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Answer to a Moonie

by Pat Goltz

If a Moonie tries to sell you something, you will have at most a few seconds to say something that will make a difference to him. For what it is worth, in the hopes that it may prove useful, here is what I told a Japanese Moonie who tried to sell me a wind chime in the laundromat. It takes into account his culture.

When this particular young man approached me, he was wearing a badge that gave his name. I could tell from the name that he was Japanese. The badge said he was from CARP. CARP is a college youth front group of the Unification Church of Sun Myung Moon, a group commonly known as the Moonies. I asked him if he had any literature on CARP. He did. He had a laminated brochure. I looked at the brochure to give myself time to think and pray. After reading it, I handed it back, and said, "I understand that your leader teaches you that God sent Jesus into the world to marry and have the perfect family. Is that correct?" He said, "Yes."

Then I said, "And your leader teaches you that he failed in this mission, and that Rev. Moon had to come to complete his mission, is this correct?" And again, he said, "Yes."

Then I said, "Isn't it an attack on God's honor to teach that God's plan failed?" I could see that my answer took him totally by surprise. I asked him if he was familiar with John 3:16, and he began to quote it. Then I said, "Think about it, and pray." He excused himself quickly and left. Needless to say, I prayed for him.

This approach would tend to be useful with Japanese, Chinese, and Koreans. You can feel safe using it with anyone who appears to be Asian, and possibly of those groups.

This approach is based on the fact that in those cultures, honor is important. So is status. The higher your status, the more say you have in how things are done. If the person believes in God, he knows that God has the ultimate status. Another thing that is critical about these cultures is the fact that you are not allowed to make mistakes. If you make a mistake, you lose face. If you make a serious mistake, you may be obliged to take your own life to restore your honor. These cultures have no concept of forgiveness. If you have a lot of status, a mistake is much more serious, because it will cause suffering to more people. So for this reason, if God has the highest status of all, then He is not allowed to make mistakes, and implying that God has made a mistake is an attack on His honor.

What you are doing when you use this approach is causing what is commonly called cognitive dissonance. This happens whenever a person comes to believe things that are contradictory, or is told something he has to accept which contradicts the other things he believes. In order to reach a person with the gospel, you must first destroy trust in what he believes at the present time. The tool of cognitive dissonance is one method of doing this. The particular approach I have written about here is applicable to one particular situation. In order to be able to apply it in any situation, you must understand the beliefs of the group to which the person belongs, you must be willing to be patient and present dissonant ideas over time, and above all, you must love him enough to pray for him.

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