Category Archives: beliefs

My Spiritual Belief System Selector Quiz results…

This is what staff at SelectSmart.com say about the Spiritual Belief System Selector Quiz. “”IMPOSSIBLE!” you say. How could a simple quiz that includes just over 2 dozen belief systems possibly work for everyone? Well, given that there are thousands of nuanced religions and faith groups and countless individual beliefs, you are right – it is impossible. That said, we took our research for this selector seriously and strived to be as accurate as possible. Most visitors have found it fun, informative and often surprisingly revealing. Note: When doctrine wasn’t available, we looked at the predominant views of the belief system’s adherents.”

So what do my results (listed bellow) say about my religious beliefs. It says my compatibility with Unitarian Universalism, my childhood and current religious home has fallen from 77% in 2010 to 66% today. It also indicates that Orthodox Quaker is still 100% the best chose for me to go check out. I would go check out an Orthodox Quaker community if their was one in me aria (Halifax, NS), and I believe there is not one. Also I believe one of the reason Unitarian Universalism was only 66% a good fit for me in my results was the questions asked leaned to much to things that where not all that impotent to me and left out ones that I would have marked as highly important to me.

So here are my Spiritual Belief System Selector Quiz results:

1. Orthodox Quaker – Religious Society of Friends (100 %)
2. Seventh Day Adventist (75 %)
3. Liberal Quakers – Religious Society of Friends (74 %)
4. Mainline – Liberal Christian Protestants (73 %)
5. New Age (69 %)
6. Neo-Pagan (67 %)
7. Unitarian Universalism (66 %)
8. Mainline – Conservative Christian Protestant (65 %)
9. Eastern Orthodox (58 %)
10. Roman Catholic (58 %)
11. Taoism (57 %)
12. Islam (49 %)
13. Orthodox Judaism (49 %)
14. Hinduism (49 %)
15. Jainism (48 %)
16. Bahai (46 %)
17. New Thought (43 %)
18. Reform Judaism (43 %)
19. Jehovahs Witness (40 %)
20. Mahayana Buddhism (38 %)
21. Sikhism (38 %)
22. Secular Humanism (37 %)
23. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (31 %)
24. Christian Science Church of Christ, Scientist (29 %)
25. Theravada Buddhism (29 %)
26. Scientology (25 %)
27. Non-theist (18 %)

And here are my 2010 and 2008 results. (It should be noted I used the Belief-O-Matic quiz a very similar quiz from Beliefnet to determine my 2010 and 2008 results.)

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Wen you have a crisis of faith, who walks with you?

The following tweet by fellow Unitarian Universalist (UU) twitterer J.F. Crawford has got me thinking.

Indeed, wen you have a crisis of faith, who walks with you? Who helped you interpret and deal with the events? What about your feelings? Your brother or sister? Maybe only if you have one and are close to them. Even then your sibling may not be the right person to turn to in this kind of situation. Maybe your parents? Well possibly only if you are vary close to one or both of them. Even then not likely. Lets face it most of us just don’t share thing this deep with our parents regardless of how good the relationship we have with each other is. Maybe then it’s your minister, assuming you go to church and your congregation has a minister. Not all congregations have a minister. This can be do to many factors. Such as the congregation being in transition from an old minister to a new one. The congregation’s decision to be lay lead. Lay lead congregations are commonplace in UU circles. And if you go to church, and your congregation has a minister they may still not be the right person. This may be do to your crisis revolving a new found belief in God and the fact your minister is an atheist. Yes in UU circles many of the ministers are indeed atheists. So who is the right person to tern to in this kind of situation? It may well be determined by many factors. Is this crisis of faith a crisis of new fond belief or is it a loss of belief? Is this crisis causing you to hold beliefs different then those held by your community, family?

If you are having a crisis of faith, the best thing for you may be to take time to read some of your favourite religious/spiritual bloggers. If you do not have any then it may be a good time to find some and to start following them. Also finding some music that reflects your new state of beliefs and listening to it I would say would be another good thing to do. Also reflecting on what these blogs and songs have to say and why it is you find yourself drawn to their ideas and opinions, would be in my opinion a good next step. It may take you several years to come to terms with your new beliefs, but I would say it is not a good idea to run from them. The best cores of action is to start to posses your new found beliefs. Some people as a result of their crisis of faith find themselves going into the ministry. Going into the ministry can be a wonderful and right next steep for some folks. For many others who also have a crisis of faith it may not be the right chose.

So if you have don some reading, listening and reflecting, and have found someone you can talk to about your crisis of faith, what next? For some it is of to become an ordained minister. What if ministry is not right for you? Lets face it, it’s not right for the majority of people who go through a crisis of faith. What then is the right next cores for these folks? Well I will say for my brother the answer seems to have been the ministry. For me however I know the answer is definitely not ministry, at lest traditional ministry. By traditional ministry I mean becoming a parish mintier. If not traditional ministry then what? Well some have decided to become community ministers and serve folks in hospitals and other medical settings. I feel this kind of thing suites even less folks then parish ministry dos and lets face it the process of becoming a hospital chaplain is just as long and debt ridden as it is to become a parish minister. I would say for some the answer is simply they wont to from now on live a life that is more spiritual/religiously grounded. For UUs this can be the hardest thing to grapple with. I would say in UU circles it can be even harder for some then the process of becoming a minister. This is do to unlike those on rout to becoming a minister who have resources and a clear path to follow, those seeking to live a more spiritual/religiously grounded life having little to no UU specific resources geared to their particular spiritual/religious needs. What then should we do about this? The answer has been to help them have a personal spiritual search. For most of theme they are past the stage of simply needing to be supported in undertaking an individual search for spiritual truth and meaning. What they need is a community that will walk with them as they try to live a life guided by their new found beliefs. This can often be hard for a UU congregation as they feel that making the changes that will help folks in this situation, things like deepening the Sunday services and adult religious classes can lead to an environment that is to intimidating to possible newcomers. I would say the answer for us as UUs and as spiritual and religious folks is not to just let these folks go it alone, but to start to take their needs into consideration wen we as congregations and as UUs more broadly go about planing our activities. For it is only by having activities geared towards people in all stages of their spiritual/religious walk that the likelihood that folks who are going through a crisis of faith will be able to find some one appropriate who can walk with them on this journey of theirs.

Truly Deep UUism – A Lifelong UU’s Vision

(Here’s the download link to the audio recording of the the below sermon of mine. This recording is of me giving it at my home church the Universalist Unitarian Church of Halifax on March 18, 2012)

If the members of Unitarian Universalism were to engage with it in a truly deep manner, I believe this would change its very nature for the better. This changed nature would become visible in the shifted emphasis and different style that this truly deep engagement would bring about. This shifted emphasis and different style would be most apparently felt in what I believe is the central activity of its communities, its Sunday morning worship. This change of style and focus would not just affect UU Sunday morning worship, but all the community building undertaken by the varying UU communities, be they national organization or local church.

What do I mean when I say “engaging with it in a truly deep manner”? I mean not being afraid to delve into theological concepts such as God, heaven, hell and savour. We as UUs, I believe, would do well to rid ourselves of the need to have any sacred cows, i.e. things we will not touch for the fear of offending others. Some of the things we have avoided engaging with have been things like Christ and Jesus. Other things we have been afraid to really engage with have been our UU heritage of Unitarian and Universalist Christianity. We as UUs I belive would do well to heed these words from the Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein;

“We have thus far in our post-merger existence as Unitarian Universalists treated our theological legacy with white gloves: as fragile, faded archival material to be handled as lightly as possible and then filed respectfully away in an attic or basement file cabinet, or as historical curiosities to be peered at curiously over the top of our spectacles, smiled fondly over, and left in the church library to be studied by the few UUs who ask for a key to the locked stacks.”

I am not saying we UUs need to believe all the teaching and doctrines of the ancestors of our religious tradition, but to cut ourselves off from them, or only get them out when we want to smugly pat ourselves on the back and say to ourselves, “few thank goodness we have moved past these silly old no longer relevant beliefs and have become more diverse and open”, will serve us no good. Neither is I believe cutting ourselves off from the teachings of our ancestral religious heritage, which in my case is Anglicanism and Christian Science on my mom’s side and on my dad’s side it is Catholicism. I acknowledge that many of us have come here from other churches of the Christian variety and are in the process of healing. But what I am saying is this avoidance has become something that is crippling. Crippling us from learning from the past and from being open to seeing the truths that I feel are to be found in these heritages. Truths that I believe are still relevant here for us in the 21st centry.

I believe it is this renewed engagement with theological concepts and with our religious heritage that will become the new focus for us. That is, if we will have the courage to make it so. I pray we will find the courage to make it so. This new focus on theology in general and the theology of our ancestors, more specifically, will lead us to needing to embrace a new style or way of doing things. This new style of doing things I feel will be needed because this engagement with theology will awaken in many of us feelings and desires that won’t be well served by intellectually reasoned discussion alone. To further these points of mine let me tell you two storys.

This first story happened at the young adult pre-con that took place last May at Neighbourhood Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Toronto, just prior to the Canadian Unitarian Council’s Annual Conference & Meeting. We had all gone off to partake in our varying workshops. One group was a planning and information group for a young adult camp taking place later this summer, one was a knitting and light discussion group and the other one was a play group. It was this play group I opted to join. All of us in this play group went to the congregation’s playground to play on the play structure. But it didn’t take long for us to find ourselves sitting on the play structure instead and talking. What were we talking about? Well we ended up talking about theology, ritual and communion, more specifically Holy Communion. We were recounting our experiences with Holy Communion and how wonderfully spiritual and moving they had been for us. And for those of us that had grown up attending a UU congregation, which was most of us in the group, we were expressing how we wished we had learned more about these things in our childhood congregations. We all thought it would be wonderful if our churches did Holy Communion and actually discussed theology instead of avoiding it most of the time. I should note that most of us in this workshop were raised UU and we had nearly all the raised UUs at the pre-con, say for a few others.

Now here is the second story. This story took place in Montreal durning the 2011 Christmas session. It centres around the young adult group at the Unitarian Church of Montreal that was just getting going again after a period of downturn. As I was living in Montreal at the time I was a member of this group. We were all sitting in the youth room in the downstairs of the church. After we had decided on which days and how often we wanted to meet, we set about deciding what we ought to do for our first meeting and who should host it. As it was approaching the Christmas season we thought; wouldn’t it be nice if we had a holiday party. That is when one of our members eagerly offered to host the first meeting at her apartment. She had grown up with Jewish traditions along with attending a UU church and was eager to share here tradition of Hanukkah with her fellow UU young adults. She was going to make the traditional Hanukkah food of latkes and the rest of us were to bring drinks and snacks to share. On the day of the party we all trickled into here place staring at 6:30. The earlier arrivals helped her to make the latkes. Once we all had arrived and most of the latkes had been cooked we sat dawn to eat. After we had finished our meal of latkes topped with apple sauce we listened to a recording of one of the traditional Hanukkah prayers she had on her computer and we lit the menorah. We lit all the candles of the menorah as if it was the last day of Hanukkah and this would be the last time we would see most of us until the new year. After she had explained abit more about this holiday we all went and sat on comfy furniture for conversation. We talked about all kinds of things including how sharing of tradition like we had just done was something we would all like to do more of. After a little while our host got out a children’s picture book she had grownup being read to her by her parents durning her Christmas celebrations. It was a French book about Saint Nicholas’ evil brother Pere Fouetchard who punished the noughty children on Christmas be stealing their gifts and whipping them. She read it to us just like she would regularly read books to the young children she taught religious education at the church to. After the story we had a little more conversation. And when it was time for us to go, we all left knowing we had partaken in something really special.

What are these storys telling us? The first one has in it an expressed desire by my fellow UU Young adults and I for more engagement with theology and ritual in our local UU churches. The second indicates a wish again by my fellow UU Young adults and I to celebrate and explore our ancestral religious traditions more with our fellow UUs. These stories are, I feel, an indication, if only anecdotally, that this new focus on theology and our religious heritage that I am calling us to undertake will be first embraced by my fellow UU young adults and I as we are already expressing a desire and I would say a need for this in our churches and UUism more broadly. I also believe if this new focus on theology, our religious heritages, and their accompanying rituals is to be fully embraced, we as individual UUs and collectively as local churches, will need to embrace a new style or way of doing things within our local churches and more broadly at a national organizational level within groups like the CUC here in Canada.

What will this new style look like? It will be one that encourages and makes room for moments designed to stir the soul, move the heart and invigour the body, as much, but not more so than the mind. It will be a style that continues to value intellectually reasoned discussion as part of its offerings while, at the same time striving to offer more opportunity for us to add components geared towards experiential experiences into the mix. Where will we find what we need to help us shape and mold this style into being? I think we have to look no further than to our UU youth community and its more than fifty years of history. What are some of the things this community has to offer us that will help in this endeavour? The major thing I feel it has to offer us is what it has to say on worship. The style of worship that is most commonly done by our UU youth at their youth conferences and sleepovers is one that is known as “UU Circle Worship”. UU Circle Worship has at its core, feeling. Its aim is to get its worship attendees, through the use of ritual, to feel a topic, idea or theme, rather than to think on or analyze it, which is what is usually the goal we have for our Sunday morning worship. It has also been described as a kind of communion by longtime UU Sharon Hwang Colligan. And it is this communion that we need to embrace if this new focus on theology and the theology of our religious ancestors is to take hold and be come our saving grace. I will leave you with this poem of mine called Finally Time, that I wrote earlier this year.

Finally Time

Going to unleash the
Big one this time
‘Cause its finally time
For us to mature
This thing we’ve now
In this sacred space
We’re just being spiritual
Spiritually oh so adolescent

Going to unleash the
Big one this time
‘Cause its time for
Us to be able
To say this thing
In this sacred space
It’s our own spiritualities
That are now maturing

Going to unleash the
Big one this time
‘Cause its finally time
For us to mature

Finally time
For us
To mature
This thing
In our
Sacred spaces
And it’s
Our spiritualities

Why I believe the spiritual things I believe

I feel it is my duty as a religious seeker, especially as one who was raised as and is currently a Unitarian Universalist (UU) to examine what I believe regarding spiritual things. For one so I don’t just blindly believe in my spiritual beliefs without first taking a good look as to why I believe in them. This examination process I would say will help me to see if they are healthy or destructive to me and whether or not I truly believe them in my deepest core or if I only believe them because many of my fellow UUs believe them. I am not saying that I shouldn’t ever holed spiritual beliefs that are the same as my peers but, rather only if I feel them to be true in the deepest cure of my being. I also believe if I ever wont to grow more comfortable living a life that is in line with the spiritual beliefs I do holed, a good place for me to start is for me to do the examination of them in the open with others who are also examining their own spiritual beliefs. I will begin be examining why I believe the spiritual things I declared as my spiritual beliefs in my personal credo statement. In my personal credo statement I said I believe the following.

That there is a purpose to this life: Us human being we have a desire that some say is ingrained in us to feel a need to learn why thing are the way they are. We have used religion and we continue to use religion but know we also use science to help us to do this. Some say this desire is our life purpose. Others have said it is our desire to constantly better ourselves that is our purpose in life. I would say it is not clear if we are all born with the same purpose but it is evident that we are all born with a purpose or if you prefer a desire to which we are compelled to strive for that is if we can find out what it is and don’t get thwarted by forces with other aims before we can discover and achieve them.

All the things to which we experience or will eventually experience are not predestined: This is evident in the fact that we human beings can make choices as to the future outcomes of our lives. We can pick which choices to chose even if the only choices we can make are between continuing to try to live life or to let ourselves die. We all have choices we can make sometimes they are between greater number of options then they are at other times but, we always have choices.

The mere fact that us human beings are living this collective thing we call life must be in someway not an accident: This one some may not find so self evident. I would say this dos not make it any less true. In noway am I suggesting that the way things have gone is the way they where planed to go but rather the creation of life and the setting into motion the proses we have boded evolution was no mere accident. And yes I do along with the overwhelming majority of scientist believe that it is indeed evolution that has brought us human being to living this collective thing we call life.

A force or creature that’s greater then us must have had a hand in this collective thing we call life. This force or creature I choose to call it God because that is what we humans have daubed it for millions of millennia: So yeas I do believe in God and I would say I believe that God is the one who set evolution into motion which as I said above is the process I believe that lead to the creation of us human beings and the collective thing we call life that we are all experiencing on this planet of ours that we call Earth.

I believe that God has three parts, God the creator, God the redeemer and the spirit of God: About the three parts of God I said this in my personal credo statement; “The first being God the creator, i.e. that part of god which put evolution into motion. The second being God the corrector or redeemer, i.e. that part of God, which tries to bring its creatures, back from destructive ways as well attempting to assist them to never be destructive again. So the third and final part of God I believe it to be the spirit of God, i.e. that part of good that is within all of us. And I believe that God the spirit gets put in us by us coming into contact with the results of either God the creator or God the corrector.”.

That there is another force, one working against the forces of God as well as those who have been touched by it’s spirit. I call this evil force the Devil seeing that’s what we humans have daubed it for many billions of generations: I believe the devil is one, which feeds us lies and deceit in order for us to help it destroy us and this beautiful creation to which we find ourselves living in. And those who give into this force become its agents or henchpeople going around putting dawn others, the other animals and even this world to which we inhabit.

That we all have a soul of our own. And they are something which gives us our individual easiness: Basically this means that what we human beings have boded the soul is something which I believe all of us human beings have within us kind of like how we all have a heart or liver. I believe these souls are unique to each of us and not part of some greater thing such as a universal soul. I also believe that our souls are what makes all of us different from each other in more ways then just physical ones like or skin colour, hight and eye colour etcetera.

That wen we cease to live this life thing our bodies they decompose becoming fertilizer for this planet of ours. And then out of us comes our souls: I believe that wen we cease to live this life thing our bodies return to the earth and become fertilizer for the Earth’s life to flourish and that our individual souls leave our bodies and go on into the afterlife. And like I said in my personal credo statement “…if we tried to be good in our life our soul goes to live for eternity in God’s home, the place we humans have daubed Heaven. And if we were not good then it goes and toils forever in the Devils realm, yes the place we humans have dubbed Hell.”. But do I believe God sens human soul to hell no not in the slightest. So then how do some human souls end up going to Hell instead of Heaven wen we cease to live this life thing? Well it is because during our time on this planet we call Earth some of us human being have so deeply given in to the Devil and his fores that wen our souls are leaving our bodies at the end of this life on Earth thing they are so full of hurt and anger that they can’t see God inviting them to join him in Heaven but only the Devil calling them go to Hell. That is why it is so impotent for us to be kind and loving towards our fellow human beings wile we all are still living on this planet we call Earth.

So there you have it some expanded thoughts on my personal credo statement. In the next week or two I will bring you some beeper thoughts I have about my beliefs in Good and who they are moving me towards an ever grater alignment with Christian beliefs.

Seeking blogs by UU Christians and Christian leaning UUs

I am finding my religious beliefs moving in the detection of Christianity but, I don’t think I can yet call myself a Christian. I am also fining that my connection to Unitarian Universalism (UU) my life long religious community is only getting stronger. My love of teaching UU Sunday school and gathering with my fellow UU young adults for fun and religious nourishment it, only seams to be growing. And If you checked the music on my computer you would find it is made up of tons of modern country music and yup Christian rock music as well. You would even notes if you looked at the music a bit more closely that the Christian rock tends to be newer additions then the country. Also if you were to take a look at my web history that I tend to visit mostly UU blogs and web sites and more resistantly, I have been one the hunt for ones with both a UU and a Christian theme to theme. I was thinking it would help me and probably others who are moving in this religious direction if, their could be a list off blogs by UU’s who are either Christian or Christian leaning folks. Such a list would help us to 1. realize even though we are a small minority’s minority we, are not alone and 2. give us people to discus Christianity from a UU prospective as well as its place in our lives and our UU lives with. I could create a page here on this blog of mine for them to be listed on. All I need to start this page is for you to send me some. I await your submissions.

I have been thinking about religion and my beliefs…

I have been thinking the last few years about religion and my beliefs. This religious thinking off mine it has really intensified over the summer. I have been working on a farm for the summer in BC as some of you who read this blog of mine already know and, If you read some of my other blogs including my poetry one (Lyricsofmylife) and my strictly Unitarian Universalist (UU) focused one (UU Quest) this thinking of mine will be even more obvious to you. Yes this summer I have been working on a farm and most afternoons including must Sundays (my day off) have been spend engaged in this thinking. This thinking has been accompanied by me reading my favourite UU blogs (primarily Sunflowers & Spirituality) and listening to Christian rock acts like Superchick, BarlowGirl and Kristal Meyers. Also those who read this blog will remember that I tried to read the whole Christian Bible both, the Old Testament and New testament last summer. I never got past the part in the Old Testament ware God tells this chosen people (the Israelites) to commit genocide against their enemies and steal their land for use as their new home land. The reason I could not get past this was I detest violence of all kind and find its promotion reprehensible. As well last winter I tired studying the New Testament in University but I could not take the historical and literary approaches that my teacher she had us use wen looking at it (mostly the Synoptic Gospels). In addition to all this I have had for a few years the feelings that Trinitarianism makes so much sense for me. not to mention I have Benn having great feelings of needing God more in my life. This Trinitarian feeling of mine and my great feeling of needing of God in My life are aliening with my emerging agreement with the sentiments that are expressed in some off the Christian rock songs I have been listening to such as; I Belong To You, Enough, The Beauty of Grace and In Your Hands. In addition the last two times I tuck the Belief-O-Matic quiz which is intended to help you determine which religion or spiritual philosophy is most compatible with your beliefs Christianity came up on top of the list and Unitarian Universalism my current religion and religious home was also near the top of the list. So What is this all saying? Well I think firstly it is saying I need to live a more God centred life and, secondly I think it is saying I need to explorer Trinitarian Christianity more and, thirdly I think it is saying I need to do this within a UU setting.

A UU Theists’ Weekend?

My religious beliefs have shifted towards theism, more particularly in the detection of trinitarianism and even possibly towards Christianity of some undefined bent starting most profoundly about three or so years ago. But as one who was raised in and is still deeply connected to Unitarian Universalism’s (UU’s) places of communal gathering and deeply a fan of its ways of approaching religion this has resulted in me having what you could say is a religious quagmire of sorts. My religious quagmire is this; is the joy I get from being involved in UU including the wonderful feelings I get as a result of being a religious exploration teacher for the junior youth at my church the Unitarian Church of Montreal plus, the nourishing feeling I get from hanging with my fellow UU young adults whether, that be locally in Montreal, more regionally at the young adult weekend at Unicamp (Ontario’s UU Camp) or nationally with young adults at the Canadian Unitarian Council’s Annual Conference and Meeting worth the sacrifice it seems to in tale for me? This sacrifice is me not having my need to live a God centred life fulfilled. I was thinking about all this last week and a possible solution came to me. It was this; holed a retreat weekend for UU theists at Unicamp next summer. Why a retreat weekend? Well because it would be I think a great way to gather together this minority among a minority. At this weekend retreat their could be discussions on things such as; the roll of music in our personal religious practices as well as on prayer, and maybe even the bible. We could even talk about how these things and others as well relate and work or don’t so much within UU. So is any one or dos anyone know of UU folks who would want to go or benefit form a weekend like this. Yes a weekend full of lots of worshiping, good food and of cores good company as well. I would of cores take the lead in organizing it including booking the place and spreading the word. I would make it open to any UU not just Canadian UU’s. I could come up with a poster of cores with the impute of those interested in coming. So if you are interested in this or something simpler or, if you know of someone who may be then do leave a comment and we can go from there.

My Belief-O-Matic quiz results

These are my results from Beliefnet’s Belief-O-Matic quiz which claim to tell which religion my beliefs are most in line with. The first list is my current results (2010) and the second list is my 2008 results. What you can tell from the lists is that my current and also childhood religion, Unitarian Universalism has moved up from the 8th best fit for me to 4th best fit for me but it as moved dawn 1 percentage from 78% to 77% compatible with my believes. Ware as Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants has moved dawn one place from number one to number two switching percentages and places with Orthodox Quaker to come in at 98% compatible with my beliefs instead of 100%. Also of note is that Nontheist has moved from last place number 27 and 24% compatible with my beliefs to number 24 and 30% compatible with my beliefs. So what dos this all mean really? Well probability not that much in the grand scheme of things. But for me it is fun to do if only too see how my religious beliefs may have sifted and too find out which religion or religious body may be most compatible with them. And if you feel so inclined to take this quiz yourself you can by going here.

My Belief-O-Matic quiz results:

(This year 2010)
1. Orthodox Quaker (100%)
2. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (98%)
3. Liberal Quakers (85%)
4. Unitarian Universalism (77%)
5. Eastern Orthodox (76%)
6. Roman Catholic (76%)
7. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (75%)
8. Seventh Day Adventist (73%)
9. Hinduism (58%)
10. New Age (58%)
11. Baha’i Faith (53%)
12. Mahayana Buddhism (50%)
13. Neo-Pagan (50%)
14. Islam (50%)
15. Orthodox Judaism (50%)
16. Theravada Buddhism (49%)
17. Reform Judaism (48%)
18. Sikhism (47%)
19. Secular Humanism (45%)
20. Jainism (44%)
21. Taoism (40%)
22. New Thought (35%)
23. Scientology (35%)
24. Nontheist (30%)
25. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (27%)
26. Jehovah’s Witness (27%)
27. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (26%)

(2008)
1. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (100%)
2. Orthodox Quaker (98%)
3. Liberal Quakers (86%)
4. Eastern Orthodox (82%)
5. Roman Catholic (82%)
6. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (80%)
7. Seventh Day Adventist (79%)
8. Unitarian Universalism (78%)
9. Neo-Pagan (69%)
10. Reform Judaism (68%)
11. New Age (64%)
12. Bahá’í Faith (64%)
13. Orthodox Judaism (63%)
14. Islam (61%)
15. Sikhism (56%)
16. Hinduism (52%)
17. Mahayana Buddhism (52%)
18. Theravada Buddhism (50%)
19. Jainism (46%)
20. Secular Humanism (43%)
21. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (39%)
22. Scientology (38%)
23. Taoism (35%)
24. Jehovah’s Witness (35%)
25. New Thought (34%)
26. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (27%)
27. Nontheist (24%)

The three stages of spiritual development of raised Unitarian Universalists

So M. Scott Peck a psychologist and the other of The Road Less Traveled postulates that there are four stages of human spiritual development. He argues that while transitions from Stage I to Stage II are sharp, transitions from Stage III to Stage IV are gradual. Nonetheless, these changes according to him are very noticeable and mark a significant difference in the personality of the individual. I for one believes children raised in almost any of the major western religious communities will indeed go throw the first two of Peck’s stages. I also believes that if they do ever get to Peck’s Stage III, they may begin to question and or reject the beliefs of their religious community. This I believe can lead to the total rejection of organized religious/spiritual community or in the case of others it mite simply lead to the seeking out of a new more compatible religious/spiritual community, such as in the case of the adult Unitarian Universalist (UU) joiners, UUism itself. Or it can simply lead to them understanding and appreciating their religion in a different but still meaningful way and yes continuing to develop as Peck suggests one would.

I also theories that M. Scott Peck’s four Stages of human spiritual development are not the same stages of spiritual development that one being raised in UU community will go throw. I suggests one who is raised in UU community will instead go throw these three stages of spiritual development. And it should be noted that my First Stage has the same characteristics as that of Peck’s Stage III. And here are my three stages:

·For a child being raised in UU community the First Stage of spiritual development is the stage of scientific scepticism and inquisitivity. And one in this stage does not accept things on faith but only accepts them if convinced logically. And a UU child often stays in this stage up until they become a junior youth at the age of 11 or 12-years. And even in some cases (more common for male UU children) right up until they becomes a youth at about 14-years of age.

·For a child being raised in UU community their Second Stage of spiritual development is a transition stage. Wile this stage is still a stage of scientific scepticism and inquisitivity like that of the First Stage, one in this stage is moving in the direction of basing things more on their own experiential experiences. And a child being raised in UU community usually enters this stage upon becoming a youth at about 14-years of age. And one in this stage usually evolve beyond it upon reaching young adulthood at anywhere from 18-years to 20-years of age or stay in this stage till mid young adulthood (about 26 years of age) and even in some cases till they enter their mid 30’s.

·And for adults who where raised in UU community the Third Stage is commonly the stage to which they occupy. And one in this stage bases things almost exclusively on the experiential experiences that they are having and have had in the past.

It should be noted that I indeed believe those that join UU community as an adult, come having gone throw stages I and II of Peck’s theory. I also thinks that they come having progressed to Peck’s stage III which is the First Stage for UU children. And I believes it is at this stage that they will stay in for a vary long time. And in some cases I thinks they will never evolve beyond it. But I believes if they do ever evolve beyond it they will indeed go though stages roughly equivalent to the raised UUs second and third stages. Thus giving them five stages of spiritual development. I also feel that because most of the UU adult joiners are in their third stage, a roughly equivalent stage to the raised UU’s First Stage, and seeing as must UU adults are adult UU joiners, it is not suppressing that many of the raised UU adults find the adult UU world to be often not well suited to them who are in their third and final stage. A stage roughly equivalent to what would be the UU adult joiners fifth and finale stage.

A personal journey to loving God – God loving UUs and a need for acceptance in the UU fold

As I’m a strong Unitarian Universalist (UU) identifying person who grew up and is still active in the UU religion, it might come as quit a shock to those of you who know anything about UUism that, over the past at least seven years or so I’ve come more and more to believe in God. As you might know it’s ok for all those involved in UU community, be it official member UUs or just mere friends of UU to openly give praise and show support for the gays and lesbians within the UU fold and their right to live as who they are within UU community. But do the majority of UUs show the same courtesy for anther of the minorities within UU, the God loving UUs (of which I’m now one myself)? I would say not. To borrow a phrase often expressed by the gay and lesbians in our society at large, I would say sometimes I feel I have to hide in the closet, well my belief in God and my need to honour and praise him from my fellow UUs that is. I say this ought not to be so seeing as my fellow UUs like to loudly proclaim that they respect and even welcome those who have different beliefs from them into the UU fold (so long as they don’t impinge on their right to express what they individually believe, or intentionally heart anyone, which I think is only fair).

So how did I come to this belief in God? One only has to look at the forth principle of the UU list of seven principles which is as fallows “a free and responsible search for truth and meaning”. Yes it was through a search for truth and meaning, well more accurately, a need to find truth and meaning, that has led me to this belief. But I have always kept in mind the other parts of this principle as well. For one my responsibility to have a responsible search. By responsible I interpret it in great UU fashion as my responsibility to not assume that what I find to be truths that work for me (that include my belief in God) to be truths that will work for others or even things to which I should impose on them. But then there’s the last part, the free part. This part of the principle is the part that I fell some UUs don’t fully grasp. To me it doesn’t just mean allowing someone the space to search and seek for their truths, but also the space needed to tryout what is being discovered or may have been discovered as a result of this search and seeking.

So why would they have a problem with us, the God loving UUs trying out we have discovered and are discovering? Well one reason for this is likely the fact that many UUs came to UUism fleeing Christian denominations, like Roman Catholic and Anglican, and as a result have negative associations linked to the concept of God, to which many who come from a different back ground, take me for example, who was raised UU may not have. Well one of the things they may have observed is people in authority using the concept of God to justify harsh or restrictive rules or actions, those leaving their faith in God shaken. I for one never have observed this. In fact it wasn’t until I was having a sever crises of faith that I really started giving the concept of God any real consideration.

My belief in God came from a crises of faith. Well actually to be more accurate I have always been on the brink of taking the God belief plunge and it was only this crises that pushed my to certainty in Him (God). So why did it take me 20 years and a crises to start to believe in God. The reason for this I would say was the fact that as a child I had mostly secular humanist and atheist for Sunday school teachers, who in my children’s religious exploration classes told me more about human sexuality and things about science then what they believed about religion (all worthy thinks to teach to children). Sure they did encourage me to search for my religious beliefs, but it was only through brief and as I now know insufficient glimpses of what others believed in, and rarely what UUs believe and never what they believed abut religion. I guess even if the concept of God was something that I needed, it was always going to take a crises for me to believe in Him. Well ‘cause I knew no UUs that believed or at least expressed openly a belief in God as a child. But I could never fully go join them in their rejection of God. And with this crises of faith I began to come to my belief in God over the past seven years or so.

The crises of faith of mine was precipitated by the fact that I had bad thing don to me as well as hearing of bad thing having been don to others. Things like bullying and the divorce of parents. All things that I could not and still can not accept as having happened for no reason. I felt and still feel they most have happened for some divine reason, either to teach use some lesion or to move our lives in a better direction. Also the fact that I could not accept the fact that evolution to which I did and still do believe in, just some how spontaneously started to happen and evolve over time. I still believe this about evolution.

So why do I believe in God? Because I believe that creation was not something that just spontaneously started to happen one day and the fact that bad things to which we experience must be brought to be for some useful reason. And ‘cause I believe in God I feel the need to honour Him and yes even praise Him. Yes all things to which leave many of the former Christians within the UU fold uneasy.