What Is Unity?
Unity is for people who might call themselves spiritual but not religious. It is for those who sense the depths of their own being and celebrate the awareness of a power greater than themselves.
The teachings in Unity bring together ancient wisdom with new interpretations of what it means to be alive and human. Unity inspires different ways to think about the force of love and intelligence that many people call God.
Some of what you’ll find in Unity might sound familiar and other parts brand-new. Although the principles of healing and prosperity taught in Unity have now been scientifically explained, the ideas must have seemed radical when they were put forth by founders Charles and Myrtle Fillmore beginning in the 1880s.
What Are Unity Teachings?
Unity has no dogma. The Fillmores were reluctant even to issue a statement of beliefs. They wanted to remain in constant exploration.
Throughout the years, they pulled together teachings of Truth that flow through all the world’s great religions. Later, leaders of Unity boiled them down to five basic principles.
The Five Principles
1. God is all there is and present everywhere. This is the force of love and wisdom that underlies all of existence.
2. Human beings are divine at their core and therefore inherently good.
3. Thoughts have creative power to determine events and attract experiences.
4. Prayer and meditation keep us aligned with the one great power in the universe.
5. It is not enough to understand spiritual teachings. We must live the Truth we know.
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What does Unity have to say about....
We believe that Jesus fully expressed his divine potential and sought to show humankind how to express ours as well. We see Jesus as a master teacher of universal truths and as our Way Shower. In Unity, we use the term Christ to mean the divinity in humankind. Jesus is the great example of the Christ in expression.
God is Spirit, the loving source of all that is. God is the one power, all good, everywhere present. God is divine energy, continually creating, expressing and sustaining all creation and all wisdom. In God, we live and move and have our being. In Unity, some other ways we speak of God are Life, Light, Love, Substance, Principle, Law and Universal Mind.
Unity co-founders Charles and Myrtle Fillmore studied the Bible as history and allegory and interpreted it as a metaphysical representation of humankind's evolutionary journey toward spiritual awakening. In addition, Unity recognizes that the Bible is a complex collection of writings compiled over many centuries. We honor the writings as reflecting the understanding and inspiration of the writers at the time they were written. The Bible continues to be a valuable spiritual resource for us.
The Nature of Humankind
We are each individual, eternal expressions of God. Our essential nature is divine and therefore inherently good. Our purpose is to express our divine potential as realized and demonstrated by Jesus and other master teachers. The more we awaken to our divine nature, the more fully God expresses in and through our lives.
Prayer and Meditation
Affirmative prayer is the highest form of creative thought. It includes the release of counterproductive, negative thoughts, as well as holding in mind statements of spiritual truth. Through meditation, we experience the presence of God. Prayer and meditation heighten our awareness and thereby transform our lives.
- Heaven is not a place, but a state of consciousness; we create our own heaven and hell here and now.
- We all have an innate capacity to know God through direct experience.
- The “Christ” is that part of God that is in every person. There is divinity within all people, just as there was in Jesus.
- Prayer works.
- We are here to set a positive example and be a role model for others.
- We are here to make the world a better place.
Is Unity a Denomination?
Some aspects of the Unity movement are denominational and some are not. For example, there are nearly 1000 Unity churches and study groups affiliated with Unity's sister organization, the Association of Unity Churches International. This is a denominational aspect of Unity. In addition, the Unity Institute at Unity Village in Kansas City trains approximately 60 students every two years to be Unity ministers. This is also denominational. However, the majority of the work done by Unity at Unity Village involves prayer, publishing, and education services to people of all faiths. These non-denominational aspects include the prayer ministry, Silent Unity, Daily Word (Unity's non-demoninational inspirational monthly magazine), retreats, and continuing education classes that are open to everyone and teach Unity principles in non-denominational settings.
Is there any connection between Unity and Unitarianism?
No, there is no connection, although there is sometimes confusion because of the similarity of the names. Each is a distinct organization with its own set of beliefs and practices.
What is the role of the Bible in Unity?
The Bible is Unity’s basic textbook. Scripture comes alive when it is understood as a clear and helpful guide for today’s experiences.
Does Unity believe in the divinity of Jesus?
Yes. Unity teaches that the spirit of God lived in Jesus, just as it lives in every person. Every person has the potential to express the perfection of Christ, as Jesus did, by being more Christ-like in everyday life.
What is the relationship of Unity to other churches?
Unity is a vehicle for instruction, inspiration, and prayer support for spiritual seekers, regardless of their religious affiliation. Unity freely shares its teachings with all churches.
What does Unity teach about sin and salvation, heaven and hell?
Sin is our separation from God, the Good, in consciousness. Salvation is now, not something that occurs after death. It happens whenever we turn our thoughts from fear, anxiety, worry, and doubt to thoughts of love, harmony, joy, and peace. The “fall” takes place in consciousness whenever we fall into negative habits of thinking. Heaven and hell are states of consciousness, not geographical locations. We make our own heaven or hell here and now by our thoughts, words and deeds.
Does Unity look for the Second Coming of Jesus?
Members of the Association of Unity Churches understand the Second Coming as the individual expression of the Christ consciousness. This is not an event to be anticipated in the future. It is happening here and now — through prayer, meditation, study and application.
How does Unity regard the trinity?
Unity interprets the religious terms Father, Son, and Holy Spirit metaphysically, as three aspects of mind action: mind, idea, and expression. This is the process through which all manifestation takes place.