James Field of Left Coast Unitarian writes in “Christianities, christologies and me”:
Scott’s comment about Romans 8 in response to my earlier post and some of what he has been saying (along with Peacebang and others) about UU dabbling in world religion raises an issue for me.
That deserves a reply, or more than one. I’d like to stretch this out a bit — both so I don’t overstate what I believe and to leave some room for people to comment. (Again, remember I’ve had to put the blog on comment moderation lockdown, so you’re comments won’t show immediately.)
So what’s fair use and what’s abuse? Both are possible — despite what certain theological hedonists might say — but where to draw the line is a judgement call. Here’s a first go.
First, Christianity is a universal, missionary religion like Islam and Buddhism. Universal in that it isn’t linked to a national group (like Judaism or Shinto) and missionary in that it has the incorporation of others is a basic quality.
It seems to me that universal, missionary religions benefits from a “holy curiosity” from non-adherents because there’s the opportunity for conversion. I’ll present myself as an example of this. (National religions might be tolerant towards outsiders’ inquiries, but it wouldn’t ordinarily benefit from the inquiry except to the degree that religious minorities might get popular relief.) Non-Christian Unitarian Universalists — being a part of everyone — are certainly entitled to read the sources, meditate on the issues, and publically comment on the merits and failings (in a fair, polite manner, thank you) of a universal, missionary religion because it is “out there.”
Now, there’s a difference between each of these actions and claiming to know something of the religion. That is, viscerally know the religion from the inside, and that’s where I think a lot of Unitarian Universalists get into trouble.
Yours comments, please.