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The more I examine Christianity, the more I am struck with its universality. I see in it a religion made for all regions and all times, for all classes and all stages of society. — William Ellery Channing, Unitarian minister

Introduction

This workshop continues the exploration of Christianity with a focus on Martin Luther, the launching of the Protestant Reformation, and the continued spread of the religion all over the world. There are 970 million Protestants in the world. Christianity is the largest religion; however, if measured separately, Protestantism would be the fourth largest religion after Islam, Catholicism, and Atheism/Agnosticism.

While Unitarianism and Universalism both evolved from the opportunity the Protestant Reformation created for new religious organization and theology, our contemporary liberal faith is very different from the original dissident faiths. Youth will likely find it difficult to see the liberating effect of the Reformation when dogma and intolerance still characterized these reformers. Our distant theological ancestors, particularly the Calvinists, did not share the Unitarian Universalist view of human nature. "Total inherited depravity" has a decidedly different ring from "Inherent worth and dignity." Recognize that these smart, hardworking, brave people were trying to understand God and their world just as we are. They drew different conclusions from ours, but we may respect and relate to their courage, their refusal to follow a system that did not make sense to them, and their commitment to each other and the search for Truth.

Help participants appreciate the struggle of these reformers and the importance of this religious revolt to Western political and our own religious history.

Activity 3, Christian Diversity, requires advance planning and research.

Goals

This workshop will:

  • Continue to explore fundamental aspects of Christianity
  • Explore the Protestant Reformation and its relationship to the contemporary religious landscape
  • Acquaint participants with some of the variety of doctrines in Protestant denominations.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Hear and discuss the life of Martin Luther and his launching of the Protestant Reformation
  • Learn the 25 largest Christian denominations in the United States
  • Understand the origin of Protestantism.

Workshop-at-a-Glance

Activity

Minutes

Welcoming and Entering

0

Opening

15

Activity 1: Story — Martin Luther and the 95 Theses on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences

30

Activity 2: U.S. Religions

15

Activity 3: Christian Diversity

20

Activity 4: Fact Sheet

5

Activity 5: Time Line

3

Faith in Action: Second Greatest Commandment

 

Closing

2

Alternate Activity 1: Engagement

90

Alternate Activity 2: Congregationalism

30

   

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For more information contact religiouseducation@uua.org.