The following is not a creed, but a statement of general principles justifying the reform of American Unitarianism.
1. FOR CHRISTIANITY.
To capture the spirit of Jesus, the spirit that moved people to moral action and carried a message that appealed to the process of analogy and rational discourse typifying the Gospel teachings of Jesus, it is important to rediscover original Christianity, once called “primitive” before that word took on a negative connotation.
It is generally recognized by non-sectarian scholars that Trinitarianism as articulated after the Alexandrian controversy is nowhere found in the canonical Torah, Prophets, Writings, Gospels, Letters, or Apocalypse. Nor is it to be found in Jewish or Christian writings before the Alexandrian faction had defeated traditionalists. Even the often-cited consubstantialist theology of Tertullian never asserts that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are coequal and coeternal. Trinitarian theology was so absent from the original teachings of the Church that Nicene Christians had to insert it into the text of the Gospel of John, and forge a spurious Trinitarian confession for St. Lucian after his death.
And yet, this anti-rational innovation has become the single greatest dividing line between Christianity and other faith communities, the greatest barrier to understanding, and the greatest hurdle to Christian ministry.
The original Unitarian, rational, discursive, and ecumenical spirit of Jesus is important not only to Christianity itself, but to the relationship of the Church with other religions. AUR believes that Christianity should be distinguished by its devotion toward Christ, not to its credulity toward the Trinitarian views of Athanasius and his supporters.
2. FOR MORALITY.
A Unitarian view of God is not only original to Christianity, but essential to the assertion of any religious morality that has as its purpose aligning the human will with the Ultimate Reality rather than aligning religion to the comfort of human frailty and confirmation of human prejudice. A Unitarian view provides no refuge for exclusion, no refuge for self-worship disguised as spiritual partisanship. In a world where all things have an explicitly singular Source, the ultimate reconciliation of all things is an impossible reality to ignore
Nilitarian and Trinitarian conceptions of the Ultimate provide no ultimate reconciliation of parts. Purely materialist views of the world simply ignore the issue, and Trinitarianism obfuscates ultimate concerns with an unnecessarily complicated and irrationalist dogma that distracts us from the most important lesson to be learned from religion: universality of the moral Source of the world.
3. FOR REASON.
The ultimate issue of reasoned inquiry into the nature of reality is the origin of reality itself, the so-called Fundamental Cause. As causation itself is part of that class of things for which we seek a Cause, that Fundamental Cause is by necessity itself Uncaused. A more apt definition of “God” is hard to imagine than “the uncaused fundamental cause of reality.”
Causation being the ability of things to affect one another, it is necessarily tied up with multiplicity. Multiple things in relation to each other imply a context or medium of interaction, and that environment itself implies a greater Cause. Non-Unitarian conceptions of Ultimate Reality thwart reason and hobble rational philosophy.
4. FOR RELIGION.
Religion, if it is to be believed, must be about reality. The God described by Semitic tongues and cultures must not be the god of Semitic language and culture, but the God of the universe. A Christianity that denies that truth is possible in other religions or, as Justin of Caesarea proposed, that the truth in other religions was a pre-emptive trick by devils to confound Christianity, is not a religion of the God of Creation, but the god of a church of self-worship.
Attacks against religion often take the form of criticizing sectarian squabbles, each church and school of thought condemning all others to perdition. Often these condemnations take the crude form of group loyalty rather than sincere principle.
AUR views all religion as idioms of the truth, attempts by fallible creatures to experience God, even as we emphasize that the discipleship of Christ is our excellent path. Incomplete truths in primitive religions are not the result of mischievous demons, but have the same explanation as the incomplete medicine, engineering, and astronomy of primitive cultures: inadequate time to develop and investigate and clarify concepts and models.
Holy wars and unprincipled sectarian hatreds sabotage religion from within. The principled ecumenical spirit of Unitarianism (which is inherent to the original Christianity of the Three Magi, the Good Samaritan, and the faithful pagan Centurion) is important to religion itself.