Book of Cults & UUA

When I was visiting a colleague at Meadville/Lombard Theological School in January, I noticed Bob Larson’s Book of Cults (1984 edition, although the "new" book is available for $3.75 from 1989) on the shelf and thumbed through it as I had heard Unitarian Universalists were in it.  Indeed we were!  I made a copy of our entry, #79, only three paragraphs over two pages.  I don’t think this is public domain yet, so I won’t quote it in entirety.  Here are the parts I found interesting (or funny):

[in the beginning…] If religious movements could be classified psychologically, the lable schizophrenic would certainly apply to the UUA…since the truth of God is said to be revealed in the sacred writings of all great religions, the philosophy of UU’s is reduced to little more than an ethical system of morality…their adherence to universal truth as declared in the teachings of all prophets of all ages renders the terms "Christian" and "Unitarian" to be mutually exclusive.  [in the end]

The entry makes for good debate, in my UU Polity class with Rev Ed Lynn, or in other UU circles.

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One response to “Book of Cults & UUA

  1. I guess I need to see his definition of a cult. You would think that a group this diverse in beliefs, and this averse to authority wouldn’t make a very good cult.

    As for the description of UU’s, there are a couple of problems:
    1. There is an assumption that it is supposed to be a Christian faith, which it really for most UU’s in the US, and for a good portion elsewhere.
    2. The “philosophy” is only mutually exclusive to a Christianity which defines itself as the one true faith, which some Christians (especially the UU ones) would debate.
    3. He leaves out that UUism challenges the individual to look at other writings, and find his own view on spirituality. This can mean rejecting elements from sacred texts, as well as seeing some as truths.

    Where UUs are supposed to accept all is in accepting that other people’s faiths/beliefs/philosophies should be respected and seen as true for them. That does get into a potentially problematic dichotomy when those beliefs call for action that supercedes the beliefs of others.

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