Why I'm not Unitarian Universalist

I'll start off by saying that I respect the Unitarian religion greatly, I am close with people who are Unitarian, and wish I could become one. If you read my blog, you would probably think I am Unitarian. As I've said, philosophically I'm a religious pluralist, which means that I think all religions are valid paths to the same Divinity. Unitarianism is a religion that accepts all faiths. When I first heard about it, I thought it was a perfect match. In fact, one of my heroes, Ralph Waldo Emerson, was a Unitarian minister. I own a two-volume set of his sermons. But I learned quickly that Emerson's religion doesn't exist anymore.

Simply put, I'm too Christian to be Unitarian but not Christian enough to be Christian.

Emerson's Unitarianism was rooted in Christianity while drawing on other religions as extra soul-food. Currently, the Unitarian church not only accepts all religious faiths, but anti-religious faiths too: atheism, agnosticism, whatever. How does that work? There is no single religious impulse or belief that binds them together. I've learned this from direct experience. I attended several Unitarian services, in Lansing and Kalamazoo. I personally asked the minister whether there were any beliefs that held them together. Belief in the Divine perhaps? Belief that there is something beyond the physical? The soul? No, she said. If there is anything that binds them together, "we believe in human experience," they share in it, she said (paraphrasing and, to be fair, she didn't have time for a full response. To be more fair, I respect this minister so much I had her officiate our wedding).

But besides "human experience," what really binds them together? It turns out that Unitarianism is an ethical-religio-political group of left-learning liberals (so am I...that's not my point). Politics, I think, is the glue that binds them. Conservative political ideas are their enemy, their "out-group." Still, they suffer from identity crisis. What does it mean to be Unitarian? After attending several sermons, I noticed a trend: they talked about themselves a lot. I don't blame them; so do other churches. And Unitarians are so damn nice that they are constantly worried about offending each other. Should we use the word "God" in this song? No, we can't! Stuff like that.

Having said all of this, I'm so glad that Unitarian Universalism exists. When I'm older, I'll probably become one. Like all churches, it's the kind of thing that you should get involved in to get the most out of it.

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