EXCELLENT exposition of why “Unitarian Universalism” strikes me as a total shit-pile:

For readers who aren’t familiar with Unitarian Universalism, here it is: Although initially a pair of Christian heresies, both small struggling denominations moved further and further to the theological left until both jettisoned Christianity, embraced Humanism, joined forces (merged), and discovered (after merger) that other than some political aims in common, the theologies which reflected their demographics were largely incompatible. 

Their demographics were largely incompatible as well. Unitarians tended toward the wealthier merchant classes. Their theology predicated on the idea that there is no Original Sin, led easily toward the notion that we are basically good. Universalists were largely working class. Their theology recognized that while humans sin and can be downright evil, God is so good that God will never condemn human beings to eternal punishment. 

One puts the goodness on human beings, and by extension human agency, the other puts it on God. In other words, one puts everything in humanity’s hands, the other does not.

The dividing line not explored is a class divide. The wealthy (and hangers on, as their always are) had a theology that saw themselves as basically good, and too good to be punished. The workers saw themselves as flawed, and oftentimes their employers as evil. One can imagine them saying, “This can’t be all, we can’t grind our lives away and then go to Hell. God loves us, and will not punish us on top of everything else.”

What happens when the theology of the masters and the theology of the slaves are merged together? 

What do you think happens? The wealthy win.  It’s what always happens.

The theology of God’s goodness became subsumed by the theology of our goodness. All of this under cloak of humanism. The underlying theologies were never really discussed, or even really acknowledged. After all, theology is just another form of “supernaturalism.” It has nothing to do with the real world, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera… Here’s where you need to imagine old-man, stuttering, humanist invective.


See the problem here?

“Unitarian Universalism”  has its roots in a desperate attempt by what one of its own former clergy describe as “two small, Christian heresies” with — broadly incompatible — underlying theologies.

(Hint: I have absolutely no problem, whatsoever, with the notion that they two root-groups were “heresies”.  Nor do I see that as a “slur”-word.  Protestantism ITSELF began as a morass of “heretical” alternatives to the Roman Catholic church — which ITSELF is considered “heretical” by the various “Orthodox” churches (Russian/Greek etc.).


So, it’s not that I give two liquidy shits over whether “Unitarianism” or “Universalism” were themselves “heretical” variants of Protestantism.

My gripe is with the fact that the underlying theologies themselves were pretty much incompatible, and (in many ways) self-canceling:

Unitarianism: “Humans are too good to deserve eternal Hellfire”

Universalism: “Humans suck!  However, God is too good to inflict eternal Hellfire!”

So, what exactly is the point, then?

“Unitarian Universalism” — from its inception — has systematically renounced BOTH the “carrot” and the “stick”.  The essential “core” of all “religions” IS that “carrot-and-stick” thing:

The “carrot” (and the Stick) both amount to the tacit claim  that believing/doing whatever-it-happens-to-be is (somehow) “better” than NOT believing/doing it

This is then dressed up in all kinds of “doctrine”:  If you’re “good” you get a cookie (IE: an eternity in “heaven”(Christianity/Judaism/Islam), the opportunity NOT to get reincarnated(Hinduism/Buddhism), etc.).  If you’re “bad”, then Yahweh/Karma etc. will spank you.  (“Fire and brimstone”, bad “karma”, etc.)

Now, yeah: I have very deliberately described what can be extremely complex theological systems  in terms more suitable to (let’s say) the level of “understanding” exhibited by a severely cognitively-disabled toddler, or something.

But, here’s the thing: absent at least some base-line notion of “believe/do what we WANT you to believe/do – either because doing so leads to ‘reward’, or because NOT doing so leads to ‘punishment’ — then there is literally NOTHING to offer:

I mean seriously: IF your customers don’t actually “need” whichever theology you happen to be hyping, and you assure them that there’s no actual “down-side” to NOT buying your product, then why in hell would they ever even consider “buying” it, in the first place?

THIS is why I can’t help but view UUism as a tacit insult to, well, pretty much every other religion — and to atheism, for that matter.

As an organizational principle, it brazenly advertises that it has nothing to offer, except possibly, an exceedingly dumbed-down pablum-ized (mis)”understanding” of whatever touchy-feely crapola they happen to find least “offensive” from the rest of the world’s religions.

What the hell is the point, again?




2 thoughts on “EXCELLENT exposition of why “Unitarian Universalism” strikes me as a total shit-pile:

  1. Oh, dear. All I can say is, this person should come and visit our Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregation. That old reward and punishment thing, even for those among us who are deists, is simply not the point. Our desire is to grow in love (maybe empathy is a better word for the uninitiated), in the here and now, and nourish our spirits. We draw wisdom for doing that from all the world’s great religions, as well as from science, literature, nature, and the arts, and our own experience. We try to live by our seven principles. My favorite one is “respect for the interdependent web of all existence, of which we are a part.” Another important one is engage in a “free and responsible search for truth and meaning.” The first one, which is most important to many UUs, is “respect for the inherent worth and dignity of every person.” Our congregation has members across the full range of economic and educational spectra. We love each other. It’s not an easy religion and no one spoon feeds you easy answers to anything. But it’s incredibly enriching and rewarding, especially in these times which are trying our souls.

    • Riiight.

      Here’s the thing:

      Be honest with yourself, now:

      What would happen if (for example), one of your fellow congregants — after engaging in that “free and responsible search for truth” that you mention so frequently in your agitprop — decided to (for example) opt for some variant of Evangelical/Fundamentalist Christianity?

      (Yeah: I’ll admit that this is an amazingly unlikely scenario, but bear with me).

      Part of their newfound belief-system involves a certain interpretation of the “Great Commission” (that whole “preach the gospel to every creature”, thing).

      As a result, those sort of Christians tend toward Proselytizing. After being “saved” (as they call it), they tend to (for want of a better term) “inflict” their new belief-system on their friends, family, total strangers, in some cases.

      The thing is: in (most) cases it comes from a genuine and very sincere concern, related to a belief that the “unsaved” will experience an eternity of “fire and brimstone”.

      Now, I’m not here to debate that.

      What I *am* asking is: what would happen if one of your congregants (or even one of the Sunday School children!) gravitated in that direction, but *continued coming around to your Unitarian Universalist congregation, intent on “saving” you all?

      Would your respect for his/her “free and responsible search for truth” include that, or not?

      I’m willing to bet that it wouldn’t. Eventually, that individual would end up being even less welcome than (say) a practicing Muslim among Protestant Fundies.


      Simple: one aspect of “community” involves a certain amount of “us. vs. them” — a line of demarcation, which sets you apart, in some way, from others *outside* of your particular “community”.

      From what I can see, UUism offers *none* of that:

      If I want to learn about a specific religion (which actually has content of its own), I am capable of asking an adherent of that religion, and/or one of their clergy — or even of just reading any number of “summaries” which are freely available at just about any library, let alone online.

      In the same vein: If I want to get together with individuals from outside of my specific demographic subculture, I am capable of doing that — WITHOUT resorting to something like Unitarian Universalism.

      Lastly: What would happen if a Laveyan “satanist” attempted to join your congregation?

      Would he or she be “welcomed” and “loved?”

      As to the “inherent worth and dignity”: what about an overt racist?

      Would that individual be “welcomed” and “loved?”

      I admit that the above examples are (somewhat) far-fetched, but they *are* valid examples.

      You need to ask yourself exactly how “welcoming” it is actually possible to be.

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