Opening and Welcome
Distinguished faith leaders, dignitaries, and founding members of the Family Peace Association from around the world
Welcome to Seoul, Korea, my birthplace, and thank you for joining me in the historic inauguration of the Family Peace Association.
The inaugural theme is “Creating a New Spiritual Consciousness Rooted in God-centered Families.” This theme encapsulates the aspirations of this new organization and offers a simple, but, profound solution to the vexing problems of our world today.
For more than two decades, I have been championing the vision of “One Family under God” throughout the world. Initially, the primary vehicles for this were the organizations within the larger Unification Movement. Although these entities had made some progress, they had inherent legacy, institutional and operational limitations. In 2009, I created the Global Peace Foundation (GPF) as a separate vehicle to carry forward this mission and as many of you have witnessed, we have made tremendous strides in furthering this vision.
For real transformation, however, a new organization is needed to supplement the efforts of GPF and its stated mission. This entity, from the very beginning, has to have a spiritual orientation that could inspire a global grassroots movement for peace on every level. It has to be relevant, simple and meaningful to the individual, family, society, nation and world. In addition, it has to be a membership organization that unites the human family across all the physical and perceived divides of our time.
The Family Peace Association is that new vehicle.
The Purpose of Creation
Ladies and gentlemen, the family is the most fundamental and defining institution of our human experience. It is a sacred institution where God’s original vision of creation was meant to take root. It should have been the well-spring of True Love, a divine selfless love of self-sacrifice; the school of love where True Life is formed; and the hometown of His direct dominion where all humanity is connected directly to His True Lineage through a covenant in blood.
Instead of being just our Creator, God intended to be our True Parent and co-create with His sons and daughters the physical kingdom of heaven on earth. His deepest desire was to connect intimately to every human life in a parent and child relationship of love. Through this relationship, He wanted to bequeath His truth, righteousness and goodness to His sons and daughters, expanding His presence through blood ties into a wider network of familial relationships, especially to subsequent generations. Such God-centered families would and should have become the building blocks for a peaceful, ideal world.
The Importance of Family
I am sure all of you would agree that the closest, foundational relationships we experience are found within our families. That is why, regardless of culture, ethnicity, race or nationality, the intimacy of familial relationships is a universal ideal. We, therefore, utilize familial terms when we want to highlight the closeness of a non-family relationship: Our closest friends are like our brothers and sisters; Respected elders or mentors are like our fathers or mothers; Younger people we care for deeply are like our children.
This intimacy makes the family the natural school of love, interdependence and social cohesion. The amazing fact about the human experience is that every person begins life not by choice but by circumstance. We are thrust into the world as the products of our parents’ union, completely helpless and dependent on our parent’s care and love to survive and grow. As we experience the relationships with our siblings, grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins, it teaches us, from the outset, that we are by nature relational beings and, therefore, interdependent. As a direct result, we realize that our identity, sense of purpose and happiness is defined by meaningful love relationships with others that, naturally, makes us find our unique place within our families.
Universal Principles and Values
At this time when values and norms are being vastly contested and redefined, there is urgent need to clarify and uplift time-honored universal spiritual principles and values. Such principles can be the much-needed compass to navigate through this confusion and guide humanity toward God’s ideal, which I believe is rooted first and foremost in families centered on the divine love of God. We do not have to look far to find evidence of these universal principles.
We can first look to the great faith traditions that have preserved, taught, and practiced time-honored traditions that point to the innate value of human life and the proper order in human relationships, especially in the family, as well as to virtues by which to live. Although they might differ in religious dogma, this is but a small part of their teaching. The vast majority of their instruction deals with universal truths. These truths are the basis of universal spiritual principles and values that all people of faith share.
Second, we can look to the natural world and find the hand of God in the design and order that exists in all creation. I spend a lot of time out in the wilderness, because it is my first place of worship where I seek out God’s guidance and strengthen my inner spirit. In the unforgiving mountains of Alaska or under the beating sun of Africa’s savannas, you cannot hide behind artificial, false pretensions and are forced to see yourself for who you truly are. That is why the natural world is where many of the great faith leaders turned as they sought to understand Our Creator and His purpose for creation.
The third area that can provide evidence of universal principles is the field of social science. Just as natural sciences have advanced at an unimaginable pace to help us understand the created world, social science has also developed various ways to better objectively understand human beings, our interactions, and what contributes to happiness, fulfillment, and health. When not skewed and used for self-centered, agenda-seeking purposes, we can find plenty of empirical data that point to the importance of the traditional understanding of family.
The Urgent Situation of the World Today
Perhaps these truths about the family appear self-evident to all of us gathered here. Yet, today, they face serious challenges from many quarters in the developed world. Traditional ideals and bedrock values that defined the family throughout human history, providing the foundation for cohesive societies, are being called into question. This inner strife and confusion, especially in the West, has global consequences since it reflects a deteriorating moral authority in the eyes of the rest of the world.
The West represents only a small fraction of the seven and half billion people that inhabit the earth, although its influence for the past century is undeniable. Yet, for most of that time, it led the global community by espousing universal ideals of fundamental human rights and freedoms that elevated the human condition. These were spiritual principles and values that came from its Judeo-Christian heritage. But, with the rise of the secular progressive movements of the 1960s, many of those time-honored traditions have eroded in Western culture to the point where the very mentioning of God and faith in the public square is frowned upon.
Yet, the developing world is largely made up of traditional and religious societies and cultures that reject many of the social experiments of the counter cultural movement. The excesses of the West’s materialistic and secular culture is offensive to most in these parts of the world. Although they seek the prosperity of the developed world, they do not want to adopt their modern values.
As many experts on the subject of the Global War on Terror acknowledge, Islamist terrorist groups are capitalizing on the growing consensus that the West has lost its way as the moral leader of this age. The nature of this global conflict, with its religious overtones, suggest a deeper issue of moral authority and spiritual leadership. Although the radicalization of Islam has to be dealt with inside its faith community, the ideology of Islamic or religious terrorism will be defeated by an alternative spiritual ideology that can go beyond the confines of religious dogma and enlighten humanity on fundamental universal truths.
The Need for a Spiritual Awakening
The secular and materialistic cultures of the developed world often place the greatest emphasis on immediate gratification instead of self-sacrifice, self-control and enduring human relations. There are disturbing trends toward an egotistic hyper-individualism fueled by the advent of social media, coupled with the dehumanizing virtual world of the internet. Many are concerned with the societal effects from these technological advancements since they seem to diminish human interaction and deep introspection, leaving many to wonder what the long-term impact of these trends will be. Most importantly, there seems to be a growing consensus that technology could solve all the global problems, fueling technologically driven utopian ideals that erode the fundamental meaning and essence of life rooted in humanity’s spiritual consciousness.
Yet, this consciousness was the foundation for all the “Great Awakenings” throughout human history where we reached new levels of enlightened understanding. From the Pax Mongolica of Eurasia to the Reformation and Enlightenment in Europe the universal ideals of freedom of religion, commerce, thought and the importance of personal merit and talent were conceived, nurtured and grew. They led to the formation of the United States which championed fundamental human rights and freedoms—leading to the ideals that defined the West. Always, it was the quest for spiritual truths that fostered these monumental developments.
The absence of a new spiritual consciousness in the developed world amid major social rifts along racial, ethnic, religious, economic, ideological and hyper-partisan lines is fragmenting the social fabric of most first world nations. Many are beginning to realize that wealth, technology, and abundant goods and services, address physical needs but can never satisfy the spirit’s desire to seek truth and meaning. That can only come through an “awakening” of one’s soul.
Importance of God-centered Families
The family is the most basic of all social units that addresses our most essential physical, emotional and spiritual needs. Thus, it is universally relevant and meaningful to our human experience. It engenders, molds and defines who we are, what we become and, most importantly, our deepest relationships. Therefore, it is the natural starting point for any meaningful transformation on the individual, family, societal, national and worldwide levels.
Since God is the source of all truth, righteousness and goodness, His presence and blessing are essential ingredients in establishing families that reflect those ideals. Just as the ideals of fundamental human rights and freedoms are acknowledged to come from our Creator and not from any human institution, the perfection of the human condition can only come about when it is aligned to His purpose. True freedom and innate human value can only be realized when we recognize and live according to the dictates of the spirit and our conscience. It is in the family where these ideals need to first be cultivated and experienced and then shared with the rest of society, nations and the world.
It is through such families that humanity has the chance to be enlightened and become active participants in building a world of peace and co-prosperity. It is where universal principles and values are made real and where God’s truth, righteousness and goodness emerge. This original, unchanging purpose of the family gives substance to the theme of this inaugural of “Creating a New Spiritual Consciousness in God-centered Families.”
Carrying on My Father’s Legacy
Ladies and gentlemen, today is a very meaningful day for me. On the one hand, this day represents a milestone for humanity, where all of you, men and women, families, faith traditions and organizations from around the world are standing together to declare your commitment to cultivating God-centered families. However, on the other hand, for me personally, this inauguration also expresses my commitment to continuing my father’s life-long work.
My father had founded the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification with the intention of creating a global movement to inspire all humanity to establish God-centered families. During public addresses, he often opined: “What do you think is God’s ultimate purpose for creating human beings? Simply put, it is to experience joy through relating with ideal families filled with true love… living as one family with God…”
I personally witnessed the difficulty my father faced as he sought to articulate this mission and bring it to life. His entire life was devoted to responding to God’s calling, to find a way for all humanity to live together in peace and happiness. His work was not merely for one people, or one faith; it was for all humanity. He was often misunderstood by the wider public and sometimes exploited by his own supporters with self-serving agendas. Yet, to the end, he remained steadfast in his commitment to God and humanity. As his son, and as one who shares in his aspirations, I am committed to bringing our shared dream to fruition.
In 1998, when I was appointed the International Vice President of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, I made a promise before Heaven and humanity that I would carry forward my parents’ dream to advance God’s kingdom through the formation of God-centered families. Although I can no longer work through the FFWPU because it is not true to my father’s original mission, today, with the creation of the Family Peace Association, I am fulfilling that promise.
This spiritual movement will carry forward the original vision that animated my father’s life which is the dream of a peaceful ideal world where humanity stands as “One Family under God.”
Call to Action
Today we stand at an inflection point in history. The world is ripe for the next great awakening of human spiritual consciousness. Yet at the same time, the family, which should be a divine institution, is being undermined before our very eyes by the many disruptive forces at work within modern culture, dissolving the bonds of society. In its wake, purely human institutions, let it be secular or religious, are taking its place exacerbating the already existing divides within humanity.
The role of God-centered families is central to all positive human development since it brings back the divinity in that sacred institution and aligns it to the original purpose of creation. Without such families, humanity will not have the moral clarity and conviction to take on the challenges of this age and build a brighter future for our children and grandchildren. The course of human society will turn on how well we understand this truth and the choices we make today to act upon it.
At a time when humanity is growing more fragmented as a result of religious, racial, cultural, and economic tensions, we need to find common cause and work towards a world where every person is valued as a son or daughter of God. As people of faith and good conscience, we need to rise above differences of doctrine and ideology and recognize the universal principles and shared values embodied in the time-honored teachings of the world’s great faith traditions. Most importantly, we need to cooperate in enlightening humanity’s spiritual consciousness to turn to our common Creator and build “One Family under God,” one family at a time.
Please join hands with me in officially launching the Family Peace Association. Let us work to usher in an era of peace by creating families where God will be pleased to dwell and through whom His light and peace can spread throughout the world.
May God bless you and thank you very much.
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