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Switch to Forum Live View Why do so many non-affiliated people identify themselves as "Unitarian"?
4 years ago  ::  Aug 31, 2010 - 4:58PM #1
BillJ
Posts: 1

I read a column or letter in the "UU World" a few years ago about the large number of people who choose to identify themselves as "Unitarian" but have never attended a UU service.


The writer of that column was somewhat annoyed by the practice. He or she felt that too many use the word "Unitarian" when they really mean agnostic, or something similar, and have no idea what happens in a UU congregation.


I had a recent experience where an acquaintance identified himself as Unitarian. I mentioned that I, too am a Unitarian Universalist and I asked if he belonged to one of the local congregations.


He was a little embarrassed, because he actually didn't know there were any "Unitarian" churches in the area. He said he was a Unitarian in the sense that he didn't believe in organized religion. It was a bit insulting, and also funny when I thought of my own at-times disorganized church, but I knew what he meant.


Is this something that happens with other religious denominations? I guess I've heard some people describe themselves as generic Christians who don't go to church, but not something so specific. Anyone else ever had this experience? Do we need to work on reclaiming the name?

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4 years ago  ::  Aug 31, 2010 - 6:21PM #2
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,833

Aug 31, 2010 -- 4:58PM, BillJ wrote:


Is this something that happens with other religious denominations? I guess I've heard some people describe themselves as generic Christians who don't go to church, but not something so specific.



Actually, in some very small towns where I've lived, it was fairly common for people who didn't go to any local church and probably didn't want to go to any church to say they went to some out-of-town church. Since it was customary in one such town for people to drive a half hour to the two closest larger towns which had more different churches, no one questioned this sort of lying to any extent when that's what it probably was. 


Do we need to work on reclaiming the name?



As for reclaiming the name, I think UU's in general are so overly sensitive about appearing to proselytize that it's hardly surprising when people like the man you mentioned say they're Unitarians with apparently no idea what that means and don't even know there's a local UU church.

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4 years ago  ::  Sep 01, 2010 - 9:02AM #3
Brownowl33
Posts: 443

I think people are so afraid of appearing to be "atheists" or non-religious that they just make something up so they can tell people they have a religion.  Since "Unitarian" sounds harmless yet traditional, maybe they latch on to that. While it might be annoying and give fuel to other denominations (Christian churches LOVE to hate on Unitarians) there's really nothing we can do to take back the term. 

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4 years ago  ::  Sep 02, 2010 - 11:55AM #4
Jupiter6208
Posts: 2,376

Sep 1, 2010 -- 9:02AM, Brownowl33 wrote:


I think people are so afraid of appearing to be "atheists" or non-religious that they just make something up so they can tell people they have a religion.  Since "Unitarian" sounds harmless yet traditional, maybe they latch on to that. While it might be annoying and give fuel to other denominations (Christian churches LOVE to hate on Unitarians) there's really nothing we can do to take back the term. 






Chris why do you generalize all Christians, Churches?  not all Christians think alike  just  like not all UU'S think alike  you really need to hear what you are saying at times.


.

"A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person."  Dave Berry



You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger. Buddha.

Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.
Eleanor Roosevelt
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4 years ago  ::  Sep 02, 2010 - 12:17PM #5
Jcarlinbn
Posts: 7,078

There are many sources of UU teachings other than UU Churches.  I have not been to a UU service in 15 years.  I have autographed copies of several of Forrest Church's recent books, and have studied them and incorporated some of the thinking into my daily life.  Are you going to reclaim UU from me?  Good luck.  


Aug 31, 2010 -- 4:58PM, BillJ wrote:

I read a column or letter in the "UU World" a few years ago about the large number of people who choose to identify themselves as "Unitarian" but have never attended a UU service. 




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4 years ago  ::  Sep 02, 2010 - 12:29PM #6
Brownowl33
Posts: 443

Sep 2, 2010 -- 11:55AM, Jupiter6208 wrote:


Sep 1, 2010 -- 9:02AM, Brownowl33 wrote:


I think people are so afraid of appearing to be "atheists" or non-religious that they just make something up so they can tell people they have a religion.  Since "Unitarian" sounds harmless yet traditional, maybe they latch on to that. While it might be annoying and give fuel to other denominations (Christian churches LOVE to hate on Unitarians) there's really nothing we can do to take back the term. 






Chris why do you generalize all Christians, Churches?  not all Christians think alike  just  like not all UU'S think alike  you really need to hear what you are saying at times.


.




 


NB: I edited this later to make it sound less angry.


And I think you need to do some more research.  Google "Unitarian Universalism" and "Christian" and you will find all kinds of things referring to UU as a "cult" and evil, bad, deluded, etc.  I've been told to my face three times that I don't go to a "real church" because we don't worship the right (or any) god.


Unitarian Universalism is NOT a Christian denomination.  If you're going to be offended by everything I write, perhaps you shouldn't read my posts anymore.  Every criticism I have made is absolutely valid.  Rather than attack me, the messanger, maybe you should instead be asking yourself what about Christianity, and the various things Christians do, is so terrible that it makes so many people dislike them.  As I have stated before, I owe the Episcopal Chursh an enormous debt of gratitude for things they've done for me me in the past. That doesn't change the fact that EVERY single anti-gay law now on the books was paid for and supported by Christian churches, and American evangelicals gave support to groups in Uganda that made being gay punishable by EXECUTION.  Christian groups are demanding that their mythology ("creationism") be taught alongside or instead of real science in schools, and they are using their resources to force their beliefs on everybody.


You try being me for a while, and having Christian nutjobs come up to you and tell you you're going to "burn in hell" unless you ask "Jesus" to fix you.  Try watching members of your faith (I am a Pagan as well as a UU) being asked to give the prayer at the City Council meeting, and then having that prayer interrupted by screaming Christians (and the council members) who said it was "demonic" and evil.  Try watching smug Christian leaders on TV gloating every time they pass a new anti-gay law, and talking about how "taking back America" from "deviants."  NOW tell me I don't have anything to complain about. 


If you don't like to hear this, don't blame me.  Blame the people who use their Bibles and their own hatred as weapons.  Unitarian Universalism is NOT a Christian church, and if it were I wouldn't belong to it.  Do not, however, come on here and complain about what I say.  If anyone "really needs to hear" what anybody's saying, then you need to hear ME. I think you've got your head in the sand about the very evil things your fellow Christians do.

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4 years ago  ::  Sep 02, 2010 - 5:23PM #7
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,833

Honestly, Jupiter! Of course not all Christians think alike. Another round of belaboring the obvious.   


However, as Chris pointed out, the party line for all but the most liberal denominations is that UUism is a cult if it's not simply labeled demonic.


The main point of Unitarianism from its origin was to deny the divinity of Jesus. Revere him as a model human being and great teacher, yes, but regard him as God--decidedly not. Thus, it's hardly surprising that Christians upholding that essential dogma don't think UU's amount to much.


Frankly, Chris's thinking is pretty standard for a UU, many of whom have little love lost for the vast majority of Christians.


You really don't seem to know much about typical UU attitudes, Jupiter. Perhaps observing more and pronouncing less on what UU's ought to think might be advisable?

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4 years ago  ::  Sep 02, 2010 - 9:33PM #8
Jupiter6208
Posts: 2,376

It seems each time i hear you guys talk you seem to talk down to everyone who is not a atheist or agnostic or Pagan it seems to go pretty much against what you guys seemly  believe,  maybe you need to go over your Principles and Purposes.  Just sayin..

"A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person."  Dave Berry



You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger. Buddha.

Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.
Eleanor Roosevelt
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4 years ago  ::  Sep 03, 2010 - 3:36AM #9
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,833

Sep 2, 2010 -- 9:33PM, Jupiter6208 wrote:


It seems each time i hear you guys talk you seem to talk down to everyone who is not a atheist or agnostic or Pagan it seems to go pretty much against what you guys seemly  believe,  maybe you need to go over your Principles and Purposes.  Just sayin..




Which once again demonstrates how little you know about UUism. UU's aren't the least bit obliged to believe anything stated in the Principles and Purposes. The P&P are NOT a creed to which UU's must subscribe--or pretend to. That's why UUism is referred to as a non-creedal faith.


In fact, the P&P were initially developed to guide relationships between congregations since they are part of the UUA bylaws, another reason why individual UU's need not believe any of them.


If you're here to learn about UUism and UU thinking, that would be one thing. However, more and more you seem to be here to tell us how we ought to think and believe according to your somewhat Christianized idea of UUism. "Inapplicable" is the nicest word for that.

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4 years ago  ::  Sep 03, 2010 - 2:38PM #10
Jcarlinbn
Posts: 7,078

All UU congregations I have been to have welcomed people of all milk religions as long as they don't insist that their milk religion must be the focus of the church.  Most UU churches have Seders, religious Easter Services, an extensive Christmas program usually including a pageant with Kings and Herald Angels.  Christians are welcome to accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior in a UU Church, but don't expect much sympathy or respect if you insist others do as well.  

Sep 3, 2010 -- 2:30PM, Jcarlinbn wrote:

It seems each time i hear you guys talk you seem to talk down to everyone who is not a atheist or agnostic or Pagan it seems to go pretty much against what you guys seemly  believe,  maybe you need to go over your Principles and Purposes.  Just sayin.. 


 

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