Today we begin a feature on UU A Way Of Life, tagged "Gems." Gems are articles previously published on UU A Way Of Life which still have value for consideration. This first "gem" was published on 01/15/09, ten years ago. It was about the questions which a UU theology should address. I don't think much work has been done on this is the last decade. If anyone knows of any books, articles, videos which address these fundamental theological concerns, please leave the titles in the comments.
The existential questions people want answers to are:
- Why was I born?
- What is the purpose of my life?
- What happens to me when I die?
- Why is their suffering in the world?
- Why do these hurtful things happen to me?
- How can I deal with troublesome and hurtful people?
- How can I best raise my children?
- What do I owe my parents, siblings, other family members?
- How do I assist my children in coming of age?
- What is commitment and how do I honor my vows?
- Why do I make mistakes and screw up?
- How do I give forgiveness to others and obtain forgiveness for myself?
- What do I do about injustice?
- What is the best way to live life? How do I do it? How do I help others?
- How does one find right livelihood, good work?
- What is the purpose and proper use of sex?
- When I am discouraged, depressed, and despairing, why should I go on?
- How can I celebrate and enjoy the happiness in my life?
- How do I die with peace and help others die with peace?
In my mind, any religion, any theology that can answer these questions is a winner. And what we want more than anything as human beings is to make sense out of it all. That's what a good theology does, it gives us answers to life's biggest questions, and this is what UUs and all human beings want.
A good theology is a model, a cognitive map, that explains life to us. It tells us how things are and how they ought to be. It validates, it inspires, it provides purpose, meaning, and motivation. It explains our experience to us.
A good theology, more than anything else, is useful. It helps us lead our lives in the most fulfilling and satisfying ways possible. It is more than a philosophy because it facilitates relationship between the self and the transcendent and it is in the facilitation of this relationship that theology earns its money, demonstates its value, provides its benefit as a worthwhile discourse.