The Universal Life Church has two tenets which all affiliated with it are to observe. They are:Answer 1: - From a ULC Minister in Ballwin, Missouri, USA
They appear simple but can have profound effects when put into practice.
- Freedom of Religion
- Do that which is right
- What does each of these mean to you?
- Does "Freedom of Religion" also include "Freedom from Religion"?
- How do you relate to those who differ from you in their beliefs?
- Does "Doing that which is right" mean doing that which is only right to you regardless of the harm or consequences it may do to, or have for others?
Thank you Rev. Allen for these questions. Yes, freedom of religion entails freedom from religion. We should be able to choose which religion, if any, we devote ourselves to. I believe this is one of the reasons why the absolute truth of spiritual matters isn't obvious to us. To greater and lesser extents, we are left to decipher those for ourselves.Answer 2: - From a ULC Minister in Austin, Texas, USA
Doing that which is right, to me, means adhering to the golden rule. That includes tolerating the beliefs of others. Above all, we should exude universal characteristics such as love, peace, gentleness, tolerance, friendliness, and forgiveness. Those are my interpretations of the two tenets of the Univeral Life Church.
I have had to ponder on the Two Tenets for a while to be able to explain what I think they mean.Answer 3: - From a ULC Minister in Paris, Texas, USA
The Freedom of Religion: Has been the issue of believers of all faiths for hundreds of years. Americans have the constituted Right to practice any or none. Other countries have similar Freedoms to ours, but none so intertwined in the fabric of the Republic as is ours. Freedom of Religion is a responsibility that may be lost if we do not exhibit the proper exercise thereof. As we venture forward, let us show our freedom in an honorable and noble manner so as to reflect well upon our particular faith and practice, as well as, the right of all individuals to exercise their Freedom as they so desire.
Do that which is right: To me this statement is somewhat vague; but in the minds and hearts of conscientious individuals, this statement will be exhibited in a most beneficial manner.
Personally, I thank God for ability to openly pursue my religious convictions within a country that recognizes and allows the Freedom of Religion. I pray that other countries will follow the American example of Religious Freedoms. I am happy to be an ordained ULC minister and I endeavor to "do that which is right" daily...
Thank you for the questions Rev. Allen.Answer 4: From a ULC Minister in Beckenham, Kent, UK
I believe that freedom of religion also means freedom from religion. It means that religion and government are to be completely separate. Basically freedom of religion means that there is a separation between church and state.
The founding fathers were religious men. Why did they establish a separation between church and state?
The answer to the question lies in the history of England. To really understand this issue you must look to the long power struggle between the leaders of the church and the King of England that led to the eventual establishment of the Church of England. This church was led by the King. It's purpose was based more upon giving the King freedom than worshipping the Lord.
I believe that we should bring others to Christ by leading a Christian life. When we set the proper examples, others will follow. We do not have to force religion upon anyone by enacting laws. In fact, you cannot extinguish religion or force religion. Religion is based upon spirit, to bring followers to Christ requires the right spirit.
Pondering on Freedom of religion and Ken's question about it asking it it also means freedom from religion. I say yes, it does. Even God allows this, for in wanting us to choose to know and love him, he ran the risk of us choosing not to. If he had not, then we would be just robots and so not free to choose him for ourselves. I cannot see how anyone would not want to choose God, in not doing so they are missing out on so much, but than if they do not that is sadly up to them. God even gives us the freedom not to choose him or to seek to find our own ways of finding, worshipping him or seeking an alternative meaning for life.Answer 5: From a ULC Minister in Chandler, Arizona, USA
As others have pointed out this also has ramifications re human rights enshrined in the UN Charter and the laws of nations that reflect them. For those who do not believe as I do, I would love for them to come to the same belief, but very often in relating with Jews, Moslem's, Hindu's, Buddhists and even pagans, I look for things that we have in common and there are so many. In my relations with them, I also learn aspects about my own beliefs from theirs that help me in my beliefs. Sometimes they do the same when I have shared about the similarities. Whether a person knows God as I do or not. They are still God's creation and God's children whom he loves. However could I treat them against that.
Re doing what is right - Within our make up we all have a conscience. Perhaps it is like the instinct we talk about in animals where they know things without having been taught. I believe that because that conscience came from God, he has built it so that there is room in it for following his way. With the freedom as mentioned above we can send our consciences in the wrong direction so that a burglar might feel that is is perfectly alright to break into someone's house and steal things from it. We do need to educate and nourish our consciences and hopefully our parents helped us from an early age in this in helping us to know right from wrong.
Doing what is right then means doing what our consciences tell us is right. Love must be one of the yardsticks for knowing if our consciences are right though. If something we do will cause harm or hurt to others then our consciences should tell us not to do whatever it is that might be involved. One aspect of following Christianity and most other religions is, apart from the aspect of worship of God etc., all about developing and nourishing our consciences and behaving in a helpful way to ourselves and others. This is the basis of the current interest derived from Sheldon's book, "In His Steps", in asking ourselves WWJD - What Would Jesus Do. Interestingly enough, Gandhi followed that ideal.
To me freedom of religion means the ability to choose whether to worship or not, who you are going to worship, and how you are going to worship. I try to be respectful of those with other beliefs than those I hold to be true. In the end who knows for sure, religion is based on belief and every one believes something different. For me, doing that which is right, Is summarized in the Golden Rule, " Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." As a Christian the Bible gives me the instructions for daily living, all I need to do is try to follow them.