- Paperback: 156 pages
- Publisher: Skinner House Books (February 1, 1993)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1558963081
- ISBN-13: 978-1558963085
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #623,416 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Larger Faith: A Short History of American Universalism
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He suggests, "Interestingly, [Hosea] Ballou seldom attacked the doctrine of the Trinity in his sermons, quite possibly because his audiences were not interested in such an abstract subject and such attacks were not essential to the points he was making; outspoken as he was, his avoidance of the subject was certainly not due to timidity." (Pg. 26)
He recounts, "Thomas Starr King, who had fellowship as a minister in both denominations [Unitarian and Universalist], had jokingly said that they were really 'too near of kin to be married.' When asked to explain the difference between them, he replied that the Universalists thought that God was too good to damn them forever, while the Unitarians thought they were too good to be damned." (Pg. 60) He observes that in the 1870s, "The Universalist denomination was following the pattern of many institutions---with time and growth it was not only becoming more highly organized, it was also becoming more conservative." (Pg. 63)
He notes that missionary George Perin "took pains to distinguish Universalist philosophy from that of other Christian denominations: 'We shall not begin our work by trying to make these intelligent Japanese believe that their ancestors are now in hell for the simple reason that we did not come along a little sooner. I shall try to present the love of God... and to let hell take care of itself." (Pg. 74)
But by 1890, "despite their new missionary efforts, [Universalists'] raison d'etre as a denomination was slowly fading away. 'Hell was no longer a burning issue' for many Americans; an increasing number of mainline preachers had simply stopped stoking its fires. To some Universalists, the very survival of the denomination seemed threatened." (Pg. 76)
About the First Humanist Manifesto (1933), he says, "Thirty-four men signed the document... thirteen of them Unitarian ministers... While presumably all Universalists were at least somewhat humanistic, since they affirmed the inherent worth of all people and were committed to work for the betterment of society, most of them rejected the humanist label with its nontheistic and non-Christian implications." (Pg. 103)
This book will be of considerable interest to anyone interested in liberal/progressive religion.