Those who attend a Unity center on a regular basis know that we have no fixed creed or catechism that people are required to recite nor is there a statement of faith to follow. There is no such thing as an office of orthodoxy in this movement to root out heresy and force our ministers and spiritual leaders to conform to a certain agenda. However, there are certain principles we teach that make us unique. Otherwise, why should we exist?
A little over 20 years ago, an attempt was made to summarize Unity teachings for an article in Daily Word Magazine. Connie Fillmore Bazzy, Unity minister and great granddaughter of our co-founders, took on this task and formulated five principles that she believed are the basis for what we teach:
1. God is absolute good, everywhere present.
2. Human beings have a spark of divinity within them, the Christ spirit within. Their very essence is of God, and therefore they are also inherently good.
3. Human beings create their experiences by the activity of their thinking. Everything in the manifest realm has its beginning in thought.
4. Prayer is creative thinking that heightens the connection with God-Mind and therefore brings forth wisdom, healing, prosperity and everything good.
5. Knowing and understanding the laws of life, also called Truth, are not enough. A person must also live the Truth that he or she knows.
These basic principles were never intended to be etched in stone. The words are often changed and yet the essence remains the same. Even though our basic principles are not treated as a creed or statement of faith, it has been my experience that people who find a Unity center and stick around usually agree with these principles.
Whatever teaching is being advanced, no one is required to accept it based on blind belief or a claim of invisible or supernatural authority. We are empowered to look for evidence that a teaching or principle is practical which means that we can see it repeatedly and reliably working in the world in which we live.
Unity has long been a haven for those who want the freedom to ask questions and to explore the tangible and intangible aspects of reality using both reason and intuition. Whatever teaching is being advanced, no one is required to accept it based on blind belief or a claim of invisible or supernatural authority. We are empowered to look for evidence that a teaching or principle is practical which means that we can see it repeatedly and reliably working in the world in which we live.
Wjhen we do that, some important questions should arise such as: If God is absolute good and everywhere present then why do bad things happen? Do we still need to use the word god? If each person has a spark of divinity, why don’t people behave more divinely? What is another way of stating this concept of a "spark of divinity"? If we create our experiences by the activity of thinking, why are we creating what we see in the world? What are we to make of a recent study which showed that people who were being prayed for had a greater incidence of complications after surgery?
Changing times challenge us to re-examine what we claim to teach and be honest and authentic about what we find. There are some who might see this as a threat to orthodoxy but it is really an invitation to evolve. Resisting the evolutionary impulse is possible but the price is steep, you risk becoming irrelevant. Instead, let’s accept the invitation and see where it takes us!