Two weeks ago, I went to church and listened to the high school freshmen undergo out version of Confirmation. Being UUs, we don’t actually ask them to Con-firm anything, only to Affirm the Seven Principles. What we ask, instead, is that they write a credo for us.
Credo is Latin for “I Believe”, and it is, predictably, a statement of belief. We are a religion without creed, and so we ask our young men and women to write their own statement, however broad or specific, and tell us who they are as we prepare them for full membership, which is only three years away at this point. We give them a Sunday to put things together on their terms, and each of them presents their credo to the congregation.
This is a great right of passage, and as a fairly new member to the UUA, I thought I would put myself through it, as well. I have this blog for just that kind of thing, and so I present to my readers a (fairly) brief statement of belief:
I am Thomas Earthman, and this is my Credo:
I believe there is a beginning to the Universe which is beyond the physical and even beyond energy, though I don’t think it is impossible for science to, someday, find ways to study it. I expect that any study will be as confusing and hap-hazard as our discoveries in quantum physics, as I think that is as close as we’ve gotten so far to realizing that the Universe isn’t what we’ve always thought it is.
I believe that I am part of an unimaginable Whole that is all the matter, energy and spirit of the universe. I am a cell, in a tissue of an organ that is Earth that is part of a system that circles our Sun. So are you, and while we are distinct, we are not truly separate. We are part of something much bigger; this is my concept of God.
I believe in a “spirit” essence that runs though all things, like H2O in our bodies acts as a medium for all the cells, enzymes and hormones. This spirit is in everything, though some things concentrate it more. It is beyond energy as we know it, and though I don’t think of it this way, it seems to conform to the descriptions of The Force from the 1977 movie Star Wars, pre-Midi-chlorian inclusion.
I believe in the ultimate consciousness of God, though I cannot hope to understand how well that consciousness understands me as an individual, as I am fairly aware of my arm, even though I don’t think about it consciously unless I am learning a new skill; I am not, however, well acquainted with my spleen or liver, even though they are more vital to my biological life than is my arm and I have only the concept of my individual cells and don’t know any of them personally. I do know that when they need iron, I may crave steak or spinach or, though the reason escapes me, want to chew ice. They can communicate their needs, and I will still want to fulfill them, even without understanding why. Thus, I also believe in prayer.
As for direct intervention in the Universe, though, I think of us as a body. Nature does not make enhancements to a working body. There are no “miracles” that save deer from wolves or mountains from the erosion of rains. I don’t think God tampers with the day-to-day operation any more than I need to constantly direct my breathing or the filtering work done by my kidneys. There are rules in place that dictate 90%+ of the actions in the universe. Gravity, magnetism, inertia and other such forces insure that there is little need for supervision, as some laws cannot be broken, only bent.
I believe in the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. I believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every plant and animal in that web. I believe that we are all searching for our path, as we are not all called to do the exact same job anymore than a stomach can be a lung, a skin cell can be a neuron or a ribosome a vacuole. Even where we are part of the whole, and similar in so many ways, we are distinct parts that should be respected for our contributions.