Saturday, June 23, 2007

Is the Koran a source for UUs?

There was a very interesting topic brought up in the commission on appraisal discussion of the seven principles this morning, and one that I haven't totally made up my mind on:

Should the Koran (Or the teachings of Islam) be specifically listed in the Seven Principles as one of the sources UUism draws from?

I'm torn on this question. I don't draw really any of my spirituality from Islam and I don't really know any UUs who have told me they do. At the same time, if there is a significant contingent of UUs who feel influenced by it, I don't at all object to putting it there.

I think a stronger argument could be made for Buddhism.

(FWIW, one should assume right now that both Islam and Buddhism are included in the general phrasing "Wisdom from the world's religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life," but they aren't specifically mentioned by name.)

So, any thoughts?



Anonymous said...

As a former Muslim who actually does use the Quran as a source, I don't recognize any Quranic influence in UU congregations I've been to, and if anything I'm seeing a push more and more towards Christianity within UUism. I think if this was added, it would be a lie. And are any of the people who want to add this intimately familiar with the Quran?

Robin Edgar said...

I agree with hafidha sofia. It is pure unadulterated U*U BS to pretend that the Koran aka Q'ran is a primary scriptural source for the U*U religious community. I have read it a few times in English translation of course but I know very few U*Us who have even flipped through it let alone use it as even a secondary scriptural resource. U*Us really would do well to lay off the BS in their propaganda but I suppose if they did so they wouldn't have mucvh propaganda at all since so much of it is BS.

Rick Hoyt-McDaniels said...

If you consider the question as one of history rather than theology the answer is clear. Jewish and Christian teachings are the relevant religious development line. Christianity grew directly from Judaism, and UU from there. All other religious influences are of a different nature. How popular they are now, or were, or will be, isn't the issue. All of them are adopted influences, where Judaism and Christianity are genetic, as it were.

fausto said...

I'm in sympathy with the thrust of what Rev. Ricky says, but I'll quibble a bit.

Neither Unitarianism nor Unversalism had any Jewish roots to speak of, at least none more recent than the first century CE. Nor did they have any Islamic roots, either. Their heritage tradition was entirely and authentically Christian, and in no way authentically Jewish, at least not until they (relatively recently) began to recognize and honor complementary spiritual and moral insights in traditions outside Christianity. The interest of Us, Us, and UUs in Jewish understanding and practice is no older than their interest in any other non-Christian religious paths.

If UUs were rigorously honest with themselves, not only would they not add the Quran to their list of sources, but they would drop the reference to Jewish teachings as well. Together, "Christian teachings" and "wisdom from the world's religions" are both sufficiently descriptive and historically correct.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, the Quran should not be added to the sources. I would object to its inclusion, because I feel it would be a deceptive move on our part. Very, very few UUs go to it regularly as a source of personal religious inspiration and guidance. Though still a more minority, far more read Sufi writings (usually they do so almost entirely out of the explicit Muslim context of Sufi teachings). It would be cultural imperialism and spiritual hubris to claim the Quran as a source, in my opinion.

I consider such things as the Quran and the Buddhist Sutras as included under the item about wisdom from the world's religions. At this point, I do think it would be somewhat legitimate to include Buddhism explicitly if a committee decided to do so: Buddhism is referenced hundreds if not thousands of times from the pulpit each year, and approximately 10% of our congregations have an actual UU Buddhist group meeting there regularly. For a sizable number of current UUs, Buddhism really is a source of their spirituality. However, I can't say I find the grocery list approach to our touchstones particularly compelling.

Side note: thanks to CC for blogging GA. As usual I couldn't make it this year (I'm still a GA virgin) but my folks are there and I'm curious to know what's going on.

Rick Hoyt-McDaniels said...

I have a response quibble to Fausto. He's perfectly correct of course. But here's what I would add. To the extent that UUs trace our history to early Christians like Arius and Origen, we there can pick up a direct Jewish influnece (not through Christianity) that was later laid aside and then re-discovered as he points out. In other words our Christian roots were actually laid down at a time when a monolithic "Christianity" did not exist. It wasn't exactly Judaism either but somewhere between the two.

Anonymous said...

so, you guys don't think that since Christianity came out of Judaism, then we can claim Judaism as ancestor? What about the use of the Jewish holy book, the bible (also called Old Testament)? Don't we use that? Especially Micah 6:8.