Why I left unitarian universalism is a question that I have been asked many times by friends, family, and even strangers.
It is not an easy question to answer, because it involves a complex and personal process of exploration, questioning, and transformation. But I will try to share with you some of the reasons that led me to leave the religion that I once embraced and loved.
What is Unitarian Universalism?
Before I explain why I left unitarian universalism, let me briefly explain what it is. Unitarian Universalism (UU) is a liberal religious movement that emerged from the merger of two Christian denominations in 1961: the Unitarians and the Universalists. Unitarians rejected the doctrine of the Trinity and affirmed the unity of God and the humanity of Jesus. Universalists rejected the doctrine of eternal damnation and affirmed the universal salvation of all souls.
Unitarian Universalism today is not a creedal religion, meaning that it does not have a set of beliefs that one must accept to be a member. These principles and values include:
- The inherent worth and dignity of every person
- Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations
- Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth
- A free and responsible search for truth and meaning
- The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process
- The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all
What attracted me to Unitarian Universalism?
I was raised in a conservative Christian family, and I grew up believing in the Bible, Jesus, and heaven and hell. I went to church every Sunday, prayed every night, and read the scriptures every day. I was a devout and sincere believer, and I wanted to please God and follow his will.
But as I grew older, I also became more curious and skeptical. I started to question some of the teachings and practices of my church, and I found them to be contradictory, illogical, or immoral. I wondered why God would create people only to condemn them to eternal torment, or why he would favor one religion over another, or why he would allow so much suffering and evil in the world.
I also struggled with some of the moral issues that my church opposed, such as homosexuality, abortion, and feminism. I felt that these were not sins, but expressions of human diversity and dignity.
I started to look for answers elsewhere, and I discovered Unitarian Universalism. I was amazed by its openness, tolerance, and inclusiveness. I was impressed by its emphasis on reason, freedom, and compassion. I was inspired by its vision of a world where all people are respected and valued. I felt that this was the religion that I had been looking for, and I decided to join a local UU congregation.
I felt at home in the UU community, and I enjoyed the worship services, the religious education classes, and the social events. I met people who shared my values and interests, and who supported me in my spiritual journey. I learned about different religions and philosophies, and I explored my own beliefs and identity. I felt that I was growing as a person and as a seeker of truth.
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What made me leave Unitarian Universalism?
I wish I could say that I stayed in Unitarian Universalism and found happiness and fulfillment there. But that is not what happened. After a few years of being a UU, I started to feel dissatisfied and disillusioned. I realized that Unitarian Universalism was not the perfect religion that I had imagined, and that it had its own flaws and limitations. I also realized that I was not finding the answers that I was looking for, and that I was not feeling the connection that I was longing for. I felt that something was missing in my spiritual life, and that I needed to look elsewhere.
There are many reasons why I left Unitarian Universalism, and I will try to summarize some of them here:
- I felt that Unitarian Universalism was too vague and ambiguous. It did not have a clear or coherent message or identity. It seemed to be a religion of anything and everything, and nothing in particular. It did not offer me any guidance or direction, but only confusion and uncertainty. It did not challenge me or inspire me, but only comforted me and affirmed me.
- I felt that Unitarian Universalism was too human-centered and rationalistic. It did not acknowledge or honor the mystery and transcendence of life. It did not cultivate or nurture the emotional and intuitive aspects of spirituality. It did not foster or express the awe and wonder of existence. It did not invite or evoke the sacred and the divine.
- I felt that Unitarian Universalism was too individualistic and relativistic. It did not foster or promote a sense of community or belonging. It did not encourage or support a commitment or accountability. It did not respect or uphold a tradition or authority. It did not recognize or affirm a truth or a reality. It did not demand or expect a faith or a practice.
- I felt that Unitarian Universalism was too liberal and progressive. It did not appreciate or value the wisdom and beauty of other perspectives and traditions. It did not acknowledge or address the complexity and diversity of human experience and expression. It did not balance or integrate the personal and the social, the spiritual and the political, the ideal and the real. It did not seek or create a dialogue or a harmony, but only a critique or a conflict.
These are just some of the reasons why I left Unitarian Universalism. I do not mean to imply that these are the only or the universal reasons, or that they apply to all Unitarian Universalists. I am sure that there are many Unitarian Universalists who are happy and fulfilled in their religion, and who do not share my views or experiences. I respect and appreciate their choices and paths, and I do not intend to offend or judge them.
What did I find after leaving Unitarian Universalism?
After leaving Unitarian Universalism, I continued my search for truth and meaning. I explored different religions and spiritualities, and I learned from their teachings and practices. I also deepened my connection with myself, with others, and with the world.
I discovered new insights and possibilities, and I experienced new joys and challenges. I also encountered new doubts and questions, and I faced new struggles and crises.
I cannot say that I have found the ultimate answer or the final destination. I do not think that such a thing exists, or that it is possible or desirable to find it. I think that spirituality is a journey, not a goal, and that it is always evolving and changing.
I think that the best that we can do is to be honest and humble, to be curious and open, to be compassionate and grateful, and to be faithful and hopeful.
I do not identify with any specific religion or label, but I do have some beliefs and values that guide me and shape me. I believe that there is a source and a purpose of life, that I call God, but that can be called by many names and understood in many ways. I believe that God is love, and that love is the essence and the goal of life. I believe that we are all connected and interdependent, and that we are all part of a larger whole.
I believe that we are all unique and valuable, and that we all have gifts and responsibilities. I believe that we are all seekers and learners, and that we all have questions and answers.
I value truth and beauty, justice and peace, freedom and responsibility, diversity and unity, creativity and harmony. I value learning and growing, serving and giving, sharing and receiving, celebrating and mourning. I value listening and speaking, understanding and expressing, accepting and challenging, forgiving and healing. I value loving and being loved, trusting and being trusted, hoping and being hoped, praying and being prayed.
These are some of the beliefs and values that I have found after leaving Unitarian Universalism. They are not fixed or final, but flexible and dynamic. They are not absolute or exclusive, but relative and inclusive. They are not dogmatic or authoritative, but experiential and personal. They are not the only or the best, but one of the many and the good.
Why I left Unitarian Universalism is a question that has no simple or definitive answer. It is a question that reflects my own journey of faith and doubt, of exploration and transformation, of discovery and change. It is a question that I am still asking and answering, as I continue to seek and find, to lose and gain, to grow and change.
I do not regret leaving Unitarian Universalism, nor do I resent it. I am grateful for what it gave me and taught me, and I am also grateful