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Questions from a monotheist

Discussion in 'Unitarian Universalism DIR' started by NoahideHiker, Apr 18, 2006.

  1. NoahideHiker

    NoahideHiker Religious Headbanger

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    I had a few general questions about UU (is it OK if I call you UU? lol). First of all I am a Noahide (kind of like a Gentile who follows Judaism to a point). We live by seven simple laws:

    1. Birkat Hashem -
    Do not utter G-d's name in vain, curse G-d or pursue the occult. Genesis 3:1
    2. Avodah zarah -
    Do not worship false gods/idols. Genesis 3:5

    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]3. Gezel -
    Do not steal or kidnap. Genesis 3:6
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]4. Shefichat damim -
    Do not murder. Genesis 4:8
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]5. Gilui arayot -
    Do not be sexually immoral (engage in incest, sodomy, bestiality, homosexuality, castration, and adultery) Genesis 6:1-4
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]6. Dinim -
    Set up righteous and honest courts and apply fair justice in judging offenders and uphold the principles of the last five. Genesis 6:5-7
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]7. Ever Min HaChai -
    Do not eat a part of a live animal. Genesis 9:3-4
    [/FONT]

    OK, that's me, now you. I saw in the general discription of your faith that you are sometimes not even considered a christian church? Who was Jesus to most UUers? Is UU somewhat of a spiritual catch all? Do you pray to, or in the name of Jesus?

    See, I'm not Jewish and I'm not a Christian. We Noahides have very few places of congregation. I don't even know any other Noahides off line. LOL! I do believe that we all have our path to follow and I am very open to what others believe and I don't get offended by other's doctrine. I had thought about visiting a UU church and see what it's like and see if a Noahide might find some community there. Noahides are nonreligious by nature so I can't really say I'd ever call myself a UU but we do share a lot of the same views on religious freethinking and acceptance.
     
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  2. Green Gaia

    Green Gaia Veteran Member

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    Hi! Of course you can call us UUs! Who wants to type Unitarian Universalists over and over? :D
    We have 7 Priniciples:

    We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote
    • The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
    • Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
    • Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
    • A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
    • The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
    • The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
    • Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
    No, we are not a Christian although our roots are in Christianity with the unitarian and universalist Christian movements.
    To most questions you ask of UUs, you will get different answers. But I would say most believe Jesus was a one of several important moral and ethical teachers who have shown humans how to live a life of love, service and compassion. Though some of us may question whether Jesus was an actual historical figure, we believe his teachings are of significant moral value. We do not believe that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, performed miracles and was resurrected from death. We do admire and respect the way he lived, the power of his love, the force of his example and his system of values.


    Yes, and no. All people are encouraged to seek spiritual comfort and practice in what tradition (or non-tradition) is right for them. But UU has a unquie spirituality all it's own as well.

    Lilithu, would be better to explain this than me.


    Some may do so privately, but it's not something we usually do as a group.


    You might like a UU church, you would certainly be welcome there. The only thing I think you might have an issue with given what you said your beliefs are is with the following:
    UUs churches are very open, affirming and welcoming to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people. This is important to us and I mention to you because I wouldn't want you to not know that before visiting a UU church.
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][/FONT]
     
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  3. Davidium

    Davidium Active Member

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    Hello! And thank you for your questions... Let me see if I can answer them. Now, understand, I can only speak from my understanding and perspective, and while I think I am on pretty solid ground, what I say is by no means "dogma" or a doctrine.

    To most UU's, Jesus was a prophet or a representative of the divine. But he was a man first and foremost, and that what is important is not the mythology around his life, but rather his teachings. Jesus was a prophet, but so was Buddha, Ghandi, Emerson, Theckla, and so many more. Some people show the divine through their lives and teachings, and call upon us to become more than we could be otherwise... these people we call prophets, and Jesus was one of these...

    Most UU's do not "pray in the name of Jesus" in the way that most Christian churches mean it.

    We grew out of two churches, the American Unitarian Association and the Universalist Church of America... both of which were Christian Churches... and both of which grew to encompass more than Christianity through their own journeys. The two churches joined together in the 1960's to form the modern Unitarian Universalist Association.

    We tend to believe several things about religious truth... First, no single religious tradition has a monopoly on religious truth... there is no one way. There is much of value in Christianity, as well as Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, Shintoism, Deism, Pantheism, Paganism, Hinduism, etc etc.... We should learn from them all... This is beyond Tolerance, into active engagement. In this, we are a Universal Faith.

    Secondly, we believe that revelation is continuious, and that scripture is not closed. All religious answers have not already been discovered! Not only can the religious ideas of other traditions be re-discovered and re-interpreted in today's society, but there are still things for us to discover about the Divine. Such discovery is not limited to ministers or mystics, but in truth can occur to anyone at any time... and should be shared. In this, we are the Prophethood of all Believers.

    Thirdly, we beleive that belief requires action. If you belief are not put to positive, productive, life affirming works within the world, then what purpose do they serve? Ours is a religion of action, a religion of working to make the world a better place... In this, we are a faith of practice.

    I would recommend the threads at the top of the UU Forum section here at RF to continue this exploration of Unitarian Universalism and Liberal Faith... for mine is but one perspective. As I am a UU seminary student, it is a perspective that not all UU's share.

    Thank you for your questions!

    Yorus in Faith,

    David
     
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  4. NoahideHiker

    NoahideHiker Religious Headbanger

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    That's awesome. The whole thing seems as though it's not so much like a structured church but rather a place where anyone and everyone can get together. Shweet!

    Haha! If you could meet some of my friends you'd laugh too! Some of my good friends I backpack with are gay and I love them just the same as everyone else. One thing I do NOT like about organized religions is when they think that in order to follow the commandments in the bible they must seek out and stamp out anyone that doesn't messure up. The Noahide code is a personal code. So while I do not practice same sex relations I will never be unaccepting of someone else who does. We're all on a big latter going up. We are to reach down and help each other UP. Not grab the guy above us and try to drag them DOWN. Heck, [whispering here] I have even seen Brokeback Mountain...GASP! HAHA!
     
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  5. robtex

    robtex Veteran Member

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    I am happy you realized that. Jesus is a point of speculation and the conclusions drawn by members vary. The more important thing, which you noted, is that we openly mindly look at religion and philosophy as a group who are emotionally and morally supportive of one another. A community. It doesnt' matter what members decide about Jesus as much as it matters that we share the journey of searching.

    Question: Who is Jesus to most UU's
    Answer: One of many ways to search for meaning in life.
     
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  6. Green Gaia

    Green Gaia Veteran Member

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    I wouldn't say we are not structured. We certainly are structured even more than some other churches with all our committees and groups. Each congregation will have it's own structure of worship/service. Here are some good Q & A on a UU service.
    Ok, that's cool. Just given what you posted about your beliefs, I thought I should mention it. ;)
     
  7. robtex

    robtex Veteran Member

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    I think he meant structure as in dogma.
     
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  8. Green Gaia

    Green Gaia Veteran Member

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    Oh well, yes that's true then. :bonk:
     
  9. NoahideHiker

    NoahideHiker Religious Headbanger

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    Bingo. Like as in, "If you don't believe what the church says to, then you are not one of us.".
     
  10. Green Gaia

    Green Gaia Veteran Member

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    Disagreements about belief is common, (and usually not confrontational, more like, "oh that's interesting, here's what I think") and thinking for oneself is encouraged.
     
  11. NoahideHiker

    NoahideHiker Religious Headbanger

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    That's good. When I was a christian I went to a few churches where people would drag ya up to the pastor so he could straighten you out on disagreements in doctrine.

    I went to the main site to find a congregation near me and the closest one is about an hour away. :(
     
  12. robtex

    robtex Veteran Member

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    You should go once. It is an experience I promise. How do you feel about being in a group where dogma does not exist. A place where the topic might be taoism, buddhism, the message of Christ, hinduism or other?
    Where there is no definite absolute truth but instead exploration of many theories?

    Here fun link for you to check out some famous UU"s
    http://www.famousuus.com/
     
  13. lilithu

    lilithu The Devil's Advocate

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    Hey Maize, speak for yourself. :) I believe that he performed miracles and was resurrected from death. But then I'd have to explain what I think a miracle is and what ressurection is. ;) Actually, this past Easter sunday the senior minister of my church said from the pulpit that he really does believe the Easter story. What he meant by that, well...hmm...

    To get back to NoahideHiker's question, safe to say (I think?) that we UUs do not believe that Jesus was God. (Well, no more so than anyone is God.) He was a very special human being (assuming that he actually existed).


    Who me? :eek: I think you did just fine. Our uniqueness is in our seven principles - the fact that we affirm and promote our values as expressed in our principles, rather than focusing on a creed that one believes in. As David says, we are a covenantal faith - based on mutual trust and action, not just words. We are open to learning from a lot of different spiritual traditions but we're not a "catch-all" because, as Maize said, everything is filtered thru our humanist view of things. Human welfare is never subordinated to ideas.


    I like that!


    NoahideHiker, I am sorry that there is no UU congregation near you. One of my interests is in growing UU (hence I call myself an evangelical UU). I don't want to "convert" anyone. I just believe that there are already a lot of people who are looking for us and we're not doing a good enough job of making ourselves available. I want there to be a nearby congregation for anyone who is interested, and if they're not interested that's fine. :) In the meantime, in addition to hanging out here in the UU forum on RF, I would suggest "The Church of the Larger Fellowship." It's an online UU congregation, specifically geared towards people who do not have easy access to a physical congregation. It's not quite the same thing but maybe it will be of some benefit to you.
     
  14. NoahideHiker

    NoahideHiker Religious Headbanger

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    Does anyone know if they have taken a stance on the state of Israel? Have they divested from Israel as in they boycott any financial support for Isreal?
     
  15. lilithu

    lilithu The Devil's Advocate

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    Who is they? You mean the UUA? (Unitarian Universalist Association) I believe that any official stance that the UUA took on Israel would have to be voted on at GA (General Assembly). But just judging from my own church, there is no way that we would ever take a stance against Israel. While some members are sharply ciritcal of Israel's policies towards the Palestinians, others are just as supportive of Israel's right to protect itself while surrounded by countries that want to destroy it. Why do you ask? :confused:
     
  16. NoahideHiker

    NoahideHiker Religious Headbanger

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    I could not attend a church that was divested from Israel. It's just a difference of opinions.
     
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