Four people with taper candles light chalice framed by two rings

Coming of Age – “Credos” – June 12, 2011

Jun 13, 2011

The following Credos were presented by the Coming of Age Class on June 12, 2011 Coming of Age 2011


Molly Day:

I know it is kind of morbid, but a lot of the reason why I don’t believe in a biblical god is because of death. Heaven and hell, I don’t think they exist.  Well, I guess I just don’t believe in a day of judgment, in which not only your character, but your devotion to god, decides whether or not you live (I mean die) in blissfulness or torture for the rest of your life. I don’t believe that amazing people like the Dalai Lama, or Buddha, should be banished to the fiery pits of hell just because they didn’t believe in the right god.  It’s weird as well; the thoughts of god in my childhood were almost non-existent, while thoughts of what happened when your body was dead were abundant.  A lot of theories were made up, from different types of reincarnation, to heaven and hell, to nothingness.

Also I believe totally in evolution, and my sense of logic prevents me from believing many things in the bible, such as Noah’s ark, even Adam and Eve.  Incest? It’s not that I don’t believe in miracles, I just don’t believe they are caused by god. You know, for a god that is supposed to be loving, he sure has no problem wiping out the population every once in a while. So a Biblical God is out.  But what do I believe?  I have reached a paradox.  I can’t come to terms that there is a god ruling over us, but I just can’t accept the fact we are alone.  I strongly believe that if there is/are (a) god he/she/they have/has no impact on our choices.   It’s too cruel a world for that, and no supreme being would just allow things like the holocaust to happen.  I have gone through so many theories, but discarded them almost overnight.

Maybe god is just the conscience inside of us saying what is right, what is wrong, and who we turn out to be.  Maybe there is a little bit of god in all of us.  Maybe there is no god at all, and I am kidding myself over analyzing it. I just don’t know.  And the thing is I might never know.  So I am agnostic for now, and choose to accept the fact that there is no way to know.  I will probably continue to explore, but the doubt and hope in my mind are balanced out.  

Although I don’t believe in god, I do believe in values.  You must be good to others, even if they aren’t to you.  Justice and fairness should be held highly, but love and friendship even more.  Accepting others is important, even if your views and way of life are different, even opposite.  Everyone deserves a chance to be heard, to be happy, and to make a difference in the world.  And you should be able to be yourself fully, and without regret.  This is only the start though.  If I was to list all my beliefs and values, you would be here all day.

I guess what I am really trying to say is that you have to be the best person you can be, and that is my guiding light.  To strive to be better is always the way to go. This is a world of contradictions.  In order to be the best person you can be, you need to find a balance.  In the Coming of age program, there was an activity in which people had to decide where they stood on issues that were both important, but different, such as accepting other religions versus taking a stand against a dangerous belief.  I believe that in order to be the best person you can, you must be in the middle of the spectrum.  You must a find a balance in anything you do.  Whether it is caring what people think but being true to yourself in middle school, to being gentle yet firm with your children later in life.  I hope to reach the balance, make a difference, and be the best person I can be.

Niko Carvajal

Hello! My name is Niko Carvajal, and I’ve been asked what I believe. I haven’t been around very long, so I don’t have a great idea of what I believe, but here it is.

I believe that not everyone is born with a purpose. I believe though that everyone has a gift, and if you realize what that gift is soon enough, your purpose becomes clear. The longer you wait, the harder it gets to find your purpose, but when you do, I think that’s living life to the fullest.

I think that investing time in and with things you love is the most important thing in life, for example if you like music and being with friends go to a concert with them. If you like nature and being alone, take a walk through the forest. Everyone’s different, and everyone likes different things, and it doesn’t matter if you believe in heaven or hell. To the best of anyone’s knowledge, this is the only place we all are completely sure that have all these wonderful things, so now is the safest time to enjoy them.

Since I was very young, music was a big part of my life, it has played an important role as well. My parents played and sang songs to me as a child, and as I grew up, I learned to love playing and using instruments. Now I play piano and am constantly listening to music. Piano is very important to me. I have been playing it since I was eight years of age, even though I stopped getting lessons a few years back it is still my favorite pastime. I think music should be a part of everyone’s life, because it can heal almost anything. It lightens your mood, brings people together, and it’s so fun to do! The satisfaction of playing those many notes that go great together can relax and cleanse you like nothing else. In fact I’m listening to music as I write this, because it makes it so much easier to concentrate.

Right now I think sports is the second most important thing to me, but I have tried to explain why and failed so many times, that I’ve reached the conclusion that I just can’t. I guess I like it because it makes you think fast, it requires skill and practice, and you get to be with your friends while doing something you love. Other than that I just can’t really think of how to describe it besides it is a great feeling and a great workout.

And of course there is family. Without my family I wouldn’t be here. They are always finding the best opportunities for me, and helping me with every single problem. They are always there for me when I’ve had a hard anything, and they can cheer me up no matter what. 
 At first I thought that this wasn’t necessarily about what I believe in, but more about what I think is right and what is important to me, but as I wrote this I realized that these things along with others, matter the most to me, so yes, this is what I believe in.

Taquina Cachimuel 

I have been going to a UU church all my life. Everyone has always told me that I can define my own spirituality. I will be supported in whatever I decide to believe, but what happens if I don’t know what I believe yet?  In my family everyone has their own opinions. My sister strongly believes in God, my mom believes in a spirit, and my dad doesn’t believe in God.  That leaves me stuck in the middle.  Just what do I believe?  As I previously stated:  I do not know what to believe…yet.  And I am okay with that because I have my whole life to figure it out.

That said I do know that many loving people and experiences have influenced me in my life. For me, it doesn’t have to be completely spiritual; it is just the rules I go by in life. One rule that I always try to follow is the golden rule, which happens to be endorsed by some of the world’s great religions and diverse cultures: treat others the way you would like to be treated. 

During a Coming of Age class, we received an envelope of descriptive words and we all chose the words that meant the most to us. The words that were most important to me were respect, responsibility, family, and honesty. Everyone and every religion needs respect.  This is one of the UU principles that resonates with me. I cherish my family because they are always there to support me.  I enjoyed doing community service with the Coming of Age group.  The experience was so enjoyable that it inspired me to want to help others more often.   
In closing, I would like to quote Buddha, “The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” Thank you.

Nathan Cleary Greess

God- (noun) The Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped as the creator and ruler of the universe as defined in the Miriam Webster Dictionary. That is the official definition of God. In one Coming of Age meeting, an acronym came up for God: Guidance, Organization, and Direction. Being the kind of person I am, I wanted to decode this acronym so it fit me, like an equation. So, I thought, who or what guides me? Who or what organizes me? And who or what directs me? I came up with an answer that made sense, to me at least. Who guides me? I guide me! Who organizes me? I organize me! And directs me? I direct me! Wait…does that make me God!  Well, no, not really. But I found I wasn’t so far off. What I found is not that I am the supreme being of the universe, but I am the ruler of my universe, my life! I think God in an overused word. Albert Einstein once said, “I can’t imagine a God who rewards or punishes objects of his own creation and is but a reflection of human frailty.” Well, I have a hard time imagining any God in general but defiantly not one that punishes his own creations like 4-year-old torturing ants. I don’t believe in a God at all, or destiny or waiting for The Answer like, maybe if I hope hard enough or pray a lot, God will give me The Answer and I live happily in heaven for all of eternity. I have no need for God to tell me what is right or wrong because I have a conscience. I know what right and wrong is all by my self. I came across a quote that illustrates my view of God. “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime. Give a man religion and he will die praying for a fish.” This is an exaggerated way of how I feel. I believe that you should get up, on your own two feet and take action.

You, my church community, have instilled this belief in me. As I was writing this, I was talking to my friend. She asked, “What are you doing”? When I answered, “Writing an essay for church”, there was a long pause and she said, “They make you write essays?” “It kind of like a communion, sort of, or a confirmation” I said, not 100% sure what either of those were. I think…I know that we are defiantly not a traditional church. Here I feel like I can say what I want to say loud and clear, and trust me, I do say it loud and clear. But I am never sure of what I believe. It is like the relationship status on Facebook: single, in a relationship, engaged, married, in an open relationship, widowed, separated, divorced, in a civil union, in a domestic partnership, or it’s complicated. If I were describing my relationship with religion, it would defiantly be, “it’s complicated”. I haven’t signed the divorce papers on religion totally, but I am nowhere close to being married to it. Religion hasn’t totally died for me, so I’m not widowed, and I’m not searching for a religion so I’m not single…It’s just…complicated.

I don’t need to look to God for the answers. Not because I have all of the answers, but because, I don’t think the man in the clouds does either.

Elisa Portz

I have been raised as a Unitarian Universalist my whole life. I have my own voice and my own say in what I want to think or believe about the world. I’m used to not being told who or what to believe in.

As part of this congregation, I’ve known the majority of you for so long now. Even though our congregation is small, we are very community-oriented. Most of us are involved with Watertown’s activities and events. For example, many of you serve on town boards, contribute to walks for charities, and enrich our lives with artistic abilities.

Unitarian Universalism is the basis for my religious beliefs. A major factor in developing what you believe is thinking for yourself. Having an open mind and accepting everyone— no matter what their religion, race, sexuality or gender is. I think this is the very basis of being a UU. This includes not judging others and also promoting equality and justice, whether it is within our community or world wide.

As a Unitarian Universalist, I believe in science and evolution. I believe that we evolved over time, and I think that most everything has a scientific meaning behind it. With this, I also believe we can make the world a better place. I believe that the environment can be improved if we all work hard and think about what we can do to prevent global warming. I don’t believe that people go to a heaven or hell when they die. Therefore, going to hell for sins isn’t something I think of either.

I believe that having the freedom to be who you want is very important. Individuality is something I value. Advocating for yourself or others is important as well. I don’t believe in God the way traditional churches do. As minister, Mark Harris said in a recent sermon: “We do not need God to be inspired to live a life motivated to do justice and to love mercy.” I agree with Mark.

To me, being a Unitarian Universalist means accepting differences, being a unique individual, pursuing what is important to you, having the freedom to believe in what you want, and helping to make the world a better place.

Tessa Collins

Going into Coming of Age, I had no idea what I believed, and I didn’t really care. But now that I have finished Coming of Age, I still don’t have a clear idea of what I believe, but I do care now. I’m not sure if I believe in one God, because sometimes it seems totally irrational, but sometimes it makes total sense. Instead of believing in one God or doing whatever your religion tells you to do, I think you should have your own “mini-religion” if you can’t decide.

We learned about the 7 principles of U.U and here are the two that stand out: Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth. The first part of this makes a lot of sense-simply accept people for who they are and what they want to do. But, the second part doesn’t make so much sense. I agree that people should encourage others to grow, but not necessarily spiritually if they don’t want to. Affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person. This means respect them even if you don’t believe in the same things. However, it does not mean to respect everyone for the actions they make. In general it’s important to at least acknowledge other people’s views, but in no way to you have to accept them, especially if their views create violence or if their views make them do bad actions.

I think the biggest challenge is dealing with when views contradict each other and when they can’t be accepted/ live peacefully together without causing problems. That’s why I think people should follow their own values, but don’t do crazy actions based on them, and be open to other ideas.

Doug Leon

I believe that if you do good things, good things will come to you.  I believe that if you treat others well, you will get the same in return.  If you help people when they are down then you will receive help when you are down.  I believe that having a caring family is important.  I also believe that having strong, supportive friends is important, in part, because they help you through tough times and also help create fun times. 

I also believe that freedom and being stress-free is important. Being able to have a choice in what you do without constraints is a great thing and I value it very much.  Having no due dates or things to do makes me feel free and gives me the ability to have fun with nothing looming over your shoulder is something that I value.

Summer and adventures are important to me.  I love being out of school for ten weeks and having warm weather all of the time.  I enjoy going places with my friends and family that I don’t have time for during the school year.  I love going to sleep-away camp where I have close friends that I can share adventures with and try new things together.

Having fun is one of the most important things in my life.  To have an enjoyable time with everyone you like is a great feeling.  I love to be happy and comfortable in whatever I am doing whether it’s playing basketball, hanging out with friends or just being by myself.

And lastly, I hope that people think of me as a caring person, kind and thoughtful one who puts forth best efforts into the things that he loves and into the things that make the world a better place.

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