Unification Church and science

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The relationship of the Unification Church and science has often been noted, by the news media and by scholars of religion. [1] The Divine Principle, the main textbook of Unification Church beliefs which was written by church founder Sun Myung Moon and other church members, calls for the unification of science and religion: "Religion and science, each in their own spheres, have been the methods of searching for truth in order to conquer ignorance and attain knowledge. Eventually, the way of religion and the way of science should be integrated and their problems resolved in one united undertaking; the two aspects of truth, internal and external, should develop in full consonance." [2]

In the 1970s and 1980s the Unification Church sponsored the International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences (ICUS).[3][4] in order to promote the concept of the unity of science and religion,.[5] [6] American news media have suggested that the conferences were also an attempt to improve the often controversial public image of the church.[7][8] The first conference, held in 1972, had 20 participants; while the largest conference, in Seoul, South Korea in 1982, had 808 participants from over 100 countries.[9] Participants in one or more of the conferences included Nobel laureates John Eccles (Physiology or Medicine 1963, who chaired the 1976 conference)[4] and Eugene Wigner (Physics 1963).[10]

The relationship of the Unification Church and science again came to public attention in 2002 with the publication of Icons of Evolution, a popular book critical of the teaching of evolution written by church member Jonathan Wells. Wells is a graduate of the Unification Theological Seminary and has also been active with the anti-evolution Discovery Institute as an advocate for Intelligent Design[11][12][13]

Some of Moon's scientific views were unconventional; for instance, he held that racial characteristics were determined environmentally: "If you black leaders went to live in the North Pole, you would become white after a few generations."[14]


  1. ^ Mary Farrell Bednarowski, 1995, New Religions and the Theological Imagination in America, Indiana University Press, pp.9-10 ISBN 0-253-20952-8.
  2. ^ Divine Principle, Introduction
  3. ^ excerpt The Unification Church Studies in Contemporary Religion, Massimo Introvigne, 2000, Signature Books, Salt Lake City, Utah, ISBN 1-56085-145-7
  4. ^ a b Kety Quits Moon-Linked ICF Conference Harvard Crimson, 1976-08-10.
  5. ^ Tingle, D. and Fordyce, R. 1979, Phases and Faces of the Moon: A Critical Examination of the Unification Church and its Principles, Hicksville, NY: Exposition Press ISBN 0-682-49264-7 p86-87
  6. ^ Biermans, J. 1986, The Odyssey of New Religious Movements, Persecution, Struggle, Legitimation: A Case Study of the Unification Church Lewiston, New York and Queenston, Ontario: The Edwin Melton Press ISBN 0-88946-710-2 p173
  7. ^ Church Spends Millions On Its Image Washington Post. 1984-09-17 "An estimated 5,000 scholars, including more than two dozen Nobel laureates, have accepted expense-paid trips to academic conferences around the world held by the International Conference of the Unity of Sciences (ICUS) and the Professors World Peace Academy, two offshoots of the Moon-financed International Cultural Foundation (ICF), a New York-based umbrella organization for church academic programs. This year's 13th annual ICUS conference, with the theme 'Absolute Values and The New Cultural Revolution,' was held over the Labor Day weekend at the new J.W. Marriott Hotel in Washington and attracted 240 participants from 46 countries, including John Lombardi, dean of international programs at Indiana University; Claude A. Villee, a Harvard Medical School biochemist; Morton Kaplan, a University of Chicago political scientist, and Eugene P. Wigner, a Princeton University physicist and Nobel laureate who, at an ICUS conference two years ago, received a $200,000 "founder's award" from Moon."
  8. ^ Rev. Moon is sponsor of scholarly conference, St. Petersburg Times, November 12, 1977
  9. ^ ICUS Statement of Purpose
  10. ^ Eugene Paul Wigner Papers Princeton University Library
  11. ^ Library journal, Volume 131, Issues 12-15. 2006. p. 45. "Libraries with larger budgets may want to purchase books that represent viewpoints at the extremes of this struggle, including such intelligent design tracts as … Jonathan Wells's Icons of Evolution … For example we may be obligated to our patrons to make available works that embody ideas fundamental to significant cultural undercurrents such as "intelligent design" but not to burden budgets and minds with every other form of pseudoscience." 
  12. ^ Icons of Evolution? Alan D. Gishlick. National Center for Science Education
  13. ^ Survival of the Fakest, Jonathan Wells, 2000 (A reprint from the American Spectator)
  14. ^ Sun Myung Moon Crowned 'King Of America' At U.S. Senate Building | AU.org

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