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Introduction, Workshop 12: Christianity 2

In "Building Bridges," a Tapestry of Faith program

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

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.

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Last updated on Thursday, October 27, 2011.

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