Saturday, 5 March 2011

Don't label me!

I guess it’s because Christianity is still considered to be the State Religion, that when you tell people you attend church or chapel you automatically gain the label of ‘Christian’. The expectation is that you believe in Jesus as the son of God, that all the stories in the Bible are considered to be truth and that you’ll quote from it at the earliest opportunity. People get wary of what they should or shouldn’t say in your presence and, the best one by far, apologise for their own lack of belief in the Hebrew/Christian scriptures.


Sorry for shouting but sometimes you have to get these things off your chest.

Perhaps my denomination should stop calling their places of worship by titles usually associated with Christianity. Some call themselves Meeting Houses, this title then gives a Quakerish flavour to the imagination. Difficult to know how to solve the problem and in reality, why should we change how we refer to the buildings in which we communicate with our spirituality and whatever force of life we believe in. It isn’t really that long ago that Unitarianism was very much a purely Christian denomination and, therefore, the title we gain today was once a correct assumption.

21st century Unitarianism has embraced so much that the reference to Christianity is now an assumption that has more chance of being wrong than right. It is such an expectation that a religions movement should have creeds and doctrine which are believed and adhered to by all of its followers that trying to explain we are different is sometimes more difficult and complicated than I or anyone else has the ability to explain.

Only yesterday I shocked someone by telling them that we have atheist ministers. I could tell by the look on the man’s face that he couldn’t get his head round that one (quite amusing really).

Isn’t it somewhere near the truth to state that in a well educated society that we now are, more and more are questioning the religious doctrine they would have taken for granted only a few decades ago. There are so many contradictions in the Bible that a rational mind must surely notice unanswered gaps in the teachings laid in front of them.

Karen Armstrong wrote in her book “A case for God” how the homo sapiens of antiquity saw as much importance in mythos (myth) as they did logos (logical thinking). Trying to explain spirituality, the part of us that cannot be analysed, can best be communicated through mythos because it can provide scenarios on which we can reflect and make valuable decisions on meaning and what should be learnt. Myths were never meant to be believed as fact, which explains to me the first five books of the Torah (Old Testament).

Why humanity decided to wrap spirituality in a bunch of rules and present them forcefully to others, I’ll never know. To me, we all think we believe differently and yet those differences all point to the same thing. You can believe in evolution, Hebrew scripture, The Dao, Humanism, The Earth Spirits or any other faith or belief but we all want to learn how to live harmoniously with each other and the world in which we live, it’s just that we all have different ideas of how to achieve it. Differences of opinion provides for more ideas, more paths to consider and more chance of finding the right one .... this is the Unitarian way.

Don’t label me as a Christian! I’m not! Not that there is anything wrong in being Christian, my partner is one, but the assumption of my beliefs is unfair to me as a thinking, feeling human being.

We can’t call our buildings anything other than what they are and they tell of a history we’re quite proud of, but Unitarianism is far more complicated and far more beautiful than a set of creeds or doctrine would ever allow us to be.

Freedom, Reason and Tolerance ............ rock on baby!!!!