note: I'm posting this because someone mentioned they had never heard of my religion and wante d to know more. I'm not a minister and any mistakes are my own, not the fault of my religion
Unitarian Universalism (UU from here on) is a syncretic religion. We take what we find useful from many sources and use it to help in our daily lives. UUIsm is a religion concerned more with living our daily lives than preparing for the next one.
It has its roots in 2 Christian sects. Unitarians were originally Christians who rejected the concept of a Trinity and viewed Jesus as a God-filled man, not one of the 3 aspects of God. Universalists believed that no evil deed in a finite time on earth could justify an eternity of suffering. A loving God would save us all. Unitarians especially faced a lot of persecution in Europe for their heresy, many were burned at the stake. In America, both were viewed as liberal Christian organizations.
Modern UUism is no longer considered a part of Christianity, although some UU's consider themselves Christians. UUism is covenental, not creedal.
The guiding principles of UUism are
# 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.
If you believe in the above, you could find a home in a UU Church.
Beliefs about God vary from member to member. Some, like myself, find talk about God not to be useful. Others have a deep faith in a personal God. We all agree that its not what you believe that is important it is how you use your beliefs to live your life that is important. This puts us at odds with most Christian churches that emphasize faith over works. We are just the opposite.
A favorite pharse of UU's is "Deeds, not Creeds"
thats a quickie explanation, but you can get a much better feeling if you head to www.uua.org/index.html
no offense taken and I'll do my best to answer
I think its closer in concept to eastern religions than western religions. Most western religions are revealed religions with a strong concept of God at the core.
UUism is closer to Buddhism or Taoism in spirit because we concentrate on the living correctly, not on some God who may be watching us. Much like both Buddhism and Taoism, belief in God is not necessary, but UUism is compatible with a belief in God. I would say the majority of UU's believe in a personal deity, they just don't put as much signifigance on it as more hardcore forms of theism.
UUism is also syncretic. This isn't something we deal with well in our culture. To us the idea of being Jewish and Christian is a bit weird, but we do have some people who go that route. In other places, its not such a strange concept. In Japan most people are Buddhist and at the same time Shinto. In China Taoism and Buddhism exist in harmony. Some people join a UU Church due to interfaith marriages to prevent squabbles at home. Its hard to go to a Church where you're told your spouse is going to hell constantly.
As far as what I get out of attending a UU service, I think its pretty much the same thing I got out of attending a Church of Christ service as a boy. Fellowship and discussion with people who have similar fundamental beliefs. The difference is our shared beliefs are common across many religions and don't rely on revelation.
p.s. thought you might find this interesting, its a breakdown of UU demographics from website for Miliary UU's (which is where I went from Christian to UU)
p.s. I think I would have been good at a Buddhist or Taoist Temple, but my history in religion is with Christianity. I'm more comfortable in the Church setting than a temple setting.
TNFrank has talked about his new faith (Asatru) feeling like a coming home. Thats kind of the way I felt after being a spiritual seeker for what seemed forever.
I REALLY got to get out and meet these supposed Christians y'all keep tellin' me about, cuz it must be a DIFFERENT form of Christianity.
The baffling part about this is all the other people against Chrsitianity that call us legalists - that we are too works oriented.
I've met literally tens of thousands of Chrsitians from all over the world, and NONE of them stress faith to ANY exclusion of the works which validate that faith.
This is the ENTIRE point of the book of James. Read it sometime, and be informed.
No offense, Dino, but this claim is a falsehood.
Just go to the Elks Lodge to hang out, where at least they got beer on tap.
Note: This is NOT intended to advocate teh drinking of beer.
Thanks for that. That's very interesting. Guess I'm out of touch where I live, I'd never
run across UU before, though some apparantly have.
Hope you won't mind some questions later, I'm still reading what you wrote to
make sure I understand it all.
Sounds like exactly what I thought it was.
Gman, would you say that Christianity places more emphasis on works or more emphasis on faith.
Biblically, which does God find more important, faith or works?
The view I was taught was that the only important thing is faith, once you have that faith all other things flow from it. Works are evidence of faith (and the best way to determine if someone truly has faith), but faith is what must come first.
Thats what I meant by placing faith above works. I am well aware of how much good works Christian organizations do and I did not mean to imply otherwise. Sorry If I offended.
If you take the commands to action as found in Scripture, verses the commands to have faith, its prolly (this is a guess) a 20 to 1 ratio. 20 commands to action to each one command to have faith.
Like I say, the entire book of James is devoted to debunking this idea of faith without works, which James describes as being "dead."
No offense at all.
I guess my MAIN point is that I DON'T CARE what my church teaches, or Spurgeon teaches, or anything other than what the Bible teaches. (Naturally, I've selected a church that beleives the same thing)
Sounds like you are talking about the moment of salvation. When studied in minute detail, yes faith does come first - but that faith is GIVEN US by God, and is IMMEDIATELY followed by action - sorrow, repentance, rejecting the bad, and embracing the good.
In reality, they are too closely linked to be separated into their individual parts.
No, in reality you can be a prostitute and be saved, you can be a thief and be saved, you can be a soldier who pierced the side of Jesus with a spear and be saved. You cannot be a person without faith and be saved. Faith is the single most important thing. I can find example after example in scripture that emphasizes faith over works.
I agree that with faith, works will come, but it doesn't change the fact that faith is far more important.
Faith without works may be dead, but works without faith in Jesus is a path to damnation in Christianity.
The worst Christian in the world is saved, but the best Shintoist is going to burn in hell.
That was the teaching when I was a Christian, and I have seen it many times in discussions in GD from the Christians here.
Its a simple statement of fact to say that Christianity emphasizes faith over works. Some people may take it to the extreme and use it as a criticism of Christianity, but I am not doing so.
I John says "He that is born of God does NOT practice sin."
The habitual practice of sin invalidates the profession of faith.
And again, NO ONE is saved by faith where works don't immediately follow.
even the thief who was crucified with him?
LUK 23:41 "And we indeed justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong." LUK 23:42 And he was saying, "Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!" LUK 23:43 And He said to him, "Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise."
Faith in Jesus alone saved that man.
What about deathbed conversions? Do those people convert and then go to hell anyway?
The works don't have to be outwardly visible like building an orphanage, or even immediately visible.
But Scripture explains that our thinking, desires, goals, priorities, everything changes at the moment of salvation.
Should the thief get a last minute pardon, or the deathbed convert suddenly be healed by God, the Bible indicates the changed thinking, desires, etc WOULD evidence itself.
For instance, when a baby is born alive, its heart IS beating even tho you can't physically see it. And given time, that beating heart would give proof of life.
The thief and the deathbed convert simply didn't have enuf time to evidence the change.