Unitarian Universalism has a small but strong influence in our culture. 5 presidents have been Unitarian Universalist. Some famous scientists, social rights activists, some well known thinkers, and authors have followed Unitarian Universalism. It is the most highly educated religion in the United States.
The numbers of adherents could be approaching 1 million total. More conservative estimates what put it just over a half million during the ninety’s and over 600,000 in the early 2000’s. About 96 percent of Unitarian Universalists are American. 3 percent are Canadian. It is apparent that this religion is a very centralized phenomenon, but I believe it’s draw and temptation has a worldwide influence. I believe there are people that hold 2 Unitarian Universal ideals, but are non-practicing or even unaware of the religion.
To put the movement in a simple term, I would call it religious postmodernism. Religious because it assembles, has inspirational readings, worship services, churches, and certain doctrinal statements (though it’s against creeds). It is postmodern in the sense that human feelings, intuition, and opinions serve as the final authority. It requires no submission to the truth that may lie outside of oneself. Truth becomes arbitrary and undefinable.
Our culture loves this idea of postmodernism, where truth is whatever works for you. People love to feel good about whatever lies they happen to be holding to. So it surprises me that Unitarian Universalism has not caught on very much in our culture. I could see the link taking place, where postmodern thought is given an assembly, spirituality, and organized influence. If this happens Unitarian Universalism will skyrocket.
Since truth and the idea of a common mission do not play a role in Unitarian Universalism, it’s draw must lie elsewhere. First, it’s draw is that it is a warm, welcoming, and non-threatening environment. People also like the idea of having somewhere to express their worldview when they have nowhere else that seems appropriate to express it. The person himself might be the only 1 they know to believe certain things, and where they did not have a vessel to share their beliefs in a non-threatening place, they found it in UU. People also like the thought of being spiritual without having to be committed. Others may be seekers that are trying to figure out what the truth really is. In a UU church they will get exposed to a great variety of different ideas.
With the draw and influence out of the way, let’s look at the developing history of Unitarianism and Universalism. The original definition of Unitarianism was birthed out of the 1500’s by Socinus. Socinus was committed to the Bible, but he drew some faulty conclusions. He concluded that the Trinity was false, thus birthing the term Unitarian- that God is 1, and not a Trinity. This is old heresy that should not have survived past Athanasius or the Council of Nicea in 325 AD. Back then it was called the Arian heresy. It has been given new titles and new life throughout the last 1700 years. That is the heresy that begin a 500 year downward spiral in Unitarianism.
Unitarian has shifted its meaning to now mean reliance on rationalism and experience as the final authority. Universalism has also shifted its meaning. It used to mean that everybody, regardless of behavior or belief would be saved. Now it means the goal of a one world religion. Whereas Unitarian Universalism once had a high regard for the Bible, now it is generally disregarded.
While Unitarian Universalism is supposed to be all embracing, you can see a common thread of rejection of conservative Christianity. It is not open to all ideas, it is open to non-Christian ideas. For example, God would not send anybody to hell. Salvation is not necessary because all people are good. There is no such thing as a sin nature. Therefore, Jesus did not come to save, he came to be an example. He did not come to teach sin, judgement, salvation, and the Kingdom of God, he came to teach us how to be kind and all accepting. For them to get some of these inconvenient Bible doctrines out of the way, they must assume that the Bible has been severely corrupted- which is a weak and weakening belief.
To conclude Unitarian Universalism’s theological stance: UU is a blend of humanism, postmodernism, and liberalism. These 3 are walked out in a communal, spiritual, individualistic way. There is no hardline truth, which is why the Christian truth claims are completely rejected. God may or may not exist, as long as it is a non judgemental God.
How is a Christian to respond when presented with this kind of worldview? Let’s start with logic and rationality and move into what the Bible says. If the laws of logic cannot be established then nothing can.
The nature of truth begins to take form in the laws of logic: 1. What is is. 2. What is not is not. 3. It either is or is not. How someone can disagree with those while not also agreeing with them, I will never know.
Truth: truth either is or is not. If truth is not, then it is true that it is not. Therefore, by necessity, truth is. Something cannot be both true and false at the same time in the same way. God cannot both exist and not exist. It is here that truth breaks down into only what corresponds with reality.
After establishing these foundations I would ask the Unitarian Universalist “What do you base your beliefs on?” Do you base them on whatever you want to feel or think? Or do you base your beliefs on what is real, rejecting what is false? When you have feelings and thoughts that line up with the way that things really are you have a true belief. Believe cannot cause truth, but truth ought to cause belief. Is the Unitarian Universalist willing to only believe what is true? If so, continue with them.
I will use other blogs to demonstrate the authenticity and trustworthiness of the Bible. There are blogs refuting some false worldviews. The blogs on the cosmological argument and the moral argument demonstrate that God exists along with some of His characteristics (consistent with the God of Christianity). The blog on the Trinity describes more of God’s nature. There are so many routes of beliefs within UU that I will not seek to address them here. You’ll have to address them as presented.
There are some people that describe themselves as Christian Unitarian Universalists. Let me show you from the Bible why there is not harmony between the two.
1. UU is about being indecisive about what is. James 1:8 says “An indecisive man is unstable in all his ways.” In Psalm 86:11 the singer asks God for an undivided heart that would serve Him.
2. UU is okay with people being on the fence about Jesus. Matthew 12:30 says “Anyone who is not with me is against me and anyone who does not gather with me scatters.”
3. UU says that Jesus is not necessary for life. John 3:36 says “The one who believes in the Son has eternal life, but the one who refuses to believe in the Son will not see life; instead, the wrath of God remains on him.” First John 5:12 makes the same point again.
4. UU says that there are many paths to heaven and to God. In Matthew 7:13, 14 Jesus says “Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction and there are many that go through it. How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it.”
5. UU teaches that people are good by nature. Ephesians 2:3 says “We too all previously lived among men in our fleshly desires carrying out the inclination of our fleshly desires, and by nature we were children under wrath, as the others were also.” Romans 3:12 says “All have turned away, together they have become useless; there is no one who does good, there is not even one.”
We are not okay as we are left to ourselves. We are not able to merit our own salvation. We cannot be content to believe in whatever whim we want. We must be consistent and logical in our beliefs. We must not take it lightly. Truth is imperative, not our wavering feelings. We must choose carefully and wisely, seeking knowledge and understanding about the true nature of God and salvation. We cannot get this wrong. We must commit ourselves to something, or someone. Will the one that we trust in be able to fulfill everything necessary for us to gain salvation and life?
The Unitarian Universalist does not typically take these questions seriously. The urgency needs to be aroused within them. The ground will soon be taken out from under them. There have been variety of ropes thrown their way. They are either not holding on or are holding for dear life to a rope that is not anchored in to the rock. Their belief that the rope is anchored in will not cause the rope to support them. We should all grab the rope that has been tested and proven.