Thoughts

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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