Monday, November 5, 2018

First principle study group - Class #1 - The Atonement

UU A Way Of Life ministries is offering a 8 week study group on the first principle. The discussion guides will be published every Monday for 8 weeks. The guides can be used for individual study, reflection, and discussion, and in groups.

First Principle guides us towards the
This first reflection entails the tribal history of homo sapiens where one group often perceived other groups as competitors for the scarce resources needed for survival. Some brain scientists theorize that human beings are neurologically programmed to defend and attack the “not us”.
Religions have thrived on their exclusionary tactics and appeal to humans that they are special while the” not them” are a threat of some sort to be excluded from the circle of the group if not extinguished.
Jesus taught something very different when He said we should love our enemies. Unitarian Universalists affirm and promote something very different when they acknowledge the worth and dignity of every person.

The first principle of Unitarian Universalism,is to covenant together to affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person. Homo Sapiens is a long way from incorporating this principal into our daily lives and our social policies. Slavery is a part of our American history, and racial discrimination, misogyny, homophobia, anti-semitism are still parts of our daily lives. Religious denominations practice exclusionary policies damning unbelievers to hell to attract passionate believers to their churches. Perhaps it is good sign that church membership in the United States and Europe is dropping because these dysfunctional practices no longer retain adherents.

How slavery and anti-Semitism can not only occur,  but flourish,  in the cradle of civilization and Christian countries is a question about mysterious forces in our individual and collective psyches which we have not made conscious and managed in healthy ways. Unitarian Universalists covenant together to affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person. In order to do this, we need to understand these unconscious forces in ourselves and in our collective groups more clearly so that we can change them for the better. How can we do this?

Homo Sapiens is a long way from incorporating this principal into our daily lives and our social policies.

It is the premise of the UU A Way of Life that there are ways to move ourselves and humanity closer to what Christians have called "the Communion Of Saints" and which the Universalists believe includes all of humanity, everyone. When we have risen above our egos and acceptance of the oneness with Life we will have arrived home. Let us continue on our quest by accepting the Atonment and practicing forgiveness which manifests what  Jesus suggested when he said, "Love one another."

Universalists have understood as a foundational belief that recognition and acceptance of the Atonement is necessary to overcome our attachments to the things on the path of the ego and embark on the path of the Spirit.

Here is an explanation of the Atonement by Dr. Kenneth Wapnick as taught in A Course In Miracles.

Questions for consideration and possible discussion:

  • 1.      What do you think about the idea that humans are biologically programmed to believe that they are nothing but bodies and so must defend and possibly attack those who they define as “not us”?
  • 2.      What do you  think about the Universalist idea that all human beings, having worth and dignity, will go to heaven?
  • 3.      What do you think about the idea that human beings like to think of themselves as “special egos” and like to degrade other people to make themselves feel better about themselves?
  • 4.      What do you think about the Atonement as a necessary step to heal the separation and to attain God consciousness? 
  • 5.      Who is it hard for you to forgive and include in your circle, and why?
  • 6. To what extent does the idea of atonement as Dr. Wappnick describes from A Course In Miracles resonate with the UU principle of inherent worth and dignity of every person?
  • 7. Where are you in terms of applying the atonement principle in your life?

1 comment:

  1. I attended an orientation yesterday at a UU church for newcomers. A woman in the group asked what UUs believe. The fascilitator had a hard time answering the woman's question. I pointed out that UUs covenant together to affirm and promote seven principles. Another woman asked what a covenant was. I answered it is an agreement. For example, we agree together to affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person. The fascilitator said, "Who can't agree to that?" I said, "At a superficial level, agreement with such a principle is easy, but the application is what causes problems. Should the US build a wall and take other measures to keep immigrants out of the country? What does this principle say about that?"

    The group went into awkward silence.


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