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#1 of 40 Old 10-18-2007, 02:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
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#2 of 40 Old 10-18-2007, 02:42 PM
 
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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.

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#3 of 40 Old 10-18-2007, 02:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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that totally makes sense, that's kinda why i think they're christian culturally at a minimum.
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#4 of 40 Old 10-18-2007, 02:45 PM
 
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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.

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#5 of 40 Old 10-18-2007, 02:47 PM
 
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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.
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#6 of 40 Old 10-18-2007, 02:57 PM
 
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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.

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#7 of 40 Old 10-18-2007, 04:19 PM
 
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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.

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#8 of 40 Old 10-18-2007, 04:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thank you! that's really useful.
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#9 of 40 Old 10-18-2007, 04:31 PM
 
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Thank you for the explanation Adele_Mommy. Very helpful as I am admittedly clueless about UU churches. I appreciate the insight.
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#10 of 40 Old 10-18-2007, 07:41 PM
 
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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.

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#11 of 40 Old 10-18-2007, 07:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
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#12 of 40 Old 10-18-2007, 07:57 PM
 
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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.

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#13 of 40 Old 10-18-2007, 08:08 PM
 
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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.

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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"?

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#14 of 40 Old 10-22-2007, 10:53 AM
 
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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.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#15 of 40 Old 10-22-2007, 11:11 AM
 
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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.

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#16 of 40 Old 10-22-2007, 11:42 AM
 
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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!

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#17 of 40 Old 10-23-2007, 11:38 AM
 
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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.
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#18 of 40 Old 10-23-2007, 12:18 PM
 
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I had no idea Church of the Open Door was UU. Learn something new every day.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#19 of 40 Old 10-23-2007, 04:14 PM
 
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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!

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#20 of 40 Old 10-23-2007, 04:40 PM
 
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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.
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#21 of 40 Old 10-23-2007, 04:41 PM
 
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Wikipedia has a pretty good answer for the OP
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unitarian_Universalism

I was told that the UU church is officially Christian but they do not believe in the holy trinity and certain other aspects of many other Christian churches.

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#22 of 40 Old 10-30-2007, 09:55 PM
 
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well, we are UU, but definately not Christian. Christ is never mentioned in the services and the services aren't like any Christian church I have ever been to...

we do have a Jesus study-group as part of Adult RE. I am planning to attend the one coming up. Our church is pretty cool... it is a healthy blend of former Catholics, Jews, Buddhists and agnostics with a number of athiests thrown in the mix. WE are nowhere near in danger of being a Christian church

My DH describes it as the "Anti-church" It is the place you go to learn how to be a better person and center yourself for the week. They draw from all kinds of philosophers... mostly modern... and the sermons each week are so diverse, but definately on topic. To me, it is the perfect church!

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#23 of 40 Old 10-31-2007, 11:46 PM
 
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Depends on the individual UU, depends on the congregation.

This particular UU is Pagan tyvm.:
As is her daughter, for now at least.

My UU son is agnostic if not outright atheist.

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#24 of 40 Old 11-04-2007, 08:45 PM
 
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I belong to the local UU, but visit on rare occasions. The Reverend (who could not "move" me if I were a feather) is a Humanist, as is most of the congregation. I was raised Indian (that's non-PC for NA), of the Taino tribe, and incorporated Paganism into my life (starting to lean back to my roots). Our minister tells us that Pagans are blind, that these are just new beliefs, there are books that could tell us the truth, yada yada. So, I just go when we have guest speakers. The Rabbi we had recently was the best.

The kids RE class is great, as they teach EVERYTHING. However, you really need to keep it up with your own children. One visitor thanked Jesus for something, and I thought the entire congregation was going to : at the poor lady. I mean really, how mature was that???!!!

Oh, I am sooooo babbling. If you ask our Rev., we are a Post-Xtian society, whatever the hell that means:.

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#25 of 40 Old 11-04-2007, 09:42 PM
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The UUA doesn't believe that Jesus is the Son of God. At my UU all sorts of religious goodness is pulled from Christianity, Judiasm, and Earth centered religions. Last Sunday we celebrated Halloween, Samhain, Day of the Dead, and all Soul's Day. I have a Chrisitan friend who is happy to hear about our sermons and such, but she is very Jesus focused and would not be happy in a UU church.

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#26 of 40 Old 11-13-2007, 09:24 AM
 
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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.
And this is what I found through my experience with Unitarian Universalism.

Not Christian as in the organization believes in the trinity, but some members are Christian and to me the organization does have many elements of Christianity.
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#27 of 40 Old 11-13-2007, 09:32 AM
 
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I belong to the local UU, but visit on rare occasions. The Reverend (who could not "move" me if I were a feather) is a Humanist, as is most of the congregation. I was raised Indian (that's non-PC for NA), of the Taino tribe, and incorporated Paganism into my life (starting to lean back to my roots). Our minister tells us that Pagans are blind, that these are just new beliefs, there are books that could tell us the truth, yada yada. So, I just go when we have guest speakers. The Rabbi we had recently was the best.

The kids RE class is great, as they teach EVERYTHING. However, you really need to keep it up with your own children. One visitor thanked Jesus for something, and I thought the entire congregation was going to : at the poor lady. I mean really, how mature was that???!!!

Oh, I am sooooo babbling. If you ask our Rev., we are a Post-Xtian society, whatever the hell that means:.
It means chrisitianity is a dead religion and no longer relevant to today's modern, enlightened society. The UU is the result. Post, being after christianity.
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#28 of 40 Old 11-13-2007, 01:42 PM
 
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It means chrisitianity is a dead religion and no longer relevant to today's modern, enlightened society. The UU is the result. Post, being after christianity.
I don't agree with this statement, either as a response to the previous post, or in general.

1. Clearly Christianity is not a dead religion - it is active, changing, and pretty much the opposite of dead.
2. Christianity permeates US society. Whether it ought to be relevant to today's society is open to debate, but it definitely is relevant because so much of our society is composed of Christians.
3. I think the PP's minister was refering to that particular congregation as Post-Xtian, meaning that it used to be Christian, but now is not. I don't think the minister was referring to society as a whole. At least I hope not, because that would make no sense at all. American society is not "after Christianity", it is in the middle of it.
4. UU is not the result of Christianity no longer being relevant to today's modern society. UU is the merger of two Christian sects that were reacting to very specific Christian theology points. Unitarians were rejecting the concept of the Trinity and Universalists were rejecting the concept of determinism. The two groups merged in the 1960's forming UU. I don't think UU can be called a Christian religion (I go into this in more depth in my previous posts), but UU as a religion definitely does not promote or support the idea that Christianity is no longer relevant to today's society. This is clear from the 4th source of UU:

Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God's love by loving our neighbors as ourselves;

Note: I am a UU and do not consider myself Christian.

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#29 of 40 Old 11-13-2007, 04:33 PM
 
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She was just defining "post-Christian". A lot of people think that as a society we are "over" Christianity and moving on to something else. I have my own feelings towards that attitude . And i suppose a case can be made for that, especially in the western world, but i don't know that it is entirely true either.

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#30 of 40 Old 11-13-2007, 05:22 PM
 
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She was just defining "post-Christian". A lot of people think that as a society we are "over" Christianity and moving on to something else. I have my own feelings towards that attitude . And i suppose a case can be made for that, especially in the western world, but i don't know that it is entirely true either.
Thanks mama and I can't completely and totally honestly say I didn't see a response like Adele's coming. It hit my a split second after replying that the tone might come off as anti-christian.

But hey, I'm a Catholic and many think we aren't Christian to begin with
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