Quaker Universalist Conversations

Not all forms of “Univeralism” are created equal

Adria Gulizia responds to by James Riemermann’s post:

I did not intend to caricature universalism, but to speak to a particular form of universalism that I have seen in Friends meetings and that, frankly, doesn’t make much sense.

The fact of the matter is that Universalism is not a religion. It’s not a belief system. Like mysticism, it is an orientation. So it doesn’t make a lot of sense to say “Universalists believe this” or “Universalists don’t believe that” because there is no such things as a unified universalism. It is impossible to generalize about universalism because “universalism” is a general descriptive term, not a belief structure based on particular texts and precepts. There are Christian Universalists, Muslim Universalists, Deist Universalists, and Atheist Universalists who all believe different things. Quakers have historically espoused a form of universalism, informed by the first few verses of John, that I cherish and that led to my convincement. But not all forms of universalism are created equal.

The purpose of my post was to say that, while some forms of universalism are compatible with Christianity (that is, one can be a Christian and a universalist at the same time), there is at least one form, more prevalent than you may realize, that is not even compatible with basic logic.

That’s all I was saying. There are forms of universalism that are intellectually and emotionally compelling, but this isn’t one of them, as I think you’d agree. If you have clarifying questions or would like to have a real conversation about the relationship between univarsalism and cultural and religious relativism, feel free to email me. Since you’re someone who is interested in humbly receiving new light, you might consider asking the author about her goals before assuming that she is “trotting out” a view of universalism designed to discredit it. It’s quite hurtful, frankly, and not likely to encourage the mutual understanding that universalism is supposed to promote.

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