These two religions are from the far east. Shintoism is from Japan. The Unification church (Moonies) is from Korea.
There are about 150 million followers of this religion in the world. Most are in Japan (Shintoism, Number of Followers, Shintoreligionuk.weebly.com).
The origin of the religion is not known. The name Shinto began to be used after Buddhism was introduced into the country in the 6th century A.D., to distinguish traditional religion from Buddhism. Shinto means “the way of the gods.”
Shintoism is a religion of ancestry worship. “’Shinto gods’ are called Kami. They are sacred spirits which take the form of things and concepts important to life, such as wind, rain, mountains, trees, rivers and fertility. Humans become Kami after they die and are revered by their families as ancestral Kami. The Kami of extraordinary people are even enshrined at some shrines” (Shinto, japan-guide.com).
In time past, those who believed in Shintoism believed that they were a special people. In Shinto tradition, the Japanese islands were created by two Kami, Izanagi-no-mikoto and Izanami-no-mikodo (Shinto, religioustolerance.org). Her rulers were thought to have descended from the sun-goddess, Amaterasu Omikami, who was also the offspring of the two previously mentioned Kami (ibid). Furthermore, Japan was thought to be protected by Kami. The Mongols twice tried to invade Japan in the 13th century. Both were unsuccessful. Typhoons destroyed the invaders ships, and forced retreat. “The Kamikaze, or ‘divine wind,’ that destroyed the invading host gave the Japanese the belief that they were a divinely protected people” (Encyclopedia Brittanica, Vol. 10, p. 65 © 1979).
Some of these beliefs were shattered by World War II. The Emperor, Hirohito, made this statement on January 01, 1946, “The ties between us and our people have always stood upon mutual trust and affection. They do not depend upon mere legends and myths. They are not predicated on the false conception that the Emperor is divine, and that the Japanese people are superior to other races and fated to rule the world” (Humanity Declaration, Wikipedia.org). Religion and government were separated.
There is no developed moral teaching in Shintoism. “It is a striking fact that the religion of Shinto provided no moral code. It depends solely upon the promptings of conscience for ethical guidance” (Shintoism and the Japanese nation; jstar.org). Many Shintoists blend Confucian or Buddhist ethics with their Shinto beliefs.
The Unification Church
The numbers are uncertain. The Washington Post said this in 2012, “Scholars estimate that there are now 100,000 Unificationists worldwide and a few thousand in the U.S., far fewer than the multi-million membership the church claims” (Unification Church Founder, Sun Myung Moon dies at 92 by Daniel Burke, washingtonpost.com).
The origin of this church is known. It started in the year 1954. The location was South Korea. The founder was Sun Myung Moon.
What is known of Moon? He was born in 1920, in what is today North Korea. He was raised in the Presbyterian Church. He claimed, that at age 16, Jesus appeared to him in a vision asking him to finish His unfinished work.
What was left unfinished according to Moon? “Although Jesus was able to create the conditions necessary for humanity’s spiritual salvation, he did not marry and thus, according to Moon, did not complete God’s plan… Having married and raised the ‘ideal’ family, Moon called on members of the church to follow his example and thereby participate in God’s plan for restoration” (Unification Church, brittanica.com). “The unification movement… believes that God’s original intent was for Jesus to form a perfect marriage in order to redeem humanity… Because Jesus (the second Adam) was executed before accomplishing his mission, a ‘third Adam’ was needed to form this perfect marriage and complete Jesus’ task… the perfect man would marry the perfect woman and become the ‘true spiritual parents of human kind.’ Members of the Unification church regard Moon and his second wife, Hak Jan Han, as their ‘true parents… This emphasis or marriage is the reason for Moon’s famous mass weddings… Couples are ‘removed from the lineage of sinful humanity and engrafted into God’s sinless lineage’” (9 Things You Should Know About the Unification Church by Joe Carter, thegospelcoalition.org). According to them there were two falls in Genesis. A spiritual fall occurred when Eve had sex with Lucifer. A physical fall occurred when Eve then had sex with Adam. Jesus supposedly provided the remedy for the first fall and Moon the remedy for the second, so that God’s kingdom may appear on Earth (McDowell & Steward, Handbook of Today’s Religions; britannica.com).
Accusations have existed. Moon was twice imprisoned by communist forces. Supporters claim that he was persecuted for his faith. Critics claim it was for capitalistic pursuits and bigamy. In 1955, Moon was arrested by South Korean authorities and charged with draft evasion and sexual promiscuity. The charges were dropped. There were reports of Moon purifying female members by sexual intercourse with himself. Moon was convicted in the U.S. of tax fraud in 1982. He was given an 18 month sentence. He served 13 months of the sentence. Supporters believe that this was religious persecution (Walter Martin, The Kingdom of the Cults, p. 338-ff).
Here is an interesting note. The Washington Times was founded by Sun Myung Moon in 1982.
- The Bible teaches that truth is not subjective (Proverbs 16:2; 16:25). Jeremiah wrote, “O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (Jeremiah 10:23).
- Jesus finished His work that He came to do (John 19:30 cf. John 5:36; 17:4). Where does the Bible hint that Jesus was supposed to marry and bring into existence the model family? The Law, nor the Prophets, nor the Psalms mention this (Luke 24:44).