I want to talk about faith for a second.
I’m a Unitarian Universalist. People often ask me what that means. Basically, it’s an interfaith religion that celebrates diversity, yet finds unity. Unity is found, not an agreement on doctrine, theologies, images of God, etc. but on these seven principles (quoted from UUA.org):
- The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
- Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
- Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
- A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
- The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
- The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
- Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
Being a UU is more than just having a universalist mindset about the afterlife. In fact, I’m not sure if I believe in an afterlife in the first place. I definitely don’t believe in hell. I’m skeptical about heaven.
But I believe that love, justice, truth, and beauty all point to God. Or maybe God is just a metaphor for those things. But I don’t believe that only one faith holds a monopoly on them.As a UU,unlike in fundamentalism, I never have to fear information and learning. I don’t have to hide from science and history, or music or literature or other religions anything else that might challenge my faith.
New ideas nourish my faith now. They keep it alive. They help it grow and mature.
Being a UU doesn’t mean I don’t have any individual religious beliefs.
In fact still call myself a Christian, because those are my roots. Christianity is my home. It’s the primary lens through which I view the world. It helps me process new ideas and gives me a framework to define myself within.
The love of Jesus and the passion for justice spoken of by the Old Testament prophets fuels and inspires me. The community I see in the stories of the early churches gives me hope.
Being a UU just means that I don’t think every different religion is a different path leading to a different destination. If I am following a path formed by the seven principles I shared earlier–love, respect, truth, justice, care for one another and for the earth–then I share that path with many others.
I share it with Atheists.
I share it with Muslims.
I share it with Buddhists.
I share it with United Methodists.
I share it with Catholics.
I share it with feminists.
Being a UU means that I believe there are principles that transcend the seemingly infinite religious doctrines out there that all claim to be right. Being a UU means that (unless a doctrine is abusive or harmful) we don’t have to go to war over these doctrines.
We can walk together.