or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Talk Amongst Ourselves › Spirituality › Religious Studies › UU's: christian or not?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

UU's: christian or not?

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 
Hi there, just for the sake of clarity let me say I am not a big religious scholar, and I'm not a deist; I'm more of a secular pagan, if that makes any sense, lol.

Anyway, I attended unitarian church ofr awhile as a child, and my impression is that, although the UU's welcome all faiths, the overall *culture* of unitarians is christian; that is, the ways of approaching spirituality, the structure of the church, etc. But sometimes people bristle at me when I say so,. and the truth is, I am just going on impressions not hard knowledge. so, can y'all enlighten me? Or share your impressions?

Most of the Unitarians I know are christians, who believe in the christian god, but who have progressive or elft politics and find that the unitarian church is the best fit for them in terms of a progressive approach to spirituality and community.
post #2 of 40
I wouldn't say they were Christian but they definitely look like they are trying to be church from a Christian perspective (from meeting on Sunday morning to altering Christian prayers and hymns.) Some people I know who are UU even call it church. it seems like Christian is the standard that they are deviating from. If that makes any sense.
post #3 of 40
Thread Starter 
that totally makes sense, that's kinda why i think they're christian culturally at a minimum.
post #4 of 40
I wouldn't lump UU into the Christian sect, no. The majority of them may indentify with more of the Christian aspects of faith (and I the degree of this varies from church to church), they do accept and welcome believers of all faiths. Each person's defintion of what is "Christian" will be different according to their beliefs as well. For me, I define "Christian" as one who has accepted Christ into their hearts as their personal Savior and follow His teachings. Others may have a completely different view of that and define Christianity in a different sense.
post #5 of 40
Well are you talking about the organization itself or it;s individual members? I don't remember if the UU Org itself claims it's Christian. Some members surely are and others aren't.
post #6 of 40
Some members are Christians and some are not. IME, you'll find that UU members are pretty diverse. Pagan, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Pantheist, etc and so on.

The history of the Church/organization has definite Christian roots though, if that's what you mean.
post #7 of 40
I am UU. Here are my thoughts on the subject. The opinions below are strictly my own. I cannot speak for other UUs, yadda, yadda, yadda...

UU is the merger of Unitarian and Universalism, both of which were definitely Christian Protestant religions historically speaking. And most UU churches do call themselves churches, meet on Sunday, etc. (though we do have our own hymns, not just altered "Christian" hymns).

As PPs have said, UU congregations vary a lot and you will find some that are definitely Christian and others that are almost anti-Christian.

ITA that UU is culturally Christian. That actually, is one of the things I like about it - Christian-style rituals and traditions resonate with me and UU allows me to enjoy them without being a Christian.

As to whether UU is a Christian religion today (theologically as opposed to culturally), well that I think does depend on how you define Christian. My dh (who is not UU and does not attend any church) says flat out that we are Christian - no doubt about it. On the other hand, I don't think most other Christian churches would say we are Christian, and I personally, don't think we are. Here is my reasoning: To me, the two most important points of Christianity are 1. Believing Jesus is the Son of God. 2. Believing Jesus died to "save" us from our sins. Unitarians historically rejected the concept of the Holy Trinity (some were even burned as heretics by Christians because of this.) I have never met a UU that believes Jesus is literally the Son of God (though there are probably some out there somewhere). Universalists historically believed in universal salvation of souls. Since this belief says that no one has or ever will be condemed to eternal hell, past, present, or future, it makes the whole idea of dying for our sins kind of meaningless. I have never met a UU that believes in original sin.

How each individual UU self-identifies and approaches spirituality, well, that is whole other topic.
post #8 of 40
Thread Starter 
thank you! that's really useful.
post #9 of 40
Thank you for the explanation Adele_Mommy. Very helpful as I am admittedly clueless about UU churches. I appreciate the insight.
post #10 of 40
I thought I should add a little clarification of how my dh and others can say UU is a Christian religion. If you define Christian as "follower of Jesus' teaching" (not the two points I mention above), then UU probably does qualify as Christian because Jesus' teachings regarding mercy, love, forgiveness, etc. fit well with UU principles. UU has six sources (of wisdom/spiritual learning) and one of them is "Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God's love by loving our neighbors as ourselves;" Of course it is only one out of six.
post #11 of 40
Thread Starter 
so from all of this I'm feeling justified in saying that in genral (knowing that the general is not always universally true), UU's are *culturally* christian.
post #12 of 40
I'm UU and NOT christian. I'm a pagan UU. I think out of our whole congregation there are 3 christians. We had a discussion about this in our church. UUs are diests, but not christians.
post #13 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by sadie_sabot View Post
so from all of this I'm feeling justified in saying that in genral (knowing that the general is not always universally true), UU's are *culturally* christian.
Yes, absolutely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by moondiapers View Post
I'm UU and NOT christian. I'm a pagan UU. I think out of our whole congregation there are 3 christians. We had a discussion about this in our church. UUs are diests, but not christians.
I don't understand what you mean by "UUs are diests, but not christians". Yes, there are many UUs who are not Christian as individuals (I'm one of them), but there are also many UUs who are not deists. Our congregation includes agnostics, atheists, humanists, transcendentalists, Buddhists, etc. probably none of whom would identify themselves as deists. What do you mean when you say "UUs are deists"?
post #14 of 40
I don't think anyone is trying to say that UU is actually Christian. Just the that the rituals and style of meetings is immitating/deviating from that of a Christian church. those are the ritual and comfort things people want just hold the Christ.
post #15 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adele_Mommy View Post
Yes, absolutely.



I don't understand what you mean by "UUs are diests, but not christians". Yes, there are many UUs who are not Christian as individuals (I'm one of them), but there are also many UUs who are not deists. Our congregation includes agnostics, atheists, humanists, transcendentalists, Buddhists, etc. probably none of whom would identify themselves as deists. What do you mean when you say "UUs are deists"?
I'm sorry, I meant traditionally. Traditionally UUs were Diests that followed Christian type values, and were sometimes called Christian, but did NOT believe in the divinity of Christ. Just that Christ was a great man and teacher, not Divine.
post #16 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by moondiapers View Post
I'm sorry, I meant traditionally. Traditionally UUs were Diests that followed Christian type values, and were sometimes called Christian, but did NOT believe in the divinity of Christ. Just that Christ was a great man and teacher, not Divine.
Thanks for the clarification!
post #17 of 40
One aspect to consider is that although UUs are commonly represented as a denomination, we are actually an association of free churches. There is a lot of variation between congregations. A few, like Church of the Open Door, are explicitly Christian. Most are not. There's also a lot of variation in structure and practices, depending on the age, culture, and history of the congregation. At one point in US history both Unitarians and Universalists were mainstream Christian denominations--Harvard Divinity was founded as a Unitarian seminary, and many UU seminarians still attend there today. Both churches started changing towards the creedless mid-19th century, with no small thanks to folks such as Thoreau and Emerson. (And my personal fave, Theodore Parker.)

Again, there's quite a lot of variation between congregations, but as a general rule the younger, Western congregations seem much less rooted in the association's Christian history than the historical churches of New England.
post #18 of 40
I had no idea Church of the Open Door was UU. Learn something new every day.
post #19 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by green betty View Post
One aspect to consider is that although UUs are commonly represented as a denomination, we are actually an association of free churches. There is a lot of variation between congregations. A few, like Church of the Open Door, are explicitly Christian. Most are not. There's also a lot of variation in structure and practices, depending on the age, culture, and history of the congregation. At one point in US history both Unitarians and Universalists were mainstream Christian denominations--Harvard Divinity was founded as a Unitarian seminary, and many UU seminarians still attend there today. Both churches started changing towards the creedless mid-19th century, with no small thanks to folks such as Thoreau and Emerson. (And my personal fave, Theodore Parker.)

Again, there's quite a lot of variation between congregations, but as a general rule the younger, Western congregations seem much less rooted in the association's Christian history than the historical churches of New England.
Very good point!
post #20 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilyka View Post
I had no idea Church of the Open Door was UU. Learn something new every day.
There are lots of Churches of the Open Door--I just meant the UU one in Chicago (it's also a largely African American GLBTQ congregation.) Universalist National Memorial Church in DC is another Christian UU congregation.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Religious Studies
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Talk Amongst Ourselves › Spirituality › Religious Studies › UU's: christian or not?