31 7 / 2011
In one of my previous posts, I went into detail about what Christian Universalism is, but before I go on I’d like to give a quick overview of my personal beliefs, especially after my little digression in my most recent post, so that you know what kind of things to look forward to in my future posts, as I address many of the things I’ll mention here in more detail.
I want to start by clarifying my personal Universalist belief. Most Christian Universalists believe in universal salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ (something I reject). I, on the other hand, believe instead that we are all children of God, destined to return to Him through His own decision and love and grace and intent. I reject any alternative, such as hell. Such alternatives, or the idea of anyone being denied or overlooked when it comes to God’s love and grace, contradicts the nature I believe is characteristic of God - one of love and compassion.
Because I reject the idea that God works through some sort of intermediary, like Jesus’ “atonement” on the cross, and because I dont’ believe in the deification of Jesus (remember, I did say I am a Unitarian Christian), I dont’ believe that Christianity is the only path through which one can come to know God or cultivate a relationship with Him, or even benefit spiritually from. I see all religions and faiths as offering that cultivation and relationship.
That being said, my beliefs aren’t just universal, but also pluralistic, and therefore syncretic. I don’t believe that any figure or religion has a monopoly on God’s love and grace, or on a relationship with or understanding of Him. I see all paths as equally valid ways of understanding and relating to the Divine, ways that can be quite compatible, and even incorporate teachings and ideas from various faiths and teachers.
I tend to be quite humanistic in my personal beliefs. I believe that all of the various faiths can contribute to cultivating our humanity, and that what makes up humanity are the characteristics of love, compassion, selflessness, altruism, wisdom, etc, etc. These are the things I believe make up God’s own character, and this is how, IMO, we are “made” in His image. So I believe that a fully realized humanity is the closest we will see of Divinity while still on this earth, and people like Jesus and the Buddha, etc, are great examples of that. It is the “God in us”, you could say, the way in which we are “Christ-like”… But I dont’ want to go into any of these points too much, because I dont’ want to repeat myself when I go into detail later, so I’ll move on now, lol.
I’m also quite Deistic, in that I don’t believe God is actively involved in human affairs or the events of this world. Instead I tend to believe more in the idea of a Prime Mover, who watches this world, but is removed from it in a way where He does not interfere with laws of nature (so I reject any belief in miracles, like the Resurrection) or the idea of free will (free will has to be completely free, or it isn’t free at all, IMO), or act to change or influence anyone or any event.
When it comes to how I understand the Bible, I’m a non-literalist who believes in looking at the entire context (historically, archaeologically, scientifically, the context of the language (original if I can find it), etc, etc). I don’t believe in angels or demons or the devil. I don’t believe in any sort of “end of times” or “Second Coming” (at least not a literal Second Coming, though I have found a way look at it metaphorically). And I reject a lot of the other “traditional” interpretations or understandings of Christianity and the Bible.
I don’t believe faith is about believing the right way, but instead about the journey, the process, the growth. Each of us has to find the way that most benefits our individual and spiritual needs. God is big enough to meet us where we are, to be available to all whatever way they understand and relate to Him. Truth is transcendent enough to be found in any of the packages it is wrapped in, IMO.
And, lastly, my beliefs all come down to love (which ties into the whole humanism thing, I guess). I believe in a God of love, Who calls us to love. Whatever the question, my answer is love, and if something is incompatible with the law of love, I reject it.
So there we have it, a (kind of) brief (for me) overview of some of the main points of my personal faith, and a little preview of the many topics that are to come, if only I can find time to keep up with this blog like I’m wanting, lol - it’s hard with a three year old keeping me busy, especially since bed time has been a struggle lately, leaving me with hardly any free time to put the time into this that I’d like to.
But I certainly look forward to sharing and to hearing back if anyone wants to discuss further any of the posts that are (hopefully) coming soon.
I hope to see you there! :)
(Up Next : A Defense of My Faith)