Sunday, November 9, 2008

Unitarian heritage?

My dad never talked about religion much. I never saw him go to church, but he once told me it was practically a crime not to go to church on Mother's Day. That left me scratching my head a little, because I always assumed he was agnostic - or more to the point, hadn't really thought about it all that much. He was a practical, down-to-earth kind of guy. But a comment my Baptist mom made about him today caught my attention. She said "Your daddy believed that God was just a Great Spirit or something and Jesus didn't matter."

That sounds eerily close to my beliefs as a Unitarian. If I had to peg my beliefs, I'd call them panentheist with certain habits colored by my Christian upbringing (I still pray in a similar way to how I did as a child, even though I don't fully believe it's necessary, and I celebrate Christian holidays.) As for Jesus, I surely wouldn't say he "didn't matter" - he changed the world completely, that's for damn sure, and was a wonderful role model no matter your faith - but I don't think you're punished if you don't focus your life on him. A panentheist belief system kind of renders the "son of God" question irrelevant, though. If believing in that brings comfort to people, I wholeheartedly support them in that, because that's one of the main functions of religion. It's just not for me. But it sounds like whatever my dad said to my mom that made her decide he thought "Jesus doesn't matter", was probably quite similar to my own beliefs.

My dad has never been a huge part of my life, and I often wonder what sort of things I inherited from his side of the family. I think it's very interesting that despite never once having discussed religion with him, we came out with the same basic beliefs.

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