Religious Founders Taught the True Way to Live

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John 21

12 Jesus said, “Come and eat!” But none of the disciples dared ask who he was. They knew he was the Lord. 13 Jesus took the bread in his hands and gave some of it to his disciples. He did the same with the fish. 14 This was the third time that Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from death.

Isaiah 24

24 The Lord is going to twist the earth out of shape and turn it into a desert. Everyone will be scattered, including ordinary people and priests, slaves and slave owners, buyers and sellers, lenders and borrowers, the rich and the poor. The earth will be stripped bare and left that way. This is what the Lord has promised.

Founders, Prophets and Saints

2. Every Prophet and Saint Endured Hardships and Rejection

Teachings of Rev. Sun Myung Moon

Of all the people throughout history, there are four great saints worthy of reverence; they are Jesus, Mohammed, Confucius, and Buddha. Did they have big, fancy houses? Did they even live a settled life in a village? No, wherever they went they were persecuted, despised and driven out. Jesus said, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have their nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Is that a characteristic of a great man?
    During his time Confucius was called a “homeless, wandering dog,” as he put it, because he had to beg for food while traveling from place to place. The Buddha was born into a palace as a great prince, but he gave it all up for his spiritual quest, living as a hermit in the mountains, praying and searching for spiritual truth. None of these saints had a house to live in; they died without a nation. Yet today everyone considers them great. (115:14-16, October 25, 1981)

When a prophet spoke out strongly, warning the people not to follow the ways of the world, the people would say angrily, “That man is not one of us!” They would beat him and persecute him and cast him out from their midst. After much bitter rejection, the prophet would reach out to the failures of the world, to the crippled, the wounded, and those discarded by society. He would tell them of his mission as a prophet and describe how the people persecuted him and drove him out. Thus he would build relationships with those who were similarly rejected by society.
    He would give hope to people in despair, telling them of a new world, one far better than the existing society of their day. They would naturally listen closely to the message, while the stylish and well-to-do people were nowhere to be seen. Only society’s rejects became his followers. None of the people with talent and good family backgrounds joined him because Satan took them all away. All that remained were those whose hearts were hurt and scarred. They were the ones with no ties to the world and who wished for a new world. They were the ones who responded to the prophet’s words of hope. (106:176-77, December 30, 1979)

The founders of religion taught the true way to live. They taught the people of their age about the world to come, but the people were ignorant and could not understand. Why? The difference between the future world and the present reality was too great. Hence, the rulers of their time persecuted, expelled and even murdered them.
   These saints did not harm their countries. They only wanted to rescue their countries from chaos and lead them to hope. However, the people did not understand, and drove them out. Yet, over the course of time, people began to accept their teachings because they showed the way for all people. In due course, their teachings would become the nucleus of the world’s civilizations. (39:256, January 15, 1971)

Has God Abandoned the Jews?

Matthew 26

26 When Jesus had finished teaching, he told his disciples, “You know that two days from now will be Passover. That is when the Son of Man will be handed over to his enemies and nailed to a cross.”

Isaiah 50

No one has come to defend us
    or to bring about justice.
We hoped for a day of sunshine,
but all we found
    was a dark, gloomy night.
10 We feel our way along,
    as if we were blind;
we stumble at noon,
    as if it were night.
We can see no better
    than someone dead.[a]

11 We growl like bears
    and mourn like doves.
We hope for justice and victory,
    but they escape us.
12 How often have we sinned
and turned against you,
    the Lord God?
Our sins condemn us!
    We have done wrong.
13 We have rebelled and refused
    to follow you.
Our hearts were deceitful,
    and so we lied;
we planned to abuse others
    and turn our backs on you.

14 Injustice is everywhere;
    justice seems far away.
Truth is chased out of court;
    honesty is shoved aside.
15 Everyone tells lies;
those who turn from crime
    end up ruined.

Judaism

3. The Jewish-Christian Relationship

I am speaking the truth in Christ, I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen by race. They are Israelites, and to them belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ…

    I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means!… As regards the gospel they are enemies of God, for your sake; but as regards election they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable. Just as you were once disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, so they have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may receive mercy. For God has consigned all men to disobedience, that he may have mercy upon all.
    Romans 9.1-5; 11.1, 28-32 (Christianity)

Teachings of Rev. Sun Myung Moon

Many Jews are alive on the earth today. Since a long time ago some of their ancestors betrayed the Will of God, has God therefore abandoned them? Surely not. While they may have traveled down a side path, they kept an unchanging heart toward God as God’s chosen people… As long as the Jews hold fast to their role as God’s chosen people despite any adversity, they will not disappear from the earth. Hence, there is an element of rightness that today they retain substantial economic power in the world and can exercise control in many fields. (4:243-44, May 18, 1958)

Judaism, centered upon the Old Testament, was the first work of God and is in an elder brother’s position. Christianity, centered upon the New Testament, is in the position of the second brother.
    The Unification Church, through which God has given a new revelation, the Completed Testament, is in the position of the youngest brother. These three religions are indeed three brothers in the providence of God. Then Israel, the United States and Korea, the nations where these three religions are based, must also be brothers. Because these three nations have a common destiny representing God’s side, the Communist bloc as Satan’s representative is trying to isolate and destroy them at the U.N.
    Therefore these three brother nations must join hands in a unified effort to restore the United Nations to its original purpose and function. They must contribute internally to the unification of world religions and externally to the unification of the world itself. (88:211, September 18, 1976)

You Also Blessed My Grandfather

John 19

38 Joseph from Arimathea was one of Jesus’ disciples. He had kept it secret though, because he was afraid of the Jewish leaders. But now he asked Pilate to let him have Jesus’ body. Pilate gave him permission, and Joseph took it down from the cross.

Richard: This is the time to be bold in our faith, and not cower or be silent.

Isaiah 65

2 All day long I have reached out
to stubborn and sinful people
    going their own way.

Shamanism, Polytheism and Animism

World Scripture takes a universal outlook in emphasizing the common features of all religions; nevertheless religions also have their unique characteristics and emphases. The following six topics treat specific religious traditions, pointing out their unique features and Father Moon’s teachings about them. It cannot be overemphasized that any treatment of a religion’s unique features in no way exhausts its spiritual riches or detracts from its universal qualities that join in common witness to the one God and one reality.
Not all the religions are treated here; just those on which Father Moon has commented upon out of his own experience. Korea is a religiously pluralistic country, with roots in shamanism, Buddhism and Confucianism; it has a large and vibrant Christian community and also a growing Muslim minority.
Father Moon’s views on shamanism are largely the result of his experience with the homegrown Korean variety. Shamanism remains strong in rural Korea, where its practitioners, called mudangs, are largely women. Their ability to communicate with spirits can be impressive. During his years in America, he befriended Eskimo shamans in Alaska and Native Americans in Brazil and Paraguay. Father Moon is very aware of the reality of the  spirit  world  and  the  spiritual  discipline  required  to  be  an  effective  channel  to  that  world.  For this reason, he does not cast dogmatic condemnations on shamanism and animism in the manner of bible-centered Christians. Rather, he regards shamanism as an authentic stage, albeit a low one, on the path of humankind’s spiritual development.
Notable also is Father Moon’s teaching that shamanism and polytheism are “servant of servant” religions, whose original objects of worship were fallen angels. This can be seen rather clearly in Greek and Hindu mythology, where the gods’ amorous activities with earthly women are of a piece with Satan’s seduction of eve at the human Fall. Nevertheless, God still taught through these forms by empowering devoted practitioners to rise above their gods and attain a higher moral plane. In this way, human beings transcended the position of servants’ servants to become their masters, thus opening a higher stage of religious development. Passages from Hinduism and Shinto illustrate how these traditions were thus elevated over time to form higher religions.

1. Worship of Nature Deities

O gods! All your names are to be revered, saluted and adored; all of you who have sprung from heaven and earth, listen here to my invocation.
    Rig Veda 10.63.2 (Hinduism)

Our ancestors the emperors of old governed the realm by first paying worship to the kami with reverence and awe. Widely worshipping the kamiof mountain and river, they thereby had natural concourse with heaven and earth. For this rea-son, summer and winter also turned in their sea-son, and the works of creation were in harmony.
    Nihon Shoki 22 (Shinto)

Sansang suira!
There are eight peaks within the inner mountain,
and thirteen famous places in the outer mountain.
Within these famous mountains and the great heavens of all Buddhas,
the great altar of the nation is protected by the great generals.
Was not General Chae Yong one of them?
The famous general of Korea,
who was favored by his people…
Oh, I am the great mountain god.
If I sit down, I cover three thousand li [the entire land of Korea].
If I stand up, I stretch over ninety thousand li [the whole world].
If I look down with my clear mirror, I can observe ten thousand li.
Oh, I am the great mountain god.
What can you offer to satisfy me?
Is the whole pig covered with a red cloth enough?
Is the bundle of three different colored silks enough?
Offer many rich silks to me.
Oh, you, the husband and wife of this home.
Do you remember who gives you the food that sustains you?
Who gave you a home?
Who gave you wealth?
Who gave you long life?
I, the Sansang, gave you blessings and aid in times of need.
    Invocation of the Mountain Spirit (Korean Shamanism)

War-bundle owners, I greet you. Ye elders, I am about to pour tobacco for the spirits.
 
Hearken Earthmaker, our father, I am about to offer you a handful of tobacco. My ancestor so-and-so concentrated his mind upon you. The fireplaces with which you blessed him, the small amount of life you granted to him, all, four times the blessings that you bestowed upon my ancestor, I ask of you directly. May I have no troubles in life.
 
Chief of the Thunderbirds, who lives in the west, you strengthened my grandfather. I am about to offer you a handful of tobacco. The food, the pair of deer you gave him for his fireplaces, that I ask of you directly. May you accept this tobacco from me and may I not meet with troubles. 
 
Great Black Hawk, you also blessed my grandfather. I am about to offer you tobacco. Whatever food you blessed him with that I ask you directly. May I not meet with troubles…You [night spirits] on the other side, who live in the east, who walk in darkness, I am about to offer you tobacco to smoke. Whatever you blessed my ancestor with, I ask of you. If you smoke this tobacco I will never be a weakling.Disease-giver, you who live in the south; you who look like a man; who art invulnerable; who on one side of your body present death and on the other life, you blessed my ancestor in the daytime, in broad daylight. You blessed him with food and told him that he would never fail in anything. You promised to avoid his home. You placed animals before him that he might easily obtain food. I offer you tobacco that you may smoke it, and that I may not be troubled by anything. To you, Sun, Light-wanderer… To you, Grandmother Moon… Hearken, all ye spirits to whom my ancestor prayed; to all of you I offer tobacco. My ancestor gave a feast to all those who had blessed him. Bestow upon us once again all the blessings you gave our ancestor, that we may not become weaklings. I greet you all.
    Winnebago Invocation at the Sweat Lodge (Native American Religion)
 
Ala, come and drink and eat the kola nut.
Chukwu, come and drink and eat the kola nut.
Ancestors, come and drink and eat the kola nut.
    I was told by a man of Ngbwidi, one named Ehirim, that a man of Agunese had stolen his yams; and so I summoned the priests of Ala and Aro holders and elders in order that we might inquire into the matter. I called them, even as my father, who was priest of Njoku before me, used to do.
    If any of these men, who have come to try the case, deal falsely in the matter, or if the accuser or accused or any person called to give evidence tells falsehood, then do you, Ala, Chukwu, Njoku, Ancestors, and Ofo, deal with that man.
    Igbo Invocation at a Trial (African Traditional Religions)
 
Parvati, on seeing her son Ganesha resuscitated, embraced him joyously and clothed him with new garments and ornaments. After kissing his face, she said, “O Ganesha, you have had great distress since your very birth. You are blessed and contented now. You will receive worship before all the gods…
    “All achievements certainly accrue to him who performs your worship with flowers, sandal paste, scents, auspicious food offerings, waving of lights, betel leaves, charitable gifts, circumambulations, and obeisance. All kinds of obstacles will certainly perish.”
    Shiva, Brahma, and Vishnu declared in unison, “O great gods, just as we three are worshipped in all the three worlds, so also Ganesha shall be worshipped by all of you. He is the remover of all obstacles and the bestower of the fruits of all rites.”
    Shiva Purana, Rudrasamhita 18 (Hinduism)
 
 

Surrender Your Purpose to God While Doing Good

No Income Tax Reform; Focus on Constitutional Rights Instead

West Virginia Legislative Session-2021 Priorities

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Isaiah 18

For, before the harvest, when the blossom is gone
    and the flower becomes a ripening grape,
he will cut off the shoots with pruning knives,
    and cut down and take away the spreading branches.
They will all be left to the mountain birds of prey
    and to the wild animals;
the birds will feed on them all summer,
    the wild animals all winter.

Ezekiel 46

12 “‘When the prince provides a freewill offering to the Lord—whether a burnt offering or fellowship offerings—the gate facing east is to be opened for him. He shall offer his burnt offering or his fellowship offerings as he does on the Sabbath day. Then he shall go out, and after he has gone out, the gate will be shut.

The Purpose of Religion

2. Religions Cultivate Good Character

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
    James 1.27

Whoever surrenders his purpose to God while doing good, his reward is with his Lord; and there shall be no fear come upon them, neither shall they grieve.
    Qur’an 2.112

    For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men, training us to renounce irreligion and worldly passions, and to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world, awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.
    Titus 2.11-14

Make your mosque of compassion, your prayermat of sincerity;
your Qur’an of honest and legitimate earning.
Be modesty your circumcision, noble conduct your Ramadan fast—
thus shall you be a true Muslim.
Make good deeds your Kaaba; truth your preceptor;
good action your Kalima and namaz.
Make your rosary of what pleases God:
Thus will you be honored at the last reckoning.
    Adi Granth, Var Majh, M.1, p. 140 (Sikhism)

What is to be avoided most in our life is vacillation and frivolity; what is most excellent is a reverential heart. Therefore, we Confucians endeavor to preserve sincerity of heart and consider reverence as most essential. It is needless to say that sincerity and reverence make us companions of heaven and earth, gods and spirits. There is, however, another class of people who adopt Buddhism as their guidance. They bow before the Buddha and recite his sutras, always bent on preserving reverence and awe. They will never relax the vigilant guard over the heart, which will by degrees become pure and bright, free from evil thoughts and ready to do good. This enlightenment is called their most happy land. What is necessary, then, for Buddhists as well as Confucians is to avoid vacillation and frivolity, which will render you unreliable. Keep the heart always restrained by reverence and awe. Otherwise what can be the use of the recitation of sutras or the discourses of Confucius?
    Tract of the Quiet Way (Taoism)

Seek Refuge with the Lord Alone

No Income Tax Reform; Focus on Constitutional Rights Instead

West Virginia Legislative Session-2021 Priorities

Vaccine Choice Bills in the WV Legislature-2021

Urban Life Training Newsletter-March 18, 2021

I will be suspending (closing) my Facebook account after March 31st, due to the censorship imposed by Facebook, and my desire not to support the platform by my presence there. If you would like to stay in touch with me and Stacey on social media, I invite you to join the independent social media platform Friendica, which we run on our own server: https://friendica.visionroot.org/register. Here is one of our public pages, fyi: https://friendica.visionroot.org/profile/visionroot.

Numbers 20

27 Moses did as the Lord commanded: They went up Mount Hor in the sight of the whole community. 28 Moses removed Aaron’s garments and put them on his son Eleazar. And Aaron died there on top of the mountain. Then Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain, 29 and when the whole community learned that Aaron had died, all the Israelites mourned for him thirty days.

Isaiah 66

21 And I will select some of them also to be priests and Levites,” says the Lord.

22 “As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me,” declares the Lord, “so will your name and descendants endure. 23 From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me,” says the Lord. 24 “And they will go out and look on the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; the worms that eat them will not die, the fire that burns them will not be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.”

Chapter 8

Religion

The Purpose of Religion

All religions share certain purposes in common, though with different emphases. For Western religions, the primary purpose of religion is salvation. The etymology of the word “religion” derives from a Latin word meaning “to re-bind” with God. Human beings are fallen and broken, and therefore God has established religion as a means of repairing our brokenness, restoring us to our original goodness, and re-connecting us with God. In contrast, the eastern understanding of religion is contained in its Chinese characters, which mean “foundational teaching.” this describes the purpose of religion as the basic teaching for cultivating a good and virtuous character. Father Moon recognizes both meanings, inasmuch as fallen human beings cannot finally cultivate virtuous character without resolving sin and rebinding with God. He distinguishes two valid aspects of religion: first, providential religions (Judaism and Christianity) whose purpose is to welcome the Messiah who comes to solve original sin and restore full communion with God, and second, religions the world over whose purpose is mainly to train people in virtue. The Kingdom of God is built on both of these foundations. Religion also has a social purpose: to cultivate community. Religion teaches the ways of love and reconciliation that enable people to live in peace and harmony. By extension, the ultimate purpose of religion is to establish world peace. That is, because God is the creator and Father of all humankind, religions that take us close to God enable us to feel part of the universal brotherhood and sisterhood that flows from his parental love

1. Religions Provide the Way of Salvation

Men, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
    Acts 16.30-31

Seek refuge with the Lord alone,
with your whole being, Bharata.
By His grace, you will reach
supreme peace, an everlasting estate.
    Bhagavad-Gita 18.62 (Hinduism)

Surely the [true] religion with God is Islam [the Surrender]. Those who formerly received the Scriptures… if they argue with you, [O Muhammad], say, “I have surrendered my pur-pose to God, and so have those who follow me.” And say to those who have received the Scriptures and those who have not read [them], “Have you also surrendered?” If they surrender, then truly they are rightly guided.
    Qur’an 3.19-20

To many a refuge fear-stricken men betake themselves—to hills, woods, groves, trees, and shrines. Nay, no such refuge is safe, no such ref-uge is supreme. Not by resorting to such a refuge is one freed from ill.

He who has gone for refuge to the Buddha [the teacher], the Dhamma [the teaching], and the Sangha [the taught], sees with right knowledge the Four Noble Truths: Sorrow, the Cause of Sorrow, the Transcending of Sorrow and the Noble Eightfold Path which leads to the Cessation of Sorrow. This, indeed, is refuge secure. By seeking such refuge one is released from all sorrow.
    Dhammapada 188-192 (Buddhism)

Surely, the path that leads to worldly gain is one, and the path that leads to Nibbana is another; understanding this, the bhikkhu, the disciple of the Buddha, should not rejoice in wordly favors, but cultivate detachment.
    Dhammapada 75 (Buddhism)