<Published without my normal delay for editorial review>
Science tells us that the world will end. There are a lot of ways in which this could happen, and there is a good chance that humans won’t be around to see it, as many of these planetary death scenarios would have left Earth uninhabitable long before the planet its self was destroyed.
But that’s not really what most religious people mean, anyway. Many religions world-wide have the idea that “the world will end” in some cataclysm that will be manufactured by supernatural forces, which in many cases simply seem to be trying to make humans take sides between “good” and “evil” in the final days of the universe.
That’s one place where Unitarian Universalist differ wildly from our Christian roots; we may re-interpret many passages from how more orthodox denominations teach them, and we certainly differ on some major points of theology, but those points don’t actually lead us to live differently from orthodox Christians.
We believe that Jesus’ commandment to love one another is the greatest commandment, given by spiritual leaders around the world thought out the ages. We believe that we do have a right to support each person in our community according to their needs and our resources. We believe that we are all neighbors, all one race, and all worthy of a place in the community of humankind.
I truly believe that one of the biggest points of disagreement lies in our rejection of the Apocalyptic Book of the Revelation of Saint John. We reject that the creator will wipe out creation for a petty squabble with an unruly aspect of creation. We reject the need for such, as we don’t believe that the Creator can be so separate from Creation that such a feud could ever develop internally. We know that the universe is not perfectly suited for us, and that we have to put in effort to make our way in creation, lest we go the way of the dinosaurs. The time of mankind, as we know it, will come to an end, but it will not be because God suddenly deems our time is over.
We believe in continuing revelation, both in science and in spirit. There is more or less magic in the world today compared to the time of the Celts, only that we better understand it, and can apply new labels. We don’t believe that we will ever reach a time when there will be nothing left to learn, and we work hard to ensure that we never fall back on societal modes where learning is discouraged, or worse, where there simply isn’t room for it in the average life of subsistence.
This is a core heresy that makes today’s UUA different: We don’t believe in the end of the world. We believe that we can go on as long as we can find a place in the universe, and we are dedicated to the struggle to find that place through science, community, charity, and faith. Not faith that God will choose us because we are special, but that we can choose to be special and to save ourselves.