Confessions, part 10

In the Fall of 2004 I took an ASD class with Rev. Rob Hardies and Bill Rice called Unitarian Universalist Theology.  I had signed up for the course with a mixture of hope and skepticism.  As I said during our introductions in the first session, I was skeptical that there really was any such thing as UU theology, skeptical that there was anything that we could say that all UUs believed.  Yet I was there because I hoped that there was.

Rob started the class with an overview of what we would be discussing, which followed the standard format of theology - our view of God, our view of humanity, our view of our relationship between God and humanity.

But there were a couple of key differences between this theology and the theology that I was simultaneously learning at Georgetown.  First, rather than the "study of God," he defined "theology" as "people telling stories about God."  This moved God out of the realm of objective, universal truth and more in the realm of subjective, interpersonal truth.  Second, in UU theology, we had to address the fact that some of us don't believe in God.  Rob defined God as "that which matters most to you."  So, UU theology then was people telling stories about that which mattered most to them.

I won't go into the details here of our readings and discussions of Channing, Emerson, and Thoreau.  (Although I do hope to talk about such things in the future.)  What I will say is that I came to understand that UU theology starts with the human first, not God.  And while we UUs may have different beliefs about God, there is a common thread of what we believe about humanity.

Our belief in human worth is the basis for our shared faith.  From that it follows that we can believe many things (as opposed to having beliefs imposed upon us) but we cannot believe things that violate human worth.

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Acknowledgments is made possible in part by generous support from the Fahs Collaborative