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Attending services meant an overnight trip to Kansas City, where the nearest Unitarian Universalist congregation was. Today, getting to church is easy for De Lee, an astronomer at Vanderbilt. He's a regular in the choir on Sundays at First Unitarian Universalist Church in Nashville, which has a congregation of about De Lee is one of a growing number of Unitarian Universalists, a group of people who believe in organized religion but are skeptical about doctrine.

The denomination grew nationally by Although they remain small in total numbers with about , adherents nationwide, Unitarians believe their open-minded faith has a bright future as an alternative to more exclusive brands of religion. Bass, who has studied thriving progressive churches, said Unitarian Universalists can fill a niche in conservative religious cultures such as the Bible Belt. The denomination, which started in New England, has been growing more in the South than in other parts of the country, said Rachel Walden, a public witness specialist from the Boston-based Unitarian Universalist Association.

Waterland's own views are essentially pro-Nicene and mysterian Waterland a, —63; e, —6. See the supplementary document on the history of trinitarian doctrines section 3. This very long and intricate debate between Waterland and Clarke and their respective allies, has been canvassed but never thoroughly analyzed Dixon ; Ferguson ; Pfizenmaier , Wiles Another objection to Clarke's views was given in conversation to Clarke not long before his premature death. He was asked: Is it possible for the Father to annihilate the Son and Spirit?

On the other hand, if he answers affirmatively, then he compromises the divinity of the Son and renders him a mere creature, as it will be possible for the Son to not exist—his existence will not be inevitable. Clarke answered that he hadn't thought of the question Ferguson , , —8; Pfizenmaier , —6; Van Mildert , 78—9. The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, since its inception in the late 19th century, has taught that the Son is a creature, created before the cosmos, and the agent through which God created the cosmos.

The Holy Spirit is simply the power of God, the Father. Like earlier unitarians, they make their stand on the Bible, holding that it supports their view and is inconsistent with creedal trinitarian views Anonymous ; Holt ; Stafford They make many points in common with earlier unitarians, but have produced little scholarly literature.

A relatively strong subordinationist movement in England gradually lost momentum after Clarke's death, and was supplanted by a more radical unitarianism which nonetheless owed more to Clarke than to earlier unitarian or Socinian sources. Having been convinced that the Bible teaches the Father and the one God are one and the same, they proceeded to discard the rest of Clarke's scheme in favor of one they held was simpler and more in keeping with the teaching of the apostles.

In many cases, as with Newton's younger colleague Hopton Haynes ca.

But another factor in the decline of Clarkean subordinationism was the declining fortunes of mind-body dualism. Clarke held that Christ pre-existed in the form of divine spirit, which spirit at the incarnation then indwelled the body of Jesus, taking the place of a normal human soul Cf.


Materialism about human nature, then, implies that the subordinationists' Jesus isn't a human being. But it is a central tenet of Christianity that he was a human being. Further, belief in a realm of spirits other than God, i. Finally, Priestley and others held that former subordinationist and prolific scholar Nathaniel Lardner — had made a powerful scriptural case against Clarkean subordinationism. Lardner undercut a christology favored by subordinationists, in which the eternal Word or Logos unites with a human body in the man Jesus as opposed to the mainstream view that the Word united with both a human body and a human soul.

Lardner argues that the New Testament doesn't teach that either Jesus or an element within him pre-existed Mary's pregnancy. The driving forces of this new, English denominational Unitarian movement were Joseph Priestley — and his friend Theophilus Lindsey — , the latter having publicly resigned a post as an Anglican minister in protest of the doctrine of the Trinity, and founded the first avowedly unitarian church in London in Lindsey These two, along with their fellow travelers, poured out a large volume of plainly written, polemical but cool-headed literature.

They were particularly concerned with the interpretation of Bible texts which in their view had been commonly misread as attributing pre-existence to Christ or to his divine nature , and literal divinity to Christ. Their antitrinitarianism was a part of a larger program to thoroughly de-catholicize and de-calvinize Christianity, and they gave a historical account of as they saw it the gradual, near-total corruption of the religion of Jesus Priestley a-c.

This movement grew in England and Scotland producing well-developed arguments against the deity of Christ, the doctrine of two natures in Christ, and against trinitarian interpretations of the Bible Belsham ; Christie , ; Lindsey Many of its proponents, including Priestley and Lindsey, revised other Christian doctrines as well, for example disavowing belief in a personal Devil and demons, holding the accounts of the birth of Christ to be later and unbelievable additions to those gospels, or holding Christ to have been mistaken in some of his interpretations of the Jewish scriptures.

Influenced by these Unitarians, a somewhat different unitarian movement arose in America.

Like the English Unitarians, many of these American Unitarians argued at length that the Bible supports unitarianism and humanitarian christology over trinitarianism Lamson ; Norton ; Wilson Others argued for subordinationist unitarian views Worcester It evolved to the point where even theism was considered optional for its congregants Grodzins Thus, in the Federal Council of Churches rejected a Unitarian delegation on the grounds that they were not Christians, and Unitarians have never been a part of the World Council of Churches.

This evolution from liberal Christian denomination to a theism-optional religion has often been seen, both within and without the movement, as a natural, perhaps inevitable development. Because of this, most present day Christian theologians feel free to ignore the entire history of unitarianism and its arguments. Their arguments draw on early modern unitarian sources, while eschewing some of the idiosyncrasies of Socinus's theology and most of the extra revisions of the Priestley-derived stream of unitarians.

Like late 18th to early 19th century unitarians, they argue at length that trinitarianism has no biblical foundation, and is inconsistent with its clear teachings. They also reject trinitarianism as contradictory or unintelligible, as involving idolatry, and as having been, as it were, illegally imported from Platonic philosophy Buzzard ; Buzzard and Hunting ; Graeser et al. Although this literature points out real tensions within contemporary theology between text-oriented commentators and systematic theologians it is widely ignored in academic theology and philosophy, and its adherents are generally excluded from the institutions of mainstream Christianity.

Supplement to Trinity Unitarianism 1. Terminology 2. Subordinationism 3. Crellius , 2.

Unitarian Universalism

Further, Theirs [i. You add yet more absurdly, That there are three Persons who are severally and each of them true God, and yet there is but one true God. This is an Errour in counting or numbring ; which, when stood in, is of all others the most brutal and inexcusable: and not to discern it, is not to be a Man. But we would not, say they, trouble our selves at the Non-sense of this Doctrine, if it did not impose false Gods on us; by advancing Two to be Gods, who are not so: and rob also the One true God of the Honour due to him, and of which he is jealous.

Nye b, 9, original emphases As with Biddle and the Racovian Catechism , Christ is a unique servant of God and the messiah, possessing a human nature only. Subordinationism Subordinationists hold that the Son is divine but is nonetheless in some sense ontologically dependent on God, that is, the Father. The Lord created me [Wisdom] at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of long ago. Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth. His burden of consciousness is loosened.

The voice of conscience becomes more clear and sweet as the din of selfish fears and questioning subsides. The religious sentiment is now exalted almost into a condition of repose. In this consciousness,—no longer of the self,—but of God, it is, that philosophers and philanthropists go forth through Nature and Society, to sound the processes of one, and to test the institutions of the other.

She struggled to have her message diffused as broadly as possible and agreed to receive only a minimum of income from the sale of the series from her publisher Charles Fox for the sake of a low-price diffusion of her tales to a wide range of readers, working-class readers in particular. From onwards, she consequently opened her mind to a very liberal approach to religious belief but held on to her Unitarian faith.

Unitarianism explained

In she had another opportunity to put the Biblical texts in their geographical context when she went on a journey to the East as the guest of Mr and Mrs Richard Yates, members of a Liverpool Unitarian Chapel. She was soon ready to place her new faith in positive philosophy having access to truth based on scientific observations and the application of immutable laws. She had assumed her position she had gradually come to with both fortitude and a sense of newly-found freedom.

Martineau had resorted to mesmerism not only as the only hope left to be cured, but also out of full confidence in the validity of a method whose efficiency had been proved by John Elliotson, Professor of Medicine at University College, London, in the s. In the s the induction of hypnotic trances as a form of medical treatment was still considered as charlatanism with no sound scientific basis.

She saw this as another opportunity of carrying out her duty of diffusing the truth, the scientific truth being the faith for which she was ready to dedicate the rest of her life and career. To her, mesmerism, and more broadly speaking science, was to replace religion as a means to have access to truth. This publication caused an immediate reaction of incomprehension and blame among many of her close connections, including the radical intellectuals of the period, George Henry Lewes, Marian Evans among others, even though it raised the very questions of religion and science, belief and unbelief they all wrote about.

She also entrusted her friend Maria Chapman with the duty of diffusing a letter written in to all her friends after her death, stating her own philosophical position, insisting on a clear distinction between atheism and disbelief in a First Cause:.

The form or constitution of the human mind requires the supposition of a First Cause. To go further than the supposition is to give an extension to Fetishism which the nineteenth century might be ashamed of, in its grown and educated men. What is knowable about a First Cause is simply this—as any disciple of positive philosophy is fully aware—that our mental constitution compels us to suppose a First Cause, and that First Cause cannot be the God of theology. III, —7. In her letter, she uses the strongest possible terms to clarify her position:.

The belief was no doubt of use in its proper day, like every general belief, but its proper date is past; that which was a substantial faith as when the early Christians looked for the Millenium is now whenever it goes beyond a limited dogma a personal fancy, a bastard conception of unchastened imagination, and a sentimental egotism.

UNITARIAN-UNIVERSALISM | Encyclopedia of Cleveland History | Case Western Reserve University

As for the sense of general health, intellectual and moral, the full and joyous liberty under the everlasting laws of nature, and the disappearance of incongruity, perplexity, and moral disturbance such as every theory of the government of the universe must cause to thoughtful minds, we can only enjoy these blessings in sympathy with our fellow- disciples. We are healthier in mind, higher in views and conduct, and happier in life and the prospect of death, than we were before. Freely Translated and Condensed by Harriet Martineau.

My strongest inducement to this enterprise was my deep conviction of our need of this book in my own country, in a form which renders it accessible to the highest number of intelligent readers. We are living in a remarkable time, when the conflict of opinions renders a firm foundation of knowledge indispensable, not only to our intellectual moral, and social progress, but to our holding such ground as we have gained from former ages.

Her conviction is very clearly voiced in her Preface. To her, positivism is the modern form of belief allowing a new vision of human life, restoring to individual minds a sense of certainty and direction towards the ultimate goal of happiness for all men:. The supreme dread of every one who cares for the good of the nation or race is that men should be adrift for want of an anchorage for their convictions.

With pain and fear we see that a multitude, who might and should be among the wisest and best of our citizens, are alienated for ever from the kind of faith which sufficed for all in an organic period which has passed away, and they cannot obtain for themselves, any ground of conviction as firm and clear as that which sufficed for our fathers in their day. The moral dangers of such a state of fluctuation as has thus arisen are fearful in the extreme, whether the transition stage from one order of convictions to another be long or short. The work of M. Comte is unquestionably the greatest single effort that has been made to obviate this kind of danger; and my deep conviction is that it will be found to retrieve a vast amount of wandering, of unsound speculation, of listless or reckless doubt, and of moral uncertainty and depression.

The theological world cannot but hate a book which treats of theological belief as a transient state of the human mind. Comte treats of theology and metaphysics as defined to pass away, theologians and metaphysicians must necessarily abhor, dread and despise his work. Henceforth, evolution could be seen as an endless movement, opening the way to political and social reforms based on sound, scientifically justified grounds.