The questions below are questions often asked of people who are in Unity. If you ask a dozen Unity ministers, you will receive a dozen different answers. Yet all of the answers will be in harmony with each other. These answers come from Unity of Columbus.
Unity is practical Christianity; we practice the teachings of Jesus rather than teach the religion about Jesus. We study the words and actions of Jesus in His ministry rather than the traditional focus on His birth and resurrection. 21st Century Christianity in Unity focuses on the metaphorical / Metaphysical ("beyond the physical," or printed text) approach to the Bible. In following the metaphysical approach, we seek to discover the inner meaning between the lines of the printed scripture. From this base of understanding, the Bible truly comes alive, as we believe it serves as a pivotal metaphor and a supportive guide for our lives today.
The Bible is Unity's core textbook, for we understand it to be a map of our spiritual journey, and each of the figures, objects, plants, animals, cultures, and geographic locations mentioned throughout the 66 Books of the Bible represents an aspect of our consciousness. For example, the Apostle Simon Peter represents man's Faith faculty: the Power we express anytime we believe in something with conviction. "Now Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1) It is upon this "Rock" that Jesus builds His church.
The word "cult" has many definitions. In its most negative connotation, a cult is a group of people who submit their lives and possessions to an apocalyptic leader. Unity clearly does not fit that definition. Within the context of Christianity, a Christian cult is defined as any group of Christians that interpret scripture differently than the ones labeling them as a cult. In that definition, there are Christian denominations that label Unity as a cult. However, in that same definition, the first century followers of the way, the earliest followers of Jesus, were members of a "cult."
In Unity, salvation is not a declaration of a specific theology such as this one. We speak of transformation - the change in consciousness from one of suffering to one of joy and purity. Jesus was our Wayshower to the way of this change. His crucifixion and resurrection are a metaphor for overcoming our limiting beliefs and hurtful actions, which stem from "error consciousness," or sin. We are in error when we live from the belief that we are separate from one another and separate from God. "...[B]e of good cheer; I have overcome the world." (from John 16:33)
Unity is inclusive. While we teach a specific, clear path, we accept anyone who joins us. You do not have to believe as we believe in order to worship or even become a member of a Unity church. We encourage each individual to follow the spiritual path of her or his heart.
Yes, we unconditionally support the marriage of two people who lovingly commit their lives together as one. Whereas traditional theology teaches that we humans were born in "Original Sin," Unity believes and teaches that we were born in "Original Blessing." The following is Unity's Diversity Statement:
"We believe that all people are created with sacred worth. Therefore, we recognize the importance of serving all people within the Unity family in spiritually and emotionally caring ways. We strive for our ministries, publications, and programs to reach out to all who seek Unity support and spiritual growth. It is imperative that our ministries and outreach be free of discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender, age, creed, religion, national origin, ethnicity, physical disability, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation. Our sincere desire is to ensure that all Unity organizations are nondiscriminatory and support diversity.
"In our effort to reach out to all people as did our Way Shower, Jesus Christ, we support the modification of our facilities to make them accessible to all people, regardless of physical challenges; the translation of our materials into braille and other languages; and respect for the wonderful variety of human commitments and relationships.
"We encourage ministers, teachers, and others within Unity to honor the strength of diversity within their spiritual communities. It is with love and in celebration of our unity, in the midst of our wondrous diversity, that we affirm this position."
There is a difference between Unity and New Age. Unity is New Thought Christianity — a movement committed to practicing Jesus' teachings of living from the consciousness of God within us. New Age is a blanket term for a wide range of modern practices that includes such things as: non-religious spirituality, crystal healing, astrology, the Tarot, channeling, etc.
There are many Unity centers that support A Course In Miracles (ACIM) groups. However, ACIM is not a formal Unity teaching.
Unity's co-founder, Charles Fillmore, taught that reincarnation was the way that individuals evolve in consciousness towards what he called the Christ Consciousness. He taught that once an individual achieved the full embodiment of the Christ, the cycle of reincarnation is broken. Some Unity ministers today believe in reincarnation; some do not believe it. Our Unity teachings focus on Life this moment rather than theology of what happens when our bodies die. "The Kingdom of Heaven is within (or among) you."
Unity follows the teachings and practices of Jesus. He is our elder brother, our Wayshower. Jesus demonstrated the consciousness that we seek to live in this life, right here, right now. Unity sees Jesus as the one individual in history that lived to the full Divine Potential in all of us.
Unity has been in Columbus for over 100 years. In our History page, you can read about our rich history from a small study group (with the first ever Licensed Unity Teacher) to the 1990's thriving center in its current beautiful location. We are restoring our church to its once glorious presence in Columbus — while envisioning the achievement of new heights. You are welcome to be part of this exciting experience!