Unity and New Thought denies evil any reality because God is all and all is in God. There is no Satan and what appears as darkness is nothing more than a lack of light. Just a false belief and a misperception. As for sin (original or otherwise), evil, satan, and hell… its all the same in New Thought theology. Good vs evil isn’t a dichontomy that is used in New Thought. For instance, A Course In Miracles uses the terms of love and fear: “The opposite of love is fear, but what is all-encompassing can have no opposite.” There really isn’t any more that can be said of it from a New Thought perspective.
I was raised with no concept of evil and so I never thought about it growing up. Even though I now understand it in the abstract, it doesn’t have much meaning to me. As my grandmother (who was a Unity minister, a Science of Mind practitioner, and a student of the ACIM) used to say, “Everyone is doing the best that they can for where they’re at.”
In New Thought, God has no gender because God isn’t an anthropomorphic deity. Rather, God is a spiritual principle something akin to monism or panentheism. New Thought is the natural result of the evolution of the Judeo-Christian tradition taken to its extreme. The Catholic God is more abstract than the Jewish God. The Protestant God is more abstract than the Catholic God. The New Thought God is more abstract than the Protestant God. As rationality increased with socio-histoical development, God became ever more rationalized.
Unity uses the term “God” to refer to the divine, but the use of the term “Goddess” in reference to the divine is extremely common in New Age. Even in Unity, nobody would care if you felt like referring to the divine as Goddess.
Goddess combines the whole feel of embodied spirituality that is in line with the New Age’s desire to bridge spirituality and science. The Gaia hypothesis is a case in point. It was originated by a scientist, but was quickly spiritualized and has become one of the main tenets of New Age. Nature and environmentalism are very important in the New Age.
Plus, Goddess fits in with the whole female empowerment. New Age groups have a high percentage of female membership and women often have leadership positions. If I remember correctly, all of the ministers of Unity churches that I’ve belonged to have been women. A major influence of the Goddess strain within New Age goes back to Gimbutas’ theory of ancient peaceful matriarchies. Also, the rise of virgin mary worship has contributed to this. New Age is the common person’s spirituality and virgin mary worship has a similar position within Catholicism. There are many theories why the feminine principle is becoming more central. I simply see it as the return of the repressed.
So, what is a Unity service like? There is nothing particularly special about a Unity service. Its very simple and bare bones. Unity isn’t big into symbolism and ritual.
There is singing non-traditonal songs such as “Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me.” Come to think of it, God was referred to as Father in this song. I just looked it up and I see that some versions have of course changed “Father” to “Creator”. During the singing of this song, I remember that everyone held hands in a circle that connected the whole congregation together and everyone would sway back and forth.
Unity people are a smily and friendly group for the most part, but I have been to a Unity church nearby where the people weren’t as open as the Unity churches I grew up in. One thing I remember is that people liked to hug and there was a specific point in the service that was for this purpose. However, someone told me that Unity churches were much more huggy in the past than they are now. I don’t know what would cause such a change.
Of course, there is a sermon. But its quite different from most Christian sermons. God is talked about in a less direct way. There is much more neutral language. Bible stories aren’t usually told. Nonetheless, the whole service has a general Christian feel to it.
This blog is posted in the God Pod.