Confessions, part 9

As I was coming to terms with my own discomfort of "going to church," I soon became aware of other sources of discomfort within my church. Jewish UUs who chafed at the word "church" for deeper reasons than mine. Atheist UUs who chafed at "church" and even more so at "God." Christian UUs who felt that their "church" was hostile to any meaningful expression of Christianity. And Pagan UUs who still experienced disdain for their beliefs/practices from other supposedly open-minded UUs. 

Unitarianism started as a liberal protestant Christian tradition, which then moved to more of a secular humanist movement, somewhere along the way attracting Pagans and Buddhists as well. Now, as UUs we say that we've moved from liberal Christianity to a "rich pluralism."  In fact, pluralism is a large part of what attracted me to UU in the first place.  As an Asian American, having grown up in both Eastern and Western religious traditions, pluralism is crucial to me because it reflects my own identity.  But what is a "pluralistic religion"? What kind of religion accepts Christian, Pagan and Atheist views equally? Does that mean that we, as a whole, embrace contradictory beliefs? One god, many gods, no god. Or does that mean that we never talk about the things on which we disagree - and thus are reduced to the lowest common denominator?

As UUs we say we are a creedless religion where no one is forced to sign on to a list of beliefs in order to be one of us. But if we don't have a creed, does that mean that we don't stand for anything? When people asked me what what religion I was, I would say I'm a Unitarian. When people asked me what Unitarians believe, I responded by saying, "You mean what do <b>*I*</b> believe? I really can't speak for all UUs because we are noncreedal." But that wasn't satisfying to either the person asking or to myself. Was I really saying that the only thing that unites us as UUs is that we agree to disagree? Then what was the point of being a UU? What was it about UU that made us a religion? Or were we nothing more than, as I sometimes self-mockingly described us, "a social club for religious rejects."

I had made a commitment to Unitarian Universalism. But I must confess that I still didn't really have faith in Unitarian Universalism.

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