Friday, November 29, 2013

What does it mean that Unitarianism does not start with an experience of revelation?



Last week on the way back from a few days in the Lakes I stopped by in Kendal to visit the Quaker Tapestry.

I found some inspiration in the history of George Fox and the early Quakers, as depicted in the various panels. I was struck by George Fox seeking answers to his questions until his inward revelation that "there is one, even Christ Jesus, that can speak to thy condition."

As I pondered this I reflected on the differences between Quakers and Unitarians. Quakerism has a more definite and clear story of its beginnings - and I think significantly, Quakerism started with an experience of revelation.

In fact most religious paths start with an experience of revelation, major religious traditions, like Islam, and often divisions of religious traditions like Methodism or Zen/Chan Buddhism, begin with some formative, experiential experience of revelation/truth.

What does it mean that Unitarianism does not start with an experience of revelation? How does it affect the way we tell our stories or understand who we are? What would it mean if we could point to an experience of revelation at the beginning of our story?

Universalist history does include some instances of revelation of the truth of the universal love of God, but Unitarianism seems not to. (Am I wrong?)

I wonder if this is something we're missing?