Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My candidate for most annoying Unitarian habit.

1. Imply that the Seven Principles are a creed.

2. Describe how your pet issue applies to the Seven Principles.

3. Talk about how any Unitarians who aren't in love with your pet issue are, by this reasoning, bad Unitarians, hyprocrites or just jerks.

4. Put an essay to that effect on the internet and/or make that argument incessantly to anyone who doesn't agree with you.

Today's Example

Though I am picking on Z, I'd like to stress that I have seen this all over the damn place with a huge variety of issues and it never ceases to bug me.

I really wish we didn't have the Seven Principles, because I'm tired of seeing them misused. They aren't a creed that can be used to prove people are bad Unitarians. They aren't a description of who we are.

There are many very fine churches that have creeds and/or scriptural authority that are always searching for new members. If you love having an objective standard to measure people with so much, it's been nice praying with you, you know where the door is.


tired and cranky.


Bill Baar said...


have a good day CC.

Robin Edgar said...

It's not that funny Bill.

There are serious issues involved and I am very much in favor of having some objective standards to measure people with. . .

More later. I have other priorities right now.

Chalicechick said...

Creedless churches aren't for everyone. I'm not sure why people who really want an objective standard seek out a church where, as far as I know, people never had one. (I'm assuming Fausto will correct me on this one.)

At the same time, even object standards require interpretation, so in general declaring people bad isn't a good idea.


Comrade Kevin said...

Chalice Chick,

I KNOW where your frustration stems from and I sympathize. Allow me to muster up as much eloquence as I can to respond to this post the best way I possibly can.

The Seven Principles are not a creed, plain and simple. However, I see a creedless faith the same way I see a strict separation between church and state. Neither exist naturally and there will always be a need to keep the two from co-mingling in spite of our own best intentions.

People like yours truly who were raised in a faith with creeds and came to find them repulsive will often be constantly on guard to seek out anything that remotely comes across as one. These days, though, I've come to accept creeds as one of those inevitable things about religion that makes me slightly uncomfortable but I can't do anything about.

UUism was set forth as the anti-organized religion and has become one in spite of itself. Perhaps this was inevitable.

I have proposed pet issues in past, but I'm not inclined to do so right now. At my own blog, I do welcome contrary points of view, but I do have to curb my sensitivity to criticism and see them as constructive, rather than destructive.

I see the Seven Principles as a response to people who wanted to have something concrete as a point of reference. UUism is, you must admit, a highly abstract faith.

Chalicechick said...

That people want or feel that they need a creed does not make the seven principles a creed, particularly one that can be used to decide that other people are hypocrites for not following the principles as a creed, which they are not required to do in the first place.

More simply, I can call your brown eyes blue if I want to, but that doesn't mean that you're colorblind if you still think they are brown.


Bill Baar said...

A creedless faith is not natural?

I'd say creedalism a pretty Christian notion. I'm not scholar of religions but I'm guessing few other faiths have offerend as many long creeds as Christianity has.

UUism as anti-organized religion?

I'd say it's just the opposite. The two Churches I've belonged too having been well run, well organized Churches.

The students we've interned from ML well versed in program management.

Now I've blonged to some Catholic Churches and while being much larger, and having larger budgets and facilities... have done a dismal job of policing their staff, managing their programs.

Chalicechick said...

People only know the churches they live near. The UUA can have a thriving Christian organization, lots of Christian members, hell, Elaine Pagels at GA, but if Church A is still pretty humanist, the people who live hear church A are going to see UUism as insufficiently Christian.

Which functionally it is, as far as those people are concerned.


Alex Winnett said...

The great Irony/Paradox-

We are a creedless faith. And yet, we have a set of Principles, Purposes and a source of tradition.

creed (krēd) pronunciation

1. A formal statement of religious belief; a confession of faith.
2. A system of belief, *principles*, or opinions.
(From the American Heritage Dictionary)

So, we either recognize our Principles and Purposes as a creed; call them something else; Or we abandon them completely.

A sticky wicket.

But I think the actual point is the process of discernment in a free faith. And that is a much bigger question.

The hardest part for many folks when it comes to the P&P is the fact that they apply to every one.

If I get a free and responsible search for truth and meaning-then so should you.

Democratic process requires your voice heard just as much as mine.

Peace and justice is never a one way street.

Alex Winnett said...

By the way,

I am not sure if my comment about accepting the P&P as a creed, chucking them out, or renaming them was clear enough.

I was being quite facetious.

Bill Baar said...

I covenant on Sundays; I don't profess a creed.

Being desirous of promoting practical goodness in the world, and aiding each other in our moral and religious improvement, we have associated ourselves together: - not as agreeing in opinion, - not as having attained universal truth in belief or perfection in character, but as seekers after Truth & Goodness.

It's a good covenant and I think if you try to live it, you have a pretty good sense of what a creedless faith is about.

And I do mean live it, it's something understood best through practice.

Robin Edgar said...

I suggest that CC and other U*Us who do not believe that the Seven Principles of U*Uism, to say nothing of other formal statements of beliefs and ideals of U*Uism, are not a creed should look up the definition of the word "creed" in a good dictionary or two. . .

Chalicechick said...

I responded to this in a post, essentially, you can't have your belief defined by a document that specifically says that nothing in it can be construed to get in the way of freedom of belief.


Robin Edgar said...

Do you deny that the Seven Principles of U*Uism are a system, doctrine, or formula of religious belief, as of the Uncommon Denomination CC? Are they not a system or codification of belief or of opinion of U*Us? Are they not an authoritative, formulated statement of the chief articles of Unitarian*Universalist belief aka a U*U system of belief, principles, or opinions?

Chalicechick said...

Robin, you might want to join this discussion in the followup post where we've fielded a lot of that.


Freewheel said...

Actually, I don't think she's claiming that the 7 principles are a creed. She's saying that UU's are supposed to have certain core values, and here's an issue where those values clearly come into play. It would be like me saying that a UU can't be pro-war consistent with UU values. It has nothing to do with creed.