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Introduction, Workshop 11: Christianity 1

In "Building Bridges," a Tapestry of Faith program

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. — John 3:16 (KJV)

This workshop introduces Christianity, the largest religion in the world. A branch of the Abrahamic line, Christianity includes nearly a third of the people on the planet. Core teachings of love and faith, forgiveness and generosity, are profoundly affirming; however, the doctrines that have evolved over centuries, the efforts to convert people for their salvation, and the variations of behavior inherent in billions of human beings have created a very mixed historical record and contemporary practice. It can be difficult to, in biblical terms, separate the grain from the chaff. It is important to help Unitarian Universalist youth to a greater understanding of the complexities and challenges of Christianity.

Some of the challenges of this exploration include:

  • The tendency to lump all Christians together rather than make important distinctions among sects and practices and among individuals
  • The tendency, as with any religion, to think that if you know someone's religion, you know what they believe and what their social or political opinions are
  • The influence of negative attitudes on the part of some Unitarian Universalists who have had bad experiences with Christian religions
  • For some Unitarian Universalists, who are surrounded by evangelical and fundamentalist Christians, the feeling of being misunderstood, disrespected and even attacked. This can set up a defensive reaction in which participants' protective feelings for their own religion leave them less than open to Christianity
  • Finally, the challenge of all exploration of differences: the ability to bring an open mind and open heart to the journey.

NOTE: This workshop focuses on the life and teachings of Jesus. For how the early Christian Church evolved into the Catholic Church, see the text in Alternate Activity 3: From Minority to Majority, which describes the institutionalization of the Church in the Holy Roman Empire and explores the Crusades. Workshop 12 continues the Christian story with the Protestant Reformation.

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Wednesday, October 29, 2014.

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