Thoughts

More on God

Above Satpara Lake Baltistan late December 1987

… More about my idea of “God” (see post below on death and here about my view of God  ): I believe God, this one spirit or universal consciousness has basically divided itself into innumerable small parts by bringing about (in whatever way) what we regard as the physical universe with all the individual consciousnesses within it, each tied to a body of some kind or another.

We are really all one ― each one of us living beings and inanimate things is a part of this God ― but through our bodies we have the illusion of being separate from one another. When the bodies of us living beings fall away we return to where we came from and become one again completely with God ― the universal spirit. It is only the short-lived body of ours which makes us feel separate.

I cannot think of another way in which the world could be “just.” No concept of heaven and hell and good and evil that I have known would ever satisfy my sense of justice. For years I thought (the late Korean Rev. Sun Myung) Moon’s Divine Principle had the answers but I have concluded that it doesn’t. It is no better than some other ideas that do not satisfy me at all.

God is absolutely responsible for everything that happens in the universe — from the greatest, most beautiful thing or event to the most horrible monstrosity or atrocity — but we all share that responsibility because we are all part of God. God as a whole has thrived on the differences and divisions among us that lead to conflict — especially in us humans, the spearheads of the evolution of his consciousness in this world — and on both the good and the evil things we have been doing to each other in our bodies, which make us feel separate. But his/our consciousness is evolving. God is learning with us, through us.

In our primitive days, when we were totally unable to understand the reality of our ultimate oneness, God gave us myths including the Bible and all the scriptures, which were propagated by people inspired by “Him” (or “Her,” “It”) to awe us and make us fear, and to herd us together as groups and make us fight each other for his own pleasure. To explain this: I believe the deepest parts of our nature are the emotions, which we share with God, our source. Yes, I believe God has the same emotions, though from a universal perspective, since his “body” is the entire universe.

Now, I think, the time may be coming when those myths are no longer useful. It is time that we humans outgrow them and look for the truth behind and beyond them. Most of all I hope we can truly become aware of the reality of our original and ultimate oneness.

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Life After Death

I have thought about the concept of a spirit world. Do I believe there is a world of spirit where we/our souls go after we die? Do I believe we have a spiritual body in which our soul/spirit resides for eternity and which resembles our physical body as it is when we are young and healthy? — No, I do not believe this! — This does not mean that I believe it is impossible.

I think that when we die – when our physical body dies and decays – our spirit dissolves in the ocean of universal consciousness, which is what God is to me. However, there remains a residue of a memory within God – a memory of us as we were when we were alive. As I have written before (see below about time and here about my view of God ), I believe time – the “flow” of time – is really an accumulation of memory or memories within God. It expands ad infinitum, which is probably also why our universe seems to expand. When we die, then, the memory of our life remains as part of this ever-growing universal memory. In this way we will continue to exist – but we cannot create new things or learn or grow because we will no longer be conscious as a separate entity. We will be fully assimilated or merged into the whole whence we came, a grain of salt dissolved in the ocean – still salt and still contributing our specific flavor to the ocean – at least to the tiny part of it that we have been able to influence during our lives – but no longer a separate entity and no longer able to expand our influence.

I may be wrong, of course, but it would be very hard if not impossible for me to return to a belief in a spirit world like that described by Unificationists and others such as Swedenborg.

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From a post I wrote in 2008 (elsewhere):

Time – an accumulation of memory in universal consciousness; not entropy

Recently I read an article by a scientist who proposed that the “flow” or “arrow” of time is basically the growth of entropy, including decay. When you pour milk into a cup of coffee, for example, it would be extremely difficult to go back and separate the milk from the coffee. The same applies if you try to rebuild an organism that has completely decayed.
I propose a different explanation, though I don’t have the scientific knowledge to back it up: the direction of the “flow” of time is determined by the accumulation of memory in universal consciousness. Everything is memory / universally stored  information, which keeps increasing with the passage of time and can never decrease (otherwise time would “flow” backwards). Even the mysterious dark energy and dark matter that seem to fill our universe may be a store of memory. We carry the memory of our ancestors within us – even though we are mostly not aware of it. Memory is the imprint that everything leaves on universal consciousness or god (see my posts about god/universal consciousness below). – Unlike the scientist who believes the flow of time is the growth of entropy, I believe that entropy is only something like a side effect – it is inevitable and it always distorts or degrades memory to some extent, but it is not a dominant aspect of reality.

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My view of “God” as it has evolved

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Diary entry 26 April 2008:

 

Recapitulation of my ideas about god: What monotheists refer to as “God” is — to me — universal consciousness, the cosmos as a whole, the “sum” of all consciousness. God is in everything and everything is god. We humans are the highest level of consciousness on this planet earth — as far as we know — and we represent the highest level of the evolution of god here. On our small “island” in the cosmos god evolves through us, changes through us. If our “island” the earth is unique in this sense, then we humans are the spearhead of the evolution of god itself. God is not in any way greater than the cosmos and did not “create” it, and cannot exist separately from this cosmos. In fact, if we are unique — which seems unlikely if the cosmos is as we perceive it (see my post below: “the universe and us”), though certainly not impossible — then god is dependent on us to a great extent.

God has a “personality” of its own, and each one of us humans — and every other intelligent being that may exist elsewhere — represents an aspect of the “personality” of god. Each one of us reflects a facet of god’s nature.

If the cosmos itself “emerged” in some way through a Big Bang or something like it, then god was the internal essence that “emerged” with it, as did what we know as the laws of nature. The cosmos was not “created” based on any design but emerged and evolved through a process of trial and error, “guided” by god’s evolving intelligence based on the organization of memory. The emergence of life on earth and its evolution was also “guided” in this way by god. Humankind is a product of this evolution, taking consciousness to the highest level known so far on earth.

I believe god inspired man to create religions, spiritual teachings, etc., because it wanted to find a way to guide or even control humankind.

(More on 29 April 2008): This is also the reason why humans and just about everything else tends toward forming hierarchies and pecking orders. God needs hierarchical organization in order to be able to exploit and control “created” beings. And what we have come to regard as “good” and “evil” are just different ways of looking at things from the larger perspective of god. God has traditionally favored the strong, the top of any pecking order hierarchy, because he draws the greatest pleasure from that type of organization of both living beings and inanimate reflections of his consciousness. Is god, then, like a human in his feelings and behavior? I say, absolutely, yes: at least on this earth, our tiny part of the cosmos (=>“the universe and us” and “the end of religion” below), god cannot be otherwise, because we are this way — we reflect god’s nature and god is no greater than us as a collective, and no better.

More to come …

Here are my answers to two questions about the post above:

It is still difficult for anyone to imagine that god is just as “evil” as he is “good.” I think that is the case. My point is that god has encouraged both in humankind and has enjoyed setting one against the other, using hierarchies to form opposing groups centered on rival leaders. But god evolves and changes through us, as I have emphasized. And despite appearances to the contrary I believe we are very slowly moving towards a better world with less conflict and violence. Perhaps I am naïve, but I am quite sure that god cannot change the world to good. We can. There is no hope for us if we do not believe in humankind. God and the natural world has no meaning without us or some beings like us — it might as well not exist at all.

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By hierarchies I mean hierarchical-type organization as such, and what is known as “pecking orders” in particular — where the strong, wily (cunning) and/or violent generally dominate the weak. It is dominance by one or a few over others — especially systematic dominance. But it also includes implicit hierarchies where, for example, many people follow a spiritual leader (say, Jesus), who then dominates not by force but by love (if you can use that word in this sense) or the power of inspiration. God encompasses both great beauty, goodness and gentleness as well as their counterparts ugliness, evil and violence — just like we do. It is not that I am making god seem human but rather that I believe we humans are simply a full reflection of god: here on earth we represent the spearhead of god’s evolution, the highest point of consciousness that god itself (or him/herself) has reached. God cannot be different from us here – that is, from humankind as a whole.

There is no “absolute,” no “perfection”

November 2007 diary entry:

I continue to believe that we — humankind — must outgrow religion and all of the things that have divided us in such a way as to lead to war. All of our religions, which have been the foundations of civilizations, have tended to divide us because they have led us to use force against each other in the name of a god or gods. There are always “chosen” ones, favorites, or the “good” in religion as opposed to the others, the “bad” or “evil.” I do believe in an ideal of “goodness,” which we have been developing. There is no absolute “good.” There is no absolute anything at all. We are striving towards a goal that can never be reached — but which is nonetheless a worthy goal. Our understanding of this goal, this imaginary and forever unreachable “absolute” goodness, is evolving, and so is our ability to put this understanding into practice. But we must come to realize that the universal consciousness, the fundamental essence of the cosmos that we like to call “God,” is in itself neither good nor evil, and cannot move our world towards goodness without our help. — We have to begin by thinking and feeling as “we,” “us,” including all humankind; and beyond that all living beings, to a lesser extent.

The Biggest Lie  (from a post originally written in July 2010)

We have been cheated, in a way. We have been living with a big lie: God. – But we have willingly participated. The lie is our lie, too. We have been happy to be deceived by God, because it is comforting to believe in a great supernatural power that is on the “good” side – which is always our side, because no one believes they are bad. Even the worst criminals and mass murderers believe they are “good.” They may admit mistakes – like most everybody does – but they always believe they are fundamentally “good.”  However, the “good” can really exist only if there is also an opposing “evil.” We do believe in an “evil” but it is always someone else – just like God wants us to see “evil” as something entirely separate from him.

Yes, we are all part of this deception or self-deception. We participate willingly, most of the time. – But then we cannot separate from this God and his deception. This God leaves us some breathing space, some room for maneuver, some space for us to think for ourselves, because he wants us to grow, to improve, and he grows with us, improves with us – through us.

We are, all of us humans without exception, part of this God. We are really, ultimately, one. The whole cosmos is one, but we and any other intelligent beings that may exist are the most important elements of this one. The one, as I have said again and again, grows with us and through us.

I think perhaps the Buddhists have the deepest understanding of this oneness, this monism, this interdependence. The accounts of Buddhists I have read – such as those of the French Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard – give me the impression that they have a much better and clearer understanding of the importance of oneness and interdependence than any Christians I have met, including the Moonies. Moon’s teaching has many good points, for sure, but I regard it as deficient in the sense of explaining the real God, and misleading. I think Moon himself does not want to acknowledge the fact that God has deceived us by making us believe in an “evil” that is not of him. Moon’s interests are better served if he just ignores this – and I tend to believe he knows that very well. This would be the element of hypocrisy in Moon that I feel has been touched on indirectly by Nansook Hong, the ex-wife of his now-late son Hyo Jin.
Of course, it is clear that – ultimately – we will have to work with God, no matter how much he has deceived us. We are inalienable parts of him and he is totally in each one of us. We are really one. My contention is only that we have to grow up to be aware of the reality of God – not the fantasy we have believed in for so long. – And the reason we have to grow up this way – with this understanding – is that it is the only way God can continue to evolve – and, indeed, grow himself. As I have insisted many times before: God evolves through us (and any other beings at the highest levels of consciousness) – he grows through us

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The End of Religion -updated

Diary entry Sunday 7 May 2006: It’s been over a year since I wrote in this diary . Nothing dramatic has happened. My thinking has continued to evolve, because I keep learning. The more I learn the more I see that there is so much more to learn in the subjects that I find most interesting: philosophy, human history, cosmology and geography.

Since the tragedy of 9/11 – 11 September 2001 and the American reaction to it I have found it hard to concentrate on subjects other than the current political, economic and military situation in the world. But I have read some books and many commentaries that have given me new insights on how the world – and the USA in particular came to that point. I have also read a few interesting texts on philosophy and religion/atheism that have given me food for thought. I don’t know anybody who would be open to discuss with me my ideas about religion – or even interested in the thoughts I have expressed in my Internet “blogs” (taken mostly from my diaries):  http://diamir.blogspot.com , http://erwinfranzen.spaces.live.com  and  www.geocities.com/erwin51lux .

As my thinking has evolved I have come to feel that I have simply gone way beyond anything that could be called religion, and I am no longer challenged by religion at all. Religion – even in its broadest sense – is no longer of any interest to me because I now believe it is primarily a device that has been used to control people through fear and to impede the evolution of our minds. It is true that religious people have helped greatly at times to advance human morality – but even though it was undoubtedly important to put forward those ideals, most efforts to put them into practice led to the worst disasters and human atrocities that the world has known. The ideals were always turned into ideologies based on disastrously false premises. Why did this happen? But also, why can the vast majority of humankind apparently not live without some kind of religion?

I continue to be challenged by atheism. I do believe there is something we can call god – though a very strange one – but other than as an answer to the above questions I have almost no arguments to support the notion that a god exists. I simply don’t feel comfortable with the positions of the different forms of atheism. But I have no answers for atheists and no “defense” against their arguments.

Continued on Wednesday 10 May 2006 at 03:00 a.m.: Somehow I still do believe in the existence of a “god” even though I have no strong argument – much less proof – for this. As my earlier diary entries indicate (see my posts about god and the universe below), my idea of “god” has evolved very much over the past 10-12 years as I have gradually weaned myself away from the ideology of (the Korean “Rev.”) Moon Sun Myung’s Unification Church – the Divine Principle – and beyond that the whole idea of religion itself. I still think that there is something like universal consciousness and that that is “god.” But I believe, as I have explained in my diary entry of 6 April 2004 – which is my post “Thoughts About God” below – that this god has a personality of his/its own, like a human being. And to me the most important idea about this god is that he/it evolves. He/it evolves and changes together with us – and whatever other “intelligent” beings may exist in other worlds – and in fact through us. Universal consciousness to me means that everything – including inanimate objects – is conscious on some level, and of course human and other “intelligent” beings are conscious at the highest levels. The sum of all consciousness is god, but he/it is more than the sum of the parts and therefore he/it (I don’t want to imply -with “he” -that god is male) has a personality of his/its own. We have another name for god that I think is quite appropriate: “Mother Nature.” — Whimsical Mother Nature – that is god. But we cannot separate from this god – unlike what the common idea of Mother Nature implies – because we are a vital part of him/it. But the idea that this god is to be worshiped is a holdover from the days when humankind was even more primitive than it still is today. Religion – and especially the idea of worshiping anything – really should belong to earlier ages and should be banished from our evolving society. As long as we continue to be bound to such ideas we remain extremely primitive. It is utterly idiotic to worship god, or anything else, though I think god – just like our kings and queens of the past – enjoys being worshiped.

Yet these are the things and ideas that have held up the evolution of our society towards the higher planes where we will become so sensitive and attuned to each other and the spirit of the whole – including god – that the very idea of hurting another being or of fighting or war will seem completely outlandish and impossible. We will no longer need to kill or destroy living beings in order to feed our bodies because we will be able to get our nourishment from inanimate matter. A stone is conscious because of the reality of universal consciousness, but a stone is not a living being that feels pain when its shape is changed. We will be able to “eat” stones – to derive our nourishment from stones or create it from hydrogen, etc. In today’s reality all this seems crazy – but I think this is where we are going. — I have too little time to analyze and correct my thoughts before committing them to paper – so they are not always logically consistent…

More about god from an email I sent to a friend on 16 May 2006:

… I think I never went as far as you did in having deep spiritual experiences, though at times I certainly felt something like what Einstein called the "cosmic religious feeling." I know other people who have gone much further.

In my view now – as it has evolved over the years – the evil we perceive is as deep within ourselves as is the good. Both come from a god who should not be regarded the way we have learned to regard him (it). This god itself has only gradually – and together with our forebears and us – developed an understanding of certain things as good and others as evil – a process that will likely continue for eons to come. This is why I deliberately put the very word god in small characters (though not consistently so). I don’t want to capitalize that word so as to avoid giving the impression that it is something to be worshiped – because all of us who have grown up with religion have a one-sided, false view of god as an all-good father (and mother) of the world but what I consider the real god is also the same as "satan." The most important point about this god is that it evolves through us – it can only change towards good through us and together with us (and all other intelligent beings in the cosmos – if any). We and this universe are like the body of this god and it cannot have a separate existence without this body, yet neither can we and the universe exist without the mind of god, whose consciousness makes all of this possible. Consciousness=existence and v.v. When I use the word "creation" (a word I really don’t like because it implies something impossible such as making something concrete out of nothing) I mean a process of changing elements of the body of god, bundling parts of its energy into different forms of matter and making new things out of existing material. If we worship this god we behave like stupid children. It is high time we started growing up in that sense.
Of course, just like you I don’t believe in "evangelizing," proselytizing. I don’t believe in religion at all anymore – any kind of religion, other than Einstein’s "cosmic religious feeling," which is within ourselves because we are god and god is us. God is no better and no greater than us, because he (it) exists through us as we exist through our bodies. I am telling you these things simply because in telling them I have to formulate and clarify them in my own mind and thus I can come to understand them better myself.
Anyway – I feel we have to grow up and to grow out of religion…
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Correction/Clarification added on 2 December 2006: After reading more from others on the subject of the above text and thinking about it I now feel that I used some inappropriate and misleading terms. In talking about "religion" above, what I really mean is a dominant religious or pseudo-religious ideology (e.g. including communism), not what is commonly described as faith. I am not against religious faith of any kind that inspires a culture, only against ideologies of any kind that come to dominate cultures. To the extent that organized religions have indeed dominated cultures or civilizations I would want to see an end to those religions. I now feel, however, that my use of the term "banish" in the diary entry in saying religion "should be banished from our evolving society" was inappropriate because it implies, wrongly, that I would advocate some kind of forceful action to rid society of religion as such. I believe in Einstein’s "cosmic religious feeling," together with Bertrand Russell’s vision on his 80th birthday: to "care for what is noble," beautiful, gentle, and "to allow moments of insight to give wisdom at more mundane times," and to work towards creating a society "where individuals grow freely, and where hate and greed and envy die because there is nothing to nourish them." To those things that have to "die" I would also add arrogance — the feeling of superiority over others as individuals or groups of any kind that appears to give one or one’s group the right to dominate them. This probably comes from one of the base aspects of god that I described in my 2004 entry "Thoughts about god," and that we will have to change as we evolve with god to higher levels.
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More, adapted from a message to a friend on 27 December 2006:
… Even though I do respect the position of atheism because it is most logical I continue to feel that there is something else. But this something else is INSIDE, NOT BEYOND this world. This god, in my view, is inside us and inside everything – and it is not outside or beyond our world and our universe. If our cosmos could be said to have had any beginning at all, then this god began with it and could not have existed "before" the cosmos. And it grew and changed and evolved with the cosmos, because it IS the cosmos.
 
More, from a message to another friend on 3 January 2007:

I tend to think that people who have died continue to exist in some way, but not in a heaven or a hell. I feel everything and everybody that ever existed did not just come and then disappear completely — they are like imprints on this universal consciousness or god or whatever you want to call it, and as such they are eternal. And I don’t believe time is really as it seems to be, leaving everything behind at some point. Nothing is really completely left behind. We and the cosmos carry everything and everybody with us into the future forever. So nothing and nobody is "just gone."

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The Universe and Us

February 10, 2005 diary entry:
– When I think about what we call the universe I wonder whether such a thing really exists or is perhaps no more than an illusion. Yes, we have cosmology and we imagine that we know something about how this so-called universe was formed and what it is like at this time — and we even have ideas about its future. We believe we can see and measure distant galaxies and we also believe we have found other planets — thinking there must be some out there that are not so different from our little "island," the earth.
But how far have we gone until now? How much of this "universe" have we been able to actually explore rather than just look at from a very great distance with our telescopes and other devices we use to capture electromagnetic waves/emissions? We have actually traveled as far as the earth’s little moon and sent small remotely-guided spacecraft to explore some other planets and their moons within our solar system. Compared to the size of the universe that we believe we are seeing all around us, the tracks we have made so far are infinitesimal. For all we know from actual exploration, the entire universe might as well be just some kind of illusion projected onto a canvas that surrounds our solar system. We have really explored nothing at all. In that sense, we are really extremely primitive. In many other ways too, of course.
Our own imagination has raced very, very far ahead of us in the sense that we can envision spiritual and material things far beyond our present practical ability — but it is still grounded in and to some degree bounded/limited by our miserable, primitive reality. We can dream of a world where war is a distant memory but we are very far from being able to fashion one.
As I have explained elsewhere (in earlier diary entries), I believe there is a "god," a single being that encompasses the world we know. Actually, my idea is pantheistic. I believe that that being I call god is the world we know. The world is a living being. Of course, as I have just mentioned in talking about the world "we know," there is likely to be very much more to this world that we don’t know, since we have explored so little and are still so extremely primitive.
And, as I have noted before, what we like to call "good" and "evil" are simply aspects of this god, who I believe is evolving with us and through us.
For most of my life now — since March 1975 — I have been associated with a religious/political movement founded and led by the Korean Moon Sun Myung, also known as Rev. Moon. In recent years I have mentally separated from this man and his movement but have kept some ties to it because my wife remains a loyal follower and I do not want to break up our family (with 3 children). Moon is certainly a powerful and controversial figure, and in order to separate mentally from his movement and his world view I sometimes had to emphasize the negative aspects of what he is and does. I had to portray him in a bad light — to myself mostly. I think I have now reached a point where I can be more objective. At the same time I am aware that it is only natural for me to resist the notion that I have basically wasted my life by following a false belief and ideology for such a long time. However, I do see a lot of good in the teachings of Moon, even if I believe — as I most certainly do now — that his basic premise is false. He portrays god as absolute "good" and man as "fallen children" of this perfect god, who need to "restore" themselves to their originally-intended position with the help of a "messiah," who will establish the "kingdom of heaven" on earth and in the spiritual world. I, on the other hand, believe that both "good" and "evil" are part and parcel of this god himself (or itself), and that he needs man to evolve in what I can only hope is his favored direction of "goodness."
[For my view of god see: "Thoughts about God" and "Blasphemous Ideas… Y2K" below, also "Harmony and Chaos… 1996" and "First Serious Doubts… 1994" further down]
Moon teaches goodness, and he has some interesting, even valuable, things to say. But he also strives to dominate the world. There is perhaps potential good in this but I also see much potential evil. We cannot allow anyone to become king of the world. There is no way any single human being or human family or nation or race could ever be trusted to such an extent. I certainly believe that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely…. (could not continue as I was interrupted at this moment).

  — Addendum November 2005: So who or what is Rev. Moon? Five years ago I suggested in a message to a friend that he was "god’s favorite toy of the moment." It remains to be seen whether he is indeed the top favorite toy of the moment – but he is certainly no more than that – a toy. I do believe Moon is absolutely serious about what he does, so I don’t agree with those who describe him as a simple fraud. He truly believes that he is the messiah – there is no doubt in my mind about that – and that is why he is so good at making others believe… You may understand what I mean when you read more about my view of god in the posts below, especially "Thoughts about god."

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Thoughts about God

Written down on April 6, 2004:
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My view of god? … if he (it) is indeed a single being — which is quite likely — then he probably created this world for his own fun and enjoyment. I believe we do reflect his nature and therefore we can conclude that he must be similar to us. He has had so much fun in sharing our joys and pains, and in torturing us (and all plants and animals, etc.) — or having his temporary favorites among us torture others — that he is, perhaps, beginning to become bored a little (or at least I hope this is the case) and may be ready for some change a few hundreds or thousands of years down the road. I believe there was an inevitable element of uncertainty*, of unpredictability, when he created us or rather had us evolve from nature — which is directly subservient to him. [*I believe there was and is no way for god to avoid this uncertainty; it is fundamental]. Possibly he brought about (I don’t like to use the word "create") other beings in other worlds (planets) who are similarly endowed with an element of uncertainty. This uncertainty will hopefully allow us, someday, to make god happy by changing the world/worlds he – um – created (that word again — it’s hard to avoid) in such a way that there needs to be no more suffering at all (including by animals, plants, etc.). I tend to think that there is an inclination in this direction, which exists in us humans and may ultimately come from god (although we could easily be deceived by him in this sense). At any rate, my idea is that we would ultimately change god himself and that that is what he wants, because he evolves through us. He made us in order to evolve with us and through us. Originally he had fun with a world that reflected his base aspects and required a kind of roller coaster ride for god to enjoy both the greatest pleasure and the deepest pain of the living things he had made. The world was made in such a way that one being obtained great pleasure by inflicting excruciating pain on another — tearing it to pieces and devouring it. This reflects the "dark" aspect of god’s nature. The "light" aspect of his nature is found in the beauty and the joy and love that all beings can also experience. But the two go closely together. Underneath the greatest beauty, inside the greatest joy and deep within the greatest love there is always an element or a latent potential of darkness and pain, torture and suffering. There is never anything that is just totally beautiful, joyful and loving. The very joy we feel and the beauty we see can only grow in a soil of darkness and suffering. This is the nature of the world and a reflection of the nature of god. We can understand beauty and joy only because we also know ugliness and suffering. Love and sex in many ways are close to hatred and torture. That is god’s true nature. But — and this is a big "but" — there is this element of uncertainty, this element of chaos, of entropy, this clear evidence that god left — or had to leave — a loophole, a part of the universe that is not organized. This, also, must reflect his nature. And there is indeed, in human beings at least, a clear inclination towards beauty without ugliness, joy without or beyond suffering, and love beyond hatred. Again, god’s nature must be at the origin of this, too [or maybe this is just my hope]. Yes, god is "good" and "bad" at the same time, but there is just a tiny little extra grain on his scale on the side of "good." This is my idea of god. This extra grain is at the heart of the evolution of man and the development of his — and (hopefully) god’s — sensitivities towards his fellow beings — human and other — that allow us to envisage a (probably distant yet attainable) future when there will be only beauty, joy and love all around, no more grounded in their current counterparts. Don’t we all really strive for this? But we are having so much trouble because our feet are still stuck in the mud of ugly pain, the soil in which we have grown…

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Blasphemous ideas -2000

What follows is two separate notes I scribbled in a hurry (in the summer of 2000) to explain my current view of god. I’m pretty sure most people would consider what I have to say extremely blasphemous, but the idea has sort of imposed itself. I don’t try to impose it on anybody …
If I’m wrong then I will probably burn in hell forever and if I’m right then my fate might not be very different either. Yet I don’t lose a moment of sleep over it. I’ve had no reason to become paranoid so far. …….
…. As I said, this view of god has imposed itself, but I know that my presentation is neither original nor particularly insightful. To me it’s all just plain obvious, but I’m happy to listen to any arguments that might refute it and present a better idea. ….
Here goes:
First note: "What if god thrives on both the pain/suffering and the joy experienced by all creatures? ….
Do I believe in satan? No — I never really believed in the existence of such a thing …. To me, satan is simply one aspect of god. It’s not a creation of god in the same way we are, though perhaps it can take possession of the mind of a created being. The aspect of satan can be a useful tool as god uses it in different ways to inflict the pain on man and beast that is his ecstasy or to draw maximum pleasure from the joys also experienced by man and beast. God can also use the concept of satan to make us fear because that fear is also one of his great sources of pleasure. If we could completely stop all pain and suffering and fear we would undermine god’s very existence — but of course there is no way we could do that. Yet if god were really a good, loving god as we were led to believe, that is exactly what he would want to do — relieve all beings (including animals, plants and whatever else is conscious on some level) of suffering, fear and pain. But look at how the world we know is designed: the fear and the pain are built in — violence, death, destruction and chaos, conflict — it’s all totally ingrained from the start. One being has to kill, destroy another in order to be able to survive. And isn’t there both fear and pain involved? Doesn’t the antelope fear and suffer when the lion pounces on it and tears at its throat? It’s designed that way. That is god’s nature. But if he had natural life evolve to the point where it produced us, maybe he wanted to — no, had to — bring in elements of uncertainty. I believe there is unpredictability — even for god, and he needs it. Or maybe there are many gods and the uncertainty/unpredictability arises from that. I find it hard, though, to think of god as not one but many — because I grew up believing in a single god. So I think, anyway, that there might be a chance for us to change god and {for him to be} happy with that because he needs the excitement of not knowing what comes next. I’m making god seem very human but this is because I can only describe him in human terms — no human being can really do it otherwise anyway. My conclusion is that god is most certainly unworthy of worship — though I’m sure he likes people to worship him just like Hitler and Stalin … (etc.) liked to be worshipped."
———–
Second note (from a message to a friend): "….
….. My doubts about god come from the way I see nature, and that cannot be explained by the idea of a "fall of man": I cannot believe that a truly good, loving god as I understand it designed a world where animals and even (some) plants have to tear others to shreds in order to live, where thousands of different species of parasites can only exist by sucking another being’s blood or harming it in other ways, where there are always fights to determine who is to dominate whom, where some are always expelled from a group and often hunted down and killed, where a male lion, for example, always kills the offspring of a new mate who lost her previous mate, the father of those cubs, where…. I could go on and on almost endlessly, just giving examples of totally unnecessary cruelty and violence in nature because it was designed that way — without ever getting to the cruelty of man, which, of course, is all the worse because he understands it. But could primitive man, for example, really help being cruel? Now we can, to some extent, and hopefully more and more so. Many people seem to believe god created the world but cannot be held responsible for the way it turned out. Not me. Did he really have to design it that way? So why didn’t he design us in such a way that we wouldn’t even be able to perceive this as cruel? Maybe he mainly designed us in such a way that we could develop our minds and hearts ad infinitum, so that he himself could evolve through us. I think he is indeed evolving through us, and I hope we can someday go so far as to completely change his original design of this world to accommodate the sensitivities that, with god, we are developing over time (too slowly, unfortunately). And we might be just one of many intelligent races in the universe — who knows — all going in that direction, more or less. Perhaps I choose to believe this simply because I need to find hope whereas the belief that god is really good and evil all rolled into one forever offers no hope at all. Of course, the god who created this world could easily fool us forever without us being able to find out for sure. No one can tell me god couldn’t pull this off, to make people believe he was all good and the bad was all their fault and that of some fictitious satan, so that they would worship him faithfully, which of course would tickle him pink. We should remember Gödel’s theorem showing that all finite systems are incomplete and their full truth is unknowable from within them."

 

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Decline of the West – Harmony and Chaos

The Decline of the West and the Rise of the East

Excerpt from a letter I wrote to Mahmood Nawaz, a Pakistani student in Cyprus, on November 19, 1992 (words in square brackets were inserted later for clarification):

… I grew up in Europe and have spent all of my life, except for about two and a half years, in a western/Christian cultural environment (including 6 years in the United States, 5 years in Cyprus and close to 2 years in Greece). I think I have enough of an understanding of western/Christian culture [read: civilization] to be in a position to tell you that it is in decline. Western culture [civilization], which has dominated the world for centuries, is running out of steam, and Europe, the cradle of that culture, is in danger of becoming a cultural backwater and a spiritual desert. Europe has a huge moral debt to pay to the rest of the world because the European peoples caused death and destruction everywhere and ruthlessly exploited the peoples of Africa, Asia and the original inhabitants of the Americas and the Australia-Pacific region. Europe, however, does not recognize this and wants to continue exploiting others. And white America, which was created by the Europeans, is going the same way. But in Europe and America there are signs that their system is crumbling. Society is falling apart, riven by decadent immorality, crime, drugs and so on. I believe it is Karma. The west as a whole has to suffer because it refuses to pay its debt to the rest of the world. And I am sure there is more to come.
Mind you, I don’t think we will see a total breakdown of the western system in the next 20 or even 50 years, unless there is a major economic, natural or military catastrophe. But the western system is definitely crumbling, and changing. The west, which has long imposed change on other societies throughout the world, is now being changed by a kind of reverse osmosis as it absorbs other cultures. I don’t think we would recognize it if we could come back to the world even 100 years from now. There is great potential for an Asian culture [civilization] to rise to become the guiding light of coming centuries. It is not yet so. It has not happened yet, and, in fact, that Asian culture I am thinking of is still in a process of fermentation, so to speak, and it is not yet clear what eventual form it will take (I think it will arise primarily from 3 countries: China, Japan and Korea). I hope, of course, that the dark side of the rise of one culture as a guide to others can be avoided this time, or at least that it will be far less dramatic than the terrible destruction caused by the Christian west.
I am basically bored with Europe, and I cannot relate to the people who continue to firmly believe that the western system is the hub of the world’s cultures. To me it is already a thing of the past. The motor of history for the next century and beyond will be Asia. But this does not mean that Europe has nothing left to do in the world. Apart from the dark side of Europe’s progress through history, which I mentioned above, there are also positive achievements, and there are aspects of its culture and its science that others are well advised to learn. Europeans, and Americans, for that matter, have much to give and to teach. I believe that Europe and America should welcome millions of people like you from Asia, Africa and elsewhere, and allow them to study and work in the west. And millions of Europeans and Americans should go to the developing countries to help and to teach. All doors should be opened wide, because I firmly believe that the more communication and exchange we have with other cultures, the better it is for the world because the more likely we can resolve misunderstandings and disputes, and create conditions for real peace.
… The western world is in decline precisely because it has forsaken the moral and spiritual ideals that originally inspired and guided its progress. Those ideals were always challenged by the temptation of materialism. Today, more than ever before, moral and spiritual ideals have lost out and western culture [civilization] is ruled by the gods of materialism and individualism, or its extension: ethnocentrism (nationalism, etc. …).

Harmony and Chaos = Thoughts recorded on September 7, 1996:

It is quite obvious, I think, that God’s Creation is not a completed work but rather a process that will never end. It is indeed a sort of evolution, but not one destined to reach an end result, a specific goal. If I accept Sun Myung Moon’s Divine, or Unification, Principle, then God created mankind as His children, who are meant to continue the act or process of creation that He began. He meant for us to be co-creators. We were meant, first of all, to continue the creation and development of ourselves. Then we were — and are — to extend the greater order we have built within ourselves to the natural environment in which we live.
In the world of God’s Creation there is both order/harmony and disorder/chaos. If God had completed a Creation of total order/harmony, then this Creation would have/could have had no separate consciousness. It would have been a programmed robot world. — Beyond that, even God Himself must be incomplete. He is supposed to be love. Love is, in part, a desire or will to build an orderly relationship with another being. God completes Himself through His Creation in an everlasting process, yet there is no completeness in the strict, simple sense because this goal of completion is — and must be — forever unreachable. Full completion implies stagnation. So there will always be order and chaos side by side; there will always be entropy. But God’s love is also a will to order, meaning an actual effort to expand the order and harmony in Creation. — The creation or guided evolution of man/woman seems to be the achievement of the highest degree of order in the world — as far as we know. Yet it was achieved only at the expense of a substantial degree of dominion over the Creation. Making man as a separate, individual consciousness meant that a very high level of order was achieved locally, so to speak, at the expense of global or universal order. At the same time, the separation from God’s will to order meant that man contained the element of entropy and of chaos within himself to a higher degree than anything else created by God. —
I accept the idea that mankind is also responsible for the separation from God and we have to re-establish a link with God. God bears the primary responsibility, not simply because He created man, as the Principle says, but because He created all the conditions that made the full extent of that separation not only possible but very likely if not inevitable. Yet man has to struggle to build order within himself and outside in order to be able to relate to God. In love itself, there is both order and chaos, known and unknown, and love would really be meaningless if not impossible without either one of them. So, in a sense, it can be said that God Himself is still being created. God is an orderly consciousness which can maintain absolute order only as long as it is insubstantial. As soon as God’s consciousness/mind manifests itself or projects itself into anything substantial, such as the world of His Creation that we know, there is entropy and "randomness" alongside order. The order is fundamental, essential and primary, and the chaos is an epiphenomenon. But neither can eliminate the other. One can compare the human brain to a computer. The brain is vastly superior to a computer in part because it combines a very complex order with an element of randomness or chaos that would be unthinkable in the highly structured system of a computer. The computer is limited by its inability to incorporate an element of chaos within or around its order. Any element of randomness would totally disrupt the system. "Fuzzy logic" is still a long way from being able to cope with an element of randomness within the system itself
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In the Moon church -diary entries -Cyprus 1983-4, New York-1981

A dissident member of the Unification Church – 1983
Excerpt from my diary (unedited, uncorrected) – Nicosia, Cyprus, August 23, 1983:
… I joined the movement in New York in March 1975 – more than 8 years ago. My commitment has been somewhat off and on — never very strong. I believe mostly this has to do with my own personality, the relative weakness of my character, rather than with the church. Right now I would say that maybe about 80 percent of my problems as a rather rebellious, dissident member of the Unification Church are due to my own shortcomings in one way or another, while the remaining 20 percent of the problems are due to aspects of the church, its leaders (including Reverend Moon himself) and its way of doing things that I honestly disagree with, or, in some cases, cannot understand. Some of these latter problems, especially those having to do with Rev. Moon himself, might easily be resolved, I think, if I had a chance of gaining a better understanding of Rev. Moon and his thinking. Just listening to what he says or reading his speeches and hearing anecdotes from admirers about his life won’t do. In fact it tends to do just the opposite. I find him extremely arrogant, self-centered and callous. I believe, however, it is certainly possible that I would feel reassured about him if I could just meet him personally and talk to him about things of concern to me — just to see how he reacts and really to get a feeling for what kind of person he is in private. I know him only through the accounts of his life given by all too obvious, starry-eyed admirers whom I cannot trust, and through his public speeches, quite a few of which I attended. In these public speeches to crowds of church members who obviously admire and glorify him, he often appears to me to be gloating over his success and basking in the admiration and veneration by members, not at all humble or giving, loving, kind, or anything like that. Yet I grant that both through my own distorted perspective (due to my shortcomings, my jealousy or things like that) and through the need for him to address the needs of a great many people of different character simultaneously in a speech like that, he appears different from the man he really is. How different? How can I see him in a way that he can really serve as an example, a guide, a leader, yes, a messiah to me? This I don’t know. I did get what seems to have been a glimpse of a different Rev. Moon when he briefly asked me a few questions in English in front of a thousand other members during the matching in Seoul on 10 October 1982 before taking me to Tomoko and indicating that he suggested her as a mate and wife for me. It was a very brief, uncertain glimpse — but I will remember it. And I am sure that getting to know Tomoko will give me some clues as to whether this match — made by Rev. Moon — was really inspired by God. Of course I have to be objective to be able to judge that. I do have a very good feeling about it all, and about Tomoko, which is why I do feel grateful towards Rev. Moon. But I still can’t grasp the whole thing. Many other feelings are in the way. For some reason, which I never expected, I feel that Tomoko is the best person to be my wife — and I felt this way right from the beginning. Tomoko is certainly not the most beautiful girl I have seen or known. She is pretty in a simple, unsophisticated and natural way — not what I would call beautiful. Beauty is something I like very much to see, and I have, in the past, fallen madly in love with quite a few girls that I considered truly beautiful and that I felt very strongly attracted to in a sexual way. It still happens — although I could not fall in love the same way anymore — because part of the emptiness which I felt at that time (having no mate at all) is now filled (now I do have a mate, although she is thousands of kilometers away in Japan). My love was, needless to say, never answered, unrequited, because I was simply too awkward about the whole thing every time. ….
Reflection on why I joined the Unification Church – 1983
Excerpt from my diary – Nicosia, Cyprus, August 27, 1983:
… When I think about how I decided to join the Unification Church — which I did around 24 March 1975, after having heard about the movement for the first time only 18 days earlier, on 6 March 1975 in New York City — I realize that to a large extent the decision was not really my own. – I was interested in the teaching – the Divine Principle – and in fact I found it to be the most satisfying theory explaining God, man’s relationship to God and why God needed man (Divine Principle is – to my knowledge up to this day – the best and by far the most plausible answer to this particular question, possibly the single most important question to me, personally), as well as the occurrence of spiritual phenomena and their connection with the physical world and the mystery of Jesus Christ (I was raised as a Christian, Catholic in fact). It also provided at least some sketchy elements of a plausible vision for the future of this world — which hardly any other religion or philosophy that I am aware of does. At the same time, Divine Principle — which Rev. Moon says he "discovered" — also provides a concept of eternal justice (a subject which is extremely important to me — in fact, the question about eternal justice is the second most important question about everything in my mind, after the question about why God needs man) and discards the insane Christian and Islamic notion about an eternal hell. This notion of an eternal hell is the one thing in Christianity which I rejected most. An eternal hell — eternal punishment of any kind — makes no sense at all. Eternal hell for anybody, even the worst of criminals, and Satan (as the originator and master of evil in the spiritual plane is called in the Divine Principle — which draws heavily on the Bible as well as on some Confucian, Taoist and Buddhist concepts), would mean a major failure – and an eternal failure – on the part of God. I cannot accept this or else I could not accept the traditional monotheistic concept of God. I prefer to think that the concept of a loving, compassionate and merciful (Islam) and somehow indirectly almighty God as the creator of our world is indeed my own concept and understanding of God — so there simply is no room for such a thing as eternal punishment. Also, God cannot be truly almighty in the strictest and immediate sense of the word — because otherwise the world would not be in the state it is in right now. But I believe God is ultimately almighty, meaning God will and must at some point in the future be able to straighten out the world, which logically – to me – depends on the good parts of most humans gaining the upper hand in the struggle against their (own) bad parts. …
…I joined the church to some extent because there were people in it who seemed to have more faith in me and my capabilities that I myself did – something which intrigued me. they kind of coaxed me into joining….
Diary, Friday 7 October 1983 (still Nicosia): …To explain the factors which I dislike and disagree with in the Unification Church: First of all, I disagree with the authoritarian style which Rev. Moon has imposed and which causes many church members to behave in an intolerant manner (in other words, it encourages intolerance – although it does not directly cause it, since those members may have such an inclination by themselves) and promotes a kind of elitism. Maybe this is because Rev. Moon is misunderstood by the members – I don’t know. Too many times, though, I notice that some members become like "Big Brother," invade other people’s privacy (they do not respect privacy at all – which is very bad – and they do not even respect another person’s basic human dignity – which is unfortunately quite common and often worse in the church than it tends to be outside of it – because church fanatics have no inhibitions whatsoever in these things – they believe God is on their side) and criticize others in a condescending, contemptuous way. This authoritarianism also leads church members and top church leaders (like Col. Bo Hi Pak) to support political causes which I totally disagree with – such as support for fascist-type dictators in Latin America and elsewhere, only because they are considered "anticommunist." Politically, I find myself disagreeing with the church on many important points now – even though for some time I had accepted their arguments. But my political views changed gradually over a period of several years, until today, when my views are much closer to what they were before I joined the church – except that I am now much better informed and no more as naive about the Soviet Union as I was then.
Cultural communities to replace nation states – diary 1984
Short excerpt from a very long entry in my diary on 17 November 1984, Nicosia, Cyprus: ….On a different subject: I feel I must record something to explain my feelings about politics and our church’s involvement with it, because much of what I have written in these pages could give a false impression that I advocate more political involvement by our church. As a matter of fact, I really believe politics as a whole should be abolished as soon as possible. I have long been radically opposed to the present world system of sovereign nation states. I think they should be gradually abolished in favor of cultural communities. I believe there should be a kind of world federation of communities based not on the idea of sovereign territory under their control (because that is what the present nation states are all about – they are simply concepts of territorial sovereignty, the people coming second to the land as the determining factor of a community; the only permanent aspect of a nation state is its control of a certain piece of land, which, more than anything else – more than the people and their culture, because they are never truly homogeneous or even fixed – actually identifies that nation state) but on communities with internal ties of a cultural or some other kind of social nature. The whole idea of "territorial integrity," even the whole idea of an international system, international law, based on "sovereign states," is, in my view, medieval and does not belong in the 21st century, even though that century may be over before they are abolished. At the very least, I hope we can move decisively in that direction long before that century is over, even though it will likely take several centuries to complete the process. I am actually, and have always been, an anarchist at heart. I simply realize, however, that the world is not ready (yet) for the kind of peaceful anarchy which I have in mind, a world without politics, without bureaucracy, without governments, without nations, only cultural communities which cooperate and learn from each other. Today, when we say "anarchy," we immediately think "law of the jungle." But this is not necessarily the only meaning of that concept – that meaning is merely a consequence of the present state of the human soul or heart. I believe that, ultimately, no worldly leader will be needed – that a worldly hierarchy is really not necessary for a truly mature humankind. – I don’t know if our church agrees with this idea. In general, the church actually emphasizes hierarchy very much, as an extension of the hierarchy in a family between parents and children. – But this idea of anarchy, of abolishing governments and nation states, is very much my own. I believe that a relationship to God is really first and foremost an individual affair, and only in the second instance a family affair, and beyond that as well. Maybe, in a spiritual sense, there will always be different levels which people are at – and there will be in some ways a kind of hierarchy implicit or inherent in this. But this does not need to have any kind of worldly trappings – and it should not. Any kind of respect – beyond the general respect for universal human dignity in all people – shown another person should be voluntary, and not enforced by some form of worldly authority and instruments thereof. +++

From my diary in the Moon church – New York 1981

The following text was copied directly (without any corrections) from a handwritten diary entry in my Thai school notebook. The entries in that notebook cover the period between my stay in Bangkok from 4 November 1979 until the first of February 1980 and my second (½-year) and third (1-year) stays in New York, ending at the beginning of the year 1982:

Monday, November 2, 1981 — New York.
My attitude towards the Unification Church at this time: My feelings about this movement, of which I am still a member (have been since March 1975; I first met a member of the church in New York on March 6, 1975; I had never heard of the church before) although I have many disagreements with it, are mixed and constantly in a state of flux. I still agree with most of the basic philosophical/ideological views of the church as they are expressed in the Divine Principle teaching. I do not know a more satisfactory philosophy or religion from my own point of view as far as both morality and logic are concerned. I consider the Principle as no more than a hypothesis, however. It is not proven. It presents morally and logically satisfactory answers to some fundamental philosophical questions. I have tried to put it into practice. But I got mixed results, at best. Then I told myself, well, maybe I did not try hard enough, and maybe my own problems are worse than I thought. I tried harder, but I just got frustrated, because I could not become completely motivated. Instead, I became somewhat resentful. I prayed to God, but I could never really communicate with him. My prayers were not answered. And later, I began to wonder what it was all worth. As far as the other members are concerned, my brothers and sisters, the record is mixed, too. I never had any truly good friends among them; but then I am not the kind of person who can have a deep friendship. I am not really stable in that sense. In fact, I am too changeable (the Rev. Moon says, I was told, that the devil is just like that — like a chameleon — always changing — like me). I can attribute most of this — having no friends — to my own problems, my somewhat erratic nature, my insecurity, my weakness of character, etc. But I have also seen that members of this church who were supposed to be my leaders, or my brothers or sisters, have used my weaknesses consciously in order to exploit me — not for their own benefit, I must rush to admit, but for what they believed was the benefit of the whole. At times, of course, they also personally benefited from this — and then their motive was murkier. Now, I happen to believe that each person should be responsible for their own life, and that this means each person must have the freedom to make basic decisions concerning his or her life and that it is wrong and counterproductive to pressure someone into doing something. I believe it is very bad when people try to goad others by making them feel guilty about something, or by telling them, "You will go to hell if you don’t …," or anything like that. This kind of stuff, in different form but still basically the same, (pressure, threats, etc.) is happening very much in the church. I resent it extremely. I totally reject a God who is like that. If God is anything like that, then I will defect to his enemy’s camp.
Many of the activities that the church engages in, such as the most basic fundraising and witnessing, are very difficult for me to do, because I have no desire and no incentive to do them. — I am not doing either of those things now. I have too many doubts about God, about the church and about myself to go out and witness to others. Witnessing, in a sense, means guiding others, showing others the way. It would be totally ridiculous for me to do that now, because I don’t know the way — I cannot pretend to know the right way. I don’t even really know what I want — at least not out of the things that are available in this world for me. — I always vacillate between wanting to do God’s will and satisfying my immediate desires. But the problem is really that "God’s will" always seems really murky, unclear to me. I ask God again and again what his will is for me now, but I don’t know what kind of an answer to expect. There is never any answer at all — a fact that has really frustrated me and made me very doubtful. I also want to know what his long-range plan is, because I can’t quite figure out my own feelings about what I want to do ultimately. But, as usual, there is not the slightest hint of a response — as if God did not exist, or did not hear me. Now, maybe I do not hear him. This is possible, too. So all I can do is continue hoping. But that is when my own immediate desires win out. This is why I vacillate. I cannot completely swing one way or the other until I either do get a clear answer from God, or I have an experience that completely shatters my belief in him. I know very well that such an experience is very possible, as long as my faith is as weak as it is now. Right now I cannot turn against God because my conscience is too strong and I am too easily plagued with all kinds of guilt feelings. — But if I had a really bad experience, then I could not trust him at all anymore and I would turn away from him completely because I would have to conclude that he is an evil God and I was all the time just running after a dream.
I believe the Unification Church will have to change substantially if it wants to truly guide the world. It must be broadened very much, including the teachings themselves. One single narrowly-defined culture can never dominate this world. If there is to be one world civilization, one world culture, one world ideology, it has to be very much broader, more truly encompassing and embracing — without causing serious friction or clashes — than what this tiny little church has now. Maybe Rev. Moon’s responsibility is just to spearhead a movement in that direction based on a certain central element of that future world civilization. But when he is gone, it will probably broaden out, with the central element still kept intact by his direct successors — but no longer so restrictive and limited as it is now. Otherwise it just cannot work — not in this reality. The whole thing must be based on love, not dogma. — I so often have been angered by those Moonie zealots among us, who judge me because I don’t follow the dogma. It makes me want to follow even less. They criticize me — and others like me — because I don’t do the things I am supposed to do according to dogma. They only criticize, not out of love, no way — but out of sheer self-glorification. They want to say, hey you, see, I am an exemplary follower of God and Rev. Moon, I am right, I am good, I am great, I am a saint — but you, look, you are not even doing this and that — you need to take a lesson from me. — This kind of thing stinks. — But there are many people of that ilk in this church. — I know if I were full of love and faith and close to God, this kind of thing would not bother me. The fact that it does just shows that I am very distant from God. But that is just it. Such a thing reminds me of that and it is frustrating. I feel weak then, helpless. I don’t have a high opinion of myself. I have no self-confidence. I cannot say anything then. I feel paralyzed. And it only creates resentment — resentment even against God. — So, why do those people do it?
There are many other things that I do not like about this church. — But I must concede that the world all around is much worse, in general. If the world as a whole were more like this church, it would still be far from good, but it would be much better and more acceptable than it is now. At least there would be no murders, no tortures, no rapes, no muggings, etc. This is why I consider the church a movement for constructive, positive change. It is certainly not the only movement like that — and not even necessarily the best. — A number of questions are still in my mind as to the integrity of this church and its leader, Rev. Moon. I don’t exclude the possibility that I might have been fooled — although a lot of things would be hard to explain if you thought that the church is some kind of Mafia or something. But I tend to see the church more as a boon to society here than as a threat. Any threat to society posed by this church is clearly minor compared to the real evils in the world. I think overall, the positive aspects far outweigh the negative ones — speaking from my experience of about six years of more or less continuous activity in the church and with its newspaper, The News World. This is the reason I have remained a member, despite my quarrels with some aspects of the operation. I also hope that this culture can be broadened. I will work for that.

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My first serious doubts about God -May 1994

[This was written on 6 May 1994, when I still believed in (G)od.]
At the very bottom of my heart — as deep down as I can fathom it — there is confusion, mixed emotions and fear. That is where my doubts come from, my self-doubt foremost, and all the other doubts and fears that result from it. My fundamental doubts about God also come from an inability on my part to understand and accept certain realities in the world around me that appear to be permanent — thus indicating that they originated from God, the Creator Himself. — According to the Divine Principle, and the Bible, for that matter, God’s nature and character are reflected in Creation. — But, as I wondered even when I was something like 12 or 13 years old, why is it that there is so much wanton violence and cruelty in Nature? Why is there so much destruction? Why do the strong eat the weak, and why do they so often inflict unnecessary suffering — killing slowly, etc.?? When the mouse is tortured by the cat or the antelope torn apart by the cheetah — its bowels sometimes torn out while it is still alive — the hunted undoubtedly suffer excruciating pain, and they fear. Suffering is a major part of the experience of life in Nature. There are innumerable other examples of this sort in Nature that indicate that fear and/or at least violence and what we — in human terms, of course — can only describe as cruelty, are built in. We cannot even imagine how the world could exist without it. The ecological balance would be thrown out of kilter if the hunters and killers in Nature no longer hunted and killed the way they do. Now this, however, indicates that God must have designed it this way. Well, I really cannot accept the idea that this violence and cruelty come from a God who is supposed to be totally good. I cannot accept it; period. — Perhaps I am the only person in the world who thinks this way — at least, I have never known anyone who had the same feelings on this. I have never seen or heard any indication that (Rev.) Moon thinks this cruelty in Nature is not from God. — If you say that this is not cruelty because it is natural, then I must be an alien because I feel the way I do. In my mind, the cruelty and "inhumantiy" in human society could theoretically be explained as simply an extension of the inherent cruelty of Nature to the only known intelligent being that it has produced. Of course, we say God created man. But He also created Nature. Or was the original man meant to change the whole character of Nature, or to co-create a different kind of Nature from the one in which we live now — which is perhaps cruel as a result of the Fall? — This does not make sense. The violence and cruelty are too pervasive in Nature to allow for this explanation. What I — even if I am alone — perceive as cruelty (and thus evil) in Nature really seems to be inherent. Now, someone might question my (implied) description of violence and cruelty in Nature as evil. Why does it cause revulsion — at least in me if not in others? Human acts of cruelty certainly cause revulsion in most people, and most people also have this feeling when confronted with animal cruelty to man — which is, of course, much less common than the obverse. Thus, man’s cruelty is generally considered evil. But then why would animal cruelty not be considered evil as well? Because it is natural and all-pervasive? As I suggested before, man’s cruelty to man and animal or plant could simply be considered an extension of the cruelty in Nature — built-in cruelty, which can only come from the Creator.
There I have a dilemma that I cannot resolve. It bothers me. I don’t want to believe that God created a world that is both good and cruel. The Divine Principle does not explain this — in fact it does not address this question at all, as far as I know. This is one of the big holes in the theory that I have come to accept — and still accept — as the most plausible and satisfying explanation of God that I know. I want to believe that God is all-good. And, based on my personal experience in life I have no reason to doubt that. But I see far too many other signs and indications, too many other people who have very different experiences from my own — too much suffering and pain that is not explained by the theory of indemnity outlined in the Divine Principle as I know it. — I am still looking for answers to these questions, and I have so far not found any in (Rev.) Moon’s speeches or anywhere else. The fundamental question is: Will that cruelty which I have mentioned continue to haunt the world even after it is supposedly restored, and will fear, and cruelty of animal to animal continue even after man’s cruelty to man and Nature has ended? Or will even man continue to be cruel to man? It all depends on the true nature of God. I would very much like to believe He is all-good. But then all around me I see good mixed with bad — within myself as well, of course — and both good and bad seem to be inherent in the entire natural world in which we live. Why do we differentiate between good and bad the way we do? Or why do I do so? There is a dichotomy, a dilemma, and if I cannot resolve it I cannot follow God. — I have thought about why suffering and pain are so much part of the experience of life in Nature alongside joy, and I have wondered whether perhaps joy is deepened through suffering. Perhaps God needs both. Maybe He needs to experience excruciating pain one moment in order to feel all the more joy the next. Does God thrive on this roller coaster ride of extreme feelings? Cruelty is, in my understanding, when one person, animal or being makes another suffer — especially when it is not necessary. Instead of killing the mouse quickly, for example, the cat enjoys playing with it, making it suffer and fear, then allowing it to escape for a moment only to pounce on it the next and to kill it in the end, often without even eating all of it. The cat is, of course, a domesticated animal influenced by man. But there are plenty of similar examples of cruelty in "unspoilt" Nature as well. Is God a sort of Sado-Masochist? Or am I a pervert or an alien for being disturbed by these things? We all have a dose of something akin to sado-masochism within us. But is this exclusively the result of the Fall and thus totally outside God’s domain? If it is true that suffering would have been part of life experience in the original, ideal world, and that there will thus be suffering alongside joy forever, then I think God and "goodness" are quite different from what I, and perhaps most people, imagine them to be like. Perhaps, in God’s heart, there can be no real deep joy without a recurring (complementary?) experience of deep suffering. — But how do the two go together? And how can the evident, frequent occurrence of cruelty in Nature be explained? And, will we all have to suffer again and again forever, to be able to experience deeper and deeper joy?
———–
End of original reflection.
These thoughts were added later when I copied the above in a letter to a friend: (Rev.) Moon has said in the past that animals and plants are eaten by higher animals or by man, and thus they become part of something higher than themselves. But if this is part of the design of Nature, why then do they run away from that rosy fate, evidently in fear? — Is that fear unnatural? Also, many times the exact opposite happens in Nature — perhaps even more often: animals and plants at an evidently lower level often eat or destroy those at what we would consider a higher level. Viruses and bacteria kill very many animals and plants, as well as human beings. Crocodiles, snakes, etc. kill mammals and human beings, and so do sharks and poisonous jelly-fish like the Portuguese man-of-war. There are innumerable other examples, of course. Certainly, that statement by (Rev.) Moon doesn’t explain anything. The real question is, again: what does all that violence say about the heart of God??
———–
The following is excerpted from a reflection I wrote in the Notes section at the back of my Divine Principle book a year later, in May or June 1995:
…… What kind of a heart designed such a thing? Obviously there is much evidence of joy in nature — but the joy always has something like a shadow of suffering. Perhaps God needed the experience of suffering, for himself and all that he made, in order to grow his capacity to experience joy. Somehow this is a harrowing thought, something I find almost impossible to accept. But it is nonetheless a possibility that cannot be easily dismissed. If good and bad, as we see them, are thus (it doesn’t follow automatically, of course) complementary after all in a larger scheme of things, then God’s heart is very different from what I imagined it to be like, and all of history has to be understood in a different way; and this DP (Divine Principle) is all but meaningless. I have to continue looking for another explanation — and probably most religious people cling to such other explanations as they have found [or illusions] — because the thought of a duality or "complementarity" of joy and suffering, and/or of good and evil, is too depressing. I cannot accept it, and I could never love such a God. Thus, anytime I see indications that God might be like that after all, as in the Bible or in True Father’s {Rev. Moon’s} statements, I shudder and reject them. But the questions remain!!! For example, it is suggested that whatever goes along with God’s will is good — even if it means that thousands of basically innocent people have to be massacred, etc. [see p. 479 {also p. 125, in the old DP book}] (This is in DP, where it says: "… when seen from the standpoint of not knowing God’s providence, we must also regard as evil the Israelites’ invasion of the land of Canaan, during which they destroyed {slaughtered} all the gentiles without reason. However, this was also good when seen from the standpoint of the providence of restoration. Although there may have been among the Canaanites those who were more conscientious than the Israelites, the Canaanites at that time were uniformly on the Satanic side while the Israelites were uniformly on the Heavenly side." — This is a justification for genocide — what if that still applied today: Could it be, one of these days, when/if the Lord of the Second Advent {Moon} gains absolute power, that an entire nation would be massacred or otherwise wiped off the face of the earth, and that that would be "good" in God’s eyes?) Why would that be necessary; and how much of the suffering and pain in human history was then "good" because it was caused by people following God’s will? How are we to understand and accept this? There are many, many more such examples, including many in True Father’s speeches … Are we being misled in a monstrous way in our understanding of God’s nature and heart? I hope not. ….
{End of excerpt.}
At that time I still blamed myself for not knowing God well enough, and not responding enough to his love, thinking that perhaps that was the reason I could not understand him. — I came to a different conclusion over the next few years, which was inevitable….

 

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