REACH Fall 2001
Our traditional emphasis on personal integrity and our rejection of imposed dogma means there is room for a wide spectrum of responses. This pamphlet briefly presents the personal views and feelings of a number of contemporary Unitarians on what remains a topical religious issue.
Unitarians during the early Reformation rejected the doctrine of the Trinity as unscriptural, asserting instead the Unity of God and the essential humanity of Jesus. Jesus was seen as the supreme teacher and leader of humankind, and salvation was to be achieved through conforming one's life to his teaching, as the purest expression of God's will.
Over time the traditional Unitarian emphasis on the exercise of human reason caused Unitarians to cease to regard the Bible as the ultimate authority in matters of faith; during the 19th century in particular, it was becoming clear that the Scriptures could justly be subjected to textual criticism like other works of literature, while advances in scientific knowledge suggested a different view of the world and humanity from that presented in the Bible. Thus among Unitarians of today honest reflection on fundamental religious questions, illuminated by the insights gained from personal experience, the Judeo-Christian tradition, other faiths, science, psychology, poetry and literature, tends to be seen as providing the most credible approach to the personal spiritual quest. While acknowledging this diversity of influences many Unitarians continue to regard themselves as Christians first and foremost.
Whatever their theological perspective Unitarians attempt, in their style of worship and their community life, to combine a faith of personal integrity with a spirit of inclusiveness that draws strength from a willingness to share and learn from others.
The question of the centrality of Jesus offers a challenge to modern Unitarians to discover ways of drawing the best from traditions of the past, while discovering an ever deeper understanding and respect for the convictions of others in the present, thus opening ourselves up to fresh visions and insights of a better future. We seek to provide a creative alternative to the rigidity of dogma which encumbers so many branches of organized religion for, in the words of the Fourth Gospel, it is the spirit which alone gives Life.
Unitarian Head-quarters, London, England
Page last updated December 14, 2001
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