Essentials Of Unification Thought - The Head-Wing Thought

III. Weaknesses In Traditional Views of Values

One of the causes of the collapse of values today is that traditional systems of value-primarily religious systems of value-have lost their persuasive power, or ability to persuade people. In this section, I will explain how the traditional views of value of the four major religions and of humanitarianism have lost their persuasive power. This will be done through an analysis of the weaknesses in those views.

A. Weaknesses in the Christian View of Value

Christianity contains excellent virtues, as expressed in the following biblical passages:

You shall love your neighbor as yourself (Malt. 22:39).
Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matt 5:44).
Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them ("The Golden Rule," Matt 7:12).
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matt. ch. 5).
So, faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love (I Cor. 13:13).
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law (Gal. 5:22-23).

Although in Christianity there are many other virtues, yet it is stated that "love builds up" (I Cor. 8: 1), which means that the basis for all those virtues is love. It is also stated that "Love is of God, ... God is love" (I John 4:7-8), which means that the basis of love is God. Yet, in the modern period, the existence of God came to be denied by Nietzsche, Feuerbach, Marx, Russell, Sartre, and many others. Against such God-denying thoughts, Christianity has been unable to counterattack effectively. That is to say, in the confrontation between theism and atheism, Christianity has been defeated. As a result, a great number of people have become slaves of atheism.

Furthermore, a challenge has been issued by Communism against the Christian view of value. Communists deny the concepts of absolute love and love for humankind, as asserted in Christianity, and insist that real love is class-centered love, or love for one's comrades. In a society where there are conflicts of interest, there can be no love beyond one's social class. One simply has to choose to stand either on the side of the proletariat or on the side of the bourgeoisie. Ultimately, love for humankind is an empty word that cannot be put into actual practice, they say. If one hears such assertions, certainly the class-centered love sounds more actual, and tile Christian love sounds merely conceptual. Especially for those who are unable to be convinced of the existence of God, Christian love does not seem to be so convincing.

Also, today Liberation Theology and Dependency Theory have emerged in the Third World. According to Liberation Theology, Jesus was a revolutionary who came to save the oppressed and the poor of his age. Therefore, Liberation Theology preaches that those who are true Christians must fight for social revolution. Thus, sympathy for the cause of the poor agrees well with the Communist class-centered love, and eventually this kind of sympathy becomes aligned with Communism in working to solve actual problems. 10 According to Dependency Theory, poverty in the Third World comes from structural contradictions between advanced countries and the Third World, and is unavoidable. In order for the Third World to be liberated from poverty, the Third World must confront the advanced nations, this theory asserts. Dependency Theory aligns itself with Communism in much the same way as Liberation Theology does. 11

Neither Liberation Theology nor Dependency Theory possesses a firm philosophy, a firm theory of history, or a firm economic theory when compared with Communism. Therefore, eventually they cannot but be absorbed by Communism. Yet, Christianity seems unable to take an effective course of action to resolve that situation.

B. Weaknesses in the Confucian View of Value

Stated in summary form, Confucianism consists of the five moral rules governing the five human relationships, the four virtues, the four beginnings, the eight articles, and loyalty and filial piety. Each of these will be discussed briefly.

1. The Five Moral Rules Governing the Five Human Relationships

The five moral rules, since ancient times, have been described as follows: "Affection should mark the relations between father and son; justice and righteousness should mark the relations between sovereign and subject; distinction should mark the relations between husband and wife; order should mark the relations between elder and younger brothers; trust should mark the relations among friends." These have been regarded as the basis for human relationships, and were especially emphasized by Mencius.

2. The Four Virtues

Mencius preached four virtues, namely, benevolence (jen),12 righteousness, propriety, and knowledge. Later, Tung Chung-shu, of the Han dynasty, added "faith," establishing the Way of the Five Cardinal Virtues Jen, righteousness, propriety, knowledge, and faith).

3. The Four Beginnings

According to Mencius, the feeling of commiseration, the feeling of shame and dislike, the feeling of modesty and complaisance, and the feeling of approving and disapproving are the Four Beginnings. Each of these was taught to be the beginning of one of the Four Virtues-jen, righteousness, propriety, and knowledge, respectively.

4. The Eight Articles

In order to govern the world peacefully, an official must do the following: (a) investigate many things; (b) extend his knowledge; (c) be guided by sincere thoughts; (d) rectify his heart; (e) cultivate his personality; (f) regulate his own family; (g) govern the state well; and (h) bring peace to the world. 13

5. Loyalty and Filial Piety

Loyalty and filial piety are the virtues with which one serves one's superiors and one's parents.

Although in Confucianism, there are many other virtues, the basis for all those virtues is jen (benevolence), and the basis for jen is Heaven. 14 However, Confucianism does not clearly explain what Heaven is.

Communists have criticized Confucianism by applying the Communist theory of "basis and superstructure," saying that the Confucian teaching is nothing but a means of rationalizing the existing rule. They argue that Confucian values were coined by the ruling class during the feudal period in order to make the people follow obediently and that, therefore, Confucian teachings are not appropriate for a modern, democratic society, which follows the principles of equal rights and majority rule. Consequently, Confucian virtues are all but neglected today. Thus, the Confucian view of value is collapsing, and as a result, disorder and confusion have invaded families and society.

C. Weaknesses in the Buddhist View of Value

The fundamental virtue of Buddhism is mercy, and in order to practice mercy (ntaitri), a life of training is required. Through a life of training, one reaches Sfavaka (one who is awakened by hearing the teachings), Natyekabuddha (one who awakens by oneself through some event), Bodhisattva (the one striving for enlightenment) and finally Buddhahood (the enlightened one, or the one with perfect personality). Mercy becomes possible in the levels of Bodhisattva and Buddhahood. On the levels of Siavaka and Iralyekalruddha, one is not yet ready to practice mercy.

People are not aware of the fact that all things in the world change, or are transitory; accordingly, people are attached to their present life, and that is the cause of their suffering. In order to end suffering, one must get rid of such attachments through a life of training. Deliverance from attachments and liberation from suffering are what is understood by "salvation" (vbitukli) in Buddhism. Through salvation, one enters the state of selflessness and comes to practice true mercy, according to Buddhism.

The fundamental thought of Buddha has been systematized in the teachings of the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path. The Four Noble Truths consist of (a) the Truth of Suffering, (b) the Truth of the Cause of Suffering, (c) the Truth of the Cessation of Suffering, (d) and the Truth of the Noble Path to the Cessation of the Cause of Suffering. Each of these is explained briefly.

(a) The Truth of Suffering shows that human life is suffering.
(b) The Truth of the Cause of Suffering teaches that the cause of suffering is attachment.
(c) The Truth of the Cessation of Suffering is that in order to get rid of suffering, one must give up attachment.
(d) The Truth of the Noble Path to the Cessation of the Cause of Suffering is that, in order to make one's suffering disappear, one must be trained according to the Noble Eightfold Path.

The Noble Eightfold Path is as follows:

1. Right View
2. Right Thought
3. Right Speech
4. Right Behavior
5. Right livelihood
6. Right Effort
7. Right Mindfulness
8. Right Concentration

The system of twelve items has been established through inquiry into the cause of die emergence of human pain. That is the teaching of the twelve causations. According to this teaching, the root cause of human suffering is desire or greed, and more deeply than that, there is ignorance of Tathafa (the source of die universe), or the state of not realizing that pain and suffering are not essential. From this ignorance, all kinds of suffering arise.

In Mahayana Buddhism, the perfection of the following six practices (fa-randl-a) is necessary for one to become a Bodhisattva:

1. Offering
2. Keeping precepts
3. Endurance
4. Endeavor
5. Concentration of mind
6. Wisdom

The root of the above virtues of Buddhism is mercy, and the basis for mercy is Tathai-a, which is the source of the universe-15 But today the Buddhist view of values has lost its ability to persuade people.

This is because the Buddhist doctrine has the following problems:

a) The exact nature of Talhafa, the source of the universe, is not explained.
b) The way the dharinas (all phenomena) have come into being is unclear.
c) A fundamental explanation of how ignorance came about is not given.
d) The fundamental solution of actual problems (of human life, society, and history) is impossible merely through training.

Moreover, Communism has posed a challenge to Buddhism. The Communist attack can be summarized as follows: "Actual society is filled with exploitation, oppression, gaps between the rich and the poor, and other social ills. The cause of these vices lies not as much in ignorance as in the contradictions within the system of capitalist society itself. Buddhist training is for the salvation of the individual, but isn't that just a way of escaping from reality, a way of avoiding the real solution to the problems? Engaging in training without solving actual problems is nothing but hypocrisy." Thus attacked, Buddhists have been unable to counter with an appropriate refutation.

D. Weaknesses in the Islamic View of Value

Islam regards Muhammad as the greatest of all prophets and the Qur'an as the most complete of all scriptures, but it also believes in Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and the prophets, and regards the five books of Moses, David's Psalms, and the Gospels of Jesus, as its scriptures. Therefore, Islamic virtues have many points in common with Judeo-Christian virtues. 16

The Islamic teachings of faith and practice are summarized in the Six Articles of Faith and the Five Obligatory Practices. The Six Articles of Faith are that one must believe in God, in angels, in the scriptures, in the prophets, in the coming Day of judgment, and must believe that human destiny is in the hands of Allah. The Five Obligatory Practices are pronouncing the Word of Witness, praying, fasting, almsgiving, and going on pilgrimage.

The object of faith is Allah, who is absolute, the only one, the Creator, and the Ruler. On the question of who Allah is, Islamic theologians mention 99 attributes, among which "compassionate" and "merciful" are the most fundamental. 17 Therefore, we can say that the most fundamental virtue of' all Islamic virtues is compassion, or mercy.

In this way, the Islamic view of values originally had many points in common with the systems of values of other religions, and was in harmony with them. In reality, however, there have been many cases of serious conflicts, including wars, among Islamic sects, and between Islam and other religions. By taking advantage of such conflicts, Communism has been challenging Islam. The Communist attack could be summarized as Follows: "There can be no love for humankind, as Islam advocates. The struggles among Islamic sects prove our assertion. In a class society, there can be only class centered love." Thus, by taking advantage of all those conflicts, Communists have attempted to make Islamic countries Communistic, or at least pro-Communistic.

Above all, the conflict between Islam and Judeo-Christianity is particularly serious. This is a problem to be solved by going back to the origin of the hostile feelings between the two sides. Since Allah is a merciful God, why doesn't He just do away with that conflict? In order to resolve this issue, answers must be found to some fundamental questions, such as, What was God's purpose in creating humankind and the universe? What is the essence of all the struggles among people in human history? And how has God been working to save fallen people throughout history?

E. Weaknesses in the Humanitarian View of Value

The term humanitarianism is often used in the same meaning as humanism. Yet, in a strict sense, it is clearly different from humanism. Humanism is a thought that aims to achieve the liberation of humankind by fostering the independence of the human personality. On the other hand, humanitarianism has strong ethical overtones, advocating respect for people, philanthropy, universal brotherhood, and so on. Unlike animals, human beings have humanness; therefore, all people should be respected. This kind of vague idea is humanitarianism. Yet, it does not clearly explain what a human being is.

Humanitarianism is naturally vulnerable to attacks from Communism. Let us suppose there is a humanitarian business leader. A Communist might approach that person with the following reasoning: "You are exploiting your workers without knowing it. Why don't we build a society where all people live in affluence?" Also, suppose there is a humanitarian young person who believes that acquiring knowledge is the most important thing in the world. A Communist might say to that person, "What are you studying for? You should not be always thinking of your own success. That will, after all, serve only the bourgeoisie. Don't you think we should live for the sake of the people?" Thus confronted, a conscientious humanitarian would be unable to refute it, and would come to consider that Communism has good reasons to support it. Accordingly, those with a humanitarian view of value have been unable to deal with attack from Communists.

Through the examples above, it is clear that traditional systems of values have lost their ability to persuade people. Thus, the establishment of a new view of values is urgently needed.

 Download entire page and pages related to it in ZIP format
Table of Contents
Tparents Home