The insightful slogan “Garbage in, garbage out,” refers to honesty and accuracy of data. Are our lives based on truth or lies, on authenticity or pretense?
Unitarian Universalists covenant together to affirm and promote the free and responsible search for truth and meaning. What is it that UUs are looking for when they embark on this search? Is it happiness, truth, goodness, beauty, pleasure, power, status, money, validation, love, all of these things, some of these things, none of these things?
If a philosopher suggested that the answer to the question of what it is we are searching for were morality, what would you think? What is the moral life? What is morality anyway? Perhaps the best answer is one of the eight principles of Buddhism which is “right action.” Unitarian Universalism has no similar principle other than the second principle which is to affirm and promote justice, equity, and compassion in human relations.
Morality, drawn from the six sources which Unitarian Universalism identifies as foundational and relevant to its living tradition, would include the Ten Commandments of the Judeo-Christian tradition, as well as the values of humanism, the reverence for the interdependent web drawn from the Earth centered traditions, the wisdom of prophetic women and men, and,of course, most importantly, one’s own experience of the transcendent wisdom which informs one’s own conscience.
Human beings, though, are conditioned and socialized into an ego based society which teaches, pressures, and rewards behavior in compliance with perverse norms and attitudes which are destructive and dysfunctional to the individual’s well being and those with whom the individual is in relationship with.
There are many ideas lying around about what will achieve the good life. Some ideas are good and some are bad. The question is always which to choose? This awareness of choice leads to the idea of discernment. How do we discern what is right, good, honest, beautiful? There are two answers: having made a choice, how is that working for you?, and what would love have me do?
If we always acted in a loving way there would be no need for a moral code. A moral code would be moot. And so, the moral Unitarian Universalist aspires to always act in a loving way. This intention is the bedrock of our faith.