Thursday, February 20, 2014

Elements of Religion, But Not the Core - Part 1

"I think it would be very nice if we really tried to examine what it is we are up to and try to clarify what it is we are doing or what we’re trying to do." -- Rev. Gordon McKeeman

I am not a Unitarian. I am not a Universalist. Born in 1969, I am a Unitarian Universalist.

What is at the core of what we do?

I have struggled with this. What is the theological center of our religion? It was the Rev. Mark Edmiston-Lange who helped focus my thoughts. "I don't think it's theological. I think it's ontological."

I mused on that for several days, thinking him wrong, until I traced back why we are so different, and realized ... Eureka! Mark is right, again!

We often get confused, thinking one of the elements of our religion is the core. It happened with Humanism. The core was that humans have both the capability and the responsibility to make the world better. One of the elements coming off that was "God is not necessary." It wasn't the core, but some future Humanists made it the core. "God is not necessary!" becoming "God is NOT!"

But that wasn't the core.

With Unitarian Universalism, we have done the same. One of those offset elements was "non-creedalism." Or "we don't have to believe the same way." A worthy, important element. But not the core, the center, the raison d'etre of our religion. And yet, we have acted as if it is.

"We don't have to believe the same way!" Okay, nice. Gets new people in the door. But then what?

Tomorrow ...  Part 2, The Core of Unitarian Universalism

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