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Thoughts on Christians who attend a church of a liberal religion?

Discussion in 'Exploring Christianity' started by Cearbhall, May 25, 2016.

  1. Cearbhall

    Cearbhall Well-Known Member

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    First, for anyone not familiar with the term, a liberal religion is one that is based on fellowship and personal development rather than creed. There are no required beliefs or practices other than supporting others in their journey. It has nothing to do with politics or Liberal Christianity.

    I was raised Catholic and left the Christian faith in high school. I now identify as Unitarian Universalist. When I learned more about it and found a local congregation, the only thing that struck me as a bit odd is that there are members who follow theistic organized religions. Because UU is a liberal religion, a person can be both Christian and UU, for example.

    I'm curious about what Christians who attend Christian churches on a regular basis might have to say about this. From a Christian perspective, do you feel that they may as well not be going to church at all? Or would you say it's good that they're at least participating in a spiritual community and learning about issues of social justice?

    Do you think that it might be a reflection of the failings of Christian churches and other faith groups in their communities, or do you think that these people have a responsibility to stick with their own and try to improve their respective religious groups from within, rather than leaving?

    Thanks in advance.
     
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  2. Martinius

    Martinius Catholic disciple of Jesus

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    I think it could be partly the failure of our churches. People have no responsibility to "stick with their own", but rather a responsibility to respond to God as best they know how. Many people are not able to respond to God as they would like through the faith they were brought up in. Some people are continuously searching. I could see how people who were originally with a traditional Christian religion might find the UU church as being a viable choice that strips away all the trappings of institutional religion.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2016
  3. dcalling

    dcalling Senior Member

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    I come from an atheist background, and now thinking back I think I was some what a UU at some point. I remember when a Christian invited me for dinner, at the prayer I thank the universe :)

    Anyway, I was later a Buddhist, and eventually became Christian. People have their different paths, the thing I am certain of is, all of us are sinners, and no matter how good you think you are, it is impossible to shake off the bad things by our own, or by any teachings. Salvation can only come from God, and we can't became better (i.e. no jealousy, no greed) by our own power.

    Just my experience, you can experience that on your own.
     
  4. Noxot

    Noxot tohu and bohu Supporter

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    the fate/freedom of each soul is not something I could define. for some it is good and for others it is bad. it really just depends on things such as 'what you are' and 'where you are at'
     
  5. Sketcher

    Sketcher Born Imperishable

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    There are unbelievers of all stripes, so my reaction is "meh."

    I do find it interesting that you said it has nothing to do with politics, yet you said people learn about social justice there.
     
  6. Cearbhall

    Cearbhall Well-Known Member

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    Isn't that every church? :scratch: I wouldn't call that politics. That's just part of being in any community of humans.

    I just meant to explain that liberal in this context doesn't indicate a political affiliation any more than "liberal arts" is political.
     
  7. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Mystery Worshipper Supporter

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    Most mainline churches actually have a majority that are Republicans. Episcopalians, for instance, are actually Republicans by a slim majority. So liberal religion and liberal politics are not the same thing.

    Social justice is a basic commandment of the Christian and Jewish faiths. Throughout the Old Testament, it is God's plea to his people. We might disagree on what that looks like in practice, but to say it's not important is to descend to something unbiblical and sub-Christian.

    Personally, I don't think the UU church is for me... it's just too vague and too "Protestant" and cerebral. That might appeal to some people, but I suspect the number is relatively few. But I support peoples freedom of religion as long as it doesn't infringe on other peoples rights.
     
  8. Sketcher

    Sketcher Born Imperishable

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    Does this mean that if I were to hang out with such a group and express my views on why small government is better than big government, and why capitalism is good that I wouldn't get the stink eye or worse? Provided I was being casual and respectful of course, not coming off as someone who is there to preach.
     
  9. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Mystery Worshipper Supporter

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    Lots of people who vote Democrat believe those things, more or less. Those things are really generalities, after all.
     
  10. Quid est Veritas?

    Quid est Veritas? In Memoriam to CS Lewis

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    If it has no creed as such, how is it different from a secular club? To my mind, it would just be like-minded people socialising so I wouldn't consider it a church per se, especially seeing that some people still attend their normal Church.

    I don't think it is necessarily a failing of the traditional churches if people attend as I don't think what you are describing is in competition with them. If you accept all points of view, you have none of your own. Whether it is morally uplifting or good spiritually would obviously depend on the other people attending, similarly how a dinner party might be a moral Christian event or a drunken orgy depending on who is in attendance.
     
  11. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Mystery Worshipper Supporter

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    It's my understanding that Unitarians share principles rather than beliefs. The principles are pretty much identical to what is called "secular humanism".

    There are Unitarians that identify as Christians, in fact there's a society for them within the Unitarian Universalist fellowship. They usually don't go to separate churches, but merely identify as Jesus-following Unitarians.
     
  12. graceandpeace

    graceandpeace Episcopalian

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    I personally don't care. If a Christian wants to be UU, okay. But, I think for the most part, even more liberal Christians would struggle in a UU environment, for different reasons.
     
  13. aiki

    aiki Regular Member

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    I don't mean to be rude, but if I am going to be faithful to the teaching of Scripture, I have to say that UU is a false religion leading people straight to hell. UU may make people feel good about themselves; it may make them feel "spiritual" and enlightened; it may give them cause even to feel morally-superior to those who are not as conscious of, and concerned about, social justice issues. But none of these things bring people into fellowship with God.

    John 14:6
    6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.


    If Jesus is right, then UU is wrong. It's that simple. And so any "Christian" who finds attending a UU church comfortable is very likely not a Christian at all. Christianity is a highly exclusivistic religion because it is a religion concerned about truth. Spiritual and moral truth are not the flexible, grey, shifting ground that western post-modern cultures want to think they are. If the revelation of God in the Bible is right, if what Scripture teaches about God is the truth, then all other religions that contradict that revelation and truth are wrong.

    I don't know what failings of Christian churches, exactly, you're thinking of, but the churches I have attended have all been very charitable and concerned about justice for the weak and vulnerable, about alleviating poverty, and about saving souls. But we are told in Scripture that we are eternal creatures and it is for eternity that we ought now to be preparing and living (Col. 3:1-4). We are told also in the Bible that this world and all that it contains will be burned up and replaced (2Pe. 3:10). God's word tells us, too, that God's kingdom is not an earthly kingdom but a heavenly and spiritual one (Jn. 18:36). In light of these things the most important thing a disciple of Christ can do - by far - is preach the Gospel and make disciples of Jesus Christ.

    Matthew 16:26
    26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?


    We can make the poor, rich, the weak, strong, the oppressed, free but if we fail to warn them of the wrath of God to come and neglect to share with them the way of salvation, we have done nothing of eternal value. We have only made them comfortable on their way to hell.

    Selah.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2016
  14. Cearbhall

    Cearbhall Well-Known Member

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    Nothing rude about that, that's the question I asked. I wanted to get different Christian opinions on whether attending a liberal religious service is generally beneficial, neutral, or harmful for a Christian. Thank you for your response. :)
    I haven't read any studies on the political views of UU. Politics isn't a single spectrum, remember. Whatever you've heard about the social views of UU members, the economy is a different story. I'm sure there would be those who agree with you. I myself am more libertarian than anything else.
     
  15. daleksteve

    daleksteve Well-Known Member

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    Beneficial. I concider myself liberal christian and only want to worship at liberal style churches now because traditional fundermental christianity has become a cosy little club for poor hating middle class christianity with little interest in social justice.
     
  16. daleksteve

    daleksteve Well-Known Member

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    I don't agree with a lot of the UU but i do agree with this though...

    We hold that all religious belief should be acceptable to intelligent reasoning.
     
  17. dcalling

    dcalling Senior Member

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    On one hand, if someone hates, he/she has went against Christianity. On the other hand, coming from a communist background, some "social justice" ideas (not all) actually did much more harm to the poor (and to everyone), just look how much people the communist in Russia/China killed in the name of helping the poor.

    If you look at the Bible, many verses by the prophets decries how God listens to the widows and orphans, and that the biggest law is to love your neighbors as yourself. But there is also a specific verse says that you have to be fair, and you should not be unjust to a person either because he is poor or rich.
     
  18. 1watchman

    1watchman Overseer Supporter

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    I don't think being "liberal" or "fundamental" should be the issue, but is it true to Bible-only, rather than rituals, ceremonies, innovations, independent ideologies, philosophies, etc. One NEEDS to personally have their soul saved as God shows; and NEEDS to be following the mind and purposes of God as He shows and requires in His immutable Word. In judgment in Heaven (if one is truly saved) the issue of rewards or forfeiture will be revealed. If not saved, of course one will not be in Heaven.
     
  19. Cearbhall

    Cearbhall Well-Known Member

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    No, it is not.
    So it's your opinion that a Christian needs to attend a weekly Christian service in order to succeed in being "saved?" That makes sense, I suppose.
     
  20. 1watchman

    1watchman Overseer Supporter

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    You are drawing a conclusion that I did not say. A church group attendance has nothing to do with this. Read John 1; John 3; John 14 and see a good overview of God's primary expectations ---all in His "beloved Son". Then a daily reading of all the Gospels and Epistles will reveal the truth.
     
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