Unitarian-Universalist minister Rev. James Ford recently posted a nice essay on his blog, Monkeymind, about how he finds the terms “God” and “soul” useful despite being a religious liberal. Many UUs responded positively. However, in the comments, one person had this to say:
“Appreciate the fact that if you use the G-word many UUs will think less of you. The Seven Principles very pointedly do not mention this word.”
Is that true? Do “many” UUs really think less of people who “use the G-word?” And if they do, is this the sort of mature spiritual thinking that Unitarian-Universalists wish to promote?
The reference to the Seven Principles seems to be a bit off-base here. After all, they’re not any sort of creed, just one formulation that the UUA put together a while back. No individual UU is required to pay them any attention at all. Besides, leaving “the G-word” out of the principles wasn’t because the formulators of that document thought less of other UUs who use it. The text is a statement of values, not beliefs. And it is actually a two-parter, with the second half, the Sources, explicitly referencing God as understood in the Jewish and Christian traditions.
Here’s a chance for an informal poll of UU readers: Do you think less of other UUs who use the word God? Why, exactly? How much does use of this word lower them in your eyes? Do you feel your judgment of them is in keeping with UU values? Do you feel their use of the word God violated UU values? How do you relate to your Unitarian and Universalist ancestors, whose belief in God led them to create the liberal religion you enjoy today? Is it specifically UU usage of the word God that you disparage, or do you also think less of non-UUs who use that word? Here is an opportunity to express your feelings.