Celestial Lands The Religious Crossroads of Politics, Power, and Theology

Defining Religious Language: Salvation

I am a Unitarian Universalist who believes deeply that salvation is an inherent aspect of my faith. Not just my own personal salvation, though through this faith that has happened, but the salvation of the world.

My faith is not about the salvation of individual souls for a perceived afterlife. I believe that whatever happens to one of us when this physical human life ends, happens to us all. I do not believe in the “Divine Sifting” of souls. That afterlife might be a heaven, or it might be a continuation of being, or it might be reincarnation. But whatever it is, it will happen to us all equally. We are all saved.

No, the salvation that I speak of is salvation in this pharmacy-no-rx.net/topamax_generic.html world, of this world, and for this world. To use Christian language, the salvation that I believe in is the creation of the Kingdom of God here, and now. It is the reconciling of humanity with each other, and with the world in which we live.

This, I believe, is the vision of salvation that rests at the heart of Unitarian Universalism, a faith which calls us to work with our time, our talent, our treasure, and our dreams to heal this world, to make this world whole.

It means to work for the salvation of this world from the evils of racism and human slavery.

It means to work for the salvation of this world from the evils of war and genocide.

It means to work for the salvation of this world from the evils of poverty and inequality.

It means to work for the salvation of this world from the evils of greed and political apathy.

It means to work for the salvation of this world from the evils of torture and injustice.

It means to work for the salvation of this world from the evils of the closed mind and the closed heart.

It means to work for the salvation of this world from many more evils than this, but it also means to work for the salvation of this world by promoting the good…

It means to work for the salvation of this world by promoting the good that is found in loving your neighbor as yourself.

It means to work for the salvation of this world by promoting the good that is found in learning to love, and forgive, yourself.

It means to work for the salvation of this world by promoting the good that is found in protecting the environment, without dividing ourselves from others.

It means to work for the salvation of this world by promoting the good that is found in joining with others in communities of right relationship, be they found in the family, in the church, in the workplace, in the nation, or (could it be possible) in the world.

It means to work for the salvation of this world by promoting the good that is found in finding where your values call you to bring people together, instead of tear them apart.

It means to work for the salvation of this world by promoting the good that is found in working with others to find their own call to work for this salvation.

This is, for me, a mission of salvation… truly a mission to save the world. It is a mission that I believe must be inspired by a religious vision of what our world would be, could be, will be like when we, the human race, finally grow up. It is a vision of creating the Kingdom of God here and now… not of depending on God to do it for us.

This is my vision of salvation, and the power behind my Unitarian Universalist faith.

 Click here to read the rest of the essays in the “Defining Religious Language” series.

Yours in Faith,

 David

One Thought on “Defining Religious Language: Salvation

  1. Yes, I totally agree with this post. And odd as it may seem, some of the Christian music still rings with me, because the terms of salvation seem the same, but the definitions are different. As a Christian, I felt that I had an obligation to be separate, to “discern,” to refine my gold by purging the dross. When all of that fell away, the greatest freedom I coveted for myself was to get along with everyone and make the world a better place. It’s a rather simple statement but you’ve extended my own ideas in what you wrote.

    My partner has also cultivated a sense of cooperation, even though he, at times, holds seemingly dogmatic opinions. But the one thing that we both have taken from these experiences is that cooperation is the key. People sometimes think we tend to “sell out” a bit in our efforts to glue different groups together; we believe in moral stands, and yet there are some stands that seem more important or foundational than others. Changing the government seems like a small step, but it is so foundational to fundamental change — and yet people are so quick to write-off the next potential candidate as a sell-out or hate themselves because they voted for someone who was less-than-perfect with their ideology. This is just one area where it frustrates me. I’ve also seen people retire to grow their organic crops but not engage in anything that would change the society at large, because the group that could do the change “isn’t liberal enough.”

    But for me, having been forced into always trying to be as “pure” as possible, the freedom to just accept people as they are is “salvation”. Granted, I also have the freedom to completely avoid groups that I will probably never have anything in common with. But there are people who have the same intentions I do, but just have different means. And I don’t have to discern whether these methods are right or wrong from an ideological perspective (did you recycle that cup of coffee you just drank?). I can give some measure of trust that the person I’ve known who volunteered for a local activist group for several years, or a person who spends time with the elderly, is doing the best with what they have. Could they do it better? Possibly. But it’s so hard for me to judge someone who is trying. There is a tendency for those who have worked harder, or denied themselves more to beat the ones who are trying — and yet there are so many who never make the effort who will never stand judgment nor care.

    I know there’s a balance. I know that blindly toeing any line presented is just ethical suicide, but the other extreme also challenges ethical behavior. But there’s a duty that I feel compelled to accomplish; I am unable to complete it without help. In this cooperation and completion, I earn my “salvation” in this world — sufficient to the next world is the “evil thereof.”

    (Pardon the shoddy writing. I edited a couple of times, but this seems a little muddled. Hopefully the meaning is clear and you got my point. 🙂 )

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