Editor’s note: Eileen Barker is professor emeritus of sociology of religion at the London School of Economics.
By Eileen Barker, Special to CNN
With the death of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon at 92, we see the end of an era.
Moon was the last surviving charismatic leader of the wave of movements that spread throughout California and the rest of the West in the 1970s and ’80s – other examples included L. Ron Hubbard’s Scientology, David Berg’s Children of God and Prabhupada’s Hare Krishna movement.
In the case of Moon’s Unification Church, hordes of young, well-educated hippies left college and their comfortable middle-class homes to work up to 18 hours a day on the streets, selling flowers or candy and urging others to follow a Korean who declared that he was the messiah.
After they had spent perhaps years in mobile fund-raising teams and had drawn a sufficient number of “spiritual children” into the fold, these young converts would be "matched" with a partner whom they were unlikely to know (and who might not even speak their language) and then blessed in a mass wedding ceremony with thousands of other couples.
Perhaps it was not surprising that many of their parents, who had other plans for their (adult) children’s futures, objected strongly when their sons or daughters started referring to Moon and his wife, Hak Ja Han, as their “True Parents,” in some cases cutting themselves off from their families.
Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter
A number of so-called “anti-cult movements” sprang up throughout the United States with the aim of exposing and combating the perceived evils of such “cults.” Large sections of the media joined in the fight, agreeing with the anti-cultists that the only possible explanation for the young people’s behavior was that they had been brainwashed.
This theory led to the arrival of “deprogrammers,” who would kidnap converts, holding them against their will until they either renounced their faith or managed to escape back to their movement.
In the meantime, Moon’s notoriety in North America was spreading far beyond the concerns of individual families.
He and his church were investigated for connections with the South Korean CIA by the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on International Organizations. At the time of the Watergate affair, Moon came out strongly in support of President Richard Nixon. And in 1984 he was sentenced to prison for tax fraud.
CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories
Moon also accumulated impressive wealth through his teams of volunteer members and through a number of businesses in both America and elsewhere, particularly in Japan and South Korea. His businesses included armament factories, boat building and fishing, ginseng products and a number of media outlets, including The Washington Times.
Although Moon is likely to be remembered for all these things – mass weddings, accusations of brainwashing, political intrigue and enormous wealth – he should also be remembered as creating what was arguably one of the most comprehensive and innovative theologies embraced by a new religion of the period.
The basic beliefs are to be found in the “Divine Principle,” which describes how the Fall took place when, in the Garden of Eden, the Archangel Lucifer – who had been asked to look after Adam and Eve until they were mature enough to marry – had seduced Eve into a spiritual, sexual relationship.
According to Moon, Eve later had a sexual relationship with Adam. As a result of this Lucifer-centered (rather than God-centered) union, their children were tainted with “Fallen Nature,” the Unification equivalent of original sin.
According to the “Divine Principle,” the whole of history is interpreted as God’s attempt to restore the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. Jesus was meant to get married but was killed before that was possible. Moon, with his marriage to his second (or third) wife in 1960, is said to have laid the necessary foundation for restoring the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth, with the mass blessings playing a role in purifying the blood lineage of the participants.
Moon’s movement has undergone considerable changes since its founding in 1954.
Most members no longer live in communities but live and work independently, possibly tithing 10% of their income to the movement. There is now a burgeoning second generation which, to a large extent, is involved in running the movement.
Moon’s children have taken up leadership positions, with the youngest son, Hyung Jin Nim, being the heir apparent. But a split has emerged within the “True Family,” with siblings fighting among themselves for the assets and control of the movement.
It is unlikely that Unificationism will continue as a single entity. But also unlikely that Moon’s legacy will fade away within the foreseeable future.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Eileen Barker.
Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son
I pray to a god I don't even believe in that you will shut the f v ck up.
Free speech helps educate the masses................POLITICIANS too !
Where do morals come from?
By Kelly Murray, CNN
Gravity is not up for debate !
BY the way ...................Splat goes a fairy in the sky !...............bye bye tinker bell !
Einstein's Gravity Theory Passes Toughest Test Yet..............................E = mc2..........(U–Pb).................two math formulas.
Apr. 25, 2013 — A strange stellar pair nearly 7,000 light-years from Earth has provided physicists with a unique cosmic laboratory for studying the nature of gravity. The extremely strong gravity of a massive neutron star in orbit with a companion white dwarf star puts competing theories of gravity to a test more stringent than any available before
Hey James Madison................religion has none it looks like.............with the comments on this blog.
The Big question is ETHICS ! does religion have any ?
The Ethics of Resurrecting Extinct Species
Apr. 8, 2013 — At some point, scientists may be able to bring back extinct animals, and perhaps early humans, raising questions of ethics and environmental disruption.
April 30, 2013 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
May 1, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
Dinosaur Egg Study Supports Evolutionary Link Between Birds and Dinosaurs: How Troodon Likely Hatched Its Young
And NO ANGELS the pope KICKED them OFF the TEAM last year !
From Soup to Cells—the Origin of Life
the wrong path is Adam and Eve !
Human Y Chromosome Much Older Than Previously Thought
Mar. 4, 2013 — The discovery and analysis of an extremely rare African American Y chromosome pushes back the time of the most recent common ancestor for the Y chromosome lineage tree to 338,000 years ago. This time predates the age of the oldest known anatomically modern human fossils.
No god(s) needed or required to graduate from public schools in the US
Remember : Adam had to POKE himself hard with his OWN BONE to create Eve.
No god(s) needed................... Old. DNA works..................also catches crooks !
Ancient DNA Reveals Europe's Dynamic Genetic History
Apr. 23, 2013 — Ancient DNA recovered from a series of skeletons in central Germany up to 7,500 years old has been used to reconstruct the first detailed genetic history of modern Europe.
Ca-nabis and Cannabinoids (PDQ®) – National Cancer Insti-tute
Mar 21, 2013 – [1,2] These plant-derived compounds may be referred to as phytocannabinoids. ... have a protective effect against the development of certain types of tumors. ... In lung cancer cell lines, CBD upregulated ICAM-1, leading to ...
Good stuff !
The fact...............the earth is to old for this nonsemse ! Time to EVOLVE !
Ancient Earth Crust Stored in Deep Mantle
Apr. 24, 2013 — Scientists have long believed that lava erupted from certain oceanic volcanoes contains materials from the early Earth's crust. But decisive evidence for this phenomenon has proven elusive. New research from a team including Carnegie's Erik Hauri demonstrates that oceanic volcanic rocks contain samples of recycled crust dating back to the Archean era 2.5 billion years ago. Their work is published in Nature.
For what...................... ? Make sure to read what the pope said !
Learning is fun with facts.......................... and facts work when teaching children.
Atheist Prof. Peter Higgs: Stop calling Higgs boson the ‘God particle’
Professor Peter Higgs said recently that there is no God and so people should stop referring to the theoretical partial that
bears his name as the “God particle.”
Pope praises science, but insists God created world updated Thur October 28, 2010
Stephen Hawking is wrong, Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday – God did create the universe. The pope didn't actually mention the world-famous scientist, who argues in a book published last month that the laws of physics show there is no need for a supreme... \
Heaven is 'a fairy story,' scientist Stephen Hawking says updated Tue May 17, 2011
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor The concept of heaven or any kind of afterlife is a "fairy story," famed British scientist Stephen Hawking said in a newspaper interview this week. "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when...
April 7th, 2012
08:32 PM ET
The Jesus debate: Man vs. myth
Make sure to read comments
April 18, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
NASA: Three planets found are some of best candidates so far for habitable worlds outside our solar system.
NASA: Mars could have supported life
Star Dust we are
Holy Hallucinations 35
The ORIGIN story is bullsh-it...............so is the bible............... nasty !
Scientists have unearthed the first direct signs of cheesemaking, at a site in Poland that dates back 7,500 years.
BBC. Planet of the Apemen. Battle for Earth 1. Ho-mo Erectus
BACKFILL on E =mc2.....
Einstein letter, set for auction, shows scientist challenging idea of God, being 'chosen'
By Jessica Ravitz, CNN
Decades before atheist scientist and author Richard Dawkins called God a "delusion," one world-renowned physicist – Albert Einstein – was weighing in on faith matters with his own strong words.
“The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends,” Einstein wrote in German in a 1954 letter that will be auctioned on eBay later this month. "No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.”
May 4, 2013 at 6:47 am | Report abuse |
Cheech & Chong's History of 420
Cheech & Chong's History of 420 from CheechAndChong
All cults...........creationists, ID believers and devil cults.................
The fact...............the earth is to old ...........time to EVOLVE !.
Dover Trial Transcripts............................................. FACTS.
Below are the complete transcripts from the Dover Trial. Thanks to our friends at the National Center for Science Education for helping us fill in the missing transcripts.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.