Friday, February 21, 2014

Part 2: The Ontological Core

It is my belief that the core of Unitarian Universalism is about ontology. What is the nature of being, of existence?

This is where I place my faith.

Unitarianism tells me that humankind is, in the big sum and tally, good. That doesn't mean there aren't aberrations, it doesn't mean individually we don't mess up and make mistakes. But in the great aggregate mode, humankind is good. We reject the idea of Original Sin, that we were all born bad, and that we need a mediating influence of a supernatural being to make us acceptable.

Universalism tells me that there is a force at work in the world, an "arc of the universe" to use Unitarian Theodore Parker's term, that is, in the big sum and tally, good. Bad things happen, evil and pain exist, but there is a force that persuades us to goodness, that draws us together so that we may act, and by our actions, put "good" into form. Some call this force "God"; Universalism asserts that it is not a malevolent force, nor a force of judgment. It is grace. Unasked for, perhaps undeserved. Grace.

Simplified down, these are audacious statements in which to have faith:

Humankind is good.
God is good.

And yet I do. I put all of my faith in those. Days come when I am presented with so much evidence to the contrary. How can I say humankind is good when ..... ? How can I think there is a good force at work when .... ?

It is a choice I make. I choose to live my life with one hand in a death grip to that ontological core, choosing optimism sometimes even in the face of despair, because I can do no other.

Some days I am overwhelmed with the rightness of it all; I see evidence all around me of the good at work in the world, and on those days, humankind and the Arc are all interwoven, one acting through another.

My faith is shaken time and again, but still, to it I cling. To have faith that in the final accounting, humankind and God are a force for creating, transferring, and enlarging Love, breaks me open and liberates my soul. It drives what I do, both in the small moments of simply living and in my large dreams of actions to be taken, and how I, too, can be the hands and feet of Love.

This is my faith.

2 comments:

  1. Agreed. Based on this and your prior blog post, would you posit there is no ontological foundation for our pluralism, our celebration of humanity's many expressions of the divine? That it's an element stems naturally from believing people are good and what they make holy is good?

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  2. I'd use the word love -- because I think that's what we operated from when we're being and doing good.

    I think it's why there's been this huge upwelling from the grassroots of our faith for Standing on the Side of Love. It's why I call myself a neo-universalist. It's not *about* God and God's love (though it doesn't reject any of that!), but rather just about love. All love.

    And Shawna, I think that agape is the ontological basis for our embrace/celebration of humanity's many expressions of the holy. It's our humanistic embrace of love in any and all forms.

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