been no conclusion about the exact meaning of it.
In this confused world, the Unification Church put forth the exact meaning of religion. Then what is the providence of salvation? The Providence of Salvation is the Providence of Restoration. The discovery of the word "Restoration" is a great discovery. What is restoration? Let's return to the world before Adam and Eve sinned when they could receive God's love directly. This is the ultimate object of the providence of salvation. This is not just for all humankind; it includes heaven and earth,. . . . Therefore God's purpose of salvation and the messiah's purpose of salvation are one in that their purpose is to save us. They are all the same.
What is the reason we believe a religion? There is no other reason than to find a world without sin, the original world with God. The people of the world are brothers and sisters. They are brothers and sisters. Let's become one with them and return. Let's return to the world of God's love. (80-203)
The purpose behind God's providence of salvation is to find this world. Then why did He send the messiah? The reason for sending the messiah is also to find this world. Now we know the purpose of religion. Religion is for the world . . . to find it and next it is for the messiah . . . So the Messiah comes and gives all the people here the qualification of being sons and daughters. . . Originally only if one becomes God's sons and daughters can one go into heaven; adopted children cannot go in. That is to say, only if one qualifies as a son or daughter can one go in. (80-284)
3) The Highest Purpose That Religion is Heading For
Then what is the unfinished work that the creator wants to give to humankind? It is not the earth that people are living on. It is not the physical earth. What we need to inherit is not something limited to this earth. On the foundation of the earth, God wants to bequeath to humankind the everlasting, eternal world, the immense world without boundaries.
And that is not all. He wants to give of course the heavens and the earth and even the very creator of the cosmos himself. Where is the destination of a true religion? It is not the earth. It is not the earth. Everything is heading towards the one God who is at the center. God has directed history by establishing religion and heading towards that in the form of an individual, family, tribe, society, and nation.
Until now this God could not give the blessing of the heavens and the earth and God himself. He could not give the blessing, "All these things I give to you." What did God want to give to the Israelite people who prided themselves on being the chosen people? Before giving himself, God wanted to give his son. But they beat and killed that son. Because they were God's chosen people, through his son He wanted to give them all his unfinished works. Think about how hard God had worked to establish the Israelite people. After establishing them what did He want to give them? He wanted to give them His beloved only son. And that was not the end; later He wanted to give them Himself. This is the final goal, the purpose of religion. (10-326)