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Unitarian Universalism and Normal Christians

January 18, 2011

I was recently reading something (can’t remember what) that mentioned Unitarian Universalism for some reason, and I did a quick search to see what exactly that meant, besides “open-minded.” Not much. Here’s a quick definition: “a religious community characterized by support for a ‘free and responsible search for truth and meaning.’ Unitarian Universalists do not share a creed; rather, they are unified by their shared search for spiritual growth and by the belief that an individual’s theology is a result of that search and not obedience to an authoritative requirement…espousing a rather hands-off approach to religion, whereby the followers can be atheist, theist, or any point in between” (Wikipedia).

And that’s classified under the “religion” heading?!? Basically, members can think whatever they want about some sort of higher-being and truth, don’t have any authoritative anything, and don’t have any unifying ‘creed’ beyond “I hope your search for meaning goes well.” I’m semi-appalled. Why not just call it: “being alive” or “Postmodernism: the religion.” 

Along the same lines, I’ve been hearing a lot lately this idea of “radical” or “crazy” Christians. I’ll be talking to someone about their religious beliefs/beliefs about God and once the Bible comes up, they say something like, “only radical Christians think the Flood really happened and that you can believe the Bible. It’s so old…blah blah blah…only the radical ones take it all seriously.” So radical ones are the ones who actually think the Bible is 100% true.

I thought that was just being a Christian.

Begs the question, where are the “normal Christians” getting their truth?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 19, 2011 12:34 am

    It is sad that you stopped at “a quick search”, rather than going to the UUA site and getting real information, undiluted by detractors.

    The UUA is a voluntary association of congregations, united in their covenant to “affirm and promote” 7 Principles, and to honor 6 sources of wisdom. We don’t have dogma, true; there is no requirement to believe in anything supernatural or to put faith in anything other than “the inherent worth and dignity of every person” and “Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.” Everything else flows from those principles rather naturally.

    We don’t worry about saving you from yourself unless we see that you are in danger or in need. We base that on what happens in this world, the only life we are promised. We recognize that no deity can ever be proved, or disproved, to the world, and as such, we live by the unspoken principle that “your guess might be as good as mine”. We encourage each other in a free, but responsible, search for truth, rooting out damaging, hypocritical, or provably false ideas and allowing anything else so long as it conforms to the Principles of the covenant.

    The UUA has a 50 year tradition of fighting, often in the face of Christian leaders, for racial, economic, and more recently sexual equality in the US. We donate our churches for polling places. They organize food and clothing drives and host speakers, concerts and films for the general public.

    Also, let’s look at what it means to be “Christian”. If you are a Catholic, it means venerating the saints. If you are Protestant, it most likely mean denial of the saints as intercessors. If you are a Mormon, then it means BEING a saint. It means honoring the holy trinity, whatever that is, unless you are a Jehovah’s Witness, Mormon or other (small u) unitarian denomination. You may, or may not, believe in the literal interpretation of one or both Genesis Creation Stories (the Pope says they are allegories), or the “Take up Serpents” verse. Jesus did not say “I am the metaphorical vine…”, so unless you believe he was a plant monster, then the Bible is not 100% literal. Once you admit that this verse is open to interpretation, everything is a matter of degrees.

  2. January 19, 2011 9:02 am

    Yes, I could have looked up some more information, point well taken. But the information I found was exactly right (according to your definitions), so I think I am acquitted from the charge of bad information. I think it would be more fair to call UUA an association of like minded people who: respect others, are nice to fellow man and don’t bother other people about their personal views. Again, doesn’t sound like a religion, sounds like postmodernism.

    To address comments on Christianity. When I reference Christianity, I am NOT referring to Catholicism or cults. The Catholic understanding of salvation/grace/works/righteousness is not biblical, therefore their status of being a “Christian” denomination is ill-placed (regardless of how long they have been recognized as a ‘Christian tradition’). Mormonism and JWs don’t recognize or adhere to orthodox Christian doctrines, therefore they are not Christian denominations (despite their cries to be known as such; If they shoe don’t fit, don’t try to wear it around).

    I emphatically did not say that the Bible was to be taken 100% literally. I said it is 100% true. Of course there is symbolism in the Bible, just like there is in every other kind of literature. When someone, Jesus in your example, is speaking metaphorically, how often do they say, “…and that was a metaphor, just in case you didn’t get it. I’m not a plant.” That’s outrageous and silly. I’m a bit shocked that that is what you expect. You don’t have to say, “that was a metaphor,” for people to understand it as such. The Bible is not “open to interpretation” but it is open for reading intelligently.

    • January 19, 2011 9:15 am

      Again, the UUA has a covenant between members, and seek sipirtual truth. We simply understand that humanity will never know the whole truth. It isn’t possible. e don’t force our experience on others, as though they were facts.

      If the “revelation” of Paul is good enough to found Christianity, then why not accept the Revelation of Joseph Smith? It is no less bizarre.

      “Protestant orthodoxy” is an oxymoron. The Catholic belief that faith is demonstrated through works is 100% Biblical (Gal. 3:12 ). Additionally, unitarian interpretation of the scriptures is as old as Christianity, and arose as an “organized heresy” within the Catholic Church but the 1500s. That makes it as old as the protestant “reformation”.

      As for the metaphorical nature of Jesus teachings, why is it obvious he isn’t a plant, but also obvious that he is god? He says many times that he is not god, was sent by god, is lesser than god; but when he claims that his work is god’s own work, that means he is, himself divine?

      • January 19, 2011 10:00 pm

        Why is it not possible to know the Truth?

        The Book of Mormom is incredibly fallacious, so I’d rather not even start in on it. It contains (in it’s original) innumerable historical and scientific errors that are extrmemely obvious (I could site examples, but will assume I don’t need to go there). The Pauline epistles were accepted in the biblical canon because of their historicity and their veracity and apostleship. Mainly, at the end of the day, Paul was an apostle who had direct communication from Jesus. Otherwise (had he not been an apostle) the Christian community at the time would have immediately expelled his writings (like it expelled the revelations of joseph smith).

        I did not say “Protestant Orthodoxy”, I said “orthodox Christian doctrines.” I would totally agree that “faith is demonstrated through works.” But that is not what Catholic salvation is based on. Catholics believe that it is faith plus works equals salvation. Christianity says it is grace alone, no works can be credited.

        “I and the Father are one” – Jesus (John 10:30). Yes, Jesus calls himself God. (Heb. 1:3, John 1:1-10, Titus 2:13, Colossians 1:15-18). That would make Him divinity.

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