A Tenth Grader’s Take On Unitarian Universalism.

I came across this brief and well written summary of UU written by a 10th grader.  I don’t know how adult unitarians would critque it, but it is not far off the mark as I understand UU.

The thing so interesting about the history of UU is how it unselfconsiouly changes as society’s mores change.  It does not do what branches of orthodox Christianity do, steadfastly declare they never change while constantly changing.

While I’ve found folks in UU churches who believe in a literal god, they also refuse to say it is the only correct concept of the god.  I’ve also met folks who are members of mainline Christian churches who say they enjoy the church experience but don’t believe a word of its theology.

The little niche of church going people, Unitarians, seem to be doing well.  They fit perfectly the contemporary thinking of a spiritual life which remains undefined.  While this  kind of thinking is today’s Unitiariansim, the denomenation itself started out as a believing church.   The story of its growth out of beleif is a metaphore for much of spiritual thought in both Europe and, increasingly, the U. S.

I’ve read it is increasingly unpopular for preists/preachers to launch into sermons about sin and hell.  If this is the case, it represents the utimate David and Goliath story.  That is, it means the tiny Unitarian church has imposed its will on the great denominations, instead of the other way around.

Perhaps Unitarian Universalism will become universal.


19 Responses

  1. entech

    Very nice piece.
    Although I remain much closer to non-belief, and some of your correspondents tend to drive me even closer, this idea has a more realistic ring to it.

    The concept of a three headed malicious tyrant is not what I would expect from a god. The Christian and Islamic concepts seem to be that of master and slave.

  2. Michael Ross

    “The thing so interesting about the history of UU is how it unselfconsiouly changes as society’s mores change. ”

    You seem to applaud any institution or individuals that change with the times. Are there not any absolutes that you believe in? Moral, theological (obviously not if you don’t believe in Theo), societal, what have you?

    1. Michael 12:20 You seem to applaud any institution or individuals that change with the times. Are there not any absoluted that you believe in?”

      I believe in many absolutes. They have to do with treating law abiding reasonable people are equals. Others have to do with collectively looking at experience and information and making decision together based on all of this.

      My observation is Christianity for the most part does what I do. It just claims to follow the Bible–which anyone can claim because there is so much contradictory stuff in there.

  3. Michael Ross

    “I believe in many absolutes. They have to do with treating law abiding reasonable people are equals. ”

    As long as the laws and reason are arbitrary and relative to current trendy (PC) thinking.
    Right Jon?

    1. Michael 1:21 “As long as the laws and reason are arbitrary and relative to currrent trendy PC thinking.”

      I explained I had absolutes. One is to treat law abiding and reasonable people as equals. It is impossible to treat people both equally and unequally so there can be nothing “arbitrary and relative” about it. I seem to be having some problem explaining this to you.

  4. entech

    There is at least one thing of which I am absolutely convinced of the absolute truth of the matter. That is that when Ken Ham makes an absolute and categorical statement that any science that does not conform to the absolutely true and absolutely inerrant words of Genesis then he is absolutely wrong. Further he is absolutely dishonest when he makes his emotional and absolutely stupid remark about evolution, “were you there?”, it is exacerbated by his spouting about Genesis, Adam and Eve, forbidden fruit, speaking serpents, all absolutely true and all, if the story is true, by necessity, absolutely devoid of any living witnesses.

    I could go on, “put on our biblical glasses”, more like shaded blinkers, but I am absolutely certain that you have the point by now. While there is much good advice and good guidelines scattered in with so much absolute tosh:
    there is absolutely nothing to verify any of it.

    As for changing with the times and popular approval. The creeds which marked the transition from the Yeshua movement to Christianity were based on what was being taught and preached in most churches and by most Bishops, the criteria being that which attracted and held onto the most converts. An absolutely precise parallel to the type of thing that you all complain so bitterly about today.

    If the Docetists had been dominant you would all be arguing against anyone that believed that Jesus was the son of God. It many ways it has a greater internal logic, how could God die? How could a man perform all those miracles. No it is obvious that Yeshua was an illusion, a phantom, created by God to propagate a message and belief in him, on second thoughts delusion might be a better description than illusion.

    1. entech 2:49 re: absolutes, “..absolutely devoid of any living witnesses….absolutely nothing to verify any of it.”

      Well said. I would add, there are absolutely no surviving copies of the original writtings that appear in the Bible, we are absolutely certain whatever was originally written was copied and recopied many times before those writings that did survive and we have absolutely no knowledge of who wrote them.

      1. Henry

        Jon:“we have absolutely no knowledge of who wrote them.”

        The apostolic fathers did. To my knowledge, they didn’t indicate the authors were someone else. To think otherwise is conspiratorial with no proof.

        1. Henry 12:07 “The apostolic fathers did. To my knowledge, they didn’t indicate the authors were someone else. To think otherwise is conspiratorial with no proof.”

          The earliest copies of these texts have no authors. They were not titled, “Book of Matthew”, “Book of Mark”, etc. To say they were authored by “Matthew, Mark, Luke and John” is conspiratorial with no proof.

          1. entech

            The Apostolic Fathers could/would have had cause to say whatever would support their own position. Not uncommon down to this day.

            The winning faction gets to write history, doesn’t mean they are right.

  5. Henry

    Jon, today you have an upbeat assessment of the UU. If the other Christian churches were to be decimated, you would then throw the UU under the bus. They would no longer be useful. Stalin had a particular name for useful people to his cause.

    1. Henry 2:50 “..you would throw UU under the bus.”

      My blog simply recognized what the UU has accomplished and how it seems to fit today’s popular culture. Instead shooting the messenger, me, I would like to know if you think my observations are correct or not.

    2. entech

      Don’t keep us in suspense Henry, what was that name? We know Christian leaders calls such people their flock and the cruelly unkind atheist often use the combination and calls them sheeple.
      Pray do tell what name Stalin used? English or Cyrillic would be OK, I am not familiar with the Georgian syllabary

    3. I don’t think Stalin had a name for useful people. His penchant for throwing people under the bus regardless makes me think that the only name that would apply is “people I haven’t killed yet”.

  6. Brad

    I think the difference between the UU and some of the Christian churches is that the UU doesn’t practice hypocrisy. They are what they are, and they don’t say one thing one day and do the opposite the next day.

    1. entech

      A further difference is that that do not seem to make extravagant claims about things they cannot possibly know anything about.
      This is the difference between some thing that is approaching plausibility and something that is retreating from such as fast as its six little legs will carry it (presuming 2 X 3 = 6, and purely metaphorical when discussing an incorporeal being)

  7. Wolfy32

    I think this emphasis the issue with Christianity and many religions probably. That is that Christians are blinded by the difference between Culture and Religion. I had a sociology teacher ask me, are Jews a Race or a religion?

    The answer is that they can be both a race / nationality, and a religion. Or just a religion. There can be Jews that are of the Judaism but not born of Jewish decent.

    This emphasizes the difference between culture and religion. How we live as a society is our culture / our nationality, our heritage. Our religion is our individual belief system in something beyond our community, nationality, heritage.

    And it seems that we blur the lines and forget they are separate things. For example, Christianity is against Homosexuality? Is it? Or is it our culture that’s against it and we’re using our religion as tool to fuel prejudice?

    When religion serves us as a tool to impose our will on others? We maybe create one of the greatest sins and that’s turning God into our servant and telling him how and when to work for us.

    We’ve forgotten we’re God’s tools to do with as he pleases… And instead we’ve forgotten to “love thy neighbor” and simply used what we want about our “religion” to shape our Culture.

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