Thursday, February 09, 2006

Do unitarian universalists really thrive on differences?

I was reading the web page for the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Tyler tonight and it said, "We're not like other churches in Tyler," and then gave a list of how they are different. One of the distinguishing characteristics was this:
We respect differences:
in fact, we thrive on them: whether its a belief in one God, many Gods, no Gods, God within us all, "the Force," or “the Sacred.” It is our diversity of opinions and beliefs, and our acceptance of our differences that make us a Fellowship of equals.
UU's often distinguish themselves from ordinary Christians in this manner. Whereas Christians are narrow and intolerant, UU's are supposedly open and accepting.

In reality, though, UU's and Christians are both accepting of diversity within limits. The only difference between them is in where those boundaries are. For example, in my church, you're free to say Jesus will return before, during, or after the tribulation, but people won't like it if you start saying Jesus is not God. At the UU Fellowship of Tyler, you're free to say there's a God or there isn't a God, but trying telling people Jesus is the only way to salvation and see how accepting they are of differences.

UU's are masters of euphemism. They use it to the point of misrepresenting themselves.


At 2/09/2006 12:27 PM , Blogger Jeff said...

This is off topic, but the only way I have to reach you.

James White's latest Dividing Line broadcast contains a discussion of compatibilism vs. libertarianism and I thought you'd be interested.

Go here: and look at the 2/8 posting for the link.

At 2/09/2006 1:06 PM , Blogger ephphatha said...

Thanks Jeff. I noticed that last night when I looked at his web page. I'm very interested in knowing what he has to say about it.

At 2/09/2006 9:24 PM , Blogger Steve said...

Sam - I think you've made an interesting point, but here's where I stand.

The concept "The only way to salvation is through Jesus" is incompatible with their diversity viewpoint. To say that in an effort to be diverse, the unitarians must incorporate values and concepts which contradict its core values would destroy what Unitarians stand for.

Moreover, while you have established that both unitarians and other sects of christianity all have boundaries, it would be incorrect to suggest that one is as narrow or as broad as the other.

Clearly, the Unitarian umbrella is larger than other sects of Christianity for diversity of viewpoints

At 2/09/2006 9:56 PM , Blogger ephphatha said...


Think about what you're saying. UU's have a point of view. They are unaccepting of any point of views that contradict their point of view. Do you see that? That's the only point I meant to make.

Now I would agree that the umbrella of orthodoxy within UUism is broader than it is for Christianity. But that isn't how the UU's in Tyler differentiated themselves from other churches in Tyler. They differentiated themselves by saying they respect differences and the other churches don't. However, as we've seen, both churches respect differences within their umbrella, but not outside of their umbrella.

The only real difference between the UU's and the Christians in Tyler is where they draw the boundaries. They are misrepresenting themselves to imply otherwise.

At 2/10/2006 3:57 PM , Blogger Steve said...

i see what you're saying! You're definitely right on this one. Although, would the same logic not apply to the United States, as we call ourselves diverse, with freedom of speech? But in reality, we don't accept Nazism or other ideologies which might prove incompatible w/democracy.

At 2/10/2006 7:12 PM , Blogger Jeff said...

How about being 'tolerant'...of everything but Christianity? :)

Or a moral relativist saying I'm wrong to hold to my objective morals.

...Steve, You have a point but I wonder if anyone ever meant 'diversity' to encompass everything?

We've always touted ourselves as a 'free' society but have never been free to plunder and pillage.

At 2/11/2006 9:20 AM , Blogger ephphatha said...


I think you have a good point there. I guess to a degree, our slogans in this country can be misleading as well. Of course it isn't illegal to be a nazi in this country; it's just that you can't get elected. But yeah, I see your point. All laws restrict freedom, and all governments have laws.


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