Cham Bumo Gyeong: Episode 303

Cham Bumo Gyeong
Book 11: Ecumenical Initiatives
Chapter 1: Ecumenical and Interfaith Initiatives
Section 1: The Meaning and Purpose of Religion, Teaching about God
Section 1: The Meaning and Purpose of Religion, Paragraph 07

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Chapter 1.  Ecumenical and Interfaith Initiatives

Section 1. The Meaning and Purpose of Religion

Teaching about God

When True Father started his public providential course upon Korea gaining independence in 1945, he envisioned that based on religion, he would lead the providence of salvation and lead the world to peace. Accordingly, he took great interest in the religious situation and the roles religion would play. As he worked unceasingly to realize harmony among religions, he would say that a true religion is one that brings people to strong awareness of God's existence and accurately teaches them about His nature and His being.

1   There are many religions throughout the world. What are these religions supposed to teach? The first priority for any religion is to teach people properly about God. A religion that teaches about God in a vague or ambiguous way leaves us uncertain. If God truly exists, and He does, then a true religion must teach what kind of being God is, what His love is like, and so on. Among the world's religions, Christianity has emerged as one that has this deep, internal quality. Christianity teaches that God is our Father. When Jesus appeared on earth, he proclaimed that he was the only begotten Son of God and that in the world of human beings, he was the only one who had been born as God's Son. Being born as the son of one's father means having received from birth his bone marrow, his flesh and his blood. The connection between father and son is such that it cannot be severed by any rules or laws. It cannot be denied, even when one is standing in front of the most imposing authority. From this perspective, when Jesus was on earth and called God his Father, he made clear to all creation that he came with the central mission to reign over the world with God's authority for eternity.

2   The advanced material civilization of the 20th century was created by people pursuing only visible, material goods. Yet, pursuing material values alone by studying only the visible, material world is not the original desire of human beings. Religion teaches that God exists in the invisible, incorporeal world that transcends the material world. The perspective of religion is that groups would emerge—and not only groups but peoples, nations, even all of humankind—that hope to stand in the presence of the incorporeal God and that desire to do only His Will. With such people, God will create a new world, one that will transcend the material civilization of the 20th century and whose values will be based on the invisible world of God.

As human beings continued to investigate the material world, they came to recognize that its first cause was energy. When they investigate further, they will end up arriving at the invisible world behind that energy. This is the invisible world that God governs. The visible world and the invisible world exist in a correlative relationship. That is why if you pray hard and offer sincere devotion focused on the world that is invisible, you will come to experience the painful history that is hidden in the hearts of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. In this way, you will be able to discover all truths of heaven.

3   It is an absolute fact that religion is not merely about human beings. Religion teaches about God. God is the source of all religious teachings. Because God is the origin and root of religion, we cannot talk about religion apart from God. That is why the four great saints who founded the world's great religions honored God's Will and introduced His heart. Those who live in the realm of religion and do likewise can reach the level of these saints. Who made these religious founders saints? If people had elevated them to the position of saints, their teachings would have revolved around human beings. But in fact, we find that these teachings were God-centered. Thus, we can recognize that it is God who raised and designated these people as saints. In this way, we can say that God created the world's religions and the cultural spheres that emerged from them.

4   These days some religions put forth fanciful ideals and humanistic fictions about love. But a true religion must penetrate to the essence of the human predicament. It must firmly plant an awareness of God, that no one who experiences it can ever deny. This is what a true religion does. Its value is more precious than anything in the world. It cannot be exchanged for anything, not for all the great men and saints of history put together.

A true religion begins with a person who has a clear awareness of the existence and nature of God. From that point, he can become the beginning of a new history, which will then expand from the individual to the nation, world and cosmos. In the Unification Church we talk about the heart of God. There is nothing higher than this. There are also issues of heart that arise in our daily lives, in what we call the love of parents, the love of husband and wife, and the love of siblings. But when it comes to the heart of God, we are talking about a different dimension.

5   When looking at all the cultures of the world and their histories, we find that behind them and supporting them is religion. Human history and religion are connected and share a common destiny. In different eras, religions have sometimes gotten ahead of history and sometimes fallen behind it, yet religions have continued to exist regardless. This is because religion is the foundation upon which God can achieve the ideal world and His ideal of the kingdom of heaven. The key teaching of religion is God and His love. That is why religions teach human beings to love God. The original mind of human beings wants to seek and find God, who created them and the cosmos. That is why religion must teach principles by which human beings can love God and receive His love.

In Korean, the word for religion is jong-gyo. The first Chinese character jong (宗) means "wooden floor." The second character gyo (敎) means "teaching." Hence, what we call religion is the teaching that helps human beings become a platform, or even the pillar that supports from beneath.

If this is the case, what could be more important than teaching about God's love? Is there any teaching greater than this? Human beings' most ardent desire is to possess the love of God. Religion teaches us how to reach that summit. That is why the more it emphasizes God and the more it teaches His love, leading us to stand in awe of the absolute Creator of the universe, the higher a religion it is.

6   Does the absolute God exist? This is a crucial question. Finding the answer has been the quest of all humanity. Intellectuals and saints, past and present, have sought to answer this question. It has been the quest of people in all ages throughout history. Some people take an ideological of philosophical approach in seeking God. Others take a theological approach. They may begin with an encounter with God. From that starting point, they develop their ideas about how people can live with God and find happiness with Him in this world.

Religion pursues a world where not only individuals live with God, but families, societies, nations and the world also live with Him. However, to globalize the concept of living with God requires a religious teaching that affirms that all people must dwell together with God, and which at the same time embraces all the differences in people's cultures; including their different geographical regions, historical backgrounds and customs.

Look at shamanism. The reason it became full of superstitions is because it does not present any teachings that can guide human beings to form a relationship with God. Had it directed us to God, shamanism would have developed into a great religion, guiding people's lives on the different levels from the individual to the family, people, nation and world.

7   Religion does not exist only on the basis of truth. What people call "the Way" is not only truth. Ideologies and philosophies are limited to truth, but religion has another component. Religion also connotes heart. Therein lies the difference. There is no room for heart in mere ideology or philosophy. A parent and child love each other without even speaking about it. Something similar is imbedded in religion. It includes something that transcends logic and moves beyond external conditions. In this, religion is different from ideology, which is based on an organizational framework rather than on heart. We are like marathon runners who are racing toward the finish line. To reach the goal we must be equipped with knowledge about the course we are running. This means we must have a clear grasp of our actual circumstances in this era. Provided we understand the situation in which we are running, we will be able to keep going to the finish line.

Accordingly, as we move forward toward heaven, sometimes at the risk of our lives, we need to understand God's heart in history, in the present and in the future. If we can feel how hard God has been toiling to prepare the way and establish this path, then no matter what difficulties we may encounter, we will be able to continue and break through any barriers.

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