Once again I will be filling in for Rev. Robin for her column. We’ll be tackling another fun subject this month in our Nerdy Religion time together. One of the questions I get most often about Unitarian Universalism is what we believe about God. As Unitarian Universalists one of the topics it seems we are least able to discuss is what our beliefs are relating to God. It makes sense that we would be both squeamish and curious on this topic because our views differ and we know that this has been a place of discord for Unitarians and Universalists since long before any of us were born. I propose that we open the channels for discussion on this a little bit.
Historically both Unitarianism and Universalism come from theistic, Christian traditions that make two major, and to some heretical, statements about God. The Unitarians believed that there was one God, rather than the Holy Trinity which consisted of God, the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Our nerdy forefathers came to this conclusion because they analyzed the text of the bible and they didn’t believe that the bible actually has the trinity in it. You can get super nerdy about that by following this link.
The Universalists didn’t believe that God would send people to hell forever. In fact they believed that it would make God evil. These nerdy forefathers derived their conclusions from logic. They didn’t belief that the bible supported the idea of eternal damnation, but moreover they didn’t think it would be fair. They believed there is no way that God could be both loving and capable of setting up a system where people could be punished infinitely for a finite amount of evil living. They believed evil needed to be punished, just not forever. I challenge any one of you to be nerdy enough to read all of this.
For us what we believe God is, if anything, isn’t so uniform, but I believe that the lessons gleaned from these two ideas about God still have a great effect on Unitarian Universalists. From the Unitarians and their one God we see a divine in whatever form that is open to all. There is no God that exists only for some and not for others. The sacred in this world, whether that be God or nature or the spirit that connects us is open to any and all.
From the Universalist we take the idea that there is no special treatment in this life or the next. While we don’t know what happens after you die, we know that it is not affected by your works, beliefs or rates of church attendance. Again, the sacred is available to, within and among all people. None are left out.
What do you think? Tell me about what God is for you in the section below.
See you Sunday!