Unitarians?


#1

I am a Catholic and have questions regarding the Unitarians. Can anyone give me information as to their beliefs?
My future brother-in-law has gone from Atheist to Buddhist to Unitarian. It seems he is maturing in his spirituality and I would like to know more about his new denomination so that I can talk with him about it.
Thanks and many Advent Blessings to all!


#2

For information I would go directly to their resources.

uua.org/aboutuu/


#3

[quote=renee1258]For information I would go directly to their resources.

uua.org/aboutuu/]

Excellent recommendation. Let them speak for themselves.
[/quote]


#4

[quote=wbira]I am a Catholic and have questions regarding the Unitarians. Can anyone give me information as to their beliefs?
!
[/quote]

That’s easy…they don’t have any!

Just kidding but since the UU church was the only one my atheist parents would allow us to attend, I suggest it’s not really strong on theology. I used to drive my mom to the UU church but finally got totally disgusted when in December the sermons were on Native American religions, Buddhists, and Taoists. Not a mention of Jesus although they had a “Christmas” eve service complete with secular singing, bongo drums and worshipping the tree. On a positive note, they are really into the “good works.”

I believe a number of the founding fathers were Unitarians. The church is much more prominent on the east coast than say in the south.

Lisa N


#5

Q: What do you call a liberal Methodist?
A: A fundamentalist Unitarian

(Apologies to the liberal Methodists out there.)

:smiley:


#6

[quote=Ahimsa]Q: What do you call a liberal Methodist?
A: A fundamentalist Unitarian

(Apologies to the liberal Methodists out there.)

:smiley:
[/quote]

BAHAHAHAHA! This would be me…in the past.

BTW what does United Church of Christ (UCC) stand for?

Unitarians Considering Christ

FWIW there have actually been some investigations of whether UU is actually qualified as a “church” under the IRS code since their definition points to a group of people with a specific belief system. Unitarians are pretty free to make it up as they go along.

Also for the original poster, UNITARIAN is a reference to their non-belief in the Trinity. They do not believe Jesus was in any way divine. Some don’t believe he ever existed but those who do simply accept him as a great prophet and philosopher. Again as was said about Methodists somewhere on this board, long on good works, SHORT on theology.

Lisa N


#7

To compare Unitarians to Methodists is incredibly offensive to Methodists, and much more to the point it’s ridiculously false. Methodists believe in the Trinity, the Resurrection, the Virgin Birth, the whole “mere Christianity” shebang. Sure, there are Methodists who don’t. But there are Catholics who don’t believe Catholic teaching either. I’m not claiming Methodists are good at the fine points of dogma, or at disciplining heretics in their ranks. But they aren’t Unitarians.

Edwin


#8

I used to attend the Universalist Unitarian Church, briefly.

However, you should know that the Jehovah’s Witnesses are unitarian, and the Christadelphians are unitarian, as well as many more who are not UU. And yes, all these unitarians disagree with one another, having in common, however, that they reject the doctrine of the Trinity.


#9

[quote=Contarini]To compare Unitarians to Methodists is incredibly offensive to Methodists, and much more to the point it’s ridiculously false. Methodists believe in the Trinity, the Resurrection, the Virgin Birth, the whole “mere Christianity” shebang. Sure, there are Methodists who don’t. But there are Catholics who don’t believe Catholic teaching either. I’m not claiming Methodists are good at the fine points of dogma, or at disciplining heretics in their ranks. But they aren’t Unitarians.

Edwin
[/quote]

Heavens Edwin, don’t be so grim. It was obviously meant as a joke. Where do you live? Because I assure you the Methodist church on the west coast is VERY VERY liberal. I never heard a peep about the Trinity . The words Virgin Birth would have brought gales of laughter from our congregation, and in all the years I attended (weekly) we NEVER even said the creed, other than the book group read a book by Sr Joan Chittester that 'rewrote" the Creed in more inclusive language. Our group leader said he agreed with Sr Joan and the creed was sexist and should be abandoned (a retired minister BTW).

We had Methodist MINISTERS writing LTE’s saying gay marriage was just fine thank you very much and claims that abortion was “a God given right”. I went to a our Charge Conference at First UMC downtown Portland and they had half naked women dancing down the aisles, onto the stage and around the pulipt. Since I was chair of outreach I received all of the bulletins from this Conference and I assure you that those UMC churches were every bit as liberal as ours.

I happened to be travelling in Florida and heard a broadcast of a Methodist service. I thought it was some kind of fundamentalist charismatic church and was shocked when they announced that it was the local UMC.

So there are Methodists and Methodists. As a former small m methodist, I thought the joke was rather funny. YMMV.

Lisa N


#10

Unitarian refers to a rejection of the trinity. Believing only in God as one person. Many people christian and otherwise hold this belief.

UU is a denomination, which is Unitarian but also includes Universalism which is the belief that God will redeem all.

The modern UU church is a denomination which teaches religious freedom and consists of people held together not by common faith but by acceptance of seven principles.

The church is non creedal and people of many faiths come together for worship, fellowship, and to join forces in doing good works.

The denomination makes no faith demands, but the individuals themselves certainly do have religious beliefs of their own.

That being said, there are also atheists attending, because atheists have spiritual lives too.

I am not a member of UU, but my family has been attending a UU church for about 5 years. There are many things we like about it, but it is a bit cerebral and sterile, and can fall into the trap of trying to be all things to all people.

cheddar


#11

Could you tell us more about what kind of atheist or Buddhist he was? My understanding is that atheists often have a hard time forming organizations that can provide a sense of community. I think a fairly good number of Buddhists in the west practice on their own. I think many Buddhist temples are often associated towards a sort of “folk” Buddhism, rather than more philosophical Buddhism, which is what I’m guessing your brother-in-law was interested in, so I wonder if he was part of a Buddhist community. I think there are atheists who go to Unitarian churches in order to have a sense of community and I wonder if Buddhists wouldn’t do the same. So I’m not sure if going to a Unitarian church is, in and of itself, a sign of spiritual maturity.

I think the Unitarian position contradicts itself. The website given to us earlier by renee 1258 states "We believe that personal experience, conscience and reason should be the final authorities in religion, and that in the end religious authority lies not in a book or person or institution, but in ourselves. We are a “non-creedal” religion: we do not ask anyone to subscribe to a creed. " However, the first sentence seems to amount to a creed.
Peace in Christ,
Frank Rausch


#12

[quote=cheddarsox]Unitarian refers to a rejection of the trinity. Believing only in God as one person. Many people christian and otherwise hold this belief.

[/quote]

Careful now. :hmmm:

If you are a Christian, you are a Trinitarian. There is no such thing as a “Unitarian Christian.” Cease to believe in the Trinity, and you cease to be a Christian, even if you hang on to the label.

Blessings,

Gerry


#13

Frank,

Thanks so much for your input. He has never belonged to any type of Buddhist community but says he found peace in the “philosophy” of the Buddha.
As for his claim to Atheism…I think he turned away from religion due to his negative experiences as a child and teen. I don’t fully believe he had no belief in the existence of God but really just turned away from organized religion.
I was with him at Thanksgiving and he invited to his “meeting house” for a service the evening before Thanksgiving Day. He sings in the choir and seems happy with his situation with the Unitarians. I noticed a posting in the “church” that mentioned a belief in Jesus of Nazareth but really had no idea as to their position as a “Christian” church.
I’m an ND grad and actually ran into another ND grad in attendance and we were both very confused!
Thanks to all for taking the time to respond and to give me some insight. Please keep my future brother-in-law in your prayers that he will someday soon see the light of Christ and explore Catholicism.

Many Advent Blessings to All,
Bill


#14

[quote=Gerry Hunter]Careful now. :hmmm:

If you are a Christian, you are a Trinitarian. There is no such thing as a “Unitarian Christian.” Cease to believe in the Trinity, and you cease to be a Christian, even if you hang on to the label.

Blessings,

Gerry
[/quote]

I didn’t mention the term Christian, I was only referring to the meaning of Unitarian. Unitarian Universalisn is definitely NOT a Christian religion, and in fact, it is non creedal to the point of accepting trinitarians amongst its members as well.

Unitarian Universalism is the name that came about when those two seperate denominations joined some years ago. It is a whole new animal now under the traditional name, but it is not christian.

I don’t know if I agree that one must be trinitarian to be Christian, I’ll have to think on that.

cheddar


#15

[quote=wbira]I am a Catholic and have questions regarding the Unitarians. Can anyone give me information as to their beliefs?
My future brother-in-law has gone from Atheist to Buddhist to Unitarian. It seems he is maturing in his spirituality and I would like to know more about his new denomination so that I can talk with him about it.
Thanks and many Advent Blessings to all!
[/quote]

Just a brief history note: The Universalists Church merged with the Unitarian Church in the early 1960’s to become the Unitarian Universalist Church. Their beliefs really mirrored each others, so they joined forces and have become stronger for it. I took the following information directly from their website with the corresponding link.

“Unitarians and Universalists have always been heretics. We are heretics because we want to choose our faith, not because we desire to be rebellious. “Heresy” in Greek means “choice.” During the first three centuries of the Christian church, believers could choose from a variety of tenets about Jesus. Among these was a belief that Jesus was an entity sent by God on a divine mission. Thus the word “Unitarian” developed, meaning the oneness of God. Another religious choice in the first three centuries of the Common Era (CE) was universal salvation. This was the belief that no person would be condemned by God to eternal damnation in a fiery pit. Thus a Universalist believed that all people will be saved. Christianity lost its element of choice in 325 CE when the Nicene Creed established the Trinity as dogma. For centuries thereafter, people who professed Unitarian or Universalist beliefs were persecuted.”

uua.org/info/origins.html


#16

[quote=cheddarsox]I didn’t mention the term Christian, I was only referring to the meaning of Unitarian.
[/quote]

From your first message, emphasis added:

See the emphasized text.

Can you think of a gentle way for me to tell you that it doesn’t matter whether you agree or not, because it’s a matter of definition, and has been for two thousand years?

Blessings,

Gerry


#17

CHEDDARSOX

There are many things we like about it, but it is a bit cerebral and sterile, and can fall into the trap of trying to be all things to all people.

I was a UU for about three years and finally bolted pretty much for the reasons listed above. I think it is more of an ethical society than a religion … convenient for giving children some kind of training in ethics, though the ethics has to be questionable since they tolerate just about everything but intolerance. Likewise, Unitarianism gives non-creedal types a place to meet, get high on some old time hymns, and socialize with tofu and herbal tea.

When so many atheists and agnostics belong to the fold, there has to be something sterile about a religion that worships Nogod or Anygod rather than Almighty God.

Sorry, but this is a sentiment shared by most ex-UU’s I do believe.


#18

[quote=Gerry Hunter]From your first message, emphasis added:

See the emphasized text.

Can you think of a gentle way for me to tell you that it doesn’t matter whether you agree or not, because it’s a matter of definition, and has been for two thousand years?

Blessings,

Gerry
[/quote]


#19

[quote=Gerry Hunter]From your first message, emphasis added:

See the emphasized text.

Can you think of a gentle way for me to tell you that it doesn’t matter whether you agree or not, because it’s a matter of definition, and has been for two thousand years?

Blessings,

Gerry
[/quote]

I would agree that this has been the definition of the Catholic Church for 2000 years, but other Christians may define it differently. It is a matter of whom you ask.


#20

Thanks for your reply! It sounds like your brother in law might have had experiences similar to mine. I am a convert to Catholicism. I drifted around for quite awhile, but mostly I was just a kind of skeptic/cynic. A lot of the difficlties I had with Catholic Christianity were actually easily answered. The problem was, because of some negative experiences I had with Christians, it was really difficult psychologically for me to be open to learning about organized religion. I had a lot of mistrust and fear. So in talking to him, it’s good to present things in a way that let’s him back away if need be. My guess is since he sounds like a thoughtful person, he will consider what you say. Just being humble, praying for him and being the best Catholic you can be will help a lot. Meeting good Christians, people who weren’t perfect but were obviously humble and loving, helped me a lot!

The works of C.S. Lewis helped me a lot as well )especially Mere Christianity–though he may also enjoy “The Screwtape Letters” “The Great Divorce” or “The Space Trilogy”.) These show the depth of Christianity. Some of my bad experiences with Christianity were with people who had a rather shallow understanding of things. When I saw “He, these people might be on to something! They aren’t dumb!” I became a lot more open.

One other thing to consider is how your brother in law tends to view the world. My background is in history, so one thing that converted me were historical arguements (Christ really rose from the dead–historical fact! The Catholic Church is the early Churc–historical fact!).

I think you might be right in terms of coming to spiritual maturity. These things take time. It took me years to believe in God, then to believe in Christ, and then finally to be baptized a Catholic!

Finally, have you had a chance to talk to your sister about this? That may be helpful.


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