Good Article on AUC Religious Principles

An excerpt:


What is a Unitarian?


Simply put, a Unitarian is a person who believes there is only One God.

What do Unitarians believe?

This is a much more difficult answer. This is where we need to draw on our principles and develop a clear statement or creed. I will suggest 5 simple statements that can be used to explain what we are and what we believe.

Our religious tradition is the Unitarian Faith. We believe there is only One God worshiped in different ways. We believe that love and works go hand in hand. We believe in the free and responsible search for truth and meaning. We believe that revelation is ongoing.

These are very simple and easy to remember statements that we all can relate to. Let’s now look at them in a little more detail.

1. Our religious tradition is the Unitarian Faith. This statement sums up many things. We are Unitarians. Unitarianism has been around since the beginning of recorded history. Most of the literature that we have only traces Unitarianism back a few hundred years. This has set up the conflict of Trinitarian verses Unitarian. People tend to define the Unitarian Movement as a sect of Christianity and no more. This is very limiting and is driving away many Unitarians from other faiths and cultures. A modern way of describing Unitarianism has been to say it is the teachings of Jesus plus the richness of the compatible teachings found in many different traditions.

2. We believe there is only One God worshiped in different ways. As there is only One God, all forms of worship must be worship of some aspect of the One God. Because of our various backgrounds, we may not understand or comprehend the form of worship. That does not change the fact that there is only One God. It does open up a way for us to gain new insights and new teachings that are useful in our development and growth. In learning about other forms of worship and their scriptures we gain a deeper understanding of our own scriptures. Sometimes we gain insight and the meaning of verses that have seemed obscure or meaningless to us in the past.

3. We believe that love and works go hand in hand. We emphasis the two commandments to love and serve God and to love and serve our fellowman. Without works we have a dead faith. Without love we have no faith at all. These are the cornerstones of all the great religions that have helped to advance mankind. Jesus indicated that this love and service is the center support on which all other rules, laws, and commandments rest. When we fulfill these two requirements we do all that is necessary to take our place as children of God.

4. We believe in the free and responsible search for truth and meaning. Each individual and in turn each church has free will to choose the appropriate path. We each accept individual responsibility for our choices and the way we live life. We are each given the ability to reason or think. We have the ability and the guidance available to determine what is true and what is false. We can determine the meaning of instruction and accept or reject that instruction on an individual basis. In the Unitarian Faith there is no blind faith or blind obedience demanded. Each individual may use the form and teachings that works for them and set aside the rest. With this comes the understanding that we are to use our gifts in a responsible, constructive, and ethical manner.

5. We believe that revelation is on going. Inspiration can be found everywhere. It can come from nature, science, literature, scripture, the arts, and from all the religious traditions. We can receive revelations in meditation or prayer. We can receive revelations just by listening to the small voice that is within each of us. Sometimes thoughts come in quiet times and dreams. We often dismiss the information as being too simple to be worthwhile or true. Many of us come from traditions that restrict God’s revelations to just a few individuals or to one form of scripture written thousands of years ago. God still speaks each day. All we have to do is be open and listen. More and more is being revealed from the ancient past in new discoveries. Still we each have direct access to God and can receive revelations or inspirations on a day to day basis.

Let me repeat again these 5 simple statements:

1. Our Religious tradition is the Unitarian Faith.
2. We believe there is only One God worshiped in many ways.
3. We believe that love and works go hand in hand.
4. We believe in the free and responsible search for truth and meaning.
5. We believe that revelation is on going.

I believe that these five simple statements set the stage for all that we can accomplish or achieve. In a manner of speaking they form a simple creed or statement of faith. They can serve as the basis for our unity of effort. We can be on the same page when others ask who we are and what we believe. I ask you to accept these statements. Let us work together to achieve a balance of love, harmony, and peace. Let us grow together as Children of the One God.

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