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Switch to Forum Live View New here and can I consider myself a UU?
3 years ago  ::  Aug 19, 2011 - 9:15PM #1
MyNameIsChris
Posts: 3
I was born to a family of Sikhs. My parents are very liberal and open-minded people, who have no problem with me leaving Sikhism, which is good because I don't wholeheartedly believe in it.
I've read some of the beliefs held by UUs but I am still unsure. Here's what I believe in, so I'm hoping someone on here could point me in the right direction. Am I a UU, or is there another religion/belief that would be more suitable for me?

1) Everyone is equal. Homosexuals, handicaps, straights, religious, non-religious, it doesn't matter. No person is above another.

2) Democracy is the answer. Governments should all be democratic, and listen to what their people want. Every country needs a separation of state and religion in their constitutions. The rule of law triumpths over the rule of man.

3) Everyone is entitled to free speech, but their free speech cannot threaten anyone else's. For example, there are radical muslims in the UK who use their "free speech" to gain followers and attack Britain's constitution and it's democratical ideals. They want Britain to become an Islamic State and implement Shariah Law. In this case, I believe these people are using their free speech to attack others', and they need to be arrested and/or deported.

4) Sort of adding on to the above, but you shouldn't be able to force your beliefs on anyone else.

5) I am unsure about God's existance, but if he does exist, then these are the two scenarios that I believe are most likely:

a) God doesn't care what religion you are. No one gets sent to hell because God is loving and merciful.

b) God is not a "person" or an "entity", but rather a natural force (like gravity) that created the Universe and controls it's destiny. In this case, once you're dead, you're dead. No heaven, no hell.

6) Human rights need to be upheld and justice needs to be brought to those who violate them, no matter how powerful they are or how much money they have.


I still like being a part of other religious gatherings. Since my family is Sikh, I'll go to the temple on a regular basis. I live in Canada, so I'm exposed to a lot of Christian beliefs and values as well. Would I be a UU? 
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3 years ago  ::  Aug 20, 2011 - 8:11AM #2
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,833
Welcome, Chris.

No reason I see why you can't consider yourself a UU. Your stated beliefs are quite consistent with those of a good many UU's, I would say. 

Your 5(a) statement about there being no hell for any person to be sent to certainly reflects Universalist beliefs. 

Canada's UU churches have an organization separate from the American Unitarian Universalist Association. Here's its URL with church locator:

www.cuc.ca/index.html

There's certainly nothing preventing your becoming a member of the UUA's Church of the Larger Fellowship, the online and church-by-mail serving mostly those too far from a real-life church to attend. CLF has members all over the world. You can even request a 3-month no-obligation trial membership on the CLF site. Click on "Join" on the toolbar at the top of

www.clf.uua.org 

for information about what it involves. I'm not sure how much CLF can mail to Canada. I believe borrowing from the library is U.S.-only, but they may send you the newsletter and an issue of UU World magazine as you'd get with the trial membership in the U.S. You can read the monthly newsletter online or get it as a podcast, too, and UU World is also accessible online.    
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3 years ago  ::  Aug 20, 2011 - 8:18AM #3
RevDorris
Posts: 1,809

Welcome Chris,


Your views would fit in with the views held by many UU members. 


Only you can decide if you want to be known as a Unitarian-Universalist or some other designation.


Again welcome to our little corner of the world.

With love,

Rev Dorris
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3 years ago  ::  Aug 25, 2011 - 3:22PM #4
MyNameIsChris
Posts: 3

Thanks for the replies guys! I've been doing a bit more research into the subject, and have found out that a lot of UUs also consider themselves other things. For example, you have Atheist UUs, Agnostic UUs, and even Christian UUs (I think) etc... I consider myself a "Humanist", if you will. At first, I thought I was a Secular Humanist. But I later found out that Secular Humanists completely disbelieve in the existence of God. My attitude towards God's existence is more agnostic than atheist, so that wasn't for me. I also find it more comforting to think that there is an after life, rather than "once we're dead, that's the end". I don't believe in hell, as I believe that God (if he exists) is merciful and forgiving. Entrance into heaven/salvation, in my opinion, would depend more on the good deeds you did/whether or not you found joy in your life/whether or not your life brought joy to others, as opposed to how religious you were, or how much you prayed. Or, God could exist simply as a physical force (such as gravity) that somehow managed to create the Universe. In this case, we would be dead once we're dead, and the chances of an after-life would be slim to none. What I wanna know is, is there a certain type of Humanism that fits well with what I've described? Or maybe there is some other religion out there, other than Humanism, that would seem like a good fit.

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3 years ago  ::  Aug 26, 2011 - 8:04AM #5
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,833

What you described as characteristic of your beliefs about God, Chris, is what I would term "religious humanism." That's generally defined as a belief that doing good for others and working to live in harmony with all people goes along with a belief in "something else" beyond human existence, whatever that something may be. It's a quite legitimate and common branch of liberal religion.


I've encountered some UU's who simply called themselves religious humanists, others took another label and also said they were religious humanists. (Yes, there are UU Christians although they simply revere and follow Jesus's guidelines for living but don't consider him to have been any more a deity than themselves.) At bottom, you may simply refer to yourself as a UU. 


Your idea that God may be some immense natural force is quite similar to my own. Btw, I don't think you necessarily need close off the possibility that there's an afterlife. Energy doesn't just vanish. I think it possible that the energy that animates our bodies (often called the "soul) simply goes on to exist elsewhere once it leaves the physical body at death.


So, I apply the general label "spiritual agnostic" to me, although I refer to myself primarily as an Emersonian Transcendentalist. The agnostic part refers to the fact that I feel there's so very much that we don't as yet know (and may never know!) as well as to my belief that many things now termed paranormal may ultimately be discovered to be quite natural phenomena. The spiritual portion--to my wondering if there truly is "something somewhere" about which people have developed deity stories as a reflection of their best understanding of whatever it may be.


Anyway, with UUism you've a faith that encourages you to investigate many religions and belief systems and to formulate beliefs that make sense to you and which can guide your life in helpful and productive ways. Of course, you can do that on your own, too.


Thrilling possibilities, seems to me.


 

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3 years ago  ::  Aug 29, 2011 - 6:34AM #6
MyNameIsChris
Posts: 3

Thanks for your reply. I've googled religious humanism, and there seems to be a great deal of information about it, but most sources only explain it in it's broadest sense. In a nutshell, I guess it means that you believe in the fundamental humanistic values/morals, however, you feel that religion is using thos values and morals to achieve salvation and be a good person. I was not able to find out whether or not religious humanists feel this life is a test, but I doubt they do. Or am I wrong?


 


So would that make me a "Unitarian Universalist-Religious Humanist"? If not, what should I label myself? Spiritual agnostic is great, but I appreciate how straight-forward humanism and UUism is about being a good person. You can be a spiritual agnostic, but not necessarily a morally good person.


 


Would UUism support me becoming a Christian? It's something I've been pondering on about, although there is a lot about Christianty I don't agree with. It would be more of a test-run.

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3 years ago  ::  Aug 29, 2011 - 11:50AM #7
JCarlin
Posts: 6,797

Aug 29, 2011 -- 6:34AM, MyNameIsChris wrote:

Would UUism support me becoming a Christian? It's something I've been pondering on about, although there is a lot about Christianty I don't agree with. It would be more of a test-run.




A good UU church should support you in any religious quest you undertake.  The Jefferson Bible is a good source for "Unitarian Christianity" as he called it.  It focuses on the human Jesus and his teachings.  


For UUs believing in an afterlife it is usually based on universal salvation so in Forrest Church's words "Live a life worth dying for." as an afterlife will be more of the same with more time to do it.   

J'Carlin
If the shoe doesn't fit, don't cram your foot in it and complain.
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3 years ago  ::  Aug 29, 2011 - 12:41PM #8
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,833

Perhaps I don't fully understand how you see salvation, Chris, but I agree with JCarlin that about all the significance the term has for most UU's is as encouragement to live each day as well as they can. You're "saved" in brief if you endeavor to be a good citizen and to treat others justly and kindly, working as able toward your society's combatting injustice and oppression.


As for how to label yourself, not something to be overly concerned about, IMO. UU's rarely ask each other what they believe (something I could never understand as I feel that's a powerful source of learning), so you might attend a UU church regularly for decades and never have any need to identify yourself by your chosen label.


Christianity within UUism typically is quite similar to that of Jefferson--Take out the miracles and similarly unbelievable stuff from the Gospels and use the rest of what Jesus did and said as a model if you wish.


You could choose worse, but I found that much of what Jesus purportedly said was more than somewhat impractical at best. "Turn the other cheek"? "Give all that you have to the poor"? What sense does either make? Not much as far as I'm concerned.

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