Same as where we started this series 4 weeks ago:
NIV John 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
J: Welcome to Your World … the show that talks about … Your World. For those just tuning in this week, where have you been! Sorry. Just kidding. In truth, we’re always excited to welcome new viewers to our show. Here at Your World we’re in the middle of a series of shows where we’ve had the chance to meet people of various faiths – we’ve met Jaime who is a witch, practicing the wiccan religion; we’ve met Kathy, the spokeswoman for the Mormon church in Lincoln NE. Today we’re going to meet Pastor Fritz Hudson of the Unitarian church – again in Lincoln NE– for a national show, it is indeed strange that these interviews have all been with people from Lincoln NE, but that’s that. Let’s meet Fritz:
VIDEO 2:01 – 2:04– “ Fritz”
J: OK, well … that’s Fritz Hudson. Phil – thanks for not only getting us these interviews and video clips, but thanks for joining me on the program today.
P: Sure – glad to be here. We asked Fritz why it is that he is a Unitarian – here’s what he said:
VIDEO 1:24 – 1:53 “Unitarian”
J: So my take here is that Fritz is pretty eclectic – one of the things that he says attracts him to the Unitarian faith is that he can draw on religious traditions from all over, and even on some traditions that wouldn’t be considered religious, like science, for instance.
P: Yeah – he talks of 6 sources for his beliefs – I’ve checked this out and here they are:
1) Direct experience of mystery
2) Words and deeds of prophetic women and men
3) Wisdom from the world’s religions
4) Jewish & Christian teachings which call us to love our neighbor
5) Humanist teachings which point us toward reason and science
6) Spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions
J: From what I know, it sounds like Fritz is more of a Unitarian Universalist rather than a Unitarian – there’s a slight difference there. Unitarian Universalists are much more common in the US these days, whereas let’s say a hundred years ago or more, Unitarian was more common.
J: So I’m picking up a common theme these last four weeks – in Wicca there is a strong stress on personal experience. In Mormonism, there is a similar stress on the personal experience of the modern day prophet and modern day revelation. And here in Unitarianism there is again a stress on each person figuring out what works for them. What’s really real here? What is truth?
P: Well, that’s exactly what Pontius Pilate asked Jesus many years ago. One of the reasons that these religions are growing in popularity is that truth is sort of flexible. It’s evolving. It’s changing. It’s where our post-modern culture is today.
J: But does truth really change? Is it something I just make up? Gravity doesn’t change. The speed of light doesn’t change. The earth has always, and will always revolve around the sun. You can’t just wake up one day and say, well, I don’t like gravity so I’m going to change it. I mean, I guess you could say that, but when you jump off a building, you’re still going to go splat.
P: Yeah, but religious stuff – you can’t see the results of ‘changing truth’ in the area of faith like you can see the results of trying to change gravity. They’re there, but you just can’t see that as clearly. And people want to construct their own world and their own view of reality.
J: Alright – what else have you got here?
P: Well, we asked Fritz what he thought about whether or not there was a devil and where evil comes from – here’s what he had to say:
VIDEO 2:29 – 3:06 “Evil”
J: So it sounds like evil is just part of the world, just part of what it is to be human.
P: Yes – Fritz believes in evolution.
J: And evolutionary theory would lead in that direction, namely the survival of the fittest and all that – that human beings are on this journey upward and that evil has always been a part of who we are. What’s his take on the devil?
P: Well, let’s check that out:
VIDEO 3:50 – 4:05 “Devil”
J: So the devil is not a real dude, but is a poetic way of talking about the evil that is within human beings?
J: So how do we fix what’s wrong – I mean, certainly it isn’t conquering the devil.
P: Exactly – we asked Fritz that very question – how do we fix what’s wrong?
VIDEO 4:12 -5:02 “Fixing”
J: So I take it that human beings have a capacity for both evil and good, and how we fix evil is through community, education, becoming better, etc.
J: So it sounds like there is no devil, there’s not much of a god, Jesus is a teacher or example to show us the way – it sounds pretty much of a religion of human improvement or something.
P: I think that’s right. And so we asked Fritz what happens when you die – if you’ve improved or not, where do you wind up? Let’s listen to his response:
VIDEO: 7:23 – 8:04 “Eternity”
J: Notice there that he identified himself as a Unitarian Universalist – we mentioned that before.
P: And he said that it was his personal belief that when he died, his life would become essentially nothingness. Have you done any research into how his belief here might differ from the belief of other Unitarian Universalists?
J: Well, I thought you might ask that question, so I checked it out. Actually Unitarian Universalism – get this –it’s a faith with no creedal requirements imposed on its members. In other words, you can believe absolutely anything you want and be a Unitarian Universalist.
P: Well, sort of. For instance, you can’t believe the Bible is the only source of teaching, and be a Unitarian Universalist.
J: Yeah. You’re right. In general you can believe whatever you want, as long as you believe that whatever somebody else believes might be right also.
P: As long as you don’t forbid anyone else to believe something.
J: But you can forbid them to believe that what they believe is the only truth.
P: [quizzical look] Right.
J: Hey – we’re getting short on time for this segment – last question for Fritz – what does he think of Christianity? Does he believe that he’s a Christian, or what?
P: Let’s take a look:
VIDEO 8:30 – 9:19 “Christianity”
J: Interesting. I think we should let the people out in TV land think about that for a while – how about if I comment on that during My Last Word segment coming up after the break?
P: Sounds good. Hey, thanks for having me on the show these last few weeks. I’ve got some other projects I’m working on, but I think this has been a great series – I’ve learned a lot and I’m guessing our viewers have too.
J: I agree. Why don’t we pick it up in a few months and check out some other religions – I’m anxious myself to figure out religions like Scientology and Kabbalah.
P: And we should do Islam and Christianity too – those are pretty significant religions.
J: Exactly. Hey – thanks again. [Phil says goodbye and leaves]
J: Stay tuned for this commercial break, and when we come back, I’ll give you my last word.
COMMERCIAL: Marriage Enrichment Weekend
J: Welcome back to Your World – thanks for staying with us through the break. Wanted to discuss a few things during my segment this week – things that I hope will keep you thinking until our next show.
First off, I want to talk about Fritz’s respect for Christianity. And then I want to talk about Truth. And that will pretty much take me to the end of the show.
So, first off, Christianity. Fritz doesn’t claim that Unitarian Universalists are Christians, so that’s honest. But he claims a great respect for Christian teaching. Unitarian Universalists are fond of saying that their religion is “the religion of Jesus, not a religion about Jesus”. So I want to ask this question and let you provide the answer in the privacy of your own homes: does Fritz Hudson respect the religion of Jesus? Let’s take a look.
Trinity He rejects the idea that there is one God and yet three Persons (the Trinity)
Creation He rejects the idea that God created the world
Devil He rejects the idea that there is a devil
Jesus’ Deity He rejects the idea that Jesus is God
Jesus’ Atoning Death He rejects the idea that Jesus died to forgive our sins
Sin He rejects the idea of sin, preferring the word “selfishness”
Afterlife – Heaven/Hell He rejects the idea of an afterlife, of hell and of heaven
Should I go on? What else is left? What precisely does he respect, when he says that he respects Christianity? Come on now – I can just see you now, a bunch of couch potatoes sitting in your living rooms, watching this show and waiting for the Super Bowl to start – come on – what do you think out there? [answers] Well I can’t hear you in the studio, but I’m sure you said it – Fritz respects the idea that Jesus told us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. And that Jesus lived out that love. Period. That’s it, basically.
And yet, I ask you this – is that Christianity? Is that what Jesus is about – loving your neighbor?
NIV John 1:36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, "Look, the Lamb of God!"
When John the Baptist saw Jesus passing by, he saw him and said, “Look, the guy who has this new and wonderful idea about loving your neighbor!” Wait – that’s not how that passage goes, is it? If the religion of Jesus was all about loving your neighbor, then what in the world was he doing up on that cross? You can love your neighbor without having 10 inch spikes driven through your hands!
No – Christianity isn’t about loving your neighbor. And if you claim respect for Christianity, then you have to claim respect for what Christianity really is, not what you want it to be. Christianity really is this religion that teaches that God came to earth to pay for the sins of human beings, and He paid for them the only way possible, by shedding his blood on the cross. That’s the religion of Jesus. And that religion, well, Fritz might respect it, but he certainly doesn’t accept it.
I must say I’ve found it interesting that religions which aren’t Christian like to claim either be to Christian or, in today’s case, to respect Christianity. Why not just say – hey – we think Jesus and that whole death on the cross thing is a bunch of hooey. We’re not Christians and we think Jesus was crazy for dying like he did. I find that much more intellectually honest and refreshing.
Last Sunday we heard Mormons claim to be Christian, despite the fact that they don’t believe Jesus is the same God as God the Father, they don’t accept the Bible as the only revelation from this God, and they don’t accept Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross as the way to get back to this God. They’re not Christians – why don’t they just admit it??? Stop deceiving people!
And while I’m at it, here’s another one that’s got me going lately. “The Christian Children’s Fund”. I’ll bet some of our viewers have given to this organization that helps children around the world. In fact, last I heard they receive donations in excess of $200,000,000 per year. Now I’m not going to argue that they don’t help children, but I will argue that they are not Christian. And Kristen Hongisto, spokesperson for CCF, backs me up – she says, “We do not call ourselves a ministry. We are not Bible-based. We are not a Christian organization except in the sense that we do good work.” So there you have it – it’s not a judgment I’m making – CCF’s own spokeswoman says it – they are not Christian.
WEB EXCLUSIVE: If you’d like to donate to national organizations that help feed both children’s bodies and souls, we’d suggest two avenues:
Lutheran World Relief http://www.lwr.org/
Compassion International http://www.compassion.com/default.htm
NIV 1 John 4:1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
The bottom line here, viewers, is this – don’t just accept what someone says to you at face value. Don’t just send money to the Christian Children’s Fund because they have the word “Christian” in their title. Don’t let the Mormon at your door say he or she is Christian … and believe it just because they say it. And don’t just sit there and say, “well, this is Jeff’s last word and I heard it on TV so it must be true.” Check it out for yourself! There are lots of people out there and guess what – every one of them is sinful. Every one of them has an agenda. Every one of them is trying to be good – well, maybe not every one – but most of them are trying to do good and be good and say good stuff … but we’re all flawed sinful human beings. So check it out. Check it out against the Good Book. Don’t believe everything you hear or read or see.
Well, I said I was going to address two things in my Last Word segment. Christianity – we covered that. And now Truth.
The question I’m guessing many of you are asking is this – how do we know what is truth? Fritz Hudson wants to have us looking at 6 sources for truth. Last week Kathy Hill of the Mormon church wanted us looking at 5 sources. Three weeks ago Jaime wanted us to look inside ourselves and to some friends and some mystical books on wicca for truth. Pastor Scheich wants us to look into the Bible for truth. But Fritz Hudson, who seems like a very nice guy, says that if we only look to the Bible for truth, well, then we are stifling ourselves and not taking advantage of all the truths that are out there in a ton of religions and science and more. So what should I do? What is the source of truth? Who should I trust?
Good question. No, it really is a good question. Who should you trust? People are all the same – how do you figure out which one is playing straight with you? Well, right there, in agreeing with what I just said, you are wrong. And that’s the problem. I said, “People are all the same”. That’s not true. There is this one Guy who’s different, who died … and then rose again. Come on now, admit it – that’s different. When you get all your religious leaders out there and line them up side by side … you find that there is one who is different. One who said he was going to die and come back to life … and then actually did it. Take that difference away, and you’ll flounder around from one religious leader to the other all day, trying to figure out the truth. But add that difference in there – wow – that’s a huge difference maker!
I hope, if you are a person who seeks after truth, who cares about what is true and what isn’t, a person who wants to build your life on a solid foundation – I hope you check into that claim of Jesus. You know, we’re not supposed to be promoting anything here at Your World, but can I let you in on something – there’s this Room211 deal inLincoln NE - starting on Easter Sunday they’re going to get into this whole question of whether Jesus Christ really rose from the dead. Historically. In other words, is it true? Can you prove it? It’s gonna be a great series. You really should check out this 211 thing. But don’t tell ‘em I sent you – I can’t get those bums to advertise on this show no matter how hard I try.
Anyway, back to my point - I don’t care what Buddha or Mohammed or Kathy Hill or Fritz Hudson or Joseph Smith or anybody else says. I say, come back to me after you rise from the dead, and we’ll talk. Until then, I’m following Jesus. And here’s what Jesus said about truth:
NIV John 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
That’s the religion of Jesus. Until somebody else dies and is buried and comes back from the dead 48 hours later claiming to be God in the flesh, I’m going with Jesus. Jesus who said:
NIV John 5:24 "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.
Jesus who said:
NIV John 6:47 I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.
Let’s be real about this here – when somebody dies and comes back to life, and says that if you believe in Him, He’ll give you eternal life with God Himself … I mean, I don’t want to sound crass … but TAKE THE DEAL!
And that’s my last word. But as I said, don’t take my word for it – take the word of Him who died and rose again, even Jesus Himself. Until next time, thanks for tuning in.
Sermon Topics: Classic