Unitarian Universalists don’t have a creation story we cling to. Almost all of us hold to theories that have been created based on evidence and scientific research, though we may weave mythic elements into our personal theologies. We rely on science to tell us where we came from and how the universe spins and pulses without coming apart. That is what Science is good at: it tells us what has happened, and why things work.
UUs seek religion to help us shape the future. We seek a moral compass in fellowship and personal study. We seek truth and meaning in the physical world, as well as any spiritual realms we embrace. We seek truth, but more over, we seek to put that information to good use.
It is not an easy thing to give up the pretense of insight or absolute knowledge. In fact, a great many people count on religion to provide them with the sense that the Universe can be known, or at least that some supreme being knows all, and that there is a plan that can be traced through the ages, whether or not any such plan can be deduced from the holy texts. Many people rely on religious tradition and doctrine to lay out history for them, as if it were an unbreakable chain of events, predictable as clockwork from the point of view of the enlightened.
Ours is not an old religion, though it has deep roots . Certainly, we have traditions, some of our congregations having existed since pre-revolutionary America, but each congregation adopts those, or creates new traditions of its own. Ours is a young religion, devoted to evolving and committed to truth, even if it means admitting that we’ve been wrong in the past. Certainly we will make mistakes, but the only way to ensure a perfect record is through lack of any bold or courageous action.
It is important to realize this, because it is one thing that causes us to stand out amongst the mainstream in religious thought. We are not concerned with dictating the past or pretending at mystical insight. We are concerned with this time, and with our shared future. How we got here matters, but it is the work of science to give us the details, though we may search ancient texts for clues that science cannot deduce. It is how we move forward to a more just, compassionate, and equitable future that we dedicate our religious life to, and not just in some Summerland or Nirvana, but right here on Earth for ourselves and whatever we leave behind.
Ours in not a religion of the past. Science can sort out where we came from. Our religion is about guiding us to a future where peace, liberty and justice are seen as the birthright of every living thing. Ours is not just a religion for today. Unitarian Universalism is a religion for our future.