Why I’m a Unitarian Universalist

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Not sure of the original source for this. Found it on a website about how the UU Church is “Satan’s Church.” Hah! I found it beautiful.

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.

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  • http://wanderingthedesert.wordpress.com denikaanderson

    This is beautiful. I’ve been told (and believed) a lot of lies about Unitarian Universalism, and thus I found myself sort of passively opposed to it. I’m glad to have my paradigm shifted.

  • http://wideopenground.com Lana

    Thought-provoking post. I agree with those principles. I do not believe in hell, but I do believe in heaven and the Bible.

  • http://ofdustandkings.com T. E. Hanna

    I love the pursuit of interfaith unity. While I am not a universalist, I am extremely ecumenical. I am also an inclusivist, and believe that people can encounter Jesus beyond the scope of traditional Christianity and in ways that challenge traditionally orthodox Christian theology. God, to me, just seems so much bigger than that.

    I do believe in heaven and hell, but I believe these are existential realities rather than divinely created locales ( I argue for exactly this here: http://ofdustandkings.com/hell-doctrine-of-a-loving-god/ ).

    I am not sure that we can reconcile all religion into one universalist camp without fundamentally redefining the core belief structures of EVERY religion; I also think that to redefine them in such a way undermines the religions themselves. It is akin, I think, to the way we devalued racial diversity by promoting “color blindness” and choosing to ignore our differences rather than celebrate them. Having said that, however, I do think that we share enough common ground that we can reach across the aisle and find community and solidarity not in spite of, but BECAUSE of our differences. The core tenets that you outline here (worth and dignity, justice, unity, intellectual integrity) are ones that I think we can all adopt and would be better for it.

  • http://unchainedfaith.com Amy

    I grew up UU. I left it for a mainline Christian denom, then ended up with conservative evangelicals for a while. Now, even though we’re at a liturgical church, I think I’m a lot closer to what I was taught in my childhood. I have to laugh, because it makes me think of the Bible verse that says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” I guess in a lot of ways, I’m back to where my parents raised me–but I don’t think that’s what most Christians mean when they use that verse.

  • http://www.dirtydiaperchic.com Laura

    I was raised fundamentalistand am leaning towards UU myself. I’d love to hear more about your thoughts on life after death. These are some of my favorite articles on it http://www.dirtydiaperchic.com/2013/01/interesting-ideas-about-life-after-death.html because they draw from all sides (atheist, agnostic, religious) but are sort of in terms I can appreciate. My husband got really sick a year and a half ago and he is fine now, but my obsession with death and eternity didn’t end when his diagnosis came back as not terminal. I think that is sort of what got me thinking about religion again (after about a decade of ambivalence). Which feels a little lame, but I can’t help it.

  • http://hatchwords.wordpress.com Joni

    Love this!! <3 I'm attending a UU church as well, and I love it.

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  • http://www.travismamone.net Travis Mamone

    Cool! I’m actually thinking about joining the Unitarian Universalists, too. I love my ELCA church, but I’m not sure if I can say the Apostles Creed with full assurance anymore.

    • http://moonchild11.wordpress.com Sarah Moon

      I enjoy splitting my time between the UU and the UMC. One gives me the comfort of “home” and the other reminds me that there’s a bigger world out there too.

      • http://twitter.com/WellSoulBikes Pamela Wood Browne (@WellSoulBikes)

        Your perspective of UUism resonates with me too. I grew up in the UMC, became UU as an adult and now split my time between my UU and Quaker homes.

  • Jim Fisher

    I sure am enjoying this walk we are on together. Beautiful words from a tender and caring heart. Yup. Love, justice, truth and beauty as signposts pointing to something much greater than themselves … something within us that is greater than all of Creation.

    Now, please excuse me while I link cyber-arms with Travis while we skip and giggle in circles for a bit. There. I feel better now. Ready to follow a few signposts and see what this new day has in store for us.

    • http://moonchild11.wordpress.com Sarah Moon

      hah! I’m picturing you skipping with Travis and it’s hilarious

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