One Unitarian Universalist pastor from Colorado recently posited that belief in UFOs, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and Zen Buddhism share one thing common: “Belief in the extraordinary.”
He posed this off-beat hypothesis in his local newspaper:
Question: What do UFOs and the resurrection of Christ have in common?
Answer: Belief in the extraordinary.
He then connected this assertion to the principles of Unitarian Universalism specifically:
Contrary to many religious organizations, Unitarian Universalists believe that doubt and curiosity are the healthy cornerstones of faith, whether it be faith in UFOs, Zen Buddhism or the resurrection of Christ Jesus.
Sadly, the most convincing truth claim for the majority of Unitarian Universalists among these various beliefs is probably not the resurrection. For many Unitarian Universalists, having “faith” in UFOs and the literal resurrection of Jesus Christ likely seem equally absurd at best.
By the implicit admission of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), most of the denomination’s members avoid even saying the word “resurrection.” UUA minister Rev. William McLennan stated as much in his book Christ for Unitarian Universalists, as excerpted on the UUA’s website:
Few Unitarian Universalists believe there was a physical, photographable resuscitation of Jesus’s corpse. Few believe that Jesus knowingly sacrificed his life to atone for the sins of humanity or that only by his sacrifice and our belief in him as our Lord and Savior can each of us, individually, be saved. There is also very little biblical evidence for those claims. Unitarian Universalists primarily speak, if we use the term at all, of resurrection within our own lives, before our physical death.
The aforementioned UUA pastor from Colorado should be commended for seeking to promote a reasoned discussion between those of differing beliefs, religions, and creeds. But the emphasis on dialogue should be balanced with the vital realization that all ideas are neither equally valid nor meaningful. Faith in Jesus Christ as risen Savior and belief in UFOs, for example, do not even belong in the same category of significance or plausibility.
Paul the Apostle demonstrated the importance of the resurrection for Christianity in 1 Corinthians 15. He explained how Christians’ entire worldview crumbles if Jesus did not physically rise from the dead. “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied,” Paul wrote in verse 19.
Given Unitarian Universalists’ discomfort if not outright rejection of the resurrection, their supposed faith (or lack thereof) deserves pity according to Paul. As one UUA congregation seeks to engage with the resurrection, let us pray that as at least some congregants genuinely embrace the truth that Jesus Christ has risen.
May they discover the glorious hope in knowing that followers of Jesus Christ will experience physical resurrection one day, too. As Paul described this wonderful event:
“Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52, ESV)