Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Unitarianism - A Pick-n-Mix Faith

Post by Graham.

I was reminded,watching Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sachs in conversation with the philosopher Alain de Botton on TV recently, of what Yewtree had said sometime ago in response to one of my earlier blogs:that heresy is not something bad at all. Lord Sachs, a man whom I like and greatly admire, spoke in a kindly but derogatory way of `pick and mix` faith, which in his eyes had little value.

De Botton had mentioned Unitarianism and obviously Lord Sachs associated our beliefs with such a faith. He mentioned the etymological meaning of heresy which is `believing what you choose`. The more I thought about this and consulted Yewtree`s comments again, the more I thought there was nothing at all wrong in this.

Religious leaders of the Judaeo-Christian tradition are always referring to free-will and what a great gift from God this is. What, then, am I doing other than exorcising this amazing gift in choosing to adopt some aspects of Christianity and in rejecting others ? I just don`t wish to opt for one particular faith and bne constrained by its dogma and doctrine but wish to be free to reject some aspects of religion I find unacceptable, wherther it be something written in the aBible or a code of practice that a particular church adopts.

If being a heretic means thinking for myself and believing what I think is right and prioper and not what others have told me to believe, so be it-I`m a heretic.


  1. In so far as I don't believe that Jesus was the only begotten Son of God, I suppose I'm a Heretic in the eyes of mainstream Christianity, but as a believer in an 'undefinable' God ( ie a greater power than us Humans) and as a follower (as best as I can) of the teachings of Jesus, then I can describe myself as a Unitarian Christian. This is not 'Pick & Mix' but equally, I can still draw on profound insights from other faiths which resonate with me as a 'free thinker'.

  2. The serious problem with the pick & mix approach in religion is that it can very soon descend into self worship. "I happen to like this so I believe in it and do it, I happen to dislike this so I don't believe in it and don't do it." This approach can stifle growth as a person never moves beyond what he or she is at any given moment. I too reject the traditional orthodox Christian beliefs in Jesus' divinity, atonement etc. But I do regard Jesus' teachings as being a true reflection of God's will, not because they necessarily suit my desires, but because I believe them to be true. There are things that I believe that I wish were not true because my life would be more fun if they were not. But I am bound by them because my conscience says that they are the will of my Creator. And ironically obeying the voice of conscience brings a deep satisfaction and happiness. I do not believe that this is picking & choosing and I am sure the overwhelming majority of Unitarians in the past would think likewise, but just as FreeSpirit said, this does not preclude someone from the ability to be open to profound insights offered by other faiths.

  3. Hang on you two ! - how do you explain 1) The Virgin Birth,2) The Miracles of Jesus,3)The Empty Tomb, 4)The Resurrection,5)The Ascension ???
    Surely the Bible is not telling us a load of porkies ???