For the first time since I started going to church I could not get up this morning. I woke up with a really bad headache which is now pretty much gone. So I thought I'd take the time to explain a bit what Unity is. I found this description on one of the Unity websites and it's the best one I've seen yet.
Unity is ...
Unity is a transdenominational movement. In other words, we believe that there are similar inner or spiritual symbolism in the religion, literature and mythology of all cultures. When you look at the similarities of religions and spiritual paths from around the world, you realize we all have at the core similar beliefs and truths. However, we have labeled them with different terminologies and chosen different ways to express our understanding. Consequently, it is easy to come away with different interpretations.
We choose to see the similarities, the good, and the Truth in all expressions. No church is thought to be "the wrong way" and no church is "the only right way". We trust the Spirit indwelling in everyone to lead each person to the path that serves him or her best in learning about their individual relationships with the One Force in the Universe.
Typically thought of as New Thought Christianity, Unity is actually more accurately described as first century Mystical Gnostic Judaism. Our belief system is founded upon the teachings of Jesus, The Christ and his belief that we live in the ever-expanding field of life and energy – which Jesus termed as the Kingdom of Heaven. His basic teachings of spiritual Truth center on how to open our hearts and minds to the ever-present Ocean of life that we are immersed in and part of; this is what is typically called in Western theologies “God”. The Infinite One is the Universal Force of Life that permeates and underlies all life and binds all things together.
Our Goal is to help people of all denominations and all walks of life to open their awareness to these Universal Force of life, love, peace and abundance in their lives; this is what Jesus described as the kingdom of Heaven – an ever-present expanding creative potential; which Jesus said was here now and within our grasp.
Here is something from my church's website that explains the beliefs:
What is Unity?
Unity is positive, practical Christianity. We teach the effective, daily application of the principles of Truth taught and exemplified by Jesus Christ. We promote a way of life that leads to health, prosperity, happiness, and peace of mind. Unity has established centers of study and worship throughout the world where people discover and practice the Unity way of life. We address physical, mental, and emotional needs through affirmative prayer and spiritual education. We serve those who seek inspiration and prayer support as well as those who use Unity teachings as their primary path of spiritual growth. We believe that all people are created with sacred worth, and we strive to reach out to all who seek support and spiritual growth. Therefore, we recognize the importance of serving all people in spiritually and emotionally caring ways. Our ministries and outreaches are free of discrimination on the basis of race, gender, age, creed, religion, national origin, ethnicity, physical disability, and sexual orientation.
What are Unity's basic teachings? We encourage you to explore and apply Unity teachings based on your own spiritual understanding. We believe this spiritual understanding is enhanced through reflective prayer and meditation.
The five basic ideas that make up the Unity belief system are:
God is the source and creator of all. There is no other enduring power. God is good and present everywhere.
We are spiritual beings, created in God's image. The spirit of God lives within each person; therefore, all people are inherently good.
We create our life experiences through our way of thinking.
There is power in affirmative prayer, which we believe increases our connection to God.
Knowledge of these spiritual principles is not enough. We must live them.
Is Unity a denomination? Some aspects of the Unity movement are denominational and some are not. For example, there are more than 900 Unity churches and study groups affiliated with Unity's sister organization, the Association of Unity Churches. This is a denominational aspect of Unity. In addition, the Unity Institute at Unity Village 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 nondenominational aspects include the prayer ministry, Silent Unity, Daily Word (Unity's nondenominational inspirational monthly magazine), retreats, and continuing education classes that are open to everyone and teach Unity principles in nondenominational settings.
Does Unity believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ? 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.
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 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.
Is Unity headquarters open to the public? Yes. All our services in the Unity Village Chapel, along with the surrounding grounds, are open to the public. The grounds at Unity headquarters include a rose garden, a labyrinth for walking meditation, a metaphysical library, and a bookstore.
Is Unity an offshoot of Christian Science? No. Unity and Christian Science, as well as many other New Thought groups, had their beginnings in the latter part of the nineteenth century. The application of principles, the methods of teaching, and the organization of the two movements are quite different.
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 practice baptism and communion? Yes, symbolically. Whereas baptism by water represents the cleansing of the consciousness, spiritual baptism signifies the inflow of the Holy Spirit. Baptism is a mental and spiritual process that takes place within the individual as he or she aligns with the spirit of God. Spiritual communion takes place through prayer and meditation in the silence. The word of Truth is symbolized by the bread or body of Jesus Christ. The conscious realization of God-life is symbolized by the wine or blood of Jesus Christ. Unity practices communion by appropriating, or partaking, of the spiritual energy represented by these elements.
Through seeking and looking within over the past 8 years or so I have finally come into my own *truths* for myself. I'm not sure if that even makes much sense. But it's what works for me. I don't think I'll ever stop seeking...because life is a life long learning experience. I don't ever want to stop learning because to stop learning is to stop living.....instead I would be just existing. Now about labels....people put too much importance on it. They will say...I'm a Baptist....I'm a Catholic or I'm a Buddhist. They sometimes look down on others thinking that their beliefs are the only right ones and that other person is wrong. Why does anyone have to be wrong? It's just their truth as they see it. To me being a Pagan means that I have taken what I feel is true to me...yet still respect what others believe. And yet as a Pagan, I feel a very strong connection to Jesus who I see as the living son of God just as we all are the living sons and daughters of God. The message of Jesus is simple and for me can be summed up in two words. Love Everyone. Yet look at the world today. War, fighting amongst ourselves and even within ourselves is rampant everywhere. I think we can find peace here....but not the true inner peace we are really looking for. We won't find that until we go HOME. I sometimes wonder what this world would be like if we all followed the teachings of Jesus? Well....there would probably be no need for this world because everyone would be awakened to their highest self. I believe we are here to remember who we truly are.